Wed, 20 Feb 2019

Collective action called for against Myanmar

Dildar Baykan - Anadolu Agency
11 Feb 2019, 09:23 GMT+10

NEW YORK, New York - An international conference in New York called for the boycott of Myanmar due to ethnic cleansing accusations regarding the country.

The International Conference on Protection and Accountability in Burma held at Barnard College, Columbia University, in New York on Sunday, brought together the leading Rohingya campaigners, activists, renowned genocide scholars and UN officials.

It stressed the genocide behind the violence and persecutions of Myanmar on Rohingya Muslims.

The UN Security Council was criticized for not taking a serious step due to the obstruction of Russia and China despite a 2018 UN report documenting the genocide on Rakhine Muslims by Myanmar state.

The conference attendees warned that the previous genocide had been blatant but no measures were taken to prevent it.

It went on to warn that the international community is again failing to react to the violence, which could lead to another genocide.

Speaking at the conference, female activists said the Myanmar army was using rape as a weapon against Rakhine Muslim women and their children were burned in front of their eyes.

It is pointed out in the conference that although the most persecuted people in Myanmar were Rakhine Muslims, other ethnic minorities -- such as in the Karen, Kachin and Shan states -- have also become the target of the army.

The conference called on the international community and companies to boycott and take collective action against the Myanmar government.

Azeem Ibrahim, a Research Professor at the Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College and a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Global Policy in Washington explained what drove him to a write his book The Rohingyas: Inside Myanmar's Hidden Genocide".

Ibrahim told Anadolu Agency that he started searching about Rakhine Muslims and realized that there were no books about them and wrote his book in 2016.

He said everybody knew that what was going on in Myanmar was "a slow-motion genocide" for decades.

"The Myanmar authorities believe that they can get rid of the Rohingya once and for all," he said.

Ibrahim said the reason for the lack of "appetite" of the international community was that they did not see "a wealth to actually intervene."

"There was no motivation for the international community, for the great powers to intervene in this situation. Rohingya is not important to anybody. They're not important to the United Nations, to the U.S. or even to the Muslim world," he explained.

Ibrahim said there was not just single solution to the Rakhine crisis and the perpetrators and the organizers of this genocide must be held accountable.

He went on to say that granting citizenship of Rohingya back should also be responded by the international community.

"These people are highly vulnerable," he said.

"You do not have a nationality, a citizenship, you don't belong anywhere, you are living in a refugee camp. And then when you know you're going to die in this refugee camp, and after that your children are also going to be living here as beggars and they're all going to die in refugee camp."

Tun Khin, president of the Burmese Rohingya Organization UK was born and brought up in Rakhine State, Burma. He was rendered stateless by a 1982 nationality law.

"We are facing 21st century genocide... these military criminals in Myanmar and other military criminals must be brought to International Criminal Court," he told Anadolu Agency

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