Rohingya refugees: Rally at WA Parliament hears calls for Australia to act on Myanmar

Rohingya refugees: Rally at WA Parliament hears calls for Australia to act on Myanmar

Rohingya refugees: Rally at WA Parliament hears calls for Australia to act on Myanmar

Updated 16 September 2017, 22:20 AEST

Five years ago, Nural Kobir arrived in Perth from the Rakhine state in Myanmar where his home had been burned by soldiers — now the ethnic Rohingya man fears for two of his nephews left in the country, who have not been seen since the military arrived in their village last week.

Nural Kobir, an ethnic Rohingya man from Rakhine state in Myanmar, says he came to Perth in 2012 as a refugee after the military burned down his village.

Mr Kobir joined politicians, human rights groups and faith leaders of several religions to address hundreds at a demonstration outside Parliament in Perth this weekend.

More than 380,000 ethnic Rohingya have crossed the border into Bangladesh in the last three weeks, following reports of persecution and mass killings at the hand of Myanmar's military.

The military campaign that Myanmar says is aimed at Muslim terrorists has been labelled by the United Nations as "ethnic cleansing".

Mr Kobir fears for the welfare of relatives in Rakhine state, and said two of his nephews had not been seen since the military arrived in their village last week.

"They have taken away two of my nephews, and they have taken away children from so many other people and we don't know [their] whereabouts," he said.

"Why [is] the world still silent to this oppression, why are security forces not sent by [the] United Nations?

"We ask all Australians to join us in being the moral voice and demand an end to these atrocities."

Satellite images show up to 80 sites have been burning in the Rakhine state since August 25, Amnesty International says, and they suspect entire villages have been razed to the ground.

The plight is far from over for those who have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, as the poor country is ill-equipped to care for the number of people flooding in.

The Australian Government has committed to providing up to $5 million to respond to the crisis which is says will help provide life-saving food.

Amnesty International WA president Leonie Alexander said the Government could do more.

"In particular, we want an immediate increase in refugee intake into Australia," she said.

"We welcome the $5 million that Julie Bishop has recently promised, but what we are really asking for is for the Government to exert more pressure on the Myanmar military and Myanmar Government," she said.

Greens call for Myanmar refugee intake

The Greens have echoed the call for the Australian Government to put greater pressure on Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

WA Greens member Alison Xamon spoke on behalf of Greens senator Nick McKim at the demonstration.

"We can't wait one day longer — we are talking about hundreds of thousands of displaced people and this is a crisis that is emerging right now," she said.

"I think we're actually looking at the unfolding of genocide.

"We also need to, I think, up our responsibilities to take in humanitarian refugees as a matter of urgency."

Federal Labor MP Josh Wilson also attended on behalf of Labor foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong.

"Australia has a proud history as a good international citizen and as a country that argues for peace and an end to violence in humanitarian crises wherever they occur," he said.

"I think it's right that we stand up on this occasion and we speak out in strong terms and we call for the end to human rights abuses and violence in Myanmar."

The demonstration in Perth was one of dozens held in cities around the world this weekend.