“Let’s start by calling a spade, a spade. What happened in Rakhine state is genocide.” Dr M

On Tuesday, Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Bin Mohamad made a call to the international community to resolve the Rohingya crisis immediately.

On the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Dr Mahathir said, “Let’s start by calling a spade, a spade. What happened in Rakhine state is genocide. What took place were mass killings, systematic rape and other gross violations of human rights.”

After the 2017’s brutal genocidal act of Tatmadaw, more than 740,000 Rohingyas left their hometown to save their lives to Bangladesh.

But the longer the refugees stayed in the camps, the more desperate their situation would become, Dr Mahathir added. “As it is, the refugees have become vulnerable to other forms of exploitation. They become likely targets for cross border crimes such as human trafficking and sex slavery, among others. In other words, they can only see a bleak future ahead,” he said at the UN headquarters in New York.

Dr Mahathir urged Myanmar to keep the repatriation as it’s the main priority. He also said, “The Myanmar authorities have denied access to some UN officials and humanitarian aid workers. If Myanmar has nothing to hide, why bar others from (assessing) the situation in Rakhine? Let these officials and aid workers visit, inspect and assist those living in the camps.”

Mahathir assured that Malaysia will continue to insist that repatriation be done in a safe, voluntary and dignified manner. According to him, this could only be done by granting full citizenship to the Rohingyas.

Finally, he praised Bangladesh PM for hosting more than 1.2 million Rohingya refugees.