17 May 2013

 Statement by H.E. Mr. Khazaee
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Before the Ambassadorial Meeting of the OIC
New York, 17 May 2013

بسم الله

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Mr. Chairman, 

May I begin by thanking you for having held this timely and important meeting and for the excellent manner you guide the work of our Group.

Mr. Chairman,

We are witnessing a daily violence and violations of human rights committed against innocent unarmed Muslim civilians in the Myanmar which is contrary to all the principles of human rights, values, ethics and international law and has detrimental implications for regional peace, stability and security.
All these violations are coming in the light of the ongoing democratization and reform process in the country!I wonder what the co-relationship between the democratization and the intensification of violence which has brought about so much suffering to thousands of innocent civilians, destruction of mosques and homes and eviction of people from their homeland. More disturbing is the remarks by some Myanmar authorities in the sense of stripping Muslim minority from their citizenship rights, in spite the fact that Muslim people in Myanmar have been living there for centuries.

The ethnic and religious cleansing against Muslims under whatever pretext is unjustifiable and inexcusable under recognized international law, and we at the United Nations must take urgent measures to preserve the spirit of the Charter and protect the fundamental rights of the Muslim people in Myanmar. We need to call upon the Government of Myanmar to put an end to the crackdown against Muslims.

I would like to request Your Excellency, in your capacity as the Chairman of OIC Group to get in touch with the Secretary General of the United Nations and ask him to interfere expeditiously and outspokenly, as he does with other similar situations and to take every appropriate measure in order to halt the current situation and to prevent further similar tragedy to happen against Muslim people of Myanmar.

No doubt, a stance of silence and indifference by the international community toward the situation in Myanmar would contribute to the grave violations of fundamental rights of Muslim inhabitants as well as the international law and make an appalling precedent in international relations. It is hoped that the Myanmar Government would respond to the concerns of its Muslim people and the international community in a positive and constructive manner so that all its Muslim citizens are able to return to their homeland in honour, safety and dignity.

My delegation welcomes that now an OIC Contact Group on Muslims in Myanmar is established. We look forward to see their actions, investigations and therecommendations based on the reports of the OIC fact-finding mission to the region.

We need to call for the convening of a special session of the UN General Assembly at its current Session and invite the Secretary General or Mr. Namayar, his Special Representative to brief us on the situation of our brothers and sisters in Myanmar are going through now. A visit to Myanmar perhaps is needed to communicate the strong expectation of the Member States with a view to ending violence and restoration of the rights of the Muslims.

We may also need to request the SG to see if he could use the existing mechanisms to urgently dispatch an independent commission of inquiry on Myanmar to investigate all violations of human rights in Myanmar by establishing the facts that may amount to such violations with a view to holding the perpetrators accountable and ensuring that the perpetrators will not have impunity.
We need to explore all possible means through engagements with the United Nations including the tabling of a resolution specific to Myanmar to the UN General Assembly at the 68th Session. But we all know what happened to the previous resolution that we discussed at the Third Committee. All our concerns were diluted to the political whims of some Western countries that now want to have a better relationship with Myanmar.

Anyway we as OIC Member States need to continue to call upon the Myanmar Government to take all steps to arrest and punish the perpetrators of the violence against the Muslims which would serve to show that the rule of law in this country is strengthening. We need to intensify our diplomatic efforts at this stage and we need to this message to be strongly passed to the highest level with Myanmar government to help alleviate the sufferings of the Muslim population and to eliminate discriminatory practices against them.

OIC Member States should make clear their expectation that all those who have lost their homes during both the events which targeted the Rohingya Muslims last year and Muslims which were the victims of attacks recent months be returned to their original homes. The cycle of violence, creating displacement and impoverishment must not become an expected outcome for those who hope to benefit from their unacceptable acts of violence against innocent Muslims. As we have indicated before, we stand ready to provide support to the affected people.

There is a good presence of media representatives in New York. We can conduct a media campaign to raise international public awareness about the plight of the Rohingya and other Muslims in Myanmar highlighting the deteriorating humanitarian conditions of the refugees.

Also in New York we have good number of NGOs and think tanks that are mainly working on the issue of the interfaith dialogue. Maybe we need to arrange a meeting among representatives of Buddhists and Muslims to discuss how we could better tackle this issue in order to promote inter-faith dialogue.

Thank you.

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