Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Sunday, May 20, 2018 07:52:48 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

UNSC must halt disastrous march of Myanmar's ethnic cleansing of Rohingya

By
12th-Feb-2018       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Matthew Wells :
Abdu Salam stayed in his village as Myanmar soldiers and local vigilantes burned down dozens of homes there last August. He stayed as news spread of atrocities that soldiers had committed in other Rohingya villages across northern Rakhine State. He stayed because Hpon Nyo Leik village was his home, the only home he'd known, and he wanted to protect his family's property and right to live there.
But when, at the end of 2017, the Myanmar military's starvation tactics left Abdu Salam's family struggling to find food, they were forced to join the exodus to Bangladesh.
On 13 February, the UN Security Council will be briefed again on the situation in Myanmar. The briefing comes as the Myanmar government says it's ready to start repatriating people from Bangladesh. But the military's efforts to drive the Rohingya population out of the country haven't even ground to a halt. The Security Council's inaction, amid a weak international response to the ongoing crimes against humanity, has been a key part of the problem.
Abdu Salam and I sat in his recently erected bamboo shelter at the edge of Kutupalong Extension, the ever-growing refugee camp in southern Bangladesh that houses most of the 688,000 Rohingya who have fled Myanmar since last August. He was with his wife and six children, including his baby son, visibly emaciated, who slept in a makeshift crib that hung from the shelter's ceiling.
His family arrived in Bangladesh in early January, among the hundreds who still cross the border each week. As part of our latest research in Bangladesh, my Amnesty International colleagues and I interviewed 19 men and women from this newest wave of refugees. I heard the same story again and again: the Myanmar military squeezed them out of northern Rakhine State by driving them to the brink of starvation.
Abdu Salam told me he used to go to the hill near his village and collect wood to sell at market. But even before the current crisis began, that source of livelihood was cut off, due to the severe movement restrictions imposed on the Rohingya population, as part of the conditions of apartheid under which they have lived.
Then, following the 25 August attacks on around 30 security force outposts by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), the Myanmar military unleashed a campaign of violence against the Rohingya across northern Rakhine State. Our October 2017 report documented in detail the military's crimes against humanity, including the widespread killing of Rohingya men, women and children; rape and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls; forced deportation; and the targeted burning of villages. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) estimates that at least 6,700 people were killed in the first month of the crisis. The UN, other rights organizations, and media outlets have all painted the same, devastating picture.
Hpon Nyo Leik village was spared the worst of the military's violence. But security forces arrested Abdu Salam's 14-year-old son, accusing him of involvement with ARSA. To secure the boy's release, the family scraped together almost their entire savings. It's one of many examples of arrest-for-extortion we have long documented.
In the months after 25 August, movement restrictions grew even tighter for the remaining Rohingya, and already strict curfews were extended. Soldiers and vigilantes looted and torched Rohingya markets or, as in Hpon Nyo Leik, restricted market access to people holding a National Verification Card (NVC), a temporary identification document that most of the Rohingya community rejects, since it fails to recognise them as citizens.
Even as pressure mounted and hundreds of thousands left, many other Rohingya families stayed. Agriculture is central to livelihoods across Rakhine State, and the harvest season for rice, the area's staple crop, occurs in November and December. Stockpiles from the previous harvest began to run low.
The Myanmar military must have known what was to follow when, in many Rohingya villages, it then blocked people from going to their paddy fields.
As the harvest started, Abdu Salam worked for several days. "Then the soldiers came and said, 'This harvest is not your harvest'," he told me. "There were many [of us] harvesting there. All of us were forced to leave." Soon after, he saw non-Rohingya villagers using machinery to harvest the same crops.
With no food for their six children, except occasional handouts of a little rice from wealthier neighbours, Abdu Salam's family fled in late December, joined by others facing the same situation. Even before the August attacks and subsequent lockdown, the World Food Programme warned that malnutrition rates in northern Rakhine State were at emergency levels.
As Rohingya families fled toward the coast in recent weeks, Myanmar forces dealt a final blow by systematically robbing them at checkpoints. More than a dozen recent arrivals, including Abdu Salam, described to me the worst such checkpoint, near Sein Hnyin Pyar village tract in Buthidaung Township. There, soldiers separate men from women; search sacks and bodies, often sexually assaulting women in the process; and steal whatever of value they find, including money, jewellery, clothes, and phones.
Though the tactics may have changed, it should come as no surprise that the military's ruthless campaign races forward. In the midst of its almost incomprehensively-efficient ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya population, some states around the world have expressed alarm or even condemned the atrocities. But the international community has taken almost no concrete action.
The Security Council must finally act, and send a clear, united message to the Myanmar military that atrocities must stop, and there will be no more impunity for its crimes. To start, the Security Council should impose a comprehensive arms embargo, as well as targeted financial sanctions on senior officials implicated in serious rights violations. It should explore avenues to bring to justice perpetrators of crimes under international law. And it should call on Myanmar to dismantle the apartheid system that forms the backdrop of the current crisis.
In addition, the Security Council must demand that Myanmar authorities provide full and sustained aid access throughout the country, as well as access to independent investigators, including the UN Fact-Finding Mission. It should also demand that Myanmar respect a free press and immediately release two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, being detained and prosecuted simply for carrying out their reporting work on the military's atrocities.
The Security Council has to quickly decide which side of history it wants to be on. With each day it fails to act, more people like Abdu Salam are forced to flee.

