The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yousef A. Al Othaimeen, expressed the OIC’s deep appreciation and gratitude to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, represented by the King Salman Centre for Relief and Humanitarian Action which has been diligently keeping a watch on humanitarian developments pertaining to the mass exodus of the Rohingya Muslim minority and extending its much needed support to them. Al Othaimeen also paid tribute to the Kingdom for the announcement made by its Foreign Minister, Dr. Ibrahim Al Assaf, relevant to its ten million US Dollar donation to meet the needs of the Rohingya refugees.
Also, on the occasion of the event organized by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 24 September, 2019, on the periphery of the UN General Assembly’s 74th Session in New York, the Secretary General stated: “we are gathered today to discuss the heartbreaking tragedy endured by the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar which has forced large numbers of them to flee for their lives from their homes to neighboring countries or to other distant places”.
Al Othaimeen also reviewed the efforts put in by the OIC in this regard, with its several campaigns to raise awareness about this issue and to offer humanitarian aids to the Rohingya people. He noted, as an illustration, that in 2012, diligent efforts were made at both the regional and international levels to assist in providing protection to the Rohingyas. Also many contacts have been made with the authorities in Myanmar which led to the signing of a memorandum of understanding which enabled the establishment of a humanitarian and developmental centre in Yangon as well as the opening of a branch office in Sitwe. The said document was signed in September 2012 giving birth to great hopes which, unfortunately, were shattered latter on as the Myanmar authorities decided to rescind the agreement.
On another level, the OIC Secretary General participated in the side event staged by the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in New York, with the attendance of Prime Minister Sheikha Hassina. In his statement, Al Othameen paid tribute to the efforts made by the Prime Minister and the people of Bangladesh in their generous hospitality to over one million Rohingya refugees, offering them shelter and care, in addition to Bangladesh’s firm commitment to the cause of the Rohingya.
Al Othameen also called on the international community to keep up its support to Bangladesh in this respect, and invited Myanmar to honour its commitments as to its pledged full cooperation with Bangladesh regarding the repatriation of the refugees, and to shoulder its responsibility in providing indiscriminate protection to all citizens as well as full observance of all international human rights agreements.