IMAM calls on Myanmar to allow aid, relief workers in to help refugees

The Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia (IMAM) is urging on Myanmar to allow aid and relief workers in the country to provide assistance to areas affected by the conflict involving the Rohingya people.

IMAM president Dr. Jeffery Abu Hassan said the workers should be able to carry out their functions without fear of violence following reports of escalating persecution and killings of Rohingya people in Rakhine province.

Pointing out that the United Nations’ (UN) World Food Programme recently suspended its activities to provide food aid due to increasing violence, he urged the Myanmar government to allow Asean countries into the troubled areas to provide temporary shelter and other aid to refugees.

Myanmar should also work closely with her Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)neighbours to resolve the crisis amicably and peacefully, he added.

Jeffery said the violence was unacceptable by any standards of humanity.

“About 400 to 3,000 innocent men, women and children have been reported killed in the past week,” he said in a statement today.

“Ten thousand homes and shops were burnt and destroyed by the Burmese military. Women and children have drowned trying to cross the river Naaf into Bangladesh,” he added.

He said IMAM and its partners in Southeast Asia who operated clinics and charitable activities for Rohingya refugees felt compelled to voice their concerns on the situation.

Describing it as “ethnic cleansing”, he said Human Rights Watch in its 2013 report and the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) had called on Myanmar to end the incidents.

He also noted that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had on Sept 1 urged restraint and calm to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in Rakhine.

On August 30, some 1,500 Rohingyas participated in a rally outside the Myanmar embassy in Kuala Lumpur to draw attention to the community’s plight in Myanmar.

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