‘Malaysia’s duty to help end the genocide of Rohingya’
The Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra) is extremely concerned of the ‘massacre’ of the Rohingyas that continues unabated on a daily basis and even now, as this press statement is drafted.
The Burmese regime in Naypyidaw’s transformation from being a military junta to a so-called civilian government headed by a supposed Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, apparently has done nothing to roll back the regime’s cruelty and wanton disregard for the consequences of its actions in the face of judgment by the international community.
No less than seven other Nobel Peace prize laureates have stepped forward to condemn the massacre and have urged that it be described and designated as no less than a genocide.
These Nobel Peace Prize laureates range are in no particular order, Mairead Maguire from Northern Ireland, Jody Williams from the USA, Tawakkol Karman from Yeman, Shirin Ebadi from Iran, Leymah Gbowee from Liberia, Adolfo Perez Esquivel from Argentina and Desmond Tutu, leader of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement in the 1980s, who has urged the end to the slow genocide of the Rohingya.
According to these laureates, the Rohingyas face a textbook case of genocide where an entire indigenous community is being systematically wiped out by the Burmese government. Centhra agrees, nothing that this is precisely how the term genocide is defined in the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG) of 1951.
The notion that the systematic execution and extermination of Rohingya amounts to no less then the crime of genocide is also supported by a report published by the International State Crime Initiative (ISCI), Countdown to Annihilation: Genocide in Myanmar, stating that compelling evidence of state-led policies, laws and strategies dating back to 30 years exist which together, amount to state-sponsored genocide, and persecution entered a new and more devastating phase in 2012, after the new civilian regime was installed in Myanmar.
The ISCI concluded that systematic, planned and targeted weakening of the Rohingya through mass violence and discriminatory and persecutory policies have culminated into the final two stages of genocide, mass annihilation and the erasure of the group from Myanmar’s history, and failure to act against the regime now would result in serious and present danger of the annihilation of the Rohingya population.
Further, a 2016 briefing by the Burmese Rohingya Organisation in the UK notes specific incidents of continued persecution of and crackdown on Rohingya over the border incident in Rakhine state from Oct 9, 2016 till the present day and has recommended the international community immediately step in to stop end the continued human rights violations, provide for unrestricted aid access, investigate abuses against Rohingya and end the restrictions, intimidation and censorship of local and international media reporting on this issue.
‘Blanket denial on the part of the regime’
Centhra notes that the UN envoy on human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, is unaware of any efforts on the part of the Burmese regime to look into the systematic human rights violations that have become a daily occurrence in Rakhine state, despite State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s claim to be responding based on the principle of rule of law. This has amounted to blanket denial on the part of the regime, and is a farce of the highest order.
Centhra urges immediate action by governments, NGOs and civil societies across the region and around the world to end the systematic ongoing genocide presently taking place within Myanmar’s borders. To this end, Malaysia, as a prominent member of Asean and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and moderate voice of the international community, must lead efforts to suspend the Burmese regime’s membership of Asean.
Centhra would also like to avail itself of the opportunity to urge the Malaysian public to attend two protests this week, to take place on Friday (Nov 25, 2016) before the Myanmar Embassy and Saturday (Nov 26, 2016) at Masjid Negara, respectively organised by Malaysian civil society groups.
Centhra urges all Malaysians regardless of race, religion or creed, to join the said two protests so that a strong message may be sent to the regime, namely, that the world is watching and will never let their crimes against the Rohingya people go unpunished.
Together, let us assist in bringing justice to the Rohingya by pressing our governments to collectively pressure the regime to end its genocide and human rights abuses against a section of its own population, no less.
AZRIL MOHD AMIN is a lawyer and chief executive of the Centre for Human Rights Research & Advocacy (Centhra).