Azeem Ibrahim

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Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim announces new cabinet members in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on Dec. 2. Arif Kartono/AFP via Getty Images

Anwar Ibrahim has beaten the odds and achieved an ambition he has harbored for decades. He is now Malaysia’s prime minister. After years of opposition politics and even time in prison, Ibrahim is now in a position, however tenuous, to put into place the programs and systemic reforms he has theorized about and campaigned for while in the wilderness. But it’s a difficult task for a man both on the inside and outside of the system—a leader who came up inside the coalition that ruled Malaysia for decades but has also stood outside it for years.

Much needs to be done.…  Seguir leyendo »

A board shows the passage of a United Nations General Assembly resolution seeking to suspend Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council in New York City on April 7. Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

This month, the United Nations Human Rights Council began a new session. As Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov began to speak on March 1, hundreds of diplomats stood up and, turning their back on him, walked out of the meeting in protest of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It seemed to be a powerful statement—one followed up by yesterday’s suspension of Russia from the council. But it’s not enough. The very foundations of the Human Rights Council are flawed.

The council’s president, Federico Villegas, Argentina’s ambassador to the United Nations, told U.N. News that the council must “learn from history and find the opportunity for constructive dialogue”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Aung San Suu Kyi, left, and Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, right, in Naypyidaw, the Myanmar capital, on May 6, 2016. (Aung Shine Oo/AP)

On Monday, a Myanmar court sentenced Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to two years in prison for inciting unrest and breaking covid-19 regulations. She is on trial for nine more alleged offenses. Even if she were to be cleared of all of them, one can be certain that the reigning military junta would come up with further charges. So long as the generals remain in control of the government in Myanmar, Suu Kyi is guaranteed to spend the rest of her life in prison.

Last year, she emerged as the overwhelming victor in her second national election. Threatened by her popularity, and fearing the buildup of an irreversible democratic momentum in the country, the Myanmar military launched a coup in February.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesters sit outside the Russian embassy on Friday in Yangon, Myanmar. (Hkun Lat/Getty Images)

Once again, Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s most famous citizen, finds herself under arrest.

History rhymes, but it never repeats itself exactly. This time around, in the wake of a Feb. 1 military coup that toppled the Nobel Peace Prize laureate from power, things are rather different from how they were the last time she was under arrest.

The world outside her country no longer sees Aung San Suu Kyi as the hero of democracy and human rights we once believed her to be, and few will campaign for her release with the energy and zeal with which they did in the past.…  Seguir leyendo »

The office of Aung San Suu Kyi — Nobel Peace Prize laureate and de facto leader of Myanmar — has just announced that she will travel to The Hague in December to answer a suit brought against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the Rohingya genocide. And apparently this has been decided in agreement with the country’s powerful generals, who control foreign affairs and security and who have carried out the “clearance operations” for which the state of Myanmar stands accused.

This is a baffling but welcome state of affairs. Why would Suu Kyi and the government of Myanmar acknowledge the jurisdiction of the ICJ — thereby implicitly granting the court standing to pass judgment on the Rohingya genocide?…  Seguir leyendo »

Bangladesh is once again calling for the establishment of "safe zones" for the Rohingya in Myanmar so that it can begin resettling some of the 1 million or so refugees in its care around the district of Cox's Bazar . This is not the first time the government in Dhaka has pushed for this. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina pressed Myanmar on the issue before the United Nations General Assembly in September 2017.

Now, Bangladesh's new foreign minister, Abulkalam Abdul Momen, has started lobbying Russia, China and India, as well as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, to try to use their influence to persuade Myanmar to establish safe zones within its territory.…  Seguir leyendo »

Aung San Suu Kyi, left, Myanmar’s foreign minister and de facto leader, walks with Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar’s commander in chief, in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, on May 6, 2016.

In a stunning development this week, the International Criminal Court (ICC) declared that it has jurisdiction over the Myanmar government’s crimes against the Rohingya minority. This comes not long after the scrupulously conservative United Nations issued a report calling for the military leadership in Myanmar, including Commander in Chief Min Aung Hlaing, to be investigated and prosecuted on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for its “clearance operations” against the Rohingya.

What is even more surprising, however, is that the country’s pro-democracy icon and current de facto leader of the civilian government in Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, has also been identified in the U.N.…  Seguir leyendo »

A model of the notorious Insein Prison is on display at a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the 1988 uprising at Yangon University in Myanmar on Tuesday. / NYEIN CHAN NAING/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Aug. 8 marks the 30th anniversary of Myanmar’s pro-democracy uprising in 1988. Until that moment, the country had been a Soviet-style, one-party socialist state led by a military junta for well over two decades. Then, on that August day, 2 million people rose up against the regime.

The junta responded with a brutal crackdown. The armed forces killed some 3,000 to 10,000 people outright; tens of thousands more were injured, imprisoned or run out of the country altogether. Among those jailed was Aung San Suu Kyi, a newly emerged pro-democracy leader who was also the daughter of one of the country’s post-independence founders.…  Seguir leyendo »

A refugee girl sings a song for Swiss Federal President Alain Berset at the Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, on Tuesday. (Peter Klaunzer/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

The international community and the politics of the word “genocide” have a long and complex history. In the wake of the Holocaust, the prevention of mass atrocities was one of the founding aims of the United Nations. Yet ever since the U.N.’s establishment, and the enshrinement into international law of the duty of the international community to intervene in cases of mass slaughter, individual member nations and the U.N. assembly as a whole have systematically resisted characterizing humanitarian crises as “genocides” in order to avoid their moral and legal duty to intervene. In other words, we take the concept of genocide extremely seriously.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rohingya children in a refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, this week. Bangladesh is expected to compile lists of refugees wanting to return to Myanmar on a voluntary basis. Credit Damir Sagolj/Reuters

Rohingya children in a refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, this week. Bangladesh is expected to compile lists of refugees wanting to return to Myanmar on a voluntary basis. Credit Damir Sagolj/Reuters

On Nov. 23, the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an agreement to return the Rohingya refugees — more than 600,000 people who escaped from Rakhine state in western Myanmar to Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh — after ethnic cleansing carried out by Myanmar’s armed forces since August.

Bangladesh is expected to compile lists of refugees wanting to return on a voluntary basis. Myanmar intends to verify each application to establish whether a refugee is eligible for repatriation.…  Seguir leyendo »