Unión de Myanmar/Birmania

Rohingya refugees gathered in Bangladesh on Aug. 28 on the second anniversary of the 2017 refugee crisisCreditCreditK.M. Asad/LightRocket, via Getty Images

Late last month, some 200,000 Rohingya living in refugee camps in southeastern Bangladesh gathered to mark the anniversary of the brutal crackdown by the Myanmar military that drove more than 700,000 people to flee western Myanmar in August 2017. Citing security concerns, the Bangladeshi government promptly banned phone companies from providing mobile services to the refugees living in the camps of Cox’s Bazar — one million or so. The authorities have become increasingly worried about an uptick in crime in and around the camps, an increase in drug smuggling from Myanmar and the potential influence of foreign jihadists among the Rohingya.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rohingya refugees gather behind a barbed-wire fence in a temporary settlement set up in a border zone between Myanmar and Bangladesh, in a photo taken from Maungdaw district, Myanmar's Rakhine state, in April 2018. (Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images)

I am Rohingya. When I was 3, my parents and I fled Myanmar to escape violence against my community — an ethnic minority group that is largely Muslim. Now, from afar, I watch in horror as a genocide against my people is unfolding. In the past two years, more than 700,000 Rohingya have fled murder, rape and torture for refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh.

This week, a United Nations investigative report laid bare the suffering and abuse that my people have endured in Myanmar (which we call Burma). It says that the 600,000 Rohingya who remain in Rakhine state are living in “unbearable conditions.” The report also notes that, well after the 2017 military’s brutal “clearance operations” that drove the more than 700,000 others across the border into Bangladesh, the government continues to target Rohingya with the aims of erasing our identity and removing us from Myanmar.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Monday, a United Nations-authorized investigative team released a report that exposes the economic interests supporting the Myanmar military and its well-documented human rights violations against the country’s ethnic minority groups. The investigators call for the targeted financial sanctions against all military-owned companies.

The report comes on the heels of the State Department’s announcement last month of travel bans against four Myanmar generals, including the armed forces’ commander in chief, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, for their role in what has been called genocide of the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority.

As the two-year anniversary of the coordinated attacks against the Rohingya approaches, with more than 800,000 people displaced and no end to the persecution or accountability for its perpetrators in sight, it is clear that the international community’s response has been inadequate and ineffective.…  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 »

Military officers arriving for a parliamentary session in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, on Tuesday. The country’s Legislature approved the creation of a committee to review the Constitution.CreditThet Aung/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

It was one of those small, dull and bureaucratic bits of news that could have tremendous political implications: On Tuesday, Myanmar’s Legislature approved the creation of a committee to review the Constitution.

Some have said that the initiative is doomed. No amendment can be passed — certainly none that would weaken the power of the military — unless the military acquiesces: According to conventional wisdom, the Constitution itself gives the military veto power over any amendments.

Although the party of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the National League for Democracy (N.L.D.), won a commanding victory in the last general election in 2015, the military still reaches far into Myanmar politics.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Myanmar court has rejected the appeal of two Reuters journalists jailed for exposing crimes committed by the country’s military against the Rohingya. No better proof could be needed of the extent to which authoritarianism has once again returned to Myanmar. This anti-democratic resurgence has an unlikely source: the Nobel Peace Prize laureate once reflexively referred to as a democracy «icon.”

It is increasingly apparent that the Myanmar military and its leader share with the de facto President Aung San Suu Kyi a similar vision for the future of the country. It is an age-old vision of domination by a nationalist Buddhist elite, who have difficulty accommodating any form of dissent, and demonstrate very little regard for the aspirations of the other ethnic groups with whom they should be negotiating an end to decades of armed conflict.…  Seguir leyendo »

Myanmar law enforcement authorities seized illegal drugs worth 187 million USD marking the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking during a ceremony in Yangon on June 26, 2018. YE AUNG THU/AFP

What’s new? Shan State has long been a centre of conflict and illicit drug production – initially heroin, then methamphetamine tablets. Good infrastructure, proximity to precursor supplies from China and safe haven provided by pro-government militias and in rebel-held enclaves have also made it a major global source of high purity crystal meth.

