"So long as there remains little international appetite for an
intervention on Responsibility to Protect grounds, the world now faces
a choice. Do we continue to pretend Myanmar is a democracy, increase
trade links, encourage even more tourists to flock to Myanmar, and
give the NLD government the “space” Suu Kyi insists they need to
resolve the country’s many problems? Or do we acknowledge that Myanmar
is still in effect a military regime, one that is currently raping,
killing, and burning the homes of its Rohingya minority, and conduct
our relations as we would with any other country guilty of similar
crimes against humanity?
With the U.S. president-elect giving no indication that international
human rights is high on his agenda, it seems unlikely he will overturn
Obama’s decision to lift sanctions. It may fall upon nearer neighbors
to be the standard bearers on what as an international community we
are prepared to accept."
- Kim Tatam
Read the full essay here:
Stop Pretending Myanmar Is a Democracy
The world should stop pretending that Myanmar’s military is no longer
committing rights abuses.
Statesman News Service |
November 24, 2016 | 03:30 AM
The irony is cruel. The persecution of the Rohingyas has intensified
in Myanmar with the change of guard -- from the junta to a democratic
dispensation under Aung San Suu Kyi. The democratic world had expected
quite the contrary, if not a distinct measure of improvement in the
condition of the stateless minorities of Rakhine province -- a
wandering group near the Bangladesh border... floundering in search of
a home. The latest offensive by the Myanmarese military is strangely
of a piece with Suu Kyi's silence on the issue ahead of the momentous
transition early this year. No less deafening must be her muted
response at this juncture.
Now that she is in power, though not as President, there can be no
compelling reason to almost tacitly condone the offensive.The plot
thickens as satellite images have revealed the destruction of no fewer
than 820 homes in the three weeks of this month. In the net, the
Rohingyas have been displaced further still in course of what has been
packaged as “counter-insurgency operation”.
We do not know what the provocation for the latest onslaught was. Yet
we do know that Human Rights Watch has called for the UN's
intervention, asserting that “these alarming new satellite images
confirm that the destruction in Rohingya villages is far greater than
what the government has admitted”.
Human rights is at stake as must be the purportedly democratic
government's credibility. The withers of the Suu Kyi administration in
Naypidaw remain unwrung. Far from coming to the rescue of the
minorities, the government has acknowledged that helicopter gunships
were used in support of ground troops in the military operations. The
civil administration must have been privy to the army’s action, indeed
an offensive that has made a travesty of the democratic engagement.
Thus far, the government and GHQ have advanced only an unsubstantiated
charge -- that nine police officers were killed by “unidentified
assailants” on the Bangladesh border. On closer reflection, the junta
doesn’t play the second fiddle in the overall construct and it will be
painful for the democratic bloc, not least India, to reflect that the
post-transition government has been thoroughly insensitive to the
stepped-up persecution. Its silence runs parallel to the military
It becomes direly imperative for Myanmar to stop the offensive and no
less crucially to grant citizenship to the Rohingyas, who have lived
in Rakhine for generations. Persecution is the thread that binds the
generations, and the democratic change of guard has done but little to
assuage the suffering of the stateless.
Actually, however, there has been a palpable worsening of the human
rights situation. And this must be contextualised with the caveat of
Human Rights Watch -- “The government should simply look at the facts
and take action to protect all people in Myanmar, whatever their
religion or ethnicity”.
‘Malaysia’s duty to help end the genocide of Rohingya’
The Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra) is
extremely concerned of the ‘massacre’ of the Rohingyas that continues
unabated on a daily basis and even now, as this press statement is
The Burmese regime in Naypyidaw’s transformation from being a military
junta to a so-called civilian government headed by a supposed Nobel
Peace Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, apparently has done nothing to
roll back the regime’s cruelty and wanton disregard for the
consequences of its actions in the face of judgment by the
No less than seven other Nobel Peace prize laureates have stepped
forward to condemn the massacre and have urged that it be described
and designated as no less than a genocide.
These Nobel Peace Prize laureates range are in no particular order,
Mairead Maguire from Northern Ireland, Jody Williams from the USA,
Tawakkol Karman from Yeman, Shirin Ebadi from Iran, Leymah Gbowee from
Liberia, Adolfo Perez Esquivel from Argentina and Desmond Tutu, leader
of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement in the 1980s, who has urged
the end to the slow genocide of the Rohingya.
According to these laureates, the Rohingyas face a textbook case of
genocide where an entire indigenous community is being systematically
wiped out by the Burmese government. Centhra agrees, nothing that this
is precisely how the term genocide is defined in the UN Convention on
the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG) of
The notion that the systematic execution and extermination of Rohingya
amounts to no less then the crime of genocide is also supported by a
report published by the International State Crime Initiative (ISCI),
Countdown to Annihilation: Genocide in Myanmar, stating that
compelling evidence of state-led policies, laws and strategies dating
back to 30 years exist which together, amount to state-sponsored
genocide, and persecution entered a new and more devastating phase in
2012, after the new civilian regime was installed in Myanmar.
The ISCI concluded that systematic, planned and targeted weakening of
the Rohingya through mass violence and discriminatory and persecutory
policies have culminated into the final two stages of genocide, mass
annihilation and the erasure of the group from Myanmar’s history, and
failure to act against the regime now would result in serious and
present danger of the annihilation of the Rohingya population.
Further, a 2016 briefing by the Burmese Rohingya Organisation in the
UK notes specific incidents of continued persecution of and crackdown
on Rohingya over the border incident in Rakhine state from Oct 9, 2016
till the present day and has recommended the international community
immediately step in to stop end the continued human rights violations,
provide for unrestricted aid access, investigate abuses against
Rohingya and end the restrictions, intimidation and censorship of
local and international media reporting on this issue.
‘Blanket denial on the part of the regime’
Centhra notes that the UN envoy on human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee
Lee, is unaware of any efforts on the part of the Burmese regime to
look into the systematic human rights violations that have become a
daily occurrence in Rakhine state, despite State Counsellor Aung San
Suu Kyi’s claim to be responding based on the principle of rule of
law. This has amounted to blanket denial on the part of the regime,
and is a farce of the highest order.
Centhra urges immediate action by governments, NGOs and civil
societies across the region and around the world to end the systematic
ongoing genocide presently taking place within Myanmar’s borders. To
this end, Malaysia, as a prominent member of Asean and the
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and moderate voice of the
international community, must lead efforts to suspend the Burmese
regime’s membership of Asean.
Centhra would also like to avail itself of the opportunity to urge the
Malaysian public to attend two protests this week, to take place on
Friday (Nov 25, 2016) before the Myanmar Embassy and Saturday (Nov 26,
2016) at Masjid Negara, respectively organised by Malaysian civil
Centhra urges all Malaysians regardless of race, religion or creed, to
join the said two protests so that a strong message may be sent to the
regime, namely, that the world is watching and will never let their
crimes against the Rohingya people go unpunished.
Together, let us assist in bringing justice to the Rohingya by
pressing our governments to collectively pressure the regime to end
its genocide and human rights abuses against a section of its own
population, no less.
AZRIL MOHD AMIN is a lawyer and chief executive of the Centre for
Human Rights Research & Advocacy (Centhra).
Read more: https://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/363724#ixzz4Quz7vLTA