Published: Mon, December 05, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Malaysia says Myanmar violence against Muslim Rohingya 'ethnic cleansing'

"Someone tell Myanmar that the Asean Charter also protects human rights".

The statement was released ahead of a planned solidarity march in Kuala Lumpur due to be attended by Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Pamaukkha, a monk who organized the protest, accused Razak of using religion in an attempt to regain his popularity among Malaysians by intervening in Myanmar's sovereign affairs.

On Friday, Suu Kyi insisted that Myanmar's government wants to make the relationship between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and the Muslim minority "better", but accused the global community of not adopting a constructive stance on the "highly sensitive and delicate" issue.

Malaysia's statement noted that hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled to neighbouring countries in recent years, including approximately 56,000 to Muslim-majority Malaysia. Muslim Rohingya face discrimination and violence from the Buddhist majority in the country, also called Burma. The U.N. special adviser on the prevention of genocide, Adama Dieng, on Tuesday expressed concern about reports of excessive use of force and other serious human rights violations against civilians, particularly Rohingya, including allegations of extrajudicial executions, torture, rape and the destruction of religious property.

The foreign ministry said that since hundreds of thousands of Rohingya had fled the largely Buddhist country in recent years, including around 56,000 to Malaysia, the issue was of global concern.

"Mapim is compiling evidence with the help of the Rohingya community in Malaysia and Arakan, Myanmar", he said to reporters after a Rohingya solidarity programme at the Sultan Azlan Shah Mosque here yesterday.

"The world can not just sit by and watch genocide taking place", he told the crowd.

The EU reiterated its call for the setting up of an independent and credible investigation into the situation in Rakhine state.

"We want to tell Aung San Suu Kyi, enough is enough..."

The Rohingya issue has been a major test for Suu Kyi's new administration following decades of military rule. The Nobel laureate's party won elections a year ago, but the military still controls key levers of government power, including access to sensitive border regions.

The prime minister said he had sent Foreign Affairs Minister Anifah Aman to Nay Pyi Taw to meet Ms Suu Kyi, only to be told she was only willing to meet to discuss bilateral affairs, but not the Rohingya.

The military's crackdown in Rakhine has also exposed the limits of Suu Kyi's power.

According to the last census in Malaysia, there were some 135,000 Rohingya in the country in 2014. Denied citizenship although they have lived in Myanmar for generations, Rohingya have faced persecution that exploded in intercommunal violence in Rakhine state in 2012 that left hundreds dead and forced more than 100,000 into squalid camps.

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