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Myanmar: Ann San Suu Kyi and the silence of war crimes against the Rohingya's
09. October 2018 at 09:02
To summarise the situation in Myanmar as an obvious reality of ethnic cleansing is to say the least why individual like the respected Ann San Suu Kyi has remained silent on this issue of war crimes against humanity in the Rahkine state of Myanmar been perpetuated by a government she presides over.
"History will judge societies, and government and their institutions not by how big they are or how well they have serve the rich and the powerful, but how effectively they respond to the needs of the poor and the helpless"- Cesar Chavez (American labor leader and civil rights activist).

In recent times, there have been series of very scary and gory reports of war crimes against humanity but at no time has these reports been acted upon or taken seriously by the institutional government of the Republic of the union of Myanmar. Indeed, it has become a state controlled belligerent act of absolute will and might against minorities perceived as outcast and stateless.

The government of Myanmar has continued to deliberately trampled on the rights, privileges, and esteem values of very small ethnic groups in the state of Myanmar with the assistance of allied military forces. They have successfully carried out flawless operations and assault against harmless minorities whose only crime was to live along the coastal region of present-day Rakhine State.

Bounded by India and the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh to the west, Thailand and Laos to its east and China to its north and northeast, the south eastern Asian nation has since fallen short of absolute democratic concord ever since the attainment of independence in 1948. A fit which now spell doom for a nation known for her rich peculiarities in jade and gems, oil, natural gas and other mineral resources.

The sovereign state of Myanmar also known as Burma, for the majority of her independent years, has been seriously engaged in series of ethnic strife which has resulted in wanton acts of killings and devastating attacks. A multi- ethnic state with over 135 ethnic groups subdivided into nine recognized races. This heavily populated Buddhist state have since been criticized continually for her ill and imperial treatments of minorities from time immemorial.

This sad and obvious reality can be attributed to the gruesome and unholy annihilation and onslaught dehumanization against on one of the world's most persecuted minorities- The Rohingya`s

Described by the United Nations in 2013 as one of the world's least wanted persons on earth,this group of ethnicity from time immemorial has continued to suffer series of untold hardship and grossly unceremonious treatment in the hands of both the Burmese military, her government, and the nationalist Buddhist. A calculated attempt many has attributed to what is today known as "ethnic cleansing."

While some have termed the brutal attacks and deadly killings of the persecuted minority Muslim by a legitimate government structure as gravely Genocidal, others have labeled this crackdown as a terrible operation which is not just an act of Mephistopheles, but also a powered attempt geared in the direction of a possible expulsion and onward extinction of this harmless civil groups whose only crime was to be born in a settlement once called a home.

In 2015, the Simon-Skjodt Centre of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum stated in a press statement that the Rohingyas are "at grave risk of additional mass atrocities and even genocide"

According to Yanghee Lee, a South Korean developmental psychologist and professor at Sungkyunkwan University and also a United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, indicates that the Burmese government may be trying to "expel the Rohingya population from the country altogether"

In a remark to the Human rights council in 2017, Lee stated thus;"I heard allegation after allegation of horrific events like these, slitting of throats, indiscriminate shootings, setting alight houses with people tied up inside and throwing very young children into the fire, as well as gang rapes and other sexual violence.

"The situation in Rakhine state is very complicated in nature and thus requires complicated answers"

Noble among leading figure who has criticized the injustices in Myanmar against Muslim minorities is South African statesman and Noble Laureate Desmond Tutu whose contribution to the May 2015 Oslo conference on the persecution of the Rohingya's suffice thus; "Human beings may look and behave differently to one another, but ultimately none of us can claim any kind of supremacy. We are all the same. There are no natural differences between Buddhists and Muslims. It is possible to transplant a Christian heart into a Hindu chest and for a citizen of Israel to donate a kidney to a Palestinian".

Despite been able to trace her historical mileage and fact file to the 8th century which corroborates academic and scholarly findings relating the presence of the Rohingya's in the Arakan region prior to the 15th century, the Burmese institutions has continued to deny this small minority of Muslim and Hindu ethnicity their legality and citizenship legitimacy.

Given the degrees of arbitrary arrest, extrajudicial killings, gang rapes, brutalities, and fatal death situations against civilians, it is glaringly enough to suffice the obvious as it relates the ignoble injustices and smear campaign against a particular group of ethnic origins.

Believed to have evolved from the settlements of Arab traders ages ago, the Rohingya's traces their historical links to indigenous western Myanmar with a heritage of over a millennium and influence from the Arabs, Mughals and Portuguese.

According to the government structure in Myanmar, these minorities are illegal immigrants from the Bay of Bangladesh and as such are not recognized ethnic group in the Northern Rahkine state. This seemingly conjectures heavily contradicts historical wigs of facts which saw Muslim minority attaining elective positions into the parliaments of Myanmar on until the late 20th century when the persecution heightened.

Burma's post colonial government elected in 1948 officially recognized the Rohingya as an indigenous community, as did its first military government that ruled from 1962 to 1974. Manipulation by the military of ethnic minorities in the west of the country dates back to the late 1950s.

According to a 1978 secret documents termed “Repatriation Agreement” as published by the Princeton University in 2014, the Burmese government had acknowledged the identity of influx of migrants from Bangladesh who according to the documents will be considered legal residents of Myanmar.

According to the agreement duly authorized by and on behalf of the government of the socialist Republic of the union of Burma and the government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh following talks held in Decca between 7th-9th July, it reads thus;

The government of the socialist republic of the union of Burma agrees to the repatriation at the earliest of the lawful residence of Burma who are now sheltered in the camps in Bangladesh on the presentation of the Burmese National registration cards along with members of their families such as husband, wife, parents, parents in-law, children, foster children, grandchildren, son-in-law, daughters-in-law and widowed sisters.

This was duly signed by the Foreign Secretary and leader of the delegation of the People's Republic of Bangladesh Tubarak Husain alongside Deputy minister of foreign affairs and leader of the delegation representing the government of the socialist republic of the union of Burma.

In a another document tagged "Joint Statement by the Foreign Ministers of Bangladesh and Myanmar issued at the conclusion of the official visit of the Myanmar foreign minister to Bangladesh from 23- 28 April 1992," a similar agreement was reached again between the leader of the Bangladesh delegation (A .S.M . Hostafizur Rahman ) alongside Minister for Foreign affairs of the Myanmar government and representative of her delegation bhn Gyaw.

Parts of the documents as contained in paragraph 7(iv)
The Government of the Union of Myanmar in a
spirit of cooperation agreed to accept after
scrutiny all those people who took shelter in
Bangladesh and whose presence had been recorded
through Refugee Registration Cards issued by
the Government of Bangladesh at their point of
entry into Bangladesh which inter-alia
listed available evidence of their residence in
Myanmar. On the basis of the scrutiny of the
lists provided by the Government of Bangladesh,
the Government of tho Union of Myanmar agreed
to repatriate in batches all persons inter-alia!
carrying Myanmar Citizenship Identity Cards/
National Registration cards. Those able to present
any other documents issued by relevant Myanmar
authorities and; all those persons able to furnish
evidence of their residence in Myanmar, such as
addresses or any other relevant particulars. The
Government of the Union Myanmar agreed that there
would be no restriction on number of persons so long
as they could establish bonafide evidence of their
residence in Myanmar. They further assured that the
lists provided by Bangladesh closely coincided with
those persons verified by the Myanmar authorities.

Despite this seemingly hallowed facts, the government of Myanmar has since refused citizenship to this minority of Muslim groups in the state of the Republic of the union of Burma. Not even the 1982 Myanmar nationality law which recognizes three categories of citizens, namely; citizen, associate citizen, and naturalized citizen gives credence to the acceptance of the word "Rohingya" as a valid structure.

The analysis of the categorization meant that an individual will be allotted a color coded citizenship scrutiny card in consonance with her relevant citizenship badge which could either be pink, blue, and green depending on the status of category placement.

An individual is branded citizen if such persons hold ties with either one of the recognized nine national or indigenous races viz; (Kachin, Kayah (Karenni), Karen, Chin, Burman, Mon, Rakhine, Shan, Kaman, or Zerbadee).Alternatively, a citizen status is also guaranteed when one is sure of having ancestral links who settled in the country prior to 1823.

Similarly, If a person cannot provide fact based evidence that his ancestors settled in Burma before 1823, such individuals can be identified as an associate citizen if one grandparent, or pre-1823 ancestor, was a citizen of another country. Those persons who qualified for citizenship under the 1948 law, but who would no longer qualify under this new law, are also considered associate citizens if they had applied for citizenship in 1948.

To become a naturalized citizen, a person must be able to provide "conclusive evidence" that he or his parents entered and resided in Burma prior to independence in 1948. Persons who have at least one parent who holds one of the three types of Burmese citizenship are also eligible. Beyond these two qualifications, Section 44 of the act stipulates that the person must be eighteen years old, be able to speak well one of the national languages (the Rohingya language, a dialect related to Chittagonian, is not one), be of good character, and be of sound mind

The 1982 law was promulgated not long after the mass return of Rohingya who fled in 1978.

According to a report by the Human Rights Watch as released in May of 2000 titled Burmese refugees in Bangladesh: still no durable solution {Vol 12., No. 3 (C)},the onerous burden of proof has made it nearly impossible for all but a handful to secure citizenship. Rohingya who cannot provide "conclusive evidence" of their lineage or history of residence find themselves ineligible for any class of citizenship. And because of their formal legal status as resident foreigners, Rohingya are subject to restrictions on their freedom of movement, are denied access to higher education, and are restricted from holding public office.

In many regard, this nationality law clearly aggravated the Rohingya citizenship crisis which denies legitimacy to children born to those been considered as non-citizens.The law seldom give rise to freeborn who are descendant of this Muslim ethnicity in the Rahkine northern state.

