MNA Editorial Desk: Myanmar is carrying out genocide against its 1.3 million Rohingya Muslim population – one that is being ignored, in the most part, by the international community, despite acknowledgement by the United Nations that mass killings, torture, gang rapes and forced deportations are occurring.
The Rohingya are the world’s largest stateless community and of one of its most victimized minorities. Using a dialect similar to that spoken in Chittagong in southeast Bangladesh, the Sunni Muslims are loathed by many in majority-Buddhist Myanmar who see them as illegal immigrants and call them ‘Bengali’ – even though many have lived in Myanmar for generations.
They are not officially recognized as an ethnic group, partly due to a 1982 law stipulating that minorities must prove they lived in Myanmar prior to 1823 — before the first Anglo-Burmese war — to obtain nationality.
Most live in the impoverished western state of Rakhine but are denied citizenship and harassed by restrictions on movement and work.
According to the European Rohingya Council about 3,000 Muslims were killed in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in last three days. Deadly attacks on border posts in Rakhine state broke out on Friday, resulting in mass civilian casualties.
According to a statement released by the Turkish Human Rights and Justice Movement (IHAK), more than a 100,000 civilians have been displaced in Rakhine, while another 2,000 Muslims are trapped on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border which was closed by the Bangladeshi government.
However, the region has seen simmering anxiety between its Buddhist and Muslim populations since communal violence broke out in 2012.
However, authorities in Myanmar say close to 100 people have been killed since Friday when armed men, reportedly from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), launched a pre-dawn raid on police outposts in the restive region.
The overall area in which burnings were found is 100 kilometres in length, approximately five times larger than the area where burnings by Burmese security forces occurred from October to November 2016, Human Rights Watch said.
More than 3,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh from Myanmar, where the Muslim ethnic minority faces persecution, in the past three days, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh has proposed joint military operations with Myanmar against Rohingya fighters in Rakhine state. About 87,000 refugees entered Bangladesh in 2016 following the military crackdown. There are already almost 400,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh in squalid camps near its border with Myanmar.
Undoubtedly, the international community must do more to halt Myanmar’s systematic extermination and expulsion of Rohingya Muslims. To do nothing is to provide the Muslim world of yet another clear example of the West’s refusal to intervene when Muslim lives are endangered.