‘To­tal geno­cide’

BUSI­NESS­MAN CALLS ON COM­MU­NITY TO TAKE PART IN MYAN­MAR PROTEST

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - CA­T­RINA DEMONY ca­t­rina.demony@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @Ca­tri­naDe­mony

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

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