JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, July 31 The Organisation
of Islamic Cooperation, a group of 57 member states, urged the
Muslim community around the world to give political,
humanitarian and financial aid to the victims of violence in
"This is a large humanitarian crisis but unfortunately the
international and Muslim communities are mostly unaware of the
dimensions," Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu told a news
conference on Tuesday.
"In this holy month I call upon all the Muslims...to extend
aid for this issue."
Longstanding tensions between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and
Muslim Rohingyas boiled over in Myanmar's Rakhine state early
last month, resulting in a series of arson and machete attacks
in which the authorities say 77 people were killed and more than
The violence has affected both Rohingyas and ethnic
Rakhines, but rights groups have accused police and troops of
disproportionate use of force and arrests of Rohingyas in the
wake of the riots.
The riots followed two incidents in the same state: the gang
rape and murder of a Rakhine woman - for which three Rohingya
youths were sentenced to death - and the vigilante killing of 10
Muslims travelling on a bus less than a week later.
Nearly 5,000 homes have been torched and tens of thousands
of people displaced. Myanmar's government regards the estimated
800,000 Rohingyas as illegal immigrants, though Rohingya
activists say their lineage in the region dates back centuries.
"There is displacement where tens of thousands of people
lost their homes. There is a great need to house them, feed
them, help them medically...There is a need for political and
humanitarian aid. There is also a need for financial aid,"
The "political aid" would consist of diplomatic
representations to the Myanmar government on behalf of the
Rohingyas, he said.
"We asked member states, who have embassies in Myanmar, to
call the government and ask them to improve their treatment of
The OIC will hold a consultative meeting in Kuala Lumpur
on Aug. 3 to determine possible ways to deliver aid to
affected people in Myanmar and refugees from the violence who
fled to neighbouring countries, Ihsanoglu said.
The OIC plans to discuss the issue further during its
extraordinary summit in Mecca on Aug. 14-15
(Reporting by Asma Alsharif; editing by Tim Pearce)