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Heed UN report on Rohingya genocide

LETTER | Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) is gravely concerned with the developments in Myanmar as reported by the UN Independent International Fact-finding Mission in Myanmar. The report carries serious concerns that genocide and crime against humanity are taking place within Myanmar.

Since the resurgence of the crisis in the Rakhine state caused by the Armed Forces of Myanmar (Tatmadaw), ethnic Rohingya who have suffered generations from discrimination by the government of Myanmar are once again forced to flee their homes or face death.

The last bout of violence had led to the exodus of refugees into neighbouring countries including Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh and India.

This had resulted in an unprecedented humanitarian crisis where refugees are crowded into makeshift slums and victimised by human traffickers after suffering from death, violence and sexual assault by the Tatmadaw and its allies.

The apathy shown by the government of Malaysia in the past with regards of the plights of Rohingya refugees landing on the coastlines of Malaysia had further jeopardised the safety and well-being of refugees and eventually contributed and facilitated the development of the vast human trafficking network that seeks to profit off the unfolding tragedy.

The ghastly human trafficking camps and mass graves discovered within the vicinity of Malaysia-Thai borders will forevermore be a blight upon Malaysian history as we are forced to contend with the atrocities that happened within our borders with our acquiescence.

The report by the UN Independent International Fact-finding Mission in Myanmar is an opportunity for Malaysians to redeem ourselves from the sins that we bear and revitalise our commitment to human.

It is time for Malaysia to respond to the grave findings by the UN and provide all the necessary leadership and political commitment to ensure that the atrocities happening in Myanmar would not be allowed to continue unabated with impunity.

The gross human rights violations taking place within Myanmar will not be a “domestic” issue that will stay within the boundaries of Myanmar. All neighbouring countries and Asean member states will eventually be made to contend with the unfolding humanitarian crisis happening in Myanmar.

Malaysia and other Asean countries had conveniently held our silence when the Khmer Rouge inflicted its savagery and brutality against the Cambodian people. We must not repeat the same mistake again and allow yet another genocide to mar the history of our Nation.

To this end, Suaram welcomes and fully supports the position adopted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Saifuddin Abdullah in calling for the government of Myanmar to act against the allegation of genocide and crime against humanity and for the international community to act against the perpetrator of these heinous crimes in line with international law if the government of Myanmar is unwilling or incapable of addressing the findings of the report adequately.

The writer is executive director, Suaram, a human rights organisation.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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