The UN refugee agency has called on Myanmar to grant citizenship to the persecuted Rohingya
“It’s important to work on granting citizenship to the Muslim community, that has been deprived of citizenship for many years,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi told reporters in the Thai capital, Bangkok, on Friday.
Grandi’s remarks came a day after he concluded his visit to Myanmar, where he met communities in the towns of Sittwe and Maungdaw in Rakhine state, where the Rohingya community is mainly based, as well as Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader.
The head of the UN refugee agency also highlighted the necessity of “development investments” in the region, which he described as “one of the poorest states in the Union of Myanmar.”
This photo taken on July 3, 2017 shows UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi (C) meeting with people at a sewing skills training class in Maungdaw in the northern part of Rakhine state, Myanmar. (Photo by AFP)
Myanmar’s troops and police are accused of killing and raping Rohingya Muslims, who are denied citizenship in Myanmar and widely viewed as outsiders by the majority Buddhists.
The more than one million Rohingya Muslims have been suffering widely-reported aggression for years in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine, which has also been under a military lockdown since October 2016. The government used a militant attack on border guards back then as a pretext to enforce the siege.
Since then, the military has banned journalists and aid workers from entering the area. Hundreds of people have been killed and more than 1,000 houses burned down. Some 75,000 Rohingya Muslims have already been forced to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.
There have been numerous accounts by eyewitnesses of summary executions, rapes, and arson attacks against Muslims since the crackdown began.
The United Nations
Human Rights Council agreed in March to send an international fact-finding mission to Myanmar tasked with investigating allegations of crimes by Myanmar’s security forces against Rohingya Muslims.
Myanmar said it would deny entry to the members of the UN fact-finding mission.
Most recently, a mob of Rakhine Buddhists attacked Rohingya Muslims this week, leaving a man dead and six others injured.