OIC DELEGATION CONCLUDES ITS VISIT OF OBSERVATION IN MYANMAR
By Azhar Masood,
The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu dispatched a high level delegation led by Ambassador Ufuk Gokcen, OIC Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York, to Myanmar following the eruption of violence against the Muslim Rohinga community and taking into consideration their long-standing plight. In doing so, the Secretary General was guided by the directives of the 4th Extraordinary Islamic Summit held in Makkah Al Mukarrama on 14-15 August, 2012.
The mandate of the mission that took place from 5-15 Sept 2012 was to:
a) To make preliminary observations as to the root causes of the problem and the effect of the violence that took place in the Rakhine State.
b) Explore the conditions and various aspects of a prospective visit by the OIC Secretary General.
c) To make the necessary contacts regarding the ways and means for the OIC to carry out humanitarian assistance and relief operations in the Rakhine State.
The delegation had extensive contacts with the Union and Rakhine State authorities regarding the ways and means for the OIC and Myanmar Government to create a long-term engagement and cooperation in order to encourage taking constructive steps towards rehabilitation and inter-communal reconciliation.
The OIC delegation was received in the capital city Nay Pyi Taw by the Union Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Borders Affairs and Interior and Social Affairs and in Sitwee met with the Union Minister of Borders Affairs once more in the presence of the Chief Minister of Rakhine State. The delegation had extensive discussions with regard to the concerns of OIC member states with a view to facilitate bringing sustainable and permanent solutions to the current issues in the context of democratization, reform and development process already underway in the country. Ensuring rule of law, inter- communal cohabitation and enjoyment of basic welfare and fundamental human rights by all groups and respect for cultural, ethnic and religious identities and values in the Rakhine State were highlighted by the OIC delegation as the basic expectations of OIC member states.
The OIC delegation signed on 11th September 2012 in Nay Pyi Taw, a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with the Ministry of Borders Affairs to implement a humanitarian program for the benefit of all communities living in the State of Rakhine. Within the framework of the MoC, the OIC will establish a coordination and monitoring presence in Yangon and Sitwee under the assistance of the Union and local authorities to conduct humanitarian activities.
The OIC delegation also briefed the Ambassadors of the OIC Member States and met with Mr. Vijay Nambiar, the Special Advisor of the UNSG for Myanmar as well as representatives of some international governmental and non-governmental agencies.
The proceedings outlined above will allow for productive cooperation between the Government of the Union of Myanmar and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for which we thank the Myanmar authorities. Yet the problem ought not to be dealt with solely from a humanitarian aspect.
Members of the OIC delegation left Yangon on 15th September 2012.