The Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Saturday announced it has received a green light from Myanmar to assist Muslim Rohingya displaced by sectarian violence.
It said Myanmar gave its agreement to the OIC following talks in Rangoon on Friday between a delegation from the pan-Islamic body and President Thein Sein on the “deplorable humanitarian situation in Rakhine state.”
The delegation assured Thein Sein that Islamic humanitarian organizations were willing to provide aid to all residents of the strife-torn state.
Violence between Buddhists and Rohingya has left scores dead, with official figures showing that 80 people died from both sides in initial fighting in June.
The entire state has been under emergency rule since early June with a heavy army and police presence.
New York-based Human Rights Watch has accused Myanmar forces of opening fire on Rohingya, as well as committing rape and standing by as rival mobs attacked each other.
Decades of discrimination have left the Rohingya stateless, and they are viewed by the United Nations as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities.
The bloodshed has cast a shadow over widely praised reforms by the president, including the release of hundreds of political prisoners and the election of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to parliament.
Myanmar’s government has rejected accusations of abuse by security forces in Rakhine, after the United Nations raised fears of a crackdown on Muslims.
In a rare conciliatory move over the issue, Thein Sein welcomed the OIC delegation’s visit.
“The president said he hoped the OIC secretary could witness the reality (in Rakhine),” state mouthpiece New Light of Myanmar reported Friday, adding tens of thousands of displaced people from both sides were being given food and shelter.
OIC head Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu had proposed sending a mission to probe “massacres... oppression and ethnic cleansing” of Rohingya in Rakhine.