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No Myanmar reply to OIC plea for a humanitarian office

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said the OIC had not received formal notification from the government of Myanmar

By Jassim Abuzaid | 18 Oct 2012

Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said the OIC had not received formal notification from the government of Myanmar that it will not open an OIC humanitarian office in Myanmar.

He noted that the OIC, once this issue is clarified, would discuss developments at the meeting of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Djibouti in November.

Ihsanoglu said that the organization had earlier received an indirect request from the Ministry of Boarders in Myanmar to postpone the office opening although the government representative signed a cooperation agreement with the OIC delegation in Myanmar in September.

The agreement between the OIC and Myanmar stated that a humanitarian office would temporarily supervise the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those affected, in cooperation with the Myanmar government, said Ihsanoglu. He stressed that this office would not have a particular nature and would be similar to other humanitarian offices established by organizations in countries affected by humanitarian crises.

Ihsanoglu said that the government of Myanmar expressed support for the office during a meeting with an OIC delegation last month, pointing out that the OIC had assured Myanmar that it intends to provide aid to affected people without ethnic or religious discrimination. The secretary-general underlined the fact that the delegation also met with political leaders in the province of Arakan as well as with Buddhist businessmen who welcomed the move at the time.

The OIC will not politicize humanitarian work, even though it continues its endeavors to have the Muslim Rohingya minority regain its legal and constitutional rights in the country, stressed Ihsanoglu.

He said the organization’s efforts to restore the constitutional rights of the Rohingya would go through official diplomatic channels and not through the humanitarian office, adding that it is in no one’s interest to politicize humanitarian action.

He explained that the move to open such an office was aimed at achieving solidarity among peoples of the Muslim world and other peoples, saying that the Turkish and Indonesian Red Crescent institutions offer humanitarian assistance to all, reflecting an OIC model for humanitarian action.

Ihsanoglu reiterated his call for the clashing parties in Syria to stop the fighting in the month of Haj. He expressed support for the joint UN and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who called on the two parties to stop fighting during Eid Al-Adha.

The secretary-general noted that a cease-fire should be the basis for any political settlement, stressing that there should be a political solution to the crisis.

He said it is necessary to convince external parties supporting the factions in Syria to develop a peace plan and to exert pressure on the parties inside Syria to stop fighting completely.

Ihsanoglu expressed regret over targeting of Islamic historical and cultural sites in Syria, noting that events in the country have gone out of control, especially in light of the increasing tension at the Syrian border with Turkey and with some neighboring countries, which threatens regional and international security.


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