Burma commit crimes against humanity on its relations with rohingya muslims

İlknur Şebnem Öztemel - TDO - UN's rights agency declared that Rohingya Muslims in Burma may be the victims of crimes against humanity. According to a report that released in June, government is accused of carrying out a bloody crackdown in the western state of Rakhine and failed to act on UN recommendations. There are horrifying claims of gang rape, torture and murder at the hands of security forces State officials denied and said the army is hunting "terrorists" behind raids on police last month.  UN official in Bangladesh reported that the state was carrying out "ethnic cleansing" of Rohingya Muslims.

Western State of Rakhine; Bleeding Wound of Myanmar

Myanmar which is also known as Burma was the region's wealthiest nation in 1940s. However, due to religious extremism, ethnic/religious con-flicts contributed to weak human development and economic stagnation.

Approximately 75% of its population is Burman and Buddhist, %8-10 Christian and %5-7 Muslim.

Myanmar views its Rohingya population as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. Meanwhile the Rakhine Buddhists consider themselves a distinct race.

Actually Rohingya Muslims were settled there centuries ago. The Rohingya trace their origins in the region back to the 15th century when thousands of Muslims came to the former Arakan Kingdom. Many other Muslims immigrated to there during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries under colonial rule of British India.

It is widely accepted that the etymological root of the word is a combination of “Rohang”   which is a derivation of the word “Arakan” in the Rohingya dialect and its combination with the “ga” or “gya” means “from.”

Rakhine state is also Myanmar’s least developed state, with more than %78 of households living below the poverty threshold. Many people became smugglers and try to pay for transport out of Myanmar.

The Western State of Rakhine is the home of aggression for decades

Worse than Myanmar’s 1948 citizenship law; the military junta introduced a citizenship law in 1982 whose strict provisions stripped the Rohingya of access to full citizenship.  Until recently, the Rohingya have been able to register as temporary residents with identification cards which are called  “white cards’’. The white cards were providing  some limited rights but were not recognized as proof of citizenship. Similarly, under pressure from Buddhist nationalists protesting the Rohingya’s right to vote in a 2015 constitutional referendum,  President Thein Sein cancelled the usage of temporary ID cards in February 2015 and revoked their newly gained right to vote. White card owners  were allowed to vote in  2008 constitutional referendum and 2010 general elections. In order to get citizenship, they need to prove they have lived in Myanmar for 60 years but paperwork is often unavailable or  usually denied. As a result, their rights to study, work, travel, marry, practise their religion and access health services are restricted.

Obvious government efforts to "purify" Myanmar by driving out non-Burmese communities began in early 1962. Two major crises occurred in the region in 1978 and in 1991. In 1978, after many Bengalis fled to Myanmar during the troubles surrounding Bangladeshi independence, the government campaign known as Naga Min focused on the Rohingya, with the aim of forcing refugees to go out of Myanmar.

Then again in July 1991 the Myanmar government implemented another campaign that led roughly 250,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh. Crisis re- surfaced when Myanmar began to open up from 2011 on. Massive violence broke out in Rakhine state in 2012, continued at a low level through 2013, and erupted again in January 2014.

Rohingya; what a disadvantage situation that they live in.

Since communal violence broke out in 2012, more than 120,000 Rohingya flee from the country. Their favourite destinations are Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. Rohingya who decided not to leave their home have to struggle with army, poverty and health problems.

Nobel Prize is not a solution for Rohingya

Aung San Suu Kyi who is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the head of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD)  and   daughter of Aung San, could not be able to fulfil the expectations about Rohingya. Her father was the  engineer of Myanmar’s first liberation from the British and it has been expected from her to give an end to violence in Rakhine. Her silence and lack of practical moves disappointed people.

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