“Why has this systematic persecution been allowed to play out for so long?” the royal asked as she met with Rohingya women and children.
As a passionate humanitarian, Queen Rania Al-Abdullah has heard many tales of suffering from around the world.
However her latest trip exposed her to “harrowing and heartbreaking” stories that left the Jordanian royal calling for urgent and immediate action.
Queen Rania visited Bangladesh this week, to meet with Rohingya Muslims who have fled persecution in their native Myanmar.
The royal spent time talking with refugees, many women and children, as she toured the Kutupalong camp and its surroundings in the Cox’s Bazar region.
More than 600,000 Muslims have crossed into Bangladesh since August, in what Queen Rania described as “possibly the fastest growing humanitarian emergency the world has seen”.
“With no respect or regard for the principles of humanitarian and international law, the discrimination against and the persecution of the Rohingya minority has continued unabated, in full view of the world,” the mum of four said in a statement during her visit.
“Just walking around the camp today, the residents have spoken to me of unimaginable acts of violence that they have witnessed.
“Before coming here, I had braced myself to witness some desperate conditions, but the stories I heard today were heartbreaking and harrowing.”
Revealing that she’d spoken to families who had witnessed their parents being killed before their eyes, the royal stated that around 60 per cent of the refugees in the Bangladeshi camps were children.
“Over 95 per cent do not have access to safe water, over three quarters are not getting enough food, and, of course, health services are stretched to the limit,” Queen Rania added.
Why is the plight of this Muslim minority group being ignored? Why has this systematic persecution been allowed to play out for so long? pic.twitter.com/VnquXIoDim
— Rania Al Abdullah (@QueenRania) October 23, 2017
“One has to ask, why is the plight of this Muslim minority group being ignored? Why has this systematic persecution been allowed to play out for so long?”
While thanking the people of Bangladesh for “the enormous compassion, kindness, and generosity that they have shown”, the royal called on the donor community “to respond effectively, quickly, and generously to this crisis”.
“It is unforgivable that this crisis is unfolding on the world stage to a largely indifferent audience. The world seems to be silent to what many are acknowledging now as an ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims,” Queen Rania said.
“I urge the UN and the international community to do all that they can to stop the suffering and the violence that is being committed against the Rohingya Muslims, not because it is our job to do so, but because that is what justice demands.”
The Jordanian royal is not the first from the region to come to the aid of the Rohingya people, with HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and HRH Princess Haya bint Al Hussein this week calling for world powers to step in.
In September, the UAE royals sent a plane full of emergency supplies to Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh. The following week, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai dedicated his own private plane to humanitarian aid in the area.
“HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum generously created an open air bridge which continues to deliver humanitarian items to those who need it most,” Princess Haya wrote on Instagram.
“But this is not enough! The UN and global powers must stop this ethnic cleansing now or thousands more will surely die in the weeks ahead. Each day they wait, more lives are lost.”
It’s a passionate cry, and one we hope will be heard.
Images: Queen Rania/Instagram, Queen Rania/Facebook