Published On: Wed, Aug 30th, 2017

Myanmar’s Rohingya: The truth about the violence against Muslim population

Myanmar atrocities Burmese army against Rohingya civilians

MYANMAR is a part of the world near Bangladesh that has witnessed simmering tensions between its Buddhist and Muslim populations since communal violence broke out in 2012. There have been reports of mass civilian casualties after raids by Myanmar security forces against Rohingya fighters, recently. Moreover, a UN report found human rights violations, including crimes against humanity against Rohingya by security forces.  It is reported that some documents show mass gang rapes, killings – including of infants and children – brutal beatings and disappearances.

On the other hand, wth journalists banned from northern Rakhine state, the Burmese government has been trying to counter allegations that its soldiers have been raping and killing civilians belonging to the Rohingya Muslim ethnic minority. Still,  A government-appointed investigation is due to publish its final report on whether atrocities have been committed against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

Who are the Rohingya? On a daily basis, state-run newspapers print articles that denounce the international media for stories that highlight the plight of the Rohingya Muslim ethnic minority. There are about one million Rohingya living in Myanmar and they have been discriminated against for decades. For the last three-and-a-half months, those living in the north of Rakhine State have also been subject to a brutal military crackdown.

Exactly what is happening there depends on who you choose to believe, as the government has kept out everyone who is independent. Some claim the Burmese army is committing ethnic cleansing, even genocide but that is rejected by the Burmese army and Ms Suu Kyi, who says it is a counter-terrorism operation to catch the Rohingya militants who started the crisis when they attacked police outposts.

Ms Suu Kyi, “The Lady”, as she’s known here, became famous in the 1990s as an icon of human rights and democracy. While under military-enforced house arrest in Rangoon, reporters took great risks to speak to her, to hear her courageous story of resistance. Now Ms Suu Kyi is in power, things are rather different. She has created a powerful role for herself called State Counsellor to fulfil a promise of being “above the President”. In practice that seems to also mean “above” public scrutiny.

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