Hakeem asks Marapana to take on Myanmar over ethnic violence

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader and City Planning and Water Supply Minister Rauff Hakeem has requested Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana, PC to summon Colombo based Myanmar Ambassador over on-going violence directed at Rhohingya people in that country.

Minister Hakeem has made four recommendations in respect of the situation there. The following is the text of Hakeem’s letter to Marapana:

“Not a single day passes without the international media as well as the human rights community reporting on the horrendous crimes being committed against the people of the Rakhine Province of Myanmar. The unfortunate plight of the Rhohingya people has been staring squarely in the face of humanity for a few years now, with its intensity at unprecedented levels in the last few weeks.

“When crimes against humanity are perpetrated against a people on the grounds of race, religion, language, or ethnicity, or on any outer grounds, which appear repugnant to human conscience, it is our collective duty to do all that within our power to help bring an immediate end to it, ensure amelioration of the conditions of persecuted people, and to work with partners in the region and the world to facilitate their peaceful living, including return and resettlement in safety and dignity, with guarantees of protection and non-recurrence in the future. It is our strong belief that Sri Lanka, under the National Unity Government, is in a position to demonstrate initiative and/or leadership in ensuring such a positive outcome through peaceful means.

“We would like to propose in this context that the Minister of Foreign Affairs:

i. Summon, the Ambassador of Myanmar based in Colombo to share our concerns with the Government of Myanmar, urging an immediate end to violence against the Rhohingya people, in the interest of peace and stability in the region;

ii Offer relief and rehabilitation assistance to the affected people through international agencies;

iii. Issue a public statement demonstrating its clear interest in addressing the situation faced by the Rhohingya people and ensuring peace and stability in the region;

iv. Call a debate or session in Parliament, suo moto, to explain the position of the Government of Sri Lanka urging for non-violence and peace building in the Rakhine Province of Myanmar.

” In our well-considered view, the Government of Sri Lanka is well-placed to undertake all of the above measures as a country progressing on the path of reconciliation, non-recurrence and peace building, and committed to the pursuit of peace and stability in the region which remains critical to the realization of its vision of a harmonious, inclusive, sustainable Indian Ocean, as part of its Vision 2025.

We would encourage the Government of Sri Lanka, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to initiate the above measures and demonstrate commitment and leadership at the earliest.”

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