THE BLOG
17/06/2015 13:02 BST | Updated 16/06/2016 06:59 BST

Why Are the United Nations Doing Nothing to Prevent the Genocide of the Rohingya?

The international community, the UN, and the Muslim nations must act now to prevent a genocide which many observers have described as second only to the Holocaust. The concentration camps are well documented and there are several rumours of mass graves.

The shocking treatment of the Rohingya people in Myanmar constitutes nothing short of a state backed genocide.

In the past weeks we have seen the pictures of thousands of the desperate people trying to flee for their lives, packed into boats to take the perilous journey to Malaysia or Thailand.

Several boats have been turned away leaving the refugees abandoned at sea with nowhere to go.

The Rohingya are a stateless Muslim minority in the largely Buddhist country of Burma and many of them have been held in concentration camps for the past three years.

Their treatment by the Burmese authorities has got progressively worse since the Rakhine State riots in 2012 during which 10 Rohingya were killed by villagers in western Myanmar after three Muslim Rohingya men were accused of the rape and murder of a Buddhist woman. In response to the riots the Myanmar government sent in the troops and imposed curfews on the Rohingya people.

Since then countless atrocities have occurred either instigated by Buddhist mobs or by the Myanmar authorities themselves. The brutal violence is out of control - Rohingya men have been burnt to death in the street, or hacked to death with machetes in the fields by marauding Buddhist gangs often with the police looking on.

Watch this BBC video here to see the extent of the violence in 2013, and it's worse now.

The situation has become so appalling that thousands would rather take their chances in overcrowded boats with no food or water, on a perilous 200 mile journey across the Andaman Sea to Malaysia.

At the other end, if they are lucky enough to be taken in, they end up in overcrowded run-down areas in Kuala Lumpur, not sure whether they may be deported at any time, but this at least is preferable to the fetid detention camps from which they have fled.

Where is the United Nations and the international community in all this, and why haven't they stepped in to help the plight of these pitiful stateless refugees. There have been several appeals by the UN and aid agencies to the Thai, Indonesian and Malaysian governments, but this is just words and they are being ignored. The Rohingya need actions, aid and support now to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.

Other Muslim nations - Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh and Pakistan have turned a blind eye to the genocide of this persecuted Muslim minority group. This is in stark contrast to the actions of the Saudi and Malaysian governments when sectarian problems flared in Yemen. The Saudis ordered relentless air strikes of the Yemeni capital and the Malaysians flew troops nearly 4,000 miles to support the Saudis and assist the Sunni Muslims there.

But when problems for a Sunni minority are right on their doorstep the Malaysians have reacted differently, they made it abundantly clear that the Rohingya are not welcome in their country. Perhaps the reason for this is that unlike Yemen, the Rohingya don't produce £36bn of oil a year, and internal problems in Burma don't pose a threat to the Saudi Royal family. Just like the Palestinians it seems the cries of the Rohingya will fall on deaf Muslim ears.

Clearly it's the root of this problem that needs to be addressed. The Myanmar government, which is still largely run by the former military commanders, have been treating the Rohingya as sub-human for more 30 years,. They were stripped of their citizenship as far back as 1982 and since then decades of racist policies in Myanmar have left many Rohingya illiterate and impoverished.

The international community, the UN, and the Muslim nations must act now to prevent a genocide which many observers have described as second only to the Holocaust. The concentration camps are well documented and there are several rumours of mass graves.

The European Union has a major role to play to prevent further atrocities. Economic sanctions were dropped in May 2012, just when the persecution of the Rohingya started getting progressively worse.

There is an election in Myanmar this year, only the second since the military junta took power in 1962, and so the leaders of the country must be shown now by a united international community that if they do not improve conditions for the Rohingya they risk being cut off from the rest of the world again.

Sayed Bukhari is CEO and Founder of HPM Developments in London.