WHEN it comes to dealing with the Rohingya, a beleaguered Muslim community living in Myanmar, it seems both the formerly ruling military junta, and the present civilian set-up under Aung San Suu Kyi, have a similar approach. Seen as illegal Bengali migrants by Myanmar and deprived of fundamental citizenship rights, the Rohingya lead a stateless existence. This ‘othering’ paves the way for unconscionable repression of the entire community. In the latest wave of officially sanctioned repression, reports have emerged of an army operation under way in the troubled state of Rakhine, which in the past has witnessed communal violence between the Rohingya and Buddhists. The latest bout of trouble was sparked last month after insurgents attacked police and soldiers near the Bangladesh border — a number of security men were killed. The Myanmar government’s response has been brutal. While it says it is fighting ‘terrorists’, it appears as if the entire Rohingya community is being targeted. In fact, Human Rights Watch has described the state’s response as “scorched earth”. Media reports say around 130 people have been killed in the last month.
Even if we were to accept the official version that terrorists had infiltrated the Rohingya, the fact is that if any community is systematically deprived of its fundamental rights for decades, some of its members will opt to take the deplorable path of militancy. What has been most troubling is the fact that Ms Suu Kyi, who effectively runs Myanmar’s government, has been silent on the oppression of the Rohingya people. The iconic activist and Nobel laureate is considered a champion of democracy and human rights; however, it is difficult to understand why she chooses to ignore the atrocities committed against the Rohingya. Any set-up that claims to be democratic must respect the human rights of all communities and ethnic groups. The world community needs to do more in order to convince Myanmar to change its attitude towards the Rohingya, and deal with them with humanity and compassion.
Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2016
Source by: http://www.dawn.com/news/1297382/anti-rohingya-violence