On April 24, the heads of ASEAN governments met to discuss the Burma crisis, inviting…
Decades of Rohingya persecution and destruction by Myanmar, a UN member state, are well-documented and well-known to all 5 permanent members of the Security Council. The OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) and its member states including Malaysia and Indonesia have repeatedly expressed grave concerns about the plight of Rohingya. But beyond rhetoric there has not been a concerted effort or a political will to bring an end to the slow burning genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingya. In its 2009 report, the Human Rights Watch prophetically observed that helping Rohingya advances no strategic or commercial interests.
Rohingya are now becoming Asia’s Palestinians. Even the Palestinians have greater support and recognition from the United Nations. As a matter of fact, the UN agencies operating in Myanmar, as well as the United Nations Population Fund may be enabling the marginalization of Rohingya; for example, the UN Population Fund helped bankroll the national census that excluded the Rohingya in 2014. Other agencies, such as UNICEF, have given in to Burmese Government demands to avoid the use of the name “Rohingya” — a trade off that allows them to remain working in Burma but one that perpetuates injustice. There are also concerns that the UN High Commission on Refugees instructed its Myanmar staff not to use even words like ‘segregation’ to describe the Rohingya persecution and discrimination.
At the same time, the hard work of the UN Special Rapporteurs on Burma has been truly praise-worthy and resulted in threats and violence against them by hardliners in Burma.
The US has also sent mixed messages on Burma. In 2014 Congress sent a clear message via House resolution 418, calling on the government to protect all its people, including the Rohingya. However, much diplomacy focuses on opening up markets and in this way may strengthen collusion between investors and others in Burma with a very poor track record on human rights. Moreover, investors China and from ASEAN countries must also be held accountable by their governments for turning a blind eye to land confiscations and abuse.
For more information on US Policies please read:http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2013/12/06/obama-administration-goes-public-on-patronizing-burma-policy/
Regarding China: http://thediplomat.com/2015/04/chinas-myanmar-conundrum/
Regarding ASEAN: http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/540811/asean-must-stop-ignoring-plight-of-stateless-rohingya
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