BUSINESSMAN CALLS ON COMMUNITY TO TAKE PART IN MYANMAR PROTEST
A WEST London-based businessman and activist organised a “peaceful” demonstration to raise awareness of how Rohingya people have been treated by Myanmar’s government.
The Rohingya, often described as one of the world’s most persecuted people, are a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority of about 1.1 million living mostly in the Rakhine state, located in Myanmar, a country in southeast Asia.
Tensions between the Rohingya and Rakhine Buddhists have been high for decades – but violence broke out again on August 25 after security forces launched a “clearance operation” in response to an attack by a Rohingya armed group.
As a result, 400 people have been killed and around 150,000 Rohingya refugees have fled into neighbouring Bangladesh.
Raja Sikander Khan, who has lived in west London for more than 15 years, described the situation in Myanmar as a “total genocide”.
He told the Gazette: “They [Rakhine Buddhists] are killing and torturing innocent women and children – they are trying to wipe them out.
“And where is the United Nations (UN)? Where are the other humanitarian champions?”
On September 5, the Guardian reported the UN had stopped the delivery of supplies, such as food, water and medicine, to the Rakhine state amid security concerns.
Mr Khan, who is originally from Pakistan, was “shocked” by the news - so he decided to take matters into his own hands.
Together with other activists, Mr Khan organised a demonstration, which took place on Sunday (Sep- tember 10) at 1pm outside the embassy of Myanmar.
“We want to show the international community that we are united on this issue - and that we totally condemn what is happening there [Myanmar],” he said. More than 2,000 people were expected to attend the event, Mr Khan added. The demonstrators also demanded the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee to “take back” the 1991 peace prize awarded to Myamar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been accused of not criticising the violence against the Rohingya. Mr Khan encouraged other west Londoners to join the demonstra- tion, saying that the “atrocities” experienced by this minority group “could happen to anyone else in the world”.
But the Royingya plight is just one of the many humanitarian issues Mr Khan is passionate about.
He is the chairman of the Global Pakistan and Kashmir Supreme Council and has worked with the Europe and Asia Human Rights Commission.
“Whenever there are atrocities I am always there to raise my voice - and I will be the first one to get up and organise events like this,” Mr Khan concluded.
They are killing innocent women and children – they are trying to wipe them out Raja Sikander Khan
Raja Sikander Khan, who also actively campaigns for issues in Kashmir