Echoing a global outcry against the ongoing genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar/Burma, now in its third month, Tun Khin, President of the UK based Burmese Rohingya Organisation has called for stronger action including a broad-based economic sanction of Myanmar.
“Rohingya people are facing genocide in the 21st century. This is the time to act. What the US and the international community is doing is not enough,” said Tun Khin.
He was responding to the joint press conference of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with Myanmar’s de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi in the capital Naypyitaw on Wednesday 15 November, where Tillerson said he favoured individual sanctions against military officials based on “credible and reliable information” of their involvement in atrocities.
According to a report published on Tuesday 14 November by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Fortify Rights, there is “mounting evidence” of genocide against the Rohingya in Myanmar.
The report titled “They tried to kill us all, Atrocity Crimes against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State, Myanmar is put together by Washington based Simon-Skjodt Centre for the Prevention of Genocide and South East Asia based Fortify Rights, a non-profit organisation registered in US and Switzerland.
The report gives eyewitness accounts of clearance operation by the Burmese military in Rakhine state involving attacks on Rohingya civilians employing well-orchestrated tactics of murder, rape and sexual violence, arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances and forced displacement of residents from entire villages by putting them on fire and shooting those running for their lives.
The report found that within the international legal framework, these actions by the Burmese military amount to crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and genocide.
“These crimes thrive on impunity and inaction,” said Matthew Smith, chief executive officer of Fortify Rights in a statement. “Condemnations aren’t enough. Without urgent international action towards accountability, more mass killings are likely.”
Tun Khin called for targeted sanctions against Myanmar’s military, which has driven out about 600,000 Rohingya from western Rakhine state into neighbouring Bangladesh since September. “Every day Rohingyas are being killed and their houses burnt. It’s two-and-a-half months since the military offensive began and still atrocities are continuing,” he said.
“We demand that Myanmar be referred to the ICC [the International Criminal Court] and the UN peace-keeping force be deployed to protect the lives of Rohingya. We also need a UN-mandated global arms embargo on the country.”
Another Rohingya activist based in Germany, Ro Nay San Lwin said the army will never admit its crimes against the Rohingya – which troops have been committing for the past 39 years.
“They have committed many crimes against other minorities as well such as Karen, Kachin and Shan,” said Ro Nay San Lwin.