Ethnic Cleansing: The Rohingyas As Myanmar’s Endangered Species



Rohingya Ethnic Cleansing– The Rohingyas are counted as one of the most persecuted groups in the world today. The Muslim minority have become prey to the authorities of Myanmar which is predominantly of the Buddhist religion.

Dwelling in majority in Rakhine state, the Rohingyas have been denied citizenship since their earliest migration in to Myanmar (Formerly known as Burma) in the 12th century.

The Asian country is experiencing a heated clash between the military and Muslim militants.

On August 25, 2017, the Rohingyas reportedly attacked police facilities in northern Rakhine, killing 12 security personnel.

Myanmar authorities have claimed to respond to the attack in what observers have considered an ethnic cleansing due to the extremity of the measures applied.

Rakhine state is currently seething with violence.

According to the UN, over 250, 000 Rohingya refugees have migrated to Bangladesh in just two weeks. An estimated 1000 have been reportedly killed within the same period.

Contradicting the report of the Human rights agency, the Myanmar government says the death toll is at 421.

The Muslim minority have faced a lot of harsh treatments since the August Clash. Some of their homes have been burnt as they flee enmasse, seeking refuge in the neighboring Bangladesh. Many, especially women and children have drowned enroute Bangladesh.

Their plight have drawn the attention of the world. Notable personalities like Desmond Tutu and Malala Yousafzai have condemned the latest development while particularly calling on the State Counsellor of the country, Aung San Su Kyi to rise to the aid of the defenseless.

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So Why Is The World Particular About Aung San Su Kyi’s Silence?

Rohingya Ethnic Cleansing

Aung San Su Kyi is the State Counsellor of Myanmar. A position that has equated her as the de facto leader of Myanmar.

Before she attained the remarkable heights in politics, Aung was one of the faces of human rights. For that course she earned herself a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1991.

Having been a political prisoner for as long as 15 years, the world envisaged that she would understand the unfair limitations of the Rohingyas and intervene in the ongoing conflict.

Desmond Tutu spoke up a few days ago in an open letter.

In it the South African cleric reminded her of the noble course for which she has become an international heroine.

Starting off the letter on a regretful note, Tutu expressed his “profound sadness about the plight of the Muslim minority (the Rohingya) in Myanmar.

Rohingya Ethnic Cleansing

His letter was a clear cut call for all concerned in the Myanmar conflict to respect human rights regardless of religious and socio-cultural differences.

Specifically condemning Aung San Su Kyi’s Silence, he said

“We know that you know that human beings may look and worship differently – and some may have greater firepower than others – but none are superior and none inferior; that when you scratch the surface we are all the same, members of one family, the human family; that there are no natural differences between Buddhists and Muslims; and that whether we are Jews or Hindus, Christians or atheists, we are born to love, without prejudice. Discrimination doesn’t come naturally; it is taught.”

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He reminded the leader who is the 1st and incumbent State Counsellor of the Asian country to speak up against the suffering of the minority. Tutu also reminded her that her silence at this point surely has a grievous price on the long run.

“My dear sister: If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep. A country that is not at peace with itself, that fails to acknowledge and protect the dignity and worth of all its people, is not a free country.”

Aung San Su Kyi has however denied that there was no such thing as a Rohingya ethnic cleansing. Rather she says the recent clash has a terrorism undertone.

Brief History Of The Rohingya Muslims

An estimated 1.3 million Rohingyas were reportedly residents of Myanmar. They are believed to be descendants of Indian and Bangladeshi laborers in the colonial days.

Since their age old migration to Myanmar(Burma) they have not been legally recognized with a national identity. In the same way Bangladesh has equally shut out options of acknowledging them.

The Rohingyas are restricted from freedom of movement, state education and civil service jobs.

In 2013, the UN named the Rohingyas as one of the world’s most persecuted people. The agency believes this might be plot in disguise to expel the minority ethnic group, hence the name, Rohingyas ethnic cleansing.

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