New York (September 14, 2017): Twelve Nobel Prize laureates have written an open letter to the United Nations Security Council urging it to intervene in the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.
Hundreds of Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority group, have died since violence erupted just over two weeks ago in the Southeast Asian nation, formerly known as Burma.
Some 370,000 Rohingya civilians have fled across the border to Bangladesh, according to the UN, whose rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, described the actions by Myanmar’s armed forces as “ethnic cleansing.”
“The world is anxiously waiting to see that (the) UNSC is playing its role to bring end to a humanitarian catastrophe and build peace in the region,” reads the letter, which was also signed by 15 other prominent figures.
The signatories include 10 winners of the Nobel Peace Price, including the youngest-ever, education activist Malala Yousafzai, and Desmond Tutu. Two winners of the Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine also signed the letter, as did British entrepreneur Richard Branson and actor Forest Whitaker.
The letter was written ahead of a Security Council meeting on the issue, tentatively scheduled for Thursday.
“A bold change in approach is needed by (the) United Nations and the international community if there is to be an end to the cycle of violence against the Rohingyas. The government of Myanmar needs to be told that international support and finance is conditional on a major change in policy towards the Rohingya.”
“Propaganda and incitement of hatred and all violence, particularly state violence against Rohingyas must stop, discriminatory laws and policies must go,” the letter reads.