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Ugandan MPs urge IPU to condemn Myanmar atrocities

By Timothy Sibasi, timothy.sabasi@alleastafrica.com

KAMPALA – A delegation of Ugandan legislators argued the Inter-Parliamentary Union summit convening in St. Petersburg, Russia to condemn in the strongest terms the ongoing human rights atrocities committed against mostly Muslims in Myanmar before similar occurrences happen in other countries, MP. Latif Ssebaggala, has submitted.

Ssebaggala is an independent MP in Uganda’s 10th Parliament representing a strong hold Muslim constituency of Kawempe North in Uganda in his submission to the ongoing 137th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly and Related Meetings, also moved legislators from across the world to condemn Myanmar for trying to block the issue of human rights violations of Muslims from being discussed in St. Petersburg.

The 137th IPU and Related Meetings is being held in St. Petersburg, Russia, 14th – 18th Oct. 2017. The Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament,Rebecca Kadaga is leading a delegation to the Assembly. The delegation includes a mixed cocktail of both MPs from the ruling party the NRM and the Opposition in Parliament.

Speaker of Ugandan Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, receives IPU award at St. Petersburg Russia.

Among the vocal MPs constituting the Ugandan delegation to St. Petersburg IN Russia include MP.FrancisMwijukye from the main opposition party FDC, controversial MP. Raphael Magyezi from the ruling NRM who happens to be the initiator and owner of the private members Bill that seeks to remove the constitutionally mandated 75 years of age for a Ugandan president from the 1995 constitution of Uganda, Independent MP. Juliet Mukoda, and ruling NRM party MP. MourineOsoru among others.

The item on ‘Ending the grave human crisis, persecution and violent attacks on the Rohingyas as a threat to international peace and security and ensuring their unconditional and safe return to their homeland in Myanmar’ was initially not listed for debate, but was only approved as an emergency item on Sunday.

It was sponsored by mainly Muslim countries including Iran, Kuwait, UAE, Morocco, Sudan, Indonesia, Turkey and Bangladesh.

The item was included as MPs made presentations on ‘Promoting cultural pluralism and peace through inter-faith and inter-ethnic dialogue.’

“This item touches on the very pillars of the IPU of human rights and democracy. You do not have to be a Muslim but simply an average human being to condemn what is going on in Myanmar,” said Ssebaggala, who is also the Imam, or Muslim Leader in the Uganda Parliament.

He appealed to fellow legislators to take a position and demand that government there immediately stops the practice and allow for the return of the victims to their territory and homes. He also condemned the government of Myanmar for trying to prevent the media from reporting and exposing the human rights violations.

Ssebaggala recommended that the IPU commends the government of Bangladesh for providing shelter to the fleeing Muslims.

“In our countries, we were moved to tears on seeing what was happening in Myanmar. I call for the support of this body (IPU) to ensure that these people can return home safely. What is happening in Myanmar can happen in any other country if we do not condemn and stop it,” said Ssebaggala.

Legislators from other countries including Turkey and Sudan described the atrocities as ethnic cleansing and said that they had sent some medical and humanitarian assistance to the suffering Muslims.

A crack down by the army and government on Muslims in Myanmar has forced thousands of people to flee and cross the border into Bangladesh. Several governments and human rights groups have condemned the atrocities and described the atrocities as genocide and ethnic cleansing.

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