Facts about gruesome genocide in Myanmar

Mohammad Amjad Hossain | Published: September 07, 2018 22:07:31

Truth has been revealed at last following submission by the UN fact-finding investigators on August 27 on genocidal activities by armed forces of Myanmar in the Rakhine state of Myanmar against ethnic Rohingya Muslims in spite of hide -and- seek game by the administration of Myanmar led by de facto leader and Foreign Minister Nobel laureate for Peace Aung San Suu Kyi. The independent international fact-finding mission on Myanmar was established under UN Human Rights Council resolution 34/22 in 2017. But initially the mission was not allowed permission to visit affected areas in Myanmar. The resolution for formation of the fact-finding mission was proposed by the European Union while co-sponsored by 34 countries and had broad support from diverse UN regions.

Therefore, what Gautam Buddha reportedly said turned out to be true that three things could not be long hidden: The Sun, the moon, and the truth. Buddhist-dominated political leaders as well as Army top notch in Myanmar as of now denied the crime committed by Myanmar Tatmadaw. Similarly, Myanmar army top notch or political leader Aung Sun Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate on peace, "could fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but cannot fool all the people all the time" as stated by 16th President of the United States Abraham Lincoln in Illinois in 1858. A graphic picture of planned genocide has been revealed in the 20-page report by the fact-finding mission, which is based on 847 interviews, satellite images, authenticated documents, photographs and videos. Genocide has been carried out since 2011 in Rakhine, Shan and Kachin states. The team also found crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by military in Shan and Kachin states. The chairman of the fact-finding mission appealed to the Security Council to refer the planned genocide by Myanmar military junta in Rakhine state to the International Criminal Court in the Hague or alternatively a special tribunal should be constituted by the Security Council similar to that created to prosecute grave crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia. Secretary-General of UN Antonio Guterres told the UN Security Council on August 28 that the report by independent experts found patterns of gross human rights violation and abuses committed by the security forces and undoubtedly they amount to the gravest crimes under the international law.

As a matter of fact, a campaign against ethnic minorities in Myanmar had begun following a change in Burma's constitution under the leadership of Gen. Ne Win who assumed supreme power in 1980 through bloodless coup from premiership. Incidentally, this writer witnessed exodus of Rohingya ethnic minority in 1978 to Bangladesh while serving as a diplomat at the Bangladesh embassy in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian government of Datuk Hussein Onn had the best of relations with Burmese government of Gen. Ne Win which help take back the Rohingya to Burma from Bangladesh at our persuasion. 

Incidentally, the Gen. Ne Win government changed the constitution of Burma and renamed it Myanmar and dropped the name of Rohingya from the list of 140 ethnic minorities who were given citizenship, apart from debarring Aung San Suu Kyi from becoming President. It ensured 25 per cent seats of the armed forces in the Parliament. Since 1982 the Rohingya ethnic minority in Myanmar have become stateless people. That genocide has been carried out by the Myanmar military junta since 2011 is reflected in the reports of Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders and other human rights groups. Ironically, the Myanmar government headed by Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Laureate on peace, who is the de facto leader, has sided with the marauding armed forces of Myanmar to deny any allegation of genocide in Rakhine state.

Historically, Rohingya had helped built and defended Arakan, which is renamed Rakhine state now, from seventh century to 1784 with Rakhines and other minorities of Arakan. Rulers of Arakan had good relations with the Sultan of Bengal as well. In 1784 Burmans invaded and occupied Arakan and annexed it in the following year.

The fact that Tatmadaw is directly involved in cleansing ethnic minorities in Myanmar has been reflected in the comment by Senior General Aung Hlaing, chief of the armed forces, calling the operation a leftover business from the World War II. Now they say the troops were merely battling terrorists. This is travesty of truth. Now the three-member fact-finding mission accused Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the army's commander, and five other Generals of overseeing a brutal campaign of murder, torture, and gang rape that left at least ten thousand Rohingya ethnic minority people killed. The entire villages were torched, forcing at least 725,000 Rohingya people to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh. The investigators sharply criticised the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi, a former political prisoner in Myanmar for not doing enough to stop the massacres. As has been reported in Time magazine, Ashin Wirathu, a Buddhist monk in Myanmar, had carried out a hate campaign against Muslims in Myanmar in the recent past who labelled mosques as "enemy bases" while grand monk of Myanmar Sitagu Sayadaw, most revered Buddhist leader, asked soldiers not to fear the sinfulness of taking human life. He has reportedly made excuses for the military's abuses against Rohingya Muslims (as reported by the Burma Task Force).

It is high time for the government of Bangladesh to seize all the opportunities to bring perpetrators of killing the innocent Muslims in Myanmar to justice and ensure the Rohingya’s  return to their ancestral home in Rakhine state.

Mohammad Amjad Hossain, retired diplomat from Bangladesh and former President of Toastmaster International club of America, writes from Virginia


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