Around 100 Rohingya Muslims have been killed in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in the recent clashes with security forces. This is simply genocide.
Following the killings, thousands of Rohingya Muslims have attempted to flee to neighbouring nation Bangladesh while the Buddhist government claims that insurgents are attacking government troops.
According to Arkan News Agency, after midnight last Thursday, army and border guards raided the villages of Rohingya Muslims who responded by defending themselves.
On Monday, Myanmar security forces intensified operations against Rohingya Muslims following three days of clashes in the worst violence involving Myanmar’s Muslim minority in five years.
Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi accused the so-called Rohingya fighters of burning down homes and using child soldiers amid the violence in Rakhine State, which is home to some 1.1 Rohingya Muslims.
However, the so-called Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), an armed group which claims to be defending the Muslim minority, rejected the allegations and accused the government of inciting violence.
“While raiding Rohingya villages, the Burmese (Myanmar) brutal military soldiers bring along with them groups of Rakhine (Buddhist) extremists to attack Rohingya villagers, loot Rohingyas’ properties and later burn down Rohingya houses,” the group’s Twitter account said on Monday.
Following the upsurge in violence, some 2,000 Muslims have managed to cross into Bangladesh, according to the latest figures given by the makeshift refugee camps on the Bangladeshi side of the border.
Human rights groups alarmed
Meanwhile, the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) and ODHIKAR – Coalition for Human Rights have urged the United Nations Human Rights Council to probe the situation of the Rohingya Muslims.
The two rights groups have called for immediate, effective action from the international human rights community to protect the victims of Rohingya Muslim community from ethnic cleansing by the military and security forces of Myanmar.
ALRC and ODHIKAR further noted that Rohingya Muslims are the victims of gross human rights violations, including mass killings, enforced disappearances, and torture, rape and arson attacks. Their fundamental human rights are being completely denied to evict them through a brutal process from their own land, where they have been living almost thousand years. Such crimes against humanity by the Myanmar government escalated when General Ne Win assumed power in 1962. This has continued in the regime of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Rohingya Muslims targeted for decades
The Myanmar government has conducted several security operations in the past few decades in the Rohingya-majority areas of Rakhine state of Myanmar. After an incident of militants attacks on 9 October 2016 at a border check-post in Rakhine state, that killed nine policemen, the Myanmar government started a “clearance operation” in the Rohingya villages targeting Rohingya Muslims. During the offensive, security forces brutally killed and raped Rohingya women and committed a massacre of Rohingyas. The security forces and Buddhist extremists have now re-launched wide spread atrocities against the Rohingya Muslims. Myanmar blocked UN probe in the Rakhine state.
The UN Human Rights Council, on 30 May 2017, appointed a three-member team to investigate the allegations of killings, rape, and torture by security forces against Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine state. The Myanmar government refused to grant them visas, saying that it would not let the outside world investigate Rohingya ‘crimes against humanity’ claims.
Clearly, this new cycle of violence and killings – dubbed the last stages of genocide – would not just wipe out the Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar but also force thousands to flee, giving rise to more incidences of trafficking, corruption involving high-ranking officials and crime.
The international reaction to the unfolding genocide of Muslims in Myanmar has been lackluster to say the least, can Myanmar Muslims rely on a firm global response to save them from the ongoing atrocities?