DESPITE Myanmar’s human rights abuse against the Rohingya, diplomatic pressure against Myanmar for the atrocities of its military is lacking. According to a New Age report, on Friday, China backed by Russia has blocked a UN Security council statement that would have expressed concern over the humanitarian crisis. The proposal came in the context of a protracted military operation against Rohingyas in northern Rakhine, Myanmar. After visiting the victims of recent atrocities, the UN human rights investigators termed it a crime against humanity and accused Myanmar military of extrajudicial killings, gang rapes and probable ethnic cleansing. The proposed UN Security Council statement was perceived as a tool to mount diplomatic pressure on the Myanmar government. Considering the significance of the statement, national and international foreign affairs experts and diplomats expressed disappointment on China’s tacit support to Myanmar on Rohingya issues. China’s such position on the Rohingya issue likely results in part from its business and strategic interests in the area. Some of the Chinese corporations currently doing business in or offshore of Myanmar’s Rakhine State, where the abuse is taking place, are China National Offshore Oil Corporation and PetroChina. For this and additional reasons, international diplomats reasonably claims that China has a high degree of responsibility for this tacit international acquiescence to Myanmar’s human rights abuse. China as Myanmar’s closest ally should take the lead in moderating Myanmar’s behaviour.
Parallel to this international development, in the state capital of Rakhaine, hundreds of Buddhists including monks protested on Sunday the government’s plan to give citizenship to some members of the persecuted Rohingya community. While there are historical ties evidences dating back to the 8th Century A.D that ties Rohingya community to Rakhine state, Myanmar allegedly justifies its persecution of the Rohingya by claiming that they have no legal residence in the country. In 2015, the government withdrew white cards for Rohingya as part of a plan to expel them from the country and cancel their citizenship under the 1982 law. On Sunday, the Rakhaine Advisory Commission led by former UN chief Kofi Annan, urged government to reconsider a failed programme to verify Rohingya for Myanmar citizenship and to remove restrictions on freedom of movement. We hope that the words of the Suu Kyi’s office is not mere rhetoric, they will truly take into account the plight of the Rohingya community and implement the recommendation including granting citizenship to them promptly. Meanwhile, it is utterly deplorable that the Buddhists and monks defying their historical and religious tradition of non-violence and peace, preaching violence and breaking communal harmony.
In order to find a permanent solution to the humanitarian crisis that Rohingya community are facing for years, the international community, particularly China should abandon its position of acquiescence. Meanwhile, the conscientious sections of Myanmar should raise their concern about their government’s gross violation of human rights.
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