Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Nobel Peace Laureates Aung San Suu Kyi and Obama FAIL

No wonder, that disenchantment with state-led peace efforts is growing among minorities. Although the KIA attended Miss Suu Kyi’s Panglong gathering, the Burmese army has been pounding it for months, reportedly seizing the Kachins’ mountain outpost of Gidon this month. The Northern Alliance has recently attacked Burmese army and police forces along the Chinese border. At times it has claimed to hold various border towns. The fighting has driven thousands of people to seek refuge in China, which has reportedly beefed up its military presence along the frontier. The alliance may hope that a riled China will put pressure on Myanmar to make concessions to the ethnic groups (the Kokangs are ethnic Chinese). So far, however, China has not risen to the bait.

SYED, a 33-year-old Muslim religious teacher, feared the worst. On October 9th Rohingya militants attacked border posts near Maungdaw, a township in the north of Rakhine state in western Myanmar, killing nine Burmese border guards. Syed, himself a Rohingya from Rakhine, was sure that a vicious crackdown by Myanmar’s army would follow. So he put on non-religious clothes and shaved his beard. Along with 16 others he left his home village. For days the group hid in a forest. Eventually they crossed the Naf River, which separates Myanmar from Bangladesh, and found their way to the sprawling, ramshackle Kutupalong camp near the coastal town of Cox’s Bazar.

Syed’s fears were justified. Myanmar’s army has blocked access to much of Maungdaw, keeping away journalists, aid workers and international monitors (troops claim to be searching for stolen guns and ammunition). But reports have emerged of mass arrests, torture, the burning of villages, killings of civilians and the systematic rape of Rohingya women by Burmese soldiers. At least 86 people have been killed. Satellite imagery analysed by Human Rights Watch suggests that soldiers have burned at least 1,500 buildings—including homes, food shops, markets and mosques (one devastated area is pictured). The organisation says this could be a conservative estimate; it includes only buildings not obscured by trees. Amnesty International says the army’s “callous and systematic campaign of violence” may be a crime against humanity. Myanmar’s government denies all such allegations, dismissing many of them as fabrications.

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