Violence against Myanmar Muslims in focus at OIC meeting
JEDDAH (Saudi Arabia) - The head of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation said on Saturday that ministers from OIC states will meet on April 14 in Saudi Arabia to discuss deadly violence against Muslims in Myanmar.
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said in a statement that a contact committee of OIC foreign ministers would gather in the Red Sea port of Jeddah.
State media in Myanmar reported on Saturday that the death toll from communal violence in the centre of the country over the past 10 days has risen to 43 with more than 1,300 homes and other buildings destroyed.
An OIC statement said Ihsanoglu addressed a contact group meeting on violence against Myanmar Muslims known as Rohingya on Saturday and said the organisation was "ready to take all necessary measures and actions to deal with it".
Ihsanoglu also pressed the government of Myanmar to "put an end to the Buddhist extremists and hate campaigns, as well as ethnic cleansing that they had launched against Muslims in the country".
On Friday, Myanmar strongly rejected comments by the UN's special rapporteur on Myanmar human rights, Tomas Ojea Quintana, the previous day that he had "received reports of state involvement in some of the acts of violence".
Buddhist mobs have marauded through several towns in central Myanmar since religious violence erupted on March 20, prompting the government to impose emergency rule and curfews in some areas.
It is the worst sectarian strife since violence between Buddhists and Muslims in the western state of Rakhine last year left at least 180 people dead and more than 110,000 displaced.
Myanmar's Muslims -- largely of Indian, Chinese and Bangladeshi descent -- account for an estimated four percent of the population of roughly 60 million.