Rohingya needs global action

2015-06-11 10:52

The inaction by the United Nations (UN) to protect the Rohingya community of Myanmar from genocide is truly unacceptable. No words can suffice to describe the pathetic conditions of the Rohingyans.

Although the United Nations (UN) has called the Rohingya of Myanmar one of the world’s most persecuted ethnic minorities, nothing concrete is being done to uphold and affirm their human rights and dignity.

In spite of the fact that for many decades, hundreds of thousands of Rohingyans have lived in Rakhine State, near Myanmar’s border with Bangladesh, they have been denied the most basic of human rights by the government of Myanmar (also known as Burma).

Fundamental rights such as citizenship, education, the freedom of movement, employment, the right to own property, inter alia, have been denied to them. They also cannot marry without state permission and are subjected to forced sterilisation and labour.

Even though many Rohingyans can trace their lineage and the roots to Mynmar for many generations the government refers to them as “Bengalis” due to their origins in neighbouring Bangladesh.

In reality, the Rohingya are not recognized and accepted as citizens of Myanmar by the ruling party there and are effectively stateless. Over many years they have been gradually ostracised and detested. Due to the violence and oppression they have been compelled to move into refugee camps or have left their homes for the deep-sea into the clutches of human traffickers.

Moreover, major human rights groups like the Human Rights Watch and the Amnesty International have also accused the Myanmar government of committing crimes against humanity.

Despite the efforts by various countries over the past few months to find solutions to the Rohingya crisis which left hundreds adrift on the Andaman seas, there is no real action taken by the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Countries and the United Nations.

Some very shocking images and stories have emerged in recent weeks showing hundreds of Rohingya migrants drifting at sea in fishing boats with no food or water. As conscience driven human beings we cannot allow this mass exodus under perilous conditions to continue.

I cannot understand the silence and unmoved attitude of Noble Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi. As a supposed symbol of democracy, why is she not speaking out against the persecution of the Rohingya minority group? This is so disappointing because so many conscience driven individuals and human rights groups fought for her freedom.

Nobel laureates Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have also criticised their (rohingya) persecution.

According to the BBC news, the Dalai Lama has called on his fellow Nobel Peace Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, to do more to help the persecuted Rohingya in her country, Myanmar. One wonders what is her motive or reason behind her obvious silence.

This crime against humanity must be urgently brought to the attention of the global community and practical steps must be taken to bring the persecution of the Rohingya people to an end.

No efforts should be spared to bring the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Burma’s Arakan State to an end. In fact, whenever ethnic cleansing is taking place, globally, then every person becomes complicit in this crime by his/ her silence.

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