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September 19, 2019

Rohingya under threat

Editorial

 
September 19, 2019

With a debate underway over the repatriation of almost 740,000 Rohingya refugees, the UN has warned that the threat of genocide is not over. A UN fact-finding mission has urged caution to be exercised over attempts by Bangladesh to send the Rohingya back; this they say on the ground that little had changed in Myanmar. The UN mission has pushed for Myanmar to be prosecuted in international legal forums for the way it has treated its Muslim Rohingya minority.

This report concludes two years of documenting human rights violations by Myanmar security forces in so-called counterinsurgency operations against the Rohingya in 2017. The UN report concludes that these operations involved genocidal acts, which led to the killing of thousands of Rohingya, while hundreds of thousands were forced to flee to Bangladesh. The threat of genocide continues for the estimated 600,000 Rohingya that still live inside Myanmar in poor conditions, which not only makes repatriation impossible, but creates fear over another such orchestrated campaign against the Rohingya.

While Myanmar has continued to insist that the Rohingya should be sent back, they remain a population under the threat. With the report set to be presented to the Human Rights Council, it remains to be seen if world powers will act against the Myanmar military. The UN mission has reported in detail about arbitrary detention, torture, sexual violence, enforced disappearances, forced displacement and destruction of property. Myanmar insists that its response was justified in response to attacks by Rohingya insurgents. There is no doubt that this is an excuse that has little justification. The most worrying thing is that the UN remains toothless to act against the Myanmar military. The mission itself has a list of more than 100 people suspected of involvement in genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. This is in addition to a list of six Myanmar generals who were named a year ago. It is clear that such a trial cannot take place inside Myanmar, which means it will be up to the international community to ensure that the Rohingya get justice. The trouble is that no one cares about the Rohingya.

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