An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. (Ghandi)
Myanmar chief of general staff Mya Tun Oo said at least 160 people were killed in the conflict between the armed forces and ethnic armed groups in Shan during the last three months.
Myanmar’s democratic reforms will not be helped by the continuing humanitarian crisis regarding the Muslim Rohingya minority in the western state of Rakihine (Arakan) bordering Bangladesh. Arakan was neither part of Bangladesh or Burma until 1784 and the Rohingya are natives of that region (approximately 2 million) It is estimated that 1.5 million Rohingyas live in exile around the world.
Violent confrontation between the Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists has displaced 140,000 and killed 200+, most of them Rohingya. International aid agencies were expelled from Rakhine (Arakan) in March 2014. It appears the situation has not improved since then.
I found it difficult to know who or what to believe after watching Al-Jazeera’s 2012 documentary video about the Rohingya Muslims living in Rakhine (Arakan) in 2014. The UN said Rohingyas are deprived of citizenship and the most basic liberties (which Myanmar denies) They are classified as illegal immigrants and are denied identity cards which are essential for work, housing and travel.They claim they are Myanmar citizens and are arguably one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.
Is the persecution of the Rohingyas ethnic cleansing, a form of hidden genocide, religious or a human rights violation which has had little exposure internationally? Neither Myanmar, neighbouring Bangladesh or Thailand want these ‘stateless’ people or appear to recognise that they have any rights. How can this be?
It looks increasingly like the intention of Myanmar is to destroy the Rohingyas as an ethnic group. Taking measures to restrict movement, marriage and births; denying peoples identity, denying their history and denying the legitimacy of their right to live where they do are all indications of genocide and of great concern.
Former Myanmar President Thein Sein considered most Rohingyas to be illegal immigrants (as does Bangladesh) who should be deported or sent to refugee camps.
Myanmar icon Aung San Suu Kyi has refused to support the rights of the Rohingya, to citizenship and still remains silent about their problems. Why?
Whatever your views or feelings about the Rohingya and this long running conflict may be, denial of basic human rights can never be acceptable.
The Guardian’s expose on the Thai fishing industry’s exploitation of the Rohingyas makes for sad reading.
This is just another example of how difficult the human race finds it to live together in harmony. When there is no trust we live in fear, paranoia sets in and we believe everyone is a threat.