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Rohingyas need attention

(Photo: MSF/Kaung Htet)

By Mashhood Roohul Amin 
March 19, 2014

Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar have been the target of atrocities perpetrated by the local population. The international community has all along been indifferent to their plight. World leaders who claim to be the protagonists of human rights have done nothing to alleviate the sufferings of these people. More international issues have lately cropped up placing the Rohingya problem on the back burner. Syria, Ukraine and Iran are a few of them. 

Although Myanmar claims it is moving toward democracy and human rights icon Suu Kyi, who had endured hardships for two decades under Burma’s former military junta, is now a parliamentarian things have not changed, instead they have worsened. 

It is an irony that Suu Kyi had been fighting human rights violation all along her life but when she got an opportunity to act she chose to keep silent at the brutalities perpetrated on the Rohingya Muslims. 

Doctors Without Borders had announced on Feb. 28 they had been expelled from Myanmar, adding that the decision had put tens of thousands of human lives at risk. Later, the government said the group might be allowed to resume operations anywhere in the country but the Rakhine state. 

The humanitarian group is considered as a lifeline to the impoverished country as it has operated there for two decades. Denying it access to Rohingya Muslims is a gross violation of human rights that warrants international attention.

According to a UN report, a large number of Rohingyas were killed in January in an attack by Buddhist nationalists. These groups are running political campaigns urging the government to do whatever it can to persecute Muslims. 

It also exposes the true face of the Myanmar government, which pretends to sympathize with the Muslim community and at the same time provides tacit support to nationalist groups to carry out ethnic cleansing of the Rohingyas. 

Experts believe the Myanmar government will continue its brutal policies toward the Rohingyas, who are considered to be one of the most neglected ethnic groups in the world, until and unless the UN and the European states slap economic sanctions on the country. The world must act to save the Rohingyas before it’s too late.

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