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Why the opposition?

The opposition to the resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on Myanmar is perplexing. The proposal was put forth by the OIC calling for granting aid agencies access to the Rakhine State and granting full citizenship to the Rohingyas. Despite overwhelming proof that there has been widespread violence (including massacres and rapes) committed against the Rohingya people; it is unfortunate to see countries like Russia and China, which could be key players in brokering a sustainable solution to the crisis, opposing the adoption of the motion. It seems these two major powers are placing more importance on their bilateral relationship with Myanmar than any consideration for the blatant persecution of the Rohingyas and for the impossible burden that Bangladesh, with whom they have friendly ties, is being forced to bear.

What is happening in Myanmar is no longer just the concern of Bangladesh; it is a situation that should stir global conscience. Rohingyas continue to face violence and are being driven off their lands on a distorted pretext that they are not citizens of Myanmar. Where the UN's human rights committee stated on November 16 that the situation in Rakhine was similar to “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”, ten nations failed to be moved by the plight of Rohingyas and opposed the resolution. Meanwhile only 34 percent of the USD 434 million needed until February 2018 to provide assistance to the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, has been raised. With such stubborn resistance from China and Russia especially, the situation is becoming more and more precarious.

What are we to make of this? That the UN will remain handicapped because some permanent members turning a blind eye to the horrible crimes taking place there? Will the world body stand by and let this carnage continue? By the looks of what happened at the UN general assembly on December 25 that appears to be precisely the case.

(c) 2017 The Daily Star

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