The Rohingya – The Stateless People Even a Nobel laureate Does Not Want
By admin January 7, 2019

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The Rohingya, considered by the international community to be the “most persecuted minority in the world”, are a majority Muslim ethnic group that represent the largest percentage of Muslims in Myanmar. They have their own language and culture and are descendants of Arab traders and other groups who have been in the region for generations. In Myanmar they are seen as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. In juxtaposition, Bangladesh, sees them as citizens of Myanmar and has, since 1997, done everything possible to coerce the Rohingya to repatriate. It is these contradictory policies and intolerance that have given ground to the widely held world view, that as a people and as refugees, no one, not even Myanmar’s most celebrated and famous daughter and Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, wants them.

Since late August 2017, more than 671,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine State to escape the military’s large-scale campaign of ethnic cleansing.; an operation originally packaged as a counter-terrorism campaign. The atrocities committed by the Myanmar’s security forces, including mass killings, sexual violence, and widespread arson, amount to crimes against humanity. Military and civilian officials have repeatedly denied that security forces committed abuses during the operations, but these claims are contradicted by extensive evidence and witness accounts.

The Rohingya refugee crisis of today is the culmination of decades of restrictive policy in Myanmar that has stripped Rohingya of their rights including citizenship over generations and pushed them from their homes. For example, the notorious 1982 Citizenship Law codified the practice of denying citizenship for Rohingya. Consequently, they are one of the largest stateless populations in the world. Restrictions on their movement and lack of access to basic health care have led to dire humanitarian conditions for those displaced by earlier waves of violence in 2012 and 2016. The international aid community estimates one billion dollars is needed for the relief efforts, only one third of which has so far been met.

The challenges for the international community are whether to continue standing uncomfortably alongside, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Aung San Suu Kyi in denial that a grave Rohingya humanitarian crisis exists as the world’s largest stateless people continues to face ethnic cleansing, or take a firm and decisive position to state unequivocally that enough is enough.

Few states have taken bold actions that can serve as examples to others. Canada, for instance, has stripped Aung San Suu Kyi of the Honorary Citizenship, bestowed upon in 2007, as a punitive measure for her role in gross human rights violations against the Rohingya people. The world is anxiously awaiting to see if the Nobel Prize Committee will continue to allow itself to be embarrassed by its 1991 Nobel Laurate for Peace by her gross human rights. Other measures the world community could consider include the ASEAN countries disciplining its own member state in a variety of ways, to prepare for the UN to re-impose sanctions on Myanmar to comply with its commitment and obligation to the international human rights standards, norms and conventions.

Until this happens, the international community cannot explain why even after the tragic Rwanda Genocide, it is standing with its arms folded witnessing yet again another ethnic cleansing and a Second Genocide in our lifetime.

Thanks for sharing !

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