The democratically-elected government in Myanmar under the leadership of Nobel laureate for peace Aung Sun Suu Kyi has been under severe criticism due to the ruthless military operation in its Rakhine state and oppressing the minority Rohingya Muslim community. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Chairman of UN Advisory Commission on Rakhine, Nobel Peace laureate Kofi Annan, have severely criticised the Myanmar authorities. A political campaign has been launched under the leadership of Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Najib Razak to build a pressure on the Myanmar government to stop violence against the Rohingya Muslims.
Datuk Najib Razak participated in a big anti-Myanmar demonstration in spite of a warning given by Myanmar that it would be tantamount to interference in its internal affairs. He urged Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar, to end atrocities against Rohingyas and called upon the UN to do something effective to stop ethnic cleansing in Myanmar .
In fact, the basic aim of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is promotion of regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and rule of law and adherence to the principles of the UN Charter apart from cooperation in economic, social, cultural, technical and education and other fields.
By denying citizenship to ethnic minorities who have been living in Myanmar for generations and driving them out from their hearths and homes, the Myanmar government is committing crimes against humanity and destroying peace and stability in the ASEAN countries.
Under the pressure of protest demonstrations and criticism from around the world, Myanmar formed a 13-member investigation commission on December 09 for probing the background of October 09 attacks on police stations and also November 12 and 13 incidents in Maungdaw. Over one thousand houses of Rohingyas were destroyed, villagers were killed while human rights groups have alleged Rohingya women were raped by soldiers.
Rohingyas, Rakhines and all other ethnic groups in Arakan have been living in peace side by side since the 7th century. In 1784, Burmans invaded Arakan. With the exception of relative peace during the British occupation from 1826 to 1948 and a brief period of democracy in Burma from 1948 to 1962, the ethnic minorities in Arakan have been living under the mercy of forces of ultra-nationalist Burmese forces since the Burman invasion of Arakan, now renamed Rakhine. Muslims have been living in Myanmar for generations.
In November of 2016, the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights said abuses perpetrated against the Rohingyas by the Myanmar military may amount to crimes against humanity. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC has reported that the Rohingyas are at 'the grave risk of additional mass atrocities and even genocide.' A socially responsible investment forum and Roman Catholic international religious congregation in Falls Church, Virginia announced on December 12 that they adopted a resolution focused on the persecuted Myanmar Rohingya minority, calling on California- based Chevron Corporation to evaluate a policy of not doing business with Myanmar that is believed to be engaged in genocide or crimes against humanity.
According to a report by BBC on December 13, Asian Director of Human Rights Watch Brad Adams said around 300 houses belonging to Rohingyas were burned down in Wa Peik village in Rakhine state in presence of Myanmar security forces. The destruction of these villages was caught by new satellite images.
The writer is a retired diplomat from Bangladesh.