By: G. Prado
In Myanmar’s Rakhine State, unspeakable atrocities are happening against Rohingya Muslims at the very moment you are reading this article. Children are being forced into burning houses. Women are being tied to trees and raped. Facebook is being weaponized to justify ethnic cleansing. Villages are systematically “disappearing”, and yet, the leader of Myanmar, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has done nothing to avoid any of this in spite of the UN explicitly calling the government actions in Rohingya “genocide”.
The consequences of the above mentioned crimes against humanity can too be seen as having an impact upon its population, with up to 10,000 Rohingya Muslims already being killed by the government and 700,000 others fleeing to meet deplorable conditions in the nearby and already overpopulated Bangladesh. That leaves only 600,000 Rohingya inside Myanmar.
These events started as a state response to a terrorist attack by Rohingya separatists on multiple police stations across the Rakhine State. The government claims that the 400 missing villages were burnt down by the villagers themselves, whom the government also accused of attacking Hindus and Buddhists.
However, there are indications that the government was already planning to commit to a crackdown against the Rohingya, with a noticeable military buildup before the event.
Discrimination against the Rohingya were already common, as the government’s citizenship laws effectively rendered the Rohingya stateless by not recognizing it as one of the 35 ethnicities which are automatically given citizenship. Asides from excluding them from health and education services, the lack of citizenship means they must ask for government permission any time they want to move, and are unable to set up bank accounts. Furthermore, discrimination against Rohingya is high enough that some are afraid of even leaving home as they will probably be harassed.
Aung San Suu Kyi, the State Counsellor of Myanmar, originally came to prominence for peacefully opposing Myanmar’s military dictatorship and earned a Nobel Prize for that. Later, she assumed power after the 2015 Myanmar general elections (which the Rohingya were not allowed to vote). However, her reaction to the multiple atrocities committed by the army alternated between a quiet admission (that the reaction of the Army may have been inappropriate), justification of the Army’s actions and outright denial that a crackdown is happening against the Muslims in Myanmar.
Furthermore, the UN has accused Commander in Chief, Senior general Min Aung Hlaing, Deputy commander in Chief, Vice Senior General Soe Win, Lieutenant General Aung Kyaw Zaw, Major General Maung Maung Soe, Brigadier General Aung Aung and Brigadier General Than Oo of the Myanmar Army of genocide.
There has been no major response by any world powers regarding the events in Myanmar.
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