Burma Campaign UK (BCUK) | September 7, 2017
Burma Campaign UK today warned that Burma is undergoing its biggest human rights crisis in decades, which has in turn created a major humanitarian crisis. However, unlike in the past, there has been virtually no corresponding international response.
In just two weeks:
- Official figures say hundreds have been killed by the military, reliable Rohingya sources say well over 2,000.
- More than 22,000 Rohingya homes may have been destroyed.
- More than 350,000 are internally displaced or have fled to Bangladesh, according to UN and Rohingya sources.
- Up to 30,000 Rohingya trapped on mountains with no food, medicine or shelter.
- Aid to pre-existing Rohingya camps and areas blocked. People denied life-saving aid.
- Communal violence and reports of ARSA (Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army) targeting ethnic Rakhine, Hindus and others.
- Aung San Suu Kyi’s government still denying abuses are taking place and exacerbating tensions.
- Aung San Suu Kyi’s government falsely accusing UN/INGOs of assisting terrorists.
- Allegations starting to emerge of rape, burning children alive, torture, and other human rights violations.
- No direct pressure on Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who commands the soldiers committing these violations.
If Rohingya sources are correct, the number killed are many more than in the Monk led uprising in Burma ten years ago this September. They also equal the lower estimates of the number killed in the 8.8.88 uprising.
“The scale and intensity of what is happening in such a short space of time is stunning,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “In full sight of the world, Min Aung Hlaing has ordered his military to drive hundreds of thousands of Rohingya out of the country. His soldiers, security forces and militias are killing indiscriminately, burning people alive, raping, torturing and beheading people, even children, and he is getting away with it.”
The British government has not even issued a statement condemning Min Aung Hlaing and his military for the attacks against Rohingya civilians, including children. It continues to provide his military with free training.
In a debate on the crisis in Parliament on Tuesday 5 September the Foreign Office minister responsible for Burma, Rt Hon Mark Field MP, did not appear to know what was taking place or what the Foreign Secretary and Foreign Office have done in response.
The European Union External Action Service issued a statement on the crisis which did not even refer to Rohingya by name, so afraid are they of upsetting the Burmese government and military.
The speed and systematic destruction indicates some kind of forward planning. Attacks by ARSA were expected and the military appears to have had a plan in place to use the attacks as a pretext for clearing large areas of Rohingya people. The military are leaving nothing behind for Rohingya to return to.
“Min Aung Hlaing is the one who is literally calling the shots here, everything that can be done to apply pressure on him must be done,” said Mark Farmaner. “Britain and other countries proving the Burmese military with training or entering in co-operation programmes must stop doing so. Britain and the EU must stop companies supplying the military with any kind of equipment. Britain should work to build support for a global UN arms embargo.”
This piece originally appeared on BCUK on September 7, 2017.