IMG_0717Sajjad Karim MEP met last week (22 Mar) with a leading Rohingya campaigner to examine how their cause can be further advanced.
Dr Karim – a long standing campaigner for the Rohingya people – met with Kyaw Win in Brussels, discussing issues that surround their plight. He offered his continued support to their struggle and acknowledged that there is still in a long way to go for the persecuted minority.
Mr Win, Secretary of the Burmese Muslim Association, spoke with the British MEP at the European Parliament and explained his concern for the rights of Muslims in Burma.
He described a double standard in the judicial system where Muslims convicted of crimes are given a stronger sentence than Burmese Buddhists and of strong anti-Muslim networks that operate across the country.
Dr Karim remarked on the meeting, saying:
“The altering political landscape in Myanmar is obviously welcome, but there is still much work to be done for the Rohingya minority. It’s clear from speaking to Mr Win that despite this change for the majority of citizens, there has been very little change for the Muslim population.
“What we must now seek to do is put pressure on Aung San Suu Kyi and her new government, to ensure equal rights for all Burmese nationals – not just the Buddhist majority.”
Mr Win also commented on the visit:
“The good news about the political transition in Burma should not undermine the dire situation of the Rohingya population who continue to endure severe persecution. The crisis needs to be addressed by the international community who have the ability to save hundreds of thousands of lives. Hate speech, religious intolerance and discrimination in the judiciary system are steadily increasing.
“Sadly, we have no Muslim representation in the Parliament and it seems that the NLD (National League for Democracy) Party prefer to sacrifice our rights rather than to defy the extremists. Questions should be raised as to the party’s inaction.
“However, it was encouraging to meet with Mr Karim and know that we have a voice in Europe that is conscious of the plight of Muslims in Burma and willing to offer the help that we so desperately need.”