Protest against the cleansing of the Rohingya minority in the Rakhine state of Myanmar has gained momentum in the United States of America and Canada. The demand for dignified rehabilitation of the victims has simultaneously become stronger. Burma Task Force (BTF), a coalition of 19 US and Canadian Muslim organisations, has initiated a campaign against the atrocities of the Myanmar military junta in the form of gang rape of young and old women, killing men and children, young and old alike, and terrorising them to flee from Rakhine state. The Rohingyas have been residing in Rakhine for generations.
Following an appeal by an Imam at a Friday prayer on August 24, a big rally was organised in Washington DC on August 25 by BTF. Hundreds of people participated in the rally which coincided with the first anniversary of the Burmese army's planned and pre-meditated campaign of genocide against the Rohingyas.
Meanwhile, on August 17, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on four Myanmar military and police commanders and two army units accused of ethnic cleansing and widespread human rights abuses against Rohingya population. Previously, the Treasury department had penalised only one Burmese commander for the violation of gross human rights. Canada and European Union (EU) had hit seven Burmese army officials with sanctions for ethnic cleansing, massacres, sexual assault and extrajudicial killings.
Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who is State Counsellor of Myanmar, has been stripped of nine awards over the past year for her silence on the heinous crimes being committed against the Rohingyas.
Since internationally the Burmese leadership is in trouble, Bangladesh government should intensify its efforts to bring China, India and Japan to the table to resolve the Rohingya crisis.
Bangladesh has been over-burdened by the influx of 706,000 Rohingyas since August of 2017, who joined 200,000 Rohingya refugees from earlier massacres.
Bangladesh government with support from international community should pursue the Myanmar government to ensure restoration of citizenship of Rohingyas and their proper repatriation. The Rohingyas were stripped of their citizenship by the military junta headed by Gen. Ne Win in 1982 after he changed the constitution of Burma.
A graphic picture of crime committed by Myanmar army has recently been presented by Amnesty International. Meanwhile, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) has unanimously urged the International Criminal Court in The Hague to investigate the violence in Myanmar and try the perpetrators for the murderous operations in Rakhine state.
Bangladesh being a member of International Criminal Court can coordinate with the APHR to press forth the demands for investigation into the heinous crimes against the Rohingyas.
Mohammad Amjad Hossain is a retired diplomat from Bangladesh and former President of Toastmaster International Club.
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