The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has scheduled an emergency meeting with foreign ministers following the disclosure Sunday of a video posted online of Myanmar police officers beating Rohingya Muslim villagers.
Myanmar news outlets broadcast the video and it went viral on social media. It depicted several police officers beating and kicking two villagers who were among dozens of Rohingya Muslims being questioned during a military sweep of the region.
The video is rare documentation of abuses by the Myanmar government against Rohingya Muslims in a region virtually closed to non-governmental organizations and aid workers.
Maha Akeel, spokeswoman for the Jeddah-based OIC, told Arab News that the OIC has been “following up closely the situation in Myanmar with the Rohingya villagers for a few months now, and all the attacks, abuses, beatings and burning of their villages.”
“The OIC will hold an emergency meeting at the level of foreign ministers on Jan. 19 in Malaysia to discuss the dangerous violations committed against the Rohingya Muslims,” Akeel said, “and to make a decision to (bring) an end to this humanitarian crisis and take practical steps in terms of humanitarian aid to find a political resolution to grant this persecuted group their full rights.”
The beatings occurred during a crackdown by Myanmar army on Nov. 5 that sent Rohingya Muslims, number about 34,000, fleeing into Bangladesh, according to the United Nations. The operations have led to allegations of abuses, summary executions and rape of villagers. The government of Aung San Suu Kyi has denied the allegations.
However, Suu Kyi’s office confirmed the authenticity of the footage and noted that it recorded by a police officer during a clearance operation in northern Rakhine State.
“Action will be taken against police who allegedly beat villagers,” Suu Kyi’s office said in a statement.
Four policemen have been identified by name, including the leader of the operation. “Further investigations are being carried out to expose other police officers who beat villagers,” the statement said.
The violence in Rakhine State has renewed international criticism that Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi has done too little to help members of the Muslim minority, who are denied citizenship in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar.