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As The World Is Kept Out, A Genocide Of Rohingya Muslims Rages On In Myanmar

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Myanmar’s persecution of their Rohingya (Muslim religious minorities) had already apprehended the eyes of world media at the end of 2016. The viciousness and delinquency against humanity left a mark of horridness on our cognizance.

The media and UN agencies are not being allowed to cover the annihilation that has been going on after the October 9, 2016 attack when 9 border guards were killed. The attack gave the military the opening to take charge of Rohingyas populations by unleashing pitiless battering.

It seemed like the military just needed a reason to take on the Rohingya population.

The Rakhine state, the only Muslim state in the whole of Myanmar, is home to most of the Rohingya population. Historically, Muslims were living in this state which was previously known as Arakan state hundreds of years ago.

It is also recorded that during the British era there was a noteworthy amount of migration from parts of British India and present-day Bangladesh to Burma for accelerating the British colonial construction process.

Myanmar’s people consider these migrants as Bengalis and convey ample fury towards this community. These migrants were employed in menial jobs and have occupied the lands of native people which are the focal points of displeasure.

Myanmar, being a predominantly Buddhist country, dreads the expansion of Rohingya territories fearing it will bring Muslim dominance to the country. Because of which in 1982, General Ne Win brought new citizenship law and recognized 135 ethnic groups. The recognition for obvious reasons excludes Rohingyas.

This exclusion made them stateless as they were deprived of basic human rights – right to education, land ownership, healthcare, and also from job opportunities. They are also not allowed to travel to different parts of the country freely.

In such a situation, it is hardly possible to persist.

Thousands of Rohingyas are running away from their homes and taking shelter in the overcrowded refugee camps in the border areas of Bangladesh and India. It has been tremendously grim to afford humanitarian assistance to these affected people.

In the year 2015, the whole world noticed the plight of Rohingya when the Andaman sea crisis came to light. For a better living condition and from fear of being persecuted, thousands of Rohingyas took to the open sea to reach out to the countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

The risk they have taken in pursuit of survival made their plight known to the other parts of the world.

The recent operation that the military is conducting after the October incident, is also considered as ethnic cleansing by world media. Here, the utmost priority is to establish Myanmar as a Buddhist country.

The Buddhist nationalists have been very much vocal against the Rohingya expansion in the Rakhine state. We have already seen the violence erupted due the conflict among Rakhine Buddhist and Rohingya population in 2012.

The Rohingyas were brutally persecuted and even children and women were not spared. Women were raped and ‘crime against humanity’ was perpetrated frequently. In the current status quo, there are evidences of these crimes, but when asked the reply from the authorities is that ‘Rohingya women are too dirty, the soldiers would not rape them’.

Just because the world media focused on these exploitative issues and UN agencies providing humanitarian support, the locals are having odious stance for the respective agencies. By the end of 2016, the persecution of the Rohingyas in Myanmar had achieved all the features of a ‘genocide’.

The Myanmar Government has remained awfully silent regarding the pertaining issue, denying all the charges that has been brought to the military performing massacre in the Rakhine state.

Thousands of houses are being torched making the poor population homeless and forcing them to run away to Bangladesh, India and Indonesia or any other safe shelter state. Miles after miles of these helpless Rohingyas are sitting on the roadsides of host countries and in refugee camps waiting for humanitarian assistance.

Humanitarian activists are finding it difficult to provide the newly-arrived Rohingyas with sufficient support.

Meanwhile, the new NLD Government’s spokespersons have been all too silent on these issue. The Noble laureate Aung Sang Suu Kyi is facing tremendous criticism for not speaking up for the Rohingyas.

She has sacrificed an astonishing amount of time to establish democracy and to ensure human rights in Myanmar. Now, if she continues her current silent stand that will repudiate everything that she has done. The world will stop relying on her magnitude.

What can be assumed for Suu’s silence is that she didn’t want to disturb the Buddhist nationalists, who helped her come to power.

On the other hand, she still doesn’t have power over the Myanmar army as her Government is yet to bring about proper democracy in the country. After a half century of military rule in the country, the system has to be radically brought into democratic framework.

If the predicament of this highly maltreated ethnic group is not  redeemed soon, the ongoing crisis will push the world back towards degradation with regards to achieving SDG goals for all.

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  1. John Boyd

    World meida and some orgazations are falsely accusing the Buddhist Rakhine people of ‘genocide’ against the Bengali (‘Rohingya’) Muslims.
    That is not even close to being a situation that can use the term ‘Genocide’.
    The only true genocide in Burma was the 1942 Maungdaw Genocide – where Bengali Muslims (the term ‘Rohingya’ was unknown then) armed by the British to fight the Japanese in WWII did not fight the Japanese,
    but instead, turned the weapons on the dominant, indigenous Buddhist Culture, killing 30,000 Buddhists in Maungdaw township alone, burned over 400 Buddhist villages, and sent 100,000 Buddhists fleeing for their lives
    These are attempts by so-called Rohingya to cover their exaggerated and manipulative accusations against the Rakhine Buddhists in western Burma, with the inflammatory charge of: ‘genocide against the Rohingya Muslims’.
    Bengali Rohingya terrorists movement
    Bengali Rohingya Terrorist Network

  2. Zamana Jali

    UN has labelled Rohingya Muslims as the most oppressed people in the world. Rohingya Muslims are suffering from death, disease, malnutrition, while the government along with the Buddhists are killing Muslims left, right, and center. Buddhist mobs have murdered men, raped women, beaten children to death, torched homes, and incinerated entire neighbourhoods.

    The United Nations says that 140,000 ethnic Rohingya Muslims are still stuck in refugee camps on the western coast of Burma. Rohingya, a long-persecuted ethnic minority, have been forced to live as virtual prisoners in temporary huts, scraping by on donated bags of rice and chickpeas and whatever fish they could pull from the ocean. The situation is so dire that some 86,000 people have tried to flee by boat, and Human Rights Watch has accused the government of a campaign of “ethnic cleansing.”

    The Muslim community continues to face systematic discrimination, which include restrictions in the freedom of movement, restrictions in access to land, food, water, education and health care, and restrictions on marriages and birth registration.

    The humanitarian crisis worsened over the winter, after the Burmese government suspended operations of the aid group Doctors Without Borders in the area, leaving more than 700,000 people without proper medical care

  3. Adam Carroll

    The Rohingya have been increasingly disenfrachised over the last decades and there have been waves of refugees fleeing the oppression, numbering many hundreds of thousands now dispersed throughout the region. This ethnic and religious minority now exists in a stateless limbo without right to work, receive an education, travel in their own country, even to marry freely. Rohingya rights were taken away piece-meal over many years and only in 2015 was their right to vote was taken away. State media does not even use their name.

    It is disappointing that Burma’s defacto leader Aung San Suu Kyi is unwilling to confront the military for its abuses of the Rohingya. Her government’s policy has been denial, not reform. We hope the readers of this article will not be bamboozled by the anti Muslim propaganda being posted in comments. I urge those with a sense of honor and conscience to visit the websites of Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Physicians for Human Rights, the US Holocaust Museum, US Commission for International Religious Freedom, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Burma, Yale University and Fortify Rights, and the list goes on.

    To maintain a pluralist society, and sustain democracy, nations must build a cultural of equal rights and mutual respect.

    Adem Carroll
    Burma Task Force USA

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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