August 4, 2017 / 2:53 PM / 3 years ago

OIC, UN working together to solve Rohingya refugee crisis: OIC chief

Rohingya villagers watch as international media visit Maung Hna Ma village, Buthidaung township, northern Rakhine state, Myanmar July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Simon Lewis

DHAKA (Reuters) - The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the United Nations are working with Bangladesh’s government to solve the Rohingya refugee crisis, the head of OIC said on Friday.

During a visit to the Kutupalong makeshift camp in Cox’s Bazar, Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen asked the refugees to respect the laws of Bangladesh and thanked the government “for allowing these citizens of Myanmar to take shelter.”

About 75,000 people have fled to Bangladesh after a military crackdown, with accompanying allegations of rape, torture and extrajudicial killings by security forces, followed by an attack on a Myanmar border guard post on Oct. 9.

Many in Myanmar see the Rohingya as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, although about 1.1 million of them live in Rakhine state and say their roots go back generations.

The OIC, which represents 57 states and acts as the collective voice of the Muslim world, urged the southeast Asian nations to join hands with Muslim-majority neighbors in tackling the refugee crisis.

“We want to see a permanent solution to Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar,” said Othaimeen, in Bangladesh on a four-day visit. He has met Bangladesh’s prime minister and foreign minister.

Several Rohingya who were victims of military persecution in Myanmar described how they were tortured and abused, and said they wanted to go back and exercise their rights as citizens.

Reporting By Serajul Quadir and Mohammad Nurul Islam in Cox’s Bazar; editing by Clelia Oziel

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