By Jawad Akram
According to United Nations (UN), more than 270,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled violence to Bangladesh since 25th August when Myanmar Army launched brutal crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state after the alleged attack of Arakine Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on Police Outposts, killing 12 people.
A UN official told on Friday that more than 1,000 people may already have been killed in Myanmar (formerly called Burma), mostly minority Rohingya Muslims.
Myanmar’s government has not given any open access to International Journalists to verify independently the facts and figures but the military atrocities told by Rohingya Muslims reaching Bangladesh reflect much higher number of casualties and miseries as compared with UN figures. Beheadings, slaughtering, rapes, and arsons are at rampage in Rakhine state by Myanmar Army and Buddhist Vigilantes. ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ or ‘Massacre’ of Rohingya Muslims is going on officially in a well planned manner, according to Rohangiyas reaching Bangladesh for shelter. Now the reports are emerging that Myanmar Army is laying Landmines near Bangladesh border to add miseries to the escaping Rohingyas. Capsizing of Boats of fleeing Rohingyas, in rough waters, also causing scores of persons to drown.
The Myanmar Government denies all these convictions but the massive exodus of Rohingya Muslims and their condition, itself, not only contradicts Government’s official stance but also proves a lot of things.
The response of International Community is disappointing, and totally mismatching the severity of this humanitarian crisis. Massacre of Rohingya Muslims is repeating the incidents of Srebrenica massacre of Bosnian Muslims, in 1995, by Serbian Army when around 8000 Muslims were mercilessly killed. At that time NATO led Peace support Military operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina worked a lot in controlling further casualties, but at this time no military operation by any organization, like NATO, or by any country seems to be on the table of anyone.
Despite US and EU embargo on selling arms to Myanmar, which was until recently under military rule, Israel has continued sale of weaponry to the Burmese junta after intensified violence against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority. One company, TAR Ideal Concepts, has also trained Burmese Special Forces in northern Rakhine state, where much of the violence is taking place, posting pictures on their website of its staff teaching combat tactics and how to handle weapons.
Most of Countries, including Muslim Countries, are paying only a lip service to the cause of the Rohingyas. They are either silent or just condemning the Myanmar Government, especially de-facto leader of Myanmar, a noble peace prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi.
Muslim Countries vying for Muslim world’s leadership i.e. Saudi Arabia and Iran, have not shown much concern about Rohingya Crisis. Only Turkey has raised strong voice for Rohingya crisis. Turk President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged Bangladesh to open borders for Rohingyas, and announced to bear the expenses of refugees in Bangladesh. Turkey’s first lady Emine Erdoğan and a delegation including Turkish politicians and heads of Turkish aid agencies also arrived in Bangladesh Thursday to visit a refugee camp hosting Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
The Independent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has strongly condemned human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims.
Though officially, Bangladesh is not comfortable with this huge influx of refugees but there are reports that a lot of local Bangladeshis are trying to help the refugees with food, clothes and anything they can provide them.
All these efforts can only help the refugees up to a certain limit. To stop Myanmar from these atrocities, great powers of world like United States, Russia and China have to jump into the picture immediately as we saw in the Operation Deliberate Force (1995) when NATO lead air strikes on Serbian Military Installations were conducted after Bosnian Genocide.
Jawad Akram is an International Affairs Analyst. He has done Masters in International Relations.
He can be reached at email@example.com and tweets @jawad5677