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Ten Steps To Resolving The Rohingya Genocide

13/09/2017 15:03
Farid_Ahmed via Getty Images

The last fortnight's spotlight on the Rohingya people of Myanmar has uncovered a ghastly truth that they are facing state sponsored genocide. In an address to the UN, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights denounced the "brutal security operation" against the Rohingya in Rakhine state, which he said was "clearly disproportionate" to insurgent attacks carried out last month.

"I call on the government to end its current cruel military operation, with accountability for all violations that have occurred, and to reverse the pattern of severe and widespread discrimination against the Rohingya population... The situation seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing."

The Myanmar regime continues to deny the Rohingya citizenship and blame them for a range of ills, dehumanising them to the rest of the population whilst it continues to carry out murder on an industrial scale. Hitler dehumanised the Jewish people in Germany before the Holocaust, the Serbs dehumanised the Bosnian Muslims leading to the Srebrenica genocide. The Myanmar government and its Buddhist extremists are doing the same thing.

History shows us that without external intervention the systematic butchery of a people will only continue through this state sponsored mass murder and burning of entire villages. The British and US governments have equivocated over the issue, failing to recognise the ethnic cleansing that is taking place in the face of China and India backing of Myanmar's actions without reservation. The UK government's complicity in allowing this to go ahead is demonstrated by the continuing programme of support for training the Myanmar army by educating soldiers in "democracy, leadership and the English language". This support costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of Pounds each year has continued despite Child Soldier International recording Myanmar's recruitment of hundreds of child soldiers and being accused by the Women's League of Burma of using rape as a weapon of war over many years.

Meanwhile the UN Security Council, the only body that would be able to take collective action against Myanmar, refuses to hold an open session to discuss the barbarity being witnessed on our television screens. If the Security Council truly wanted to stop the mass murder and ethnic cleansing taking place, it would force Myanmar to take the following steps:

1. Create a safe zone for Rohingya refugees to return to their homes and villages. The Rohingya people must have the opportunity to bury their dead, reclaim and rebuild their homes, their land & their lives. The entire Rakhine state must be declared a safe haven by the UN and all military land or air activities by the Myanmar military must be prohibited.

2. Short term aid for refugee camps in Bangladesh and for those suffering within Myanmar must be provided immediately with the UN insisting using military force if necessary to ensure this aid reaches those in need. Western powers must provide Bangladesh and aid agencies with the necessary investment to ensure that in the short term it can cope with and support those seeking shelter in Bangladesh.

3. UN peacekeepers should be placed in Rakhine state with all Myanmar military or security personnel withdrawn. An immediate end to all forms of violence must be declared. A restored peace to then be monitored and maintained by the peacekeepers.

4. Give every Rohingya their Myanmar citizenship. They have lived there for generations, in some cases for hundreds of years. Making a people stateless is a clear violation of their basic human rights and part of the Myanmar regime's ongoing campaign to dehumanise them as a people.

5. The UN must send an investigation team to Rakhine to uncover the truth. The brutal oppression and persecution that is circulating on social media of gang rape, burning people alive, hacking people to death and burying men, women & children alive must be investigated. Every violation must be uncovered and the perpetrators tried and punished.

6. The UN must implement an international arms embargo and strong economic sanctions against Myanmar. It is shameful that many European countries alongside Israel, China and Russia have been at the forefront of selling weapons to the Myanmar military junta. The dirty and unethical arms trade must stop now.

7. The UN should bring to trial Myanmar's Senior General Min Aung Hliang and Aung San Suu Kyi in The Hague for ethnic cleansing. It is under their leadership that these massacres have taken place and they must be held responsible. There should be international arrest warrants issued and all their international assets must be frozen.

8. The UN should subsequently support the development of a truth and reconciliation commission to defuse ethnic tensions in Myanmar. Ultimately the various ethnic and religious groups must learn to coexist. A commission to uncover the truth will help heal the long-standing division in Myanmar. Whether Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim all the people of Myanmar must live together in peace and harmony. A commission with a clear brief to help heal the communities will bring longer term peace and security to the country and region.

9. As well as the UN, other parties could take unilateral action. Aung San Suu Kyi's Nobel peace prize must be revoked. The Nobel Prize belongs to the best of human beings and not someone who by her words and inaction has demonstrated herself quite simply to be a racist, genocidal psychopath. This is not hyperbole - if you turn a blind eye to genocide when you could exert influence to stop it happening, you are as guilty as the soldiers who pull the trigger. She denies the rights of the Rohingya people and blames the victim for her government's own crimes. She should be stripped of this honour. We must demand that the Noble Prize committee strips Ms Suu Kyi of this title immediately. Tweet @NobelPrize to add to the voice of thousands who have already lobbied the Nobel Prize committee to revoke her award.

10. The Bangladeshi government must take more robust stance against Myanmar as it is destabilising Bangladesh and creating insecurity along its border. It should offer to send its troops as part of a UN peacekeeping mission. It seems more concerned with keeping its genocide endorsing friends China and India happy than in protecting thousands of people at threat of being butchered on its doorstep. Bangladesh must stand with the oppressed and against the oppressor.

As individual British citizens, at the very least we can shame the UK government into cancelling the farcical 'democracy training' for the genocidal Myanmar army. If we continue to provide such support it makes our country, our people, financial accomplices to genocide. We must raise our voices against our government's inaction and demand an immediate end to this support for the Myanmar army.

We only have one world and everyone, the UN, the British government, you and me, have to do all we can to share it.

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