The Rohingya crisis and Rex Tillerson’s Myanmar visit

NEW ALLEGATIONS

In the fresh allegations which surfaced after Human Rights Watch submitted two separate reports, eye-opening incidents have been reported. The brutality being inflicted by the Myanmar Army has surpassed its own record. The people who moved in a mass migration, which took place almost two weeks ago, are still living in camps near the border of Bangladesh.

The report exclusively sheds light on sexual violence. Women and young girls are being gang-raped and in some incidents, the victims are also set on fire afterward. In one of the report, Skye Wheeler, a researcher at Human Rights Watch writes, ‘Rape has been a prominent and devastating feature of the Burmese military’s campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya.’

The Rohingya prisoners in custody of Army have no documentation of their whereabouts or as to the laws under which they have been taken in. The report further states that many mutilated and torched bodies have been found. One eyewitness according to a detailed report of AFP told the investigators from Fortify Rights and the Holocaust Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide that, ‘When the killing was complete, soldiers moved bodies into piles and set them alight.’

This fresh wave of violence has stunned many leaders and they have vociferously demanded a solution from the Myanmar government.

TILLERSON’S VISIT & POSSIBLE IMPACT

The problem of Myanmar is rooted in its political history. The country has been controlled by the Army regime for decades. The people of Myanmar have never got a chance to have the interaction with democracy in the slightest. The government of Aung San Suu Kyi is democratic and still just a sapling. It will take time to adjust. Then, since their independence in 1948, they have never owned Rohingya community – they aren’t even in the official population count. They are stateless.

Since August the crisis of Rohingya has gone awry with the passage of each day. Atrocities committed against them have lost count. U.N. has insisted many a time that concerned and influential states should play their part and mediate to bring this to halt. The two most influential neighbors, China and India, maintained silence.

In the recent meeting with top military officials of Myanmar and Aung San Suu Kyi, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has stressed to devise a plan through which complete relief can be made possible for this persecuted minority. His visit and meetings are of considerable importance as they have to offer something not just to Rohingya community but to the political and military leadership of the country too.

Back in Washington the U.S. Senators have demanded implementation of stern sanctions on Myanmar’s economic dealings and traveling of its residents to other countries. Tillerson has spurned this method of solving the crisis by telling that U.N. won’t approve it, as they want to see the new democratic government thrive. He made it clear that the sanctions aren’t a total impossibility and if the accusations of atrocities by the military are proven then U.S. government may have to take sanctions option seriously. This message, delivered directly to Myanmar, hopefully will make things stable in days to come.

Tillerson has also promised the military and political leadership to provide them an additional aid of $47 million so that these humanitarian crises can work out.

A month back when U.N. sent its team to investigate the crises in Myanmar, they demanded ‘raw and unchecked’ access, which of course they were denied by the government. Almost 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh and are living in camps which are far below the standards approved for the habitation of refugees.

Rohingya will never allow U.N. to conduct ‘credible and impartial’ investigation, but this recent trip of Tillerson will have the impact required.

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