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Is No One With Them……?

They were forced to leave Myanmar on August 25, 2017, as they arrived in neighbouring Bangladesh and settled in makeshift refugee camps. On the first anniversary of their departure from Myanmar, the Rohingyas staged protests near the Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar area. The Rohingyas claimed that they have every right to live in Myanmar, urging the UN to ensure their safe return.
On August 25, 2017, the Myanmarese Armed Forces and the Buddhist community launched attacks on the Rohingyas and forced around 700,000 people to leave the country. Upon their arrival in Bangladesh, the refugees had informed the concerned authorities in Dhaka that the Myanmarese forces not only killed many of their relatives, but also brutally raped women and girls. The Rohingyas further informed the Bangladeshi government that they had no other option, but to take shelter in the neighbouring country.

As expected, the Myanmarese forces denied the allegations, saying that only the members of Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) – a Rohingya insurgent group active in northern Rakhine Province of Myanmar – were detained for interrogation. However, the UN and the global community condemned the attack on Rohingyas and raised question about the role of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
The Rohingyas have strongly criticised the Nobel Laureate for not considering their problem seriously. Mohammad Hussain, Abdul Malek and others believe that Suu Kyi would never ensure their safe return. The Rohingya leaders made clear that they would return to Myanmar only when the authorities assure that the perpetrators are brought to justice. They also asked the government in Naypyidaw to ensure their security in Myanmar (after their return).

The 40-year-old Mohammad said: “We want justice. The democratic government in Myanmar should accept us as Rohingyas.” For his part, the 27-year-old Abdul stressed: “This is not the end of our troubles, but the beginning. Rohingyas will have to face many more problems. No one is with us.
Meanwhile, the UN investigators admitted on August 27 that the Myanmarese Army had raped women and killed innocent Rohingyas in 2017, stating in a report that the top military figures in the South-east Asian nation must be investigated for genocide in Rakhine State and crimes against humanity in other areas. According to the report based on hundreds of interviews, the Army’s tactics were “grossly disproportionate to actual security threats“. The investigators named six senior military figures who should go on trial.


UN Special Rapporteur to Myanmar Yanghee Lee

The world body strongly criticised Suu Kyi for not intervening to stop attacks on the Rohingyas in 2017. The 20-page report clearly said that Suu Kyi “has not used her de facto position as Head of the Government, nor her moral authority, to stem or prevent the unfolding events in Rakhine“. According to the report, the Army destroyed a number of villages only to catch the ARSA terrorists.
Surprisingly, Suu Kyi preferred to stay silent on the UN report on Rohingya genocide, as the pro-democracy leader used her first public appearance since the damning verdict to discuss only poetry and literature! She spent the (August 28) afternoon at the University of Yangon, talking to students about the merits of Gone with the Wind and the differences between fiction and non-fiction. Experts are of the opinion that Suu Kyi’s silence will certainly tarnish her image. It’s shocking that a pro-democracy leader, like Suu Kyi, had allowed the Armed Forces to carry out “the gravest crimes under international law”, including genocide, imprisonments, enforced disappearances, torture, rapes and sexual slavery.


Suu Kyi

Genocide is defined in Article 2 of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948) as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group“.

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