In this respect, the citizenship law conflicts with the Burmese government's obligation under Article 7 of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states, "The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right to a name, the right to acquire a nationality...States Parties shall ensure implementation of these rights in accordance with their national law and their obligations under the relevant international instruments in this field, in particular where the child would otherwise be stateless." The Burmese government ratified the convention in 1991 and is obliged to grant citizenship to children born in Burma who would otherwise be stateless.

The Burmese government restricts Rohingya from traveling within Arakan, to other parts of the country, and abroad. It is a well established principle of international law that any person who is lawfully in the territory of a state should enjoy the right to freedom of movement and residence within that state. This principle is enshrined in Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Ann San Suu Kyi and the silence of war crimes against the Rohingya's
Despite been a beneficiary the 8-8-88 Uprising in Myanmar, Burmese politician, diplomat, and author Ann San Suu Kyi has done very little or nothing in trying to curb this present day persecution of the Muslim minority in the Republic of the union of Burma. Indeed, it has been a glaring case of benefiting from a system and doing little or nothing to eradicating the-same struggle which led to her victory in 2010.

For the records, the 1988 uprising saw the projection of Ann San Suu Kyi not just as a key figure in Myanmar, also, she became an household name at the lips of international communities who during her incarceration for over 14 years gave due support to a cause she believed in on until her eventual release.

The 2015 elections saw her party taking 86% of the seats in the Assembly of the Union – This was more than the 67 percent majority needed to ensure that its preferred candidates were elected President and Second Vice President in the Presidential Electoral College. Though Suu Kyi wasn't allowed to assume the position of been president due to certain constitutional provisions,she was however made a State Councillor for the Republic of the union of Burma. A position befitting of a prime minister status.

Ann San Suu Kyi won the prestigious Noble peace prize in 1991 for her role in the actualization of sanity majorly in Myanmar.

From 1989 to 2010, she became the most international talked about political prisoner in recent times given the situation that led to her arrest and her vocal lashing directed towards the government structure in place.

She assumed her office as State Councilor of Myanmar 6 April 2016 to become the first in the country's history and political doctrines.

Ironically, during her watch as head of government of the Republic of the union of Burma, the country has witnessed series of wanton attacks and absolute crackdown of small ethnic minority by the military. With serious allegations of crimes against humanity and wanton destruction of lives properties, abuses of human rights, and violation of law and order, Suu Kyi has shockingly remain mute on this happenings.

Her incoherence in taking her stance had brought so much tension and reprieve in the land of Myanmar. Her silence in speaking for the Rohingya community in the northern Rahkine state of Myanmar has given rise to insistent brutality and violations of rights of these minorities now considered as stateless.

While so many has called on the reversal of her Nobel peace prize, the Canadian authority wasted no time in their recent action revoking her Honorary citizenship status as a sign of their displeasure in the recent heighten tension in Myanmar and the unholy crimes perpetuated against innocent Rohingya minority.

She has failed to call a spade what it truly is and will rather infer the reverse as a way of smoke screening the apparent situation on the ground. Prior to the heavily military crackdown of the Rohingya's in 2016-2017 and even before the 2015 refugee crisis, the population census was pegged around 1.0 to 1.3 million with a greater percentage of settlement in the northern Rahkine state. Ironically, same cannot be adduced currently as over 900,000 Rohingya's have fled the country of Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh,passing through near death routes all in the name of escape to a safe heaven. More than 100,000 Rohingyas in Myanmar are confined in concentration camps for internally displaced persons under very harsh and dehumanizing conditions.

In August of 2017, the Burmese military launched a clearance operation. According U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations. 11 October 2017. "The 'clearance operations' started before 25 August 2017, and as early as the beginning of August. The apparently well-organised, coordinated and systematic nature of the attacks carried out by the Myanmar security forces against the entire Rohingya population across northern Rakhine State has led to a mass exodus of more than 500,000 people fleeing to Bangladesh. The testimonies gathered by OHCHR indicate that the attacks against Rohingya villages constitute serious human rights violations. As recalled by many victims, the security forces and the Rakhine Buddhist individuals incited hatred, violence and killings against the Rohingya population within northern Rakhine State through extremely derogatory abuse based on their religion, language and culture and ethnic identity".

The operation left over 3,000 dead, many more injured, tortured or raped, villages burnt. According to a United Nations High Commission issue based report originally released 24th August 2018, summarizing its findings from an investigation of the events of August–September 2017, it indicates a call to action against the state of Myanmar to be brought before the international Criminal Court for "crimes against humanity", including "ethnic cleansing" and "genocide.

According to part of the reports,"What happened on 25 August 2017 and the following days and weeks was the realization of a disaster long in the making. It was the result of the systemic oppression of the Rohingya, the violence of 2012, and the Government’s actions and omissions since then.It caused the disintegration of a community."

To surmise the situation in Myanmar as an obvious reality of ethnic cleansing is to say the least why individual like the respected Ann San Suu Kyi has remained silent on this issue of war crimes against humanity in the Rahkine state of Myanmar been perpetuated by a government she presides over.

Cite This Article As: Dickson Eyinmosan Jnr.. "Myanmar: Ann San Suu Kyi and the silence of war crimes against the Rohingya's ." International Youth Journal, 09. October 2018.

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