Myanmar has failed to address the mistreatment of the Rohingya Muslims. Now, in another brutal move, Myanmar plans to repatriate Rohingya Muslims who fled the country from persecution. Since the crackdown by the military on Rohingya villages, about 700,000 people have fled across the border to Bangladesh.
Reports indicate indiscriminate killings and human rights abuse. The United Nations Human Rights Commissioner has described the military action as ‘ethnic cleansing’.
Over the past one year, the systematic human rights abuses by the security forces were designed to instil terror in the Rohingya population. A recent UN report reveals that Myanmar’s military carried out mass killings, gang rapes, burning whole villages down and other atrocities with a ‘genocidal intent’.
Aung San Suu Kyi has Done Little to Nothing
Myanmar’s de facto leader Nobel Peace Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi has done little to nothing to end this inhumane violence against the minorities. The Rohingya Muslims had long placed their faith in her as the leader who would at least treat them as rightful citizens, but she has also failed to acknowledge them.
Aung San Suu Kyi has said nothing to condemn the crisis. In fact, she propagated assertions that the military’s actions were an appropriate response to a Rohingya milita uprising. From being acclaimed as a peace icon, Aung San Suu Kyi has now been labelled as ‘modern-day’s pariah’. Amnesty International has stripped her of the Ambassador of Conscience Award, citing profound disappointment.
The World Watches Quietly
To date, no government or organization has taken effective strategies or measures to help the Rohingyas. In fact, governments like that of India have forced some Rohingya refugees to return to Myanmar. The country’s military leaders have tried to justify their actions as eliminating a threat that was ‘growing bigger and bigger’. The Myanmar military stands by its actions.
According to the Washington Post interviews with half-dozen former Myanmar generals and those familiar with their thinking indicate that they have also grown irritated by de facto civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s efforts to quell the international outrage. They believe that she defends them in public while working to undermine them by driving sanctions in private.
The International Crisis Group feels the world must pursue accountability for crimes committed and press the Myanmar government to create the conditions for voluntary repatriation. The tragic reality, however, is that the vast majority of Rohingya refugees are unlikely to return in the foreseeable future, however much international opprobium Myanmar faces.
Failing to develop long-term plans for the Rohingyas could lead to status quo to morph in dangerous ways.