The international community must wake up to the persecutions of Muslims in Myanmar

It is estimated that around ‘500,000 civilians have fled their homes’, according to the UN News Centre – about 94% of these are from the Muslim Rohingya community.

Human Rights Watch, an NGO, has further stated that 17 villages of a Muslim majority have been burnt and many more abandoned in fear of further attacks.

Countless men have been killed and tens-of-thousands of women have been raped.

To add insult to the injury, United Nations’ aid agencies are being prevented from helping the victims of this dire conflict.

Genocide, a term coined by Raphael Lemkin is defined as ‘a denial of the right of existence of entire human groups, as homicide is the denial of the right to live of individual human beings’, according to the United Nations General Assembly in 1946.

The Myanmar tragedy, unfortunately, exemplifies the above definition: Rohingya Muslims are being denied the right to exist.

The United Nations Security Council should, therefore, take meaningful action before it’s too late. Its permanent members, including the USA, UK, France, Russia, and China must avoid Myanmar from becoming another prime textbook example of genocide.

Myanmar should be prevented from becoming another Cambodia, Rwanda or Bosnia. The crisis is happening now – the United Nations must act now.

This situation requires immediate attention, it warrants instantaneous action.

Boris Johnson, the British Foreign Minister, for example, went on a trip to a refugee camp catering for the survivors. On the trip, he heard testimonies of rape, mass murder, and large-scale arson.

Amidst these grave human right abuses, Myanmar’s Prime Minister has refused to do anything to alleviate the crisis. No word has been uttered, no speech has been delivered by her condemning the current cataclysmic catastrophe.

Myanmar’s Prime Minister, Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. However, times have changed, circumstances have altered and Aung San Suu Kyi personifies values antithetical to what the Nobel Peace Prize manifests. The dichotomy couldn’t be more emphatic.

In fact, her approach to this human tragedy has been intrinsically contradictory to the fundamental notions of peace. The word peace refers to ‘freedom from disturbance’ and experiencing a sense of ‘tranquillity’.

In direct contrast with the concept of peace, Aung San Suu Kyi and her government have been complicit in crimes against humanity. It has also been claimed, for instance, that “power has got to her head” on BBC’s Beyond 100 Days programme. Their silence makes them guilty – to use the words of Desmond Tutu, “if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”. Her silence thus molds her into a perpetrator.

If in the unlikely scenario only rogue sections of her government are to blame for these genocidal acts then she must say so.

Therefore, Rohingya Muslims only have one hope: The United Nations.

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