OIC Welcomes Pope Visit to Myanmar

Pope Francis meets Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyitaw, Myanmar November 28, 2017. REUTERS/Max Rossi
Pope Francis meets Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyitaw, Myanmar November 28, 2017. REUTERS/Max Rossi
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OIC Welcomes Pope Visit to Myanmar

Pope Francis meets Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyitaw, Myanmar November 28, 2017. REUTERS/Max Rossi
Pope Francis meets Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyitaw, Myanmar November 28, 2017. REUTERS/Max Rossi

The Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Thursday welcomed the visit of Pope Francis to Myanmar and his reaffirmation of support to peace and national reconciliation which can only advance through a commitment to justice and respect for human rights.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, such visits to Myanmar are important to highlight the plight of those people, particularly the Rohingya, that have faced injustice and persecution. The OIC appreciated the call by the Pope for the Myanmar authorities to have "respect for each ethnic group" and his appeal to the country that "religious differences need not be a source of division and distrust, but rather a force for unity, forgiveness, tolerance and wise nation-building."

More so, the OIC reiterates its appreciation to the Government of Bangladesh for its efforts to provide for the large influx of Rohingya refugees in the country and reiterates the call upon member states to support Bangladesh in these humanitarian endeavors.

The Muslim body has also taken note of the agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar to repatriate Rohingya to their homeland and maintains that any such agreement must clearly identify the terms and conditions, including the numbers that will be returned and provide guarantees of safety.

The body repeated its call to the Myanmar government that Rohingya refugees must be allowed to return in safety and dignity to their original places of residence and that the authorities must take concrete steps to address the root causes of tensions in Rakhine State, including the anti-Rohingya and anti-Muslim rhetoric which is promoted by extremist right wing groups in print, public and social media arenas.



High Risk of Famine Persists Across Gaza, Global Hunger Monitor Says 

Men and children search through debris in the yard of the Asma school run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in the Shati camp for Palestinian refugees west of Gaza City, in the aftermath of overnight Israeli bombardment on June 25, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
Men and children search through debris in the yard of the Asma school run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in the Shati camp for Palestinian refugees west of Gaza City, in the aftermath of overnight Israeli bombardment on June 25, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
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High Risk of Famine Persists Across Gaza, Global Hunger Monitor Says 

Men and children search through debris in the yard of the Asma school run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in the Shati camp for Palestinian refugees west of Gaza City, in the aftermath of overnight Israeli bombardment on June 25, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
Men and children search through debris in the yard of the Asma school run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in the Shati camp for Palestinian refugees west of Gaza City, in the aftermath of overnight Israeli bombardment on June 25, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)

A high risk of famine persists across the whole of the Gaza Strip as long as conflict between Israel and Hamas continues and humanitarian access remains restricted, a global hunger monitor said on Tuesday.

Over 495,000 people, or more than one fifth of Gaza's population, are facing the most severe, catastrophic level of food insecurity, said an update from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC).

The IPC said increased deliveries of food and nutrition services to northern Gaza in March and April appeared to have reduced the severity of hunger in the area, where the UN-backed body had previously projected that famine was likely.

But Israel's offensive around the southern city of Rafah from early May and other hostilities and displacement have led to a renewed deterioration in recent weeks, it added.

"The humanitarian space in the Gaza Strip continues to shrink and the ability to safely deliver assistance to populations is dwindling. The recent trajectory is negative and highly unstable," the report said.

The Rafah offensive led to the closure of the crossing on Gaza's border with Egypt, which had been a main route for the delivery of food and other supplies, as well as an evacuation point for civilians who were critically ill or injured.

This factor, along with disruptions at the nearby Israeli crossing of Kerem Shalom, reduced humanitarian access to two million people in southern Gaza, the IPC said.

Within Gaza, displacement to areas with less water and fewer health services "increases the risk of disease outbreaks, which would have catastrophic effects on the nutritional and health status of large segments of the population", it said.

Israel's military campaign in Gaza was launched after Hamas-led fighters raided southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

The Israeli response has killed almost 37,600 people, according to Palestinian health authorities, leaving Gaza in ruins and repeatedly displacing much of its population within the blockaded coastal territory.