The brutal ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine State of Myanmar (Burma) has continued unabated for a month now inspite of all the condemnation of the Burmese military’s atrocities against civilian population and criticism of the Burmese government for its inaction on this humanitarian catastrophe.
Half a million people, almost half of the whole Rohingya population of Arakan Province have fled to bordering Bangladesh without any possessions in fear for their life.
A great majority of them are women, elderly and almost 250,000 children, many of them without their parents.
More than a thousand Rohingyas have been killed, brutally murdered by the Burmese military, hundreds of women raped and entire villages burned down as shown by satellite images.
The crisis involving minority Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine state has become “catastrophic,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres declared last month.
Demonstrations and rallies have been organised all over the world condemning the atrocities being committed against these most persecuted people in the world.
On Sunday 24 September, a protest rally against the genocide of Rohingya Muslims was organised at Sydney Town Hall and addressed by community leaders including Bob Car, former Premier of NSW and a former foreign minister of Australia as well as the Green’s Senator Lee Rhiannon.
Bob Carr, while foreign minister had personally conveyed his concerns regarding the denial of human rights of Rohingya people with the military strongmen of Myanmar and again reiterated at the rally that the Rohingyas refugees should be resettled back in their ancestral land in Arakan with guaranteed safety and with full citizenship rights.
A community stand against ‘Massacre in Myanmar’ was held on Sunday 17 September 12 noon at Lakemba Memorial Park, The Boulevard, outside Lakemba Train Station, where a number of community leaders addressed the brutal campaign of murder and forced displacement of Rohingya Muslims.
A protest rally on Sunday 17 September was held to “Stop Genocide in Myanmar, The World’s Most Silent Genocide” organised by Sydney Press and Media Council in Martin Place, Sydney.
The Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, supported by 131 Australian Muslim organisations have termed the treatment of Rohingyas as genocide and called on the Australian government to show leadership in putting a stop to the treatment of Rohingya minority in Burma.
“Grievances that have been left to fester for decades have now escalated beyond Myanmar’s borders, destabilizing the region,” Guterres told reporters at the United Nations. “The humanitarian situation … is catastrophic.”
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said the full humanitarian situation in Rakhine state couldn’t be fully assessed because of Myanmar’s refusal to give access.
The continuing Myanmar military operation against the minority Rohingya people appears to be a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” He further added.
“Last year I warned that the pattern of gross violations of the human rights of the Rohingya suggested a widespread or systematic attack against the community, possibly amounting to crimes against humanity,” he said in his opening statement at the Human Rights Council 36th session.
A large number of human rights organisations have warned governments to act against this humanitarian disaster while many aid organisations have voiced their inability to help people affected by this catastrophe due to lack of access to those suffering within the Arakan Province in Burma.
The Dalai Lama has called on Myanmar to follow the example of the Buddha and come to the aid of the country’s persecuted Rohingya minority.
Twelve Nobel Prize laureates have written an open letter to the UN Security Council urging it to intervene in the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.
“The world is anxiously waiting to see that UNSC is playing its role to bring end to a humanitarian catastrophe and build peace in the region,” reads the letter, which was also signed by 15 other prominent figures.
The signatories include 10 winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, including the youngest-ever, education activist Malala Yousafzai, and Desmond Tutu. Two winners of the Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine also signed the letter.