ASTANA - The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Sunday condemned Myanmar for “systematic brutal acts” against its Muslim Rohingya minority and asked it to accept international monitors.

The 57-member OIC, meeting in Kazakhstan capital Astana, expressed “serious concern about recent systematic brutal acts committed by the armed forces against the Rohingya in Myanmar.”

It urged Myanmar to accept UN monitors to carry out “a thorough and independent investigation of all established violations of international human rights… and bring those responsible to justice”.

The current OIC chief is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been one of the loudest critics of Myanmar’s policies against the Rohingya.

Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain, Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and Afghan leader Ashraf Ghani were among the other heads of state who attended the summit hosted by Kazakhstan and the Central Asian country’s veteran autocrat Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The plight of the Rohingya has triggered broad international condemnation of Myanmar and the country’s Nobel peace prize laureate leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The OIC Sunday censured the Government of Myanmar over ongoing persecution of Rohingya Muslims and demanded the country to accept the United Nations Human Rights Council’s fact-finding mission to probe into all alleged violations of global human rights laws and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The OIC members took this stance in a meeting of heads of state and government of member states held exclusively to discuss the current situation of Muslim Rohingya community, on the sidelines of the first OIC Summit on science and technology, on the initiative of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The meeting expressed grave concern over systematic brutal acts perpetrated by security forces forcing 270,000 Muslims to displace to Bangladesh besides burning their houses and worship places.

The OIC members urged Myanmar government to take measures to immediately halt the dispersion and discriminatory practices against Rohingya Muslims and attempts to obliterate their Islamic culture.

They asked the government to eliminate root cause including the denial of citizenship based on the 1982 Citizenship Act which led to statelessness and deprival of rights to Rohingya.

The leaders of the Islamic world urged Myanmar government to take urgent measures for sustainable return of Rohingya refugees and internally and externally displaced population.

Calling for revival of peace through dialogue, the meeting called for early implementation of the commission headed by Kofi Annan on the issue.

It also called the members to join the efforts of international community towards lifting all restrictions on freedom of the movement in Rakhine state.

The OIC leaders expressed serious concerns over the huge influx towards Bangladesh and its humanitarian and security consequences for the host country and lauded Bangladesh’s assistance and humanitarian aid to the refugees.

The meeting appreciated Turkish president for taking initiative of convening the timely gathering as well as Kazakh President for hosting the event.

Meanwhile, OIC leaders called for joint action plan to put the Muslim world back on track of progress particularly in science and technology and counter the growing challenge of Islamophobia, damaging the Islamic world.

At the first OIC summit on science and technology being held in Kazakh capital, the Muslim leaders including President Mamnoon Hussain, Turkish President Erdogan and Iranian President Rouhani were unanimous to believe that it was high time the Muslim states must include education, science and technology in their top priorities to protect the youth from being preyed by extremism and terrorism.

In his address, President Mamnoon Hussain, who is also chairman of COMSTECH, an OIC standing committee on science and technology, urged the Muslim world to gain self-sufficiency in all fields which could put it back on track of progress and prosperity.

The president said unfortunately, the Muslim world had been lagging behind in the field of education and research which could be judged by the facts and figures of the inventions and patents.

Therefore, it was inevitable for the Muslim states to include science and technology in their priorities as without achieving excellence in these sectors, the common man’s life could not be uplifted.

Mamnoon observed the Muslim world was faced with new challenges in this modern era which required research in social science and physics. Keeping the very fact in view, COMSTECH, a standing committee of the OIC had been established that had worked out 10-year programmes participated by researchers and scientists from across the Islamic world.

Under this project, special focus would be given to the space sciences, marine biology, energy production, agricultural technology, food security, climate change and uniformity of industrial standards, he said.

He said Pakistan had been bearing the 90 percent expenses of the said projects.

The president proposed a comprehensive framework to ensure the speedy disbursement of funds for timely completion of projects and stressed the effective role of Islamic Development Bank and Islamic states.

In his opening remarks, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said terrorism and Islamophobia were damaging the Muslim world the most.

He categorically rejected the notion that religion was impediment to development and said the three pillars of the modern science including algebra, numbers and algorithm were the inventions of the Muslim scientists those provided the basis to whole of modern sciences.

