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ANC condemns attacks against Rohingya minority in Myanmar

16 October 2017

The African National Congress condemns in the strongest terms the actions of the Myanmar military that have resulted in the displacement of some 509 000 Rohingya Muslims from the Northern Rakhine State to Bangladesh. This has led to a significant humanitarian and refugee crisis that includes an estimated 100 000 children. The ANC adds its voice to growing international condemnation of the violence directed against the Rohingya.

The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic minority in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar and despite having lived in the country formerly known as Burma for centuries - they are not considered one of the country's official ethnic groups. This has effectively rendered them stateless.

The ANC condemns not only the violence being perpetrated against Rohingya men, women and children by the military - but also the decades long apartheid discrimination they have faced, dating back to British colonial rule.

The United Nations has described the Rohingya as 'the world's most persecuted minority'. They live in one of the poorest states in the country and are forced into a ghetto-like existence where they are routinely denied access to opportunities and services. Their freedom of movement is curtailed and they live in constant fear of attack.

The ANC calls on the Myanmar government to immediately put a halt to the refugee crisis by allowing the Rohingya people who have fled, to return to their places of birth.

The international community should put pressure on the Myanmar government to stop the indiscriminate attacks on the Rohingyan people, and continue to support the ongoing effort to alleviate the plight of the displaced.We further call on the Myanmar government to take the necessary steps to grant them nationality.

The ANC recalls the historical ties of solidarity and support that the ANC and all freedom loving people have extended to Aung San Suu Kyi over the many years of her exile and house arrest. We implore her to support the Rohingya's right to return to their country of origin and to ensure their safety and right to live and work with dignity.

The ANC urges all South African government departments, led by the South African Department of International Relations and Co-operation, and South African humanitarian organisations to contribute generously towards humanitarian relief efforts.

Issued by
Edna Molewa
Chairperson: ANC NEC SubCommittee on International Relations

Enquiries:

Zizi Kodwa 082 330 4910
National Spokesperson

Khusela Sangoni 072 854 5707
National Communications Manager