Plight of Rohingya Muslims puts humanitarian responsibilities to the test: Jawaher Al Qasimi

SHARJAH — As more than 120,000 Rohingya Muslims flee their homes to escape ongoing injustice, oppression and genocide, our humanitarian responsibilities are being put to the test, H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of The Big Heart Foundation, TBHF, UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children, and wife of H.H. the Ruler of Sharjah, has said.

“Innumerable speeches have been given on the subject of humanitarianism and the need to care for refugees. These powerful addresses have underlined how the global population is one big family whose members share a common destiny, with humanity being unable to advance its culture and civilisation unless it truly believes in these values.

“However, few of these speeches are turned into practical actions that face down persecution, challenge oppression and alleviate the suffering of displaced peoples around the world. Today, the plight of Rohingya Muslims is putting our humanitarian responsibilities to the test, despite these values having been shared by most of the world’s countries and becoming enshrined as international conventions,” said Sheikh Jawaher.

According to the UNHCR Eminent Advocate, the persecution, deportation and displacement of Rohingya Muslims stems from the worst facets of human behaviour which are being stoked by hostility, intolerance and bigotry.

“For this minority community, the situation has resulted in abuse, torture and murder taking place on an unprecedented scale,” she said, adding that individuals fleeing the violence face grave hardships and dangers, having to leave their murdered relatives at the borders of the countries in which they are desperate to find sanctuary.

“The screaming of the children, the wailing of the injured and the weeping of those who are running for their lives should be a clarion call for us all to act now,” Sheikha Jawaher continued. “Our fundamental human values should compel us to do what we can to help refugee families and to provide them with as much financial and emotional support as possible.”

She called on the international community to ensure that “these most vulnerable of people” are able to live a decent and dignified life until the conflict is settled and until the notion that a majority should never be allowed to persecute a minority is reasserted.

“What is happening in Myanmar should not just concern human rights organisations and humanitarian organisations, but go beyond them to the level of priority on the agenda of world leaders,” she emphasised. “If not addressed, there is a very real danger that this issue will have profound negative implications for the protection of minorities elsewhere and will result in extremists exploiting it to promote fanaticism, hatred, violence and terrorism around the world.”

Sheikha Jawaher suggested possible solutions to the crisis, explaining that the international community and world leaders must first help and support Rohingya Muslim refugees, followed by putting pressure on the government of Myanmar to ensure the protection of Muslim minorities, and end the conflict through the enactment of laws that ensure the concept of coexistence and respect for others, irrespective of their differences.

“What the Rohingya Muslims are going through is an embodiment of the ugliest form of intolerance in the world. It is a true test for the role of organisations and individuals working in the field of human rights and international refugee protection.

“To prevent it escalating into a global issue, we must pull together as one family to fight the intolerance, hatred and abuse that is taking place. We must be faithful to our humanity and strive to promulgate the message of love, peace and respect through our actions,” she urged.

In her concluding remarks, Sheikh Jawaher called on all leaders around the world to fulfil their humanitarian duties and responsibilities towards the Rohingya Muslims. “I ask that they advocate their cause as a minority group that suffers persecution and displacement and which is deserving of our fullest assistance to ensure that they are able to live their lives in safety, security and peace.”

Source: Emirates News Agency

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