Myanmar attempts to get on the West's "war on terror" bandwagon

Beware of Myanmar's Attempt to absolve itself of criminal
responsibility and jump on the West's 'war on terror' wagon.


Rohingya Crisis: Why Reporters Are Scared To Cover Story – OpEd

Eurasia Review

"In a bid to legitimize its actions in the international media the
Burmese authorities have labelled the Rohingyas as jihadists. With
increasing focus on the radical Islamic threat in the west, this is a
subtle subterfuge to shift the pivot of media attention from the
serious humanitarian crisis facing the Rohingyas; being denied food,
medical aid and the right to live in dignity in the conflict torn
zone, the Rohingyas are staring at extermination in the presence of a
couldn’t care (or wouldn’t care) less world."


============================

"Two weeks ago, 70 British parliamentarians wrote to the UK foreign
secretary, Boris Johnson, urging the government to intensify its
pressure on the Myanmar government to allow full humanitarian aid and
access to Rakhine state. We are still waiting for a reply. Britain,
along with the international community, needs to urgently listen to
these voices and increase its efforts to ensure that alleged abuses
are investigated, and that the violent campaign against Rohingya
Muslims is ended. Minorities in Myanmar deserve the chance to live in
peace."



Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar are suffering. The world mustn’t look away

Rushanara Ali

 

Friday 23 December 2016 12.10 GMT 

Aung San Suu Kyi’s election into office brought fresh hope for the
virtually stateless minority. But if anything, their treatment has got
worse since then


Two sets of high-definition images of Myanmar taken from outer space:
both are shot in the morning, both show the same villages populated by
Rohingya Muslims of Rakhine state. The first set, collected from 2014,
displays a small collection of homes where the virtually stateless
minority has settled. The buildings, lying between trees and set back
from dirt roads, number more than 100. In the second set of images,
taken in the past two months, the homes have vanished, and all that
remains is square patches of burnt earth.

Provided by Human Rights Watch, the images reveal 430 buildings that
have been destroyed in three different villages, and support the claim
from a United Nations official that Myanmar is seeking the “ethnic
cleansing of the Muslim Rohingya” from its territory.

After nine border officers were killed on 9 October, the region’s
Muslim minority – already excluded, impoverished and persecuted – has
once again fallen victim to a sharp increase in targeted violent
attacks. Over the past two months, around 10,000 Rohingya Muslims have
fled to Bangladesh and, according to Amnesty International, eyewitness
accounts from those refugees suggest that “Myanmar’s security forces,
led by the military”, are “torching hundreds of homes”.

The human rights group has also accused the Myanmar military of
“firing at villagers from helicopter gunships,” carrying out
“arbitrary arrests” and “raping women and girls”. The UN has added
torture, summary executions and the destruction of mosques to this
list.

In Rakhine state, the camps where Rohingya Muslims had been forced
into living were horrific

There are an estimated 1 million Rohingya Muslims – just one of many
ethnic minorities groups – living in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
Despite living in Rakhsne state for generations, Rohingya Muslims are
seen by many in the country not as fellow citizens but as illegal
immigrants from Bangladesh.

A series of violent clashes in 2012 left 100,000 displaced. The
following year I visited Myanmar with Refugees International and the
Burma Campaign UK. During this trip we heard stories of how Rohingya
communities had fled from violent attacks to the remote areas of the
countryside. In Rakhine state, the camps where Rohingya Muslims had
been forced into living were horrific, and in many cases people were
cut off from life-saving humanitarian aid and access to healthcare.

I travelled by boat to a UNHCR-supported camp in Pauktaw, and have
vivid memories of the shores near the camps being covered in faeces,
with dead rats floating just metres from where children were bathing
to keep cool in the unbearable heat. I can also remember the
exhaustion, the trauma and the fear on the faces of so many who had
only known lives of segregationand are subjected to racial
discrimination everyday. I also remember being told of stories of
loved ones being killed, of children dying for lack of access to
healthcare, and of women dying at child birth.

Since Myanmar passed the citizenship law in 1982, full citizenship in
Myanmar is based, according to Burma Campaign UK, on being a member of
the “national races” – a category awarded only to those who are
“considered to have settled in Myanmar prior to 1824, the date of the
first occupation by the British”. In Myanmar’s national census of
2014, the Muslim minority group was initially allowed to self-identify
as “Rohingya”, but the government later reversed this freedom and
deemed that they could only be identified as “Bengali”.

This has left the Rohingya open to discrimination and mistreatment.
Denied the right to education and equal employment, and given only
limited access to healthcare, they have endured intolerable
conditions. In Myanmar in 2013, I walked around hospital wards that
segregated the sick by their religion.

Many Rohingya Muslims flee Myanmar by boat from the Bay of Bengal in
the hope of reaching Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia or Indonesia. As
their situation has continued to deteriorate over the last year,
thousands have attempted to cross a stretch of water that is three
times more deadly for refugees than the Mediterranean. According to
the UN, they are often “stranded at sea on overcrowded boats,
controlled by traffickers and people smugglers”, with many “beaten and
held hostage for ransom”.

Myanmar's Rohingya campaign 'may be crime against humanity'

Despite last year’s historic elections – which supposedly began the
end of 50 years of military rule – the rights and freedoms of Rohingya
Muslims have not improved. Eight months before polling day, the
president of Myanmar revoked all temporary registration cards, leaving
many Rohingya Muslims without any form of identity document and hence
unable to cast their vote.

Despite her election victory, human rights campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi
– who’d been under house arrest for 15 years – was prevented from
becoming president and instead assumed the role of “state counsellor”.
There was a great sense of hope that once in office, the Nobel peace
prize winner would stand up against any rights violations against
Rohingya and other persecuted minorities. However, with control over
national security still in the hands of the military, not much has
changed – in fact the treatment, support and defence of Rohingya
Muslims has deteriorated. Journalists are not allowed to enter the
region.

Two weeks ago, 70 British parliamentarians wrote to the UK foreign
secretary, Boris Johnson, urging the government to intensify its
pressure on the Myanmar government to allow full humanitarian aid and
access to Rakhine state. We are still waiting for a reply. Britain,
along with the international community, needs to urgently listen to
these voices and increase its efforts to ensure that alleged abuses
are investigated, and that the violent campaign against Rohingya
Muslims is ended. Minorities in Myanmar deserve the chance to live in
peace.

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