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13 Nobel Laureates, 10 Global Leaders Petition UNSC To Make Rohingya Issue A Priority

Malala Yousafzai, Arianna Huffington and Desmond Tutu were among the signatories.

30/12/2016 11:12 AM IST | Updated 30/12/2016 11:54 AM IST
PTI

DHAKA -- 13 Nobel laureates along with 10 global leaders have urged members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to urgently put the Rohingya crisis on the list of the council's agenda and to call upon the UN secretary-general to visit Myanmar as a priority.

"If the current secretary-general is able to do so, we would urge him to go; if not, we encourage the new secretary-general to make it one of his first tasks after he takes office in January," reads an open letter sent to the president of the UNSC and to all its member states, reports the Daily Star.

The dignitaries, who have made the joint plea for the Rohingyas, a Muslim minority in Myanmar, include the likes of Professor Muhammad Yunus, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, Shirin Ebadi, The Huffington Post founder and editor Arianna Huffington, former Italian prime minister and foreign minister Romano Prodi and Emma Bonino.

The signatories that include 13 Nobel laureates and 10 other business people, philanthropists, activists and politicians of global repute expressed concern that Rohingya persecution in Myanmar bears the hallmarks of genocides and past tragedies like the ones in Rwanda, Darfur, Bosnia, and Kosovo.

They urged the United Nations to do everything possible to encourage the Myanmar government to lift all restrictions on humanitarian aid so that people receive emergency assistance.

"Access for journalists and human rights monitors should also be permitted, and an independent, international inquiry to establish the truth about the current situation should be established," they said.

They observed, "Over the past two months, a military offensive by the Myanmar Army in Rakhine State has led to the killing of hundreds of Rohingya people. Over 30,000 people have been displaced."

"Houses have been burned, women raped, many civilians arbitrarily arrested, and children killed. Crucially, access for humanitarian aid organisations has been almost completely denied, creating an appalling humanitarian crisis in an area already extremely poor."

The open letter said, "Thousands [of Rohingyas] have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, only to be sent back. Some international experts have warned of the potential for genocide. It has all the hallmarks of recent past tragedies -- Rwanda, Darfur, Bosnia, Kosovo."

The dignitaries also expressed frustration at Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi's non-initiative in ensuring rights of the Rohingyas.

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