The world stands by as body count rises in Rohingya massacre

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Fresh violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar has left around 400 dead since August 25 in the western state of Rakhine, where the unabated killings seem to warrant little comment and even less action from global heads of state.

Reuters reports that the latest crackdowns, resulting from a deadly attack on Rakhine police post by insurgents, has resulted in around 38,000 Rohingya crossing into neighboring Bangladesh, where they are far from welcome. Border guards there have trying to keep them from crossing into the country. On Thursday, guards at the Bangladesh border pulled the bodies of 15 Rohingya, 11 of them children, from the river.

Bodies of Rohingya women and children recovered by Bangladeshi villagers lie on a beach at Shah Porir Deep, in Teknak, Bangladesh, Thursday, Aug.31, 2017. Three boats carrying ethnic Rohingya fleeing violence in Myanmar have capsized in Bangladesh and 26 bodies of women and children have been recovered, officials said Thursday. (AP Photo/Suvra Kanti Das)
Bodies of Rohingya women and children lie on a beach at Shah Porir Deep, Bangladesh. At least three boats carrying ethnic Rohingya fleeing violence in Myanmar have capsized and 40 bodies have been recovered. CREDIT: AP Photo/Suvra Kanti Das

A Muslim minority in the Buddhist-majority Myanmar (also known as Burma), the Rohingya are referred to as “Bengalis” and do not have full citizenship rights.

In what appears to be an acknowledgement of how the international community has failed the Rohingya, U.N. rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said earlier this week that the this “turn of events is deplorable” and that it “was predicted and could have been prevented.”

The leaders of countries such as Turkey and Malyasia calling for an end to the crackdown against the roughly 1 million Rohingya living in Myanmar., a country of nearly 53 million. The U.K. has asked that the U.N. Security Council “discuss the violence in Myanmar” in its scheduled Wednesday meeting.

The United Nations issued a report in February highlighting “mass gang-rape, killings — including of babies and young children, brutal beatings, disappearances and other serious human rights violations by Myanmar’s security forces.” Although the term “genocide” has been used to describe what is happening to the Rohingya, it does not appear in the U.N. report. 

Tensions between Rohingya and Myanmar authorities have been brewing since the 1990s, but hit a flash point first in 2012 when hardline Rakhine Buddhists clashed with Rohingya insurgents, and then again in 2016,  when a deadly attack on Myanmar border police triggered months of fighting.

But despite an escalating campaign to push the Rohingya out of the country — via crackdowns or, as documented by Human Rights Watch, burning down entire villages — the international community has failed to stop the killing.

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