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05th-Jul-2019

Myanmar deserves a tit-for-tat answer for its audacious role

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MYANMAR security forces and insurgents are committing human rights violations against civilians in restive western states that may amount to fresh war crimes. A 2017 military crackdown drove more than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh. UN investigators have said that Myanmar's operation included mass killings, gang rapes and widespread arson which are the textbook examples of genocide. The Yangon categorically rejected committing those atrocities and said its military campaign across northern Rakhine was in response to attacks by Rohingya militants.
Government troops are currently fighting ethnic rebels in conflict-torn Rakhine and Chin States. The Arakan Army is an insurgent group that is fighting for greater autonomy for the two states. On June 22, authorities ordered telecoms companies to shut down internet services in the two states that interrupted social media networks including facebook.
The UN independent expert on human rights Yanghee Lee said that the conflict with the Arakan Army in northern Rakhine State and parts of southern Chin State has continued over the past few months and its impact on the civilians is devastating. Many acts of the Tatmadaw (army) and the Arakan Army violating international humanitarian law may amount to war crimes.
Lee cited reports of civilians, mostly ethnic Rakhine men, being detained and interrogated by the Tatmadaw for suspected links to the Arakan Army and said several had died in custody. In April, a military helicopter opened fire on Rohingya men and boys collecting bamboo. Some 35,000 people have fled the violence prone areas this year.
However Myanmar's permanent representative to United Nations Kyaw Moe Tun said that the government of Myanmar is working tirelessly to end ethnic strife and conflict and to achieve sustainable peace in Myanmar through a peace process. But it won't be wise to rely on Myanmar government's statement. Myanmar has consistently tried to dodge Bangladesh by giving false hopes including repatriation of Rohingya refugees. We are afraid that the fresh violence erupted in different areas of Myanmar will endanger Bangladesh's security and regional balance of power. Dhaka must diplomatically involve its regional friends and adopt a tit-for-tat strategy against Myanmar for its audacious role.