In Mayanmar violent attacks on Rohingya Muslims continue unabated. In December 2017 Canada's special envoy Bob Rae had issued his interim report on the situation. His ability to provide a meaningful final report will depend on whether he is granted free and fair access to the Rakhine State and whatever is left of the Rohingya population in Mayanmar. After thousands of murders, rapes and the exodus of over 700000 Rohoigya mainly to Bangladesh--out of a total population just over a million to begin with-- over three quarters of them are no longer alive or have fled Mayanmar military's brutal campaign against them.
Based on their field survey Doctors without Borders had said that last year between August and September alone some 6700 Rohingya had been killed in the military crackdown. The United Nations Human Rights Council had appointed a fact-finding mission to investigate the conditions in Mayanmar but it was not allowed access to country or the government officials to talk with them.
Three days ago, calling the international advisory board set up by Mayanmar to advise it on the Rohingya crisis "a whitewash", the US diplomat Bill Richardson--onetime governor of New Mexico--resigned from it. He had merely requested the erstwhile darling of the western elites Aung Sung Suu Kyi to expeditiously address the arrests and trials of the two Reuters journalists for allegedly breaching the country's Official Secrets Act for "investigating the reports of a Rohingya mass grave". Reportedly she "exploded...her face quivering and if she had been a little closer to me, she might have hit me..".
Democracy can't function without a free press. In the face of the ongoing ethnic cleansing by the generals and the military whose dictatorship she once fought, her continuing silence is not just extremely disturbing; it makes this onetime icon for the world's democracies clearly complicit in the deliberate killing and expelling spree against the Rohingya. For many months the generals and the military have been systematically maiming, killing, and raping the Rohingya. She hasn't clearly or at all raised her voice against the atrocities perpetrated upon them.
Other than the strong condemnation of the violence against the Rohingya, one statement from Prime Minister Trudeau, the appointment of Bob Rae and his interim report on the situation, Canada has been largely absent and silent on this grave situation. Canada must do more. It should impose 'targeted sanctions' against the brutal regime. It should approach the International Criminal Court to highlight the serious crimes of the generals and the implicit complicity of Suu Kyi.
Unfortunately India, the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Mayanmar's neighbour has fared no better. Not only has it just looked silently on as the Rohingya continue to be killed and maimed, it has also actively tried to discourage and prevent the fleeing Rohingya from entering or staying in India.
The world must stand up to the generals--the butchers of Mayanmar-- and publicly challenge Suu Kyi to condemn the crimes against humanity being perpetrated on the defenceless Rohingya.
Living under the constant barrage of the unexpected, the bizarre and never before seen insane presidency of the USA, our senses may have been dulled, nay numbed, by the lies frothed daily by the man who currently occupies the White House. But the crimes committed by the government of Mayanmar headed by Suu kyi, once a celebrated Peace Nobel Laureate, are too serious to be ignored any longer. Unfortunately the same western liberal elite which, whenever reminded of the Holocaust, legitimately cries itself hoarse uttering "never again" has been in deep slumber of apathy while the government of Mayanmar has refused to let the UN oversee the plight of the Rohingya confined to the camps in the Rakhine state.
As the world is focussed on Trump's excruciating man-child presidency, Bangladesh is about to return the close to 3/4 million Rohingya refugees to Mayanmar putting them at risk of being placed in internment-type camps. Under the brutal generals, unchecked by a silently complicit Suu Kyi and in the absence of any UN or international observers, there are legitimate fears-- given the past and present brutality of the generals, not entirely unfounded-- that the returning Rohingya may be headed into concentration-type camps. The situation is bad enough as it is and cries out for a more robust response from the world. If the internment-type camps ever turn into concentration-type camps, Canada and the world will once again awake too late once and say "NEVER AGAIN"; and those words shall ring completely hollow.