He proposed setting up a specific OIC Council to pursue the goals of scientific research and education and special fund to support the initiatives.

He also called for an effective Islamic financing and special focus on green technology, cooperation in agriculture.

The Kazakh president also suggested holding a dialogue between the west and the Muslim world to address the challenge of Islamophobia and clear the misunderstandings.

President Erdogan thanked Pakistan’s government for effectively carrying out science and technology projects under COMSTECH and extending support to holding the first summit on science and technology.

He said Islamic civilisation was all about knowledge and research but they lost the grandeur after they gave up learning. He said unfortunately, the spending on education in Muslim world was less than 1 percent of their GDP contrary to the developed world where it stood at around 5.2 percent.

He said unluckily, our youth had to go to western states

to pursue their educational goals. However, he said Turkey gave special focus on science and technology as it had so far granted scholarships to around 9,500 students from OIC countries.

He called for a framework to curb the cyber crime as besides providing a wide forum for education and research, the internet and social media were also contributing to Islamophobia which needed to be addressed.

Turkish president also censured the Myanmar government over the unabated persecution of Rohingya Muslims and reiterated that his country would extend all possible assistance to mitigate their sufferings.

He said his government was trying to assist Rohingya Muslims with the cooperation of Bangladesh government and urged the Muslim world to press Myanmar to end these atrocities against Muslims.

President Rouhani said Islam rules out any extremism and terrorism and always advocated for education, research and development.

He said today, Islamic world was faced with many challenges including Zionist crime against Palestinian people, killing of Muslims in Myanmr, human tragedies in Syria, Iraq and Yemen had made the Muslim unity more inevitable.

He said Iranian universities attracted scientists and researchers from across the globe and the country made numerous achievements in the fields of science and technology during the last decade.

OIC Secretary General Dr Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimen thanked President Mamnoon for helping to hold the first intra-OIC summit on science and technology saying that OIC always gave special focus on the modern education.

 

The OIC states resolved to enhance their collective capabilities in the field of science and technology, besides launching joint research projects, particularly in the modern sciences.

The OIC summit also adopted ‘Astana Declaration’ containing various commitments by the member states to alleviate poverty from their countries, enhance education budget and strive to achieve the goals set forth in OIC 2025 Plan of Action and the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

The OIC members emphasized their commitment to make science and technology their cherished goal in this century.

The OIC also appreciated the stewardship of President Mamnoon in furthering the goals of COMSTECH to the benefit of the member states by strengthening scientific and technological cooperation among the member states.

They reaffirmed their commitment to the principles and objectives enshrined in the OIC Charter and agreed to individually and collectively pursue cooperation among our countries for sustainable development of our peoples, and to confront the societal challenges of the 21st century.

The leaders of the Islamic world resolved to eradicate extreme poverty from their society including poverty of the mind, and to bring forth the creative and innovative strengths of all our peoples, being mindful of the disruptive nature of modern science and its emerging relationship with society in the 21st Century.

They stressed the need to create a complete and well integrated enabling ecosystem that inter-alia include incentives for all stakeholders and urged the OIC member states to work for the development, review and implementation of STI policies, programmes and action plans at sub-regional and national levels.

The OIC states agree to take necessary measures for the practical implementation of the recommendations of OIC S&T Agenda 2026.

“We encourage member states to make universities and other institutions of higher learning, particularly scientific research institutions, as centers of excellence so that they can play an effective role in developing within the society a culture of inquiry, intellectual pursuit and merit,” the declaration said.

The OIC members pledged to increase the allocation of funding on development of education, science, health and water to achieve the goals set forth in OIC 2025: Plan of Action and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 2030).

The OIC Summit called for reviewing the security of digital content by examining and harmonising existing laws, policies and response related to cyber-security in the member states, keeping in mind its profound implications for all affairs of state and the emergence of meta-data.

They appreciated the launch of Science, Technology and Innovation Fund by the IDB and requested the Chairman of COMSTECH in cooperation with the OIC Secretary General to put in place institutional mechanisms for effective overseeing of the implementation of OIC S&T Agenda 2026.

 

 

OIC raps Myanmar’s ‘brutal acts’ against Rohingya

 

Agencies