(Matthew Wells is a Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International, and has just returned from two weeks of research in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh).

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Sports »

Toronto FC forward Jordan Hamilton (22) and Orlando City defender Mohamed El-Munir (13) chase the bouncing ball during the first half of an MLS soccer match in Toronto on Friday.


Sports »

Jordan Spieth watches his tee shot on the first hole during the second round of the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament at Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas on Friday.


Entertainment »

Raazi`s first week collections become the 5th highest of 2018


Raazi has been sailing smoothly on its journey towards the prestigious Rs 100 crore club and it will be no shocker if the film grosses over it. The cast and crew of the film recently held an event to celebrate the success of the film with the media as well ...

Entertainment »

Kareena says she'll never be on social media


Shashanka Gosh's Veere Di Wedding is all set to bring the gorgeous Kareena Kapoor Khan back to the big screen after a gap of two years. The actress took a break after giving birth to Bollywood's most popular toddler Taimur Ali Khan. Kareena will be seen alongside Sonam Kapoor, Swara ...

City »

BNP Standing Committee Member Dr Khondkar Mosharraf Hossain speaking at a discussion on 'Acceptable Election and Role of the Present Election Commission' organised by 'Nagorik Adhikar Andolon Forum' at the Jatiya Press Club on Saturday.


Editorial »

Myanmar will take back their people: We are unconcerned about the terrorists


AS the monsoon threatens the Rohingya refugees with the outbreak of vector-borne epidemics and diarrhoeal diseases, the repatriation process seems to be getting more and more complex. However, Bangladeshi officials at a meeting in Dhaka on Thursday urged Myanmar to hand over a 'specific list' of members of Arakan Rohingya ...

International »

White House pushes ahead with Mideast peace plan


AP, Washington  :The Trump administration is aiming to roll out its much-hyped but long-delayed Middle East peace plan next month amid signs it may further alienate the Palestinians by slashing millions of dollars in funding for humanitarian and development projects in the West Bank and Gaza.Five U.S. officials and a ...

Editorial »

Don`t ignore the UNHRC`s report : Be respectful to human rights and be with the people


THE UN Human Rights Council (HRC) has adopted a draft report on the human rights review of Bangladesh, with recommendations on taking steps to deter forced disappearances, extra judicial killings, and to ensure freedom of expression in media, politics and religion. During the 30th Session of the Universal Periodic Review ...

Football »

Richet Gomez of Bolivia's The Strongest (left) fights for the ball with Guzman Pereira of Uruguay's Penarol during a Copa Libertadores soccer game in Montevideo, Uruguay on Thursday.


.

City »

Muslim devotees offering munajat seeking divine blessings at the first Jum'a in Ramzan. The snap was taken from the city's Baitul Mukarram National Mosque.


.

Entertainment »

Sonia round the month of Ramzan


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :On the occasion of holy Ramzan, different TV channels are being aired various programmes to focus on the month. From day one of Ramzan popular TV actress, model and host Sonia Hossain has been hosting a daily show titled Lux Style File on Banglavision at 6:45pm. A ...

International »

Kachin civilians flee Myanmar`s `forgotten war`


AFP, Danai :Seng Moon grabbed her day-old baby and fled into the thick jungle, joining thousands of villagers escaping fighting between ethnic Kachin rebels and Myanmar's army, now reinforced by a unit notorious for its brutal "clearance" operations.The insurgency in Myanmar's remote northeast has festered for six decades, but unlike ...

Back Page »

Welcome Holy Ramzan


Abdul Muqit Chowdhury :The Holy month of Ramzan, the ninth month of lunar Arabic calendar, has arrived in our midst. The sighting of the crescent moon has brought with it the fragrance of the golden period of Rahmat (blessings), Maghfirat (forgiveness) and Nazat (salvation). A solemn occasion of complete surrender ...

Editorial »

Bangladesh supports Palestinian's legislative demand


NEWS media reported that Bangladesh is going to attend an extraordinary summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Istanbul on Friday, which will discuss a response to the recent opening of the new US embassy in Jerusalem. The OIC has termed the US move a "clear violation" ...

Cricket »

Disgraced Warner to play Sydney club cricket


Disgraced former Australian vice-captain David Warner will start his road to redemption by playing club cricket with Sydney's Randwick Petersham, officials said. The opener is serving a year-long ban from state and international cricket for his part in a plan to use sandpaper to tamper with the ball during the ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news