“The grievances and unresolved plight of the Rohingya have festered for far too long and are becoming an undeniable factor in regional destabilization … The authorities in Myanmar must take determined action to put an end to this vicious cycle of violence and to provide security and assistance to all those in need.” António Guterres Secretary General of the United Nations
An important principle of a dignified life which promises to make life comfortable and respectable for every human being on this planet is: “Live and let live”. But, in today’s world of chaos and tumult, this principle has died its own death, replaced now by the dogma ‘let me live only at your expense’. Rohingya, a stateless Muslim minority that has suffered decades of persecution in western Myanmar, can be quoted as the most suitable example for this state of affairs. Viewed by the UN and the US as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities, thousands of Rohingya flee their homes every year in a desperate attempt to reach Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries. They have been the target of violence perpetrated by both the state as well as Buddhist nationalist groups. Human rights organizations describe their systematic targeting as ‘ethnic cleansing’.
Although an unparalleled refugee crisis has been brewing since 2012, when Buddhist nationalists burned Rohingya homes and killed more than 280 people and displaced tens of thousands in retaliation for the alleged rape and killing of a Buddhist woman, events of October last year, when police stations were attacked by allegedly the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), added an impetus to this problem. The latest mass exodus comes after attacks on police posts and an army base in the western region of Rakhine – Myanmar’s least developed state, with more than 78 percent of households living below the poverty threshold. An army crackdown triggered by an attack on August 25, allegedly by ARSA, on Myanmar security forces and the response of a ‘clearance operation’ launched by security forces supported by Buddhist militia has led to the killing of at least 400 people, reports of arson and violence in Rakhine villages and the exodus of nearly 125,000 Rohingya to neighbouring Bangladesh, leading to an upsurge in this long running humanitarian crisis.
The picture that we see in Myanmar today is that of a regime of ethnic cleansing. This latest round of pogrom is the result of the international community’s abject lack of action as it has not only failed in stopping the persecution of the Rohingya but a renewed vigour in the atrocities of the state agencies of Myanmar in order to ensure that the State of Rakhine is emptied of them has also been witnessed.
And the rest of the world, apart from some episodic comments from the United Nations, has done nothing palpable to restrain the wanton persecution by the State of Myanmar of one of its ethnic minorities.
The United Nations believes the Myanmar government’s response to the crisis may amount to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity which makes it abundantly clear that the formation of the Annan Commission, which presented its “final report in August, was merely a ploy. Tun Khin, the President of Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK, while commenting on the formation of Annan Commission in his article “Only international pressure can save Rohingya now” writes:
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