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Rohingya refugees deserve international justice

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The UN has termed the events of late last summer as ethnic cleansing — now it’s suggesting genocide

Gulf News
17:01 March 13, 2018

It is a little over six months now since 680,000 Rohingya of Myanmar fled their homes, villages, businesses and communities as they were subjected to an unprecedented orgy of bloodletting, murder, mayhem and violence by security forces. They brought stories of mass murder, whole villages shot and burned to the ground — and the discovery of mass graves in their former homelands and satellite imagery confirms their sad tales.

What is evident is that the extent and scale of the violence shows that it was organised and concerted — with the forces of the government in Myanmar complicit and committed to carrying it out. Fresh minefields were laid in front of fleeing refugees, machine-gun squads spraying automatic fire on unarmed civilians, whole villages burned to the ground with a brutal efficiency that would have made SS troops proud.

Now, the United Nationals Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee is reporting that the events of late last summer amount to a genocide. Indeed, the dark chapter has already been termed ethnic cleansing by the United Nations.

Those who fled Rakhine state now live in camps in Bangladesh, unwilling to return to their homeland as long as the forces of Aung San Suu Kyi remain in place. She has been stripped of honours, including most recently one from the prestigious United States Holocaust Museum. If indeed there is evidence of genocide — and all indications suggest that it is — all those responsible, including Suu Kyi, must be held accountable. It is not sufficient to say that she stood by and did nothing — for that is all it takes for evil to prosper.

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