Why does it matter? Drug production and profits are now so vast that they dwarf the formal sector of Shan State and are at the centre of its political economy. This greatly complicates efforts to resolve the area’s ethnic conflicts and undermines the prospects for better governance and inclusive economic growth in the state.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rohingya refugees shout slogans against repatriation to Myanmar at the Unchiprang camp near Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh last month. (Dar Yasin/AP)

“We cannot go back,” declared Mohammad Ilyas, a refugee from Myanmar living in Bangladesh. Yet Ilyas is also uncertain whether he can remain: Like the roughly 1 million other Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, he cannot work or provide education for his children.

In an ideal world, refugees like Ilyas would be resettled to a third safe country, but few countries are willing to accept the Rohingya. As a result, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) announced last month that it is prepared to help Rohingya refugees visit Myanmar to consider returning home, or “repatriating.” Eventually, UNHCR could provide transport and aid for refugees permanently repatriating, as it did for Rohingya refugees in the 1990s.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rohingya refugees collect water at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia, Bangladesh, on Aug. 8. (Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images)

By now, the world is well aware of the horrors experienced by Myanmar’s Rohingya minority over the past two years. Starting on Aug. 25, 2017, the Myanmar military unleashed a campaign of terror against the Rohingya in the country’s western Rakhine state, compelling virtually the entire community to flee. Since then, more than 700,000 Rohingya have sought refuge in neighboring Bangladesh.

This week, according to an agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar, the refugees are supposed to start going back. The problem: No one has ever asked us, the Rohingya, what we want. Once again our fate is being determined over our heads — without the slightest reference to our own desires.…  Seguir leyendo »

Reuters journalists Wa Lone, center, and Kyaw Soe Oo gesture as they prepare to leave the Insein township court in Yangon, Myanmar, on Sept. 3. They were both sentenced to seven years in prison after they were found guilty of violating a state-secrets act while working on a story. (Lynn Bo Bo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Two journalists in Myanmar have been imprisoned for nearly a year for after exposing the massacre of Rohingya Muslims. But this isn’t just a story about press freedom. It also underscores some of the greatest challenges facing the relationship between governments and the people they govern.

“We’re seeing more and more laws that criminalize speech and increasingly zealous prosecution under those laws in many countries,” human rights lawyer Amal Clooney told me last week in New York. “Governments who are not well-meaning will do whatever they can get away with. So the question is: Is there a proper international response? Do they have something to fear?…  Seguir leyendo »

Los rohingya y la jurisdicción universal

Naciones Unidas ha calificado de crimen de genocidio los actos atroces cometidos contra la etnia musulmana rohingya en Myanmar (antigua Birmania) perpetrados contra decenas de miles de sus miembros por su propio Gobierno, en el que Aung San Suu Kyi, premio Nobel de la Paz y otrora heroína por la libertad de su país, actúa como consejera de Estado, pero mira hacia otro lado, sin darse por aludida como parte supuestamente responsable. Estos hechos son un ejemplo de la barbarie que no por lejana geográficamente puede dejar de remover las conciencias ante la impunidad de la que han gozado hasta ahora sus perpetradores.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ten Rohingya boys and men in a Rakhine village last year. They were later found dead in a mass grave.CreditCreditReuters

In Myanmar, as everywhere, facts have power. It was the gruesome facts uncovered by two of our reporters for Reuters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, that led to their being framed, arrested, tried and — this month — handed a draconian seven-year prison sentence. Last week, Myanmar’s civilian leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, resolutely ignored the facts and vigorously defended the unjust convictions. With the United Nations General Assembly gathering soon, it’s time to harness the facts to secure our reporters’ freedom.

Here are the facts:

The Rohingya are a Muslim minority based in Rakhine State, in western Myanmar, a majority-Buddhist country.…  Seguir leyendo »

La violencia de Dios

El trágico episodio de la limpieza étnica sufrida por los rohinyá musulmanes en Myanmar (Birmania) ha puesto en entredicho la sinceridad del compromiso de Suu Kyi con los valores humanos. De paso erosiona la imagen del budismo como religión de la no violencia (ahimsa).En su interminable lucha por la democracia contra los militares golpistas, la hoy presidenta en calidad de “consultora suprema”, The Lady, como era llamada por sus compatriotas, declaró siempre que la firmeza de sus actitudes se apoyaba en una empatía inclusiva de sus carceleros, en la “compasión”, y en el consiguiente rechazo de todo acto violento contra ellos.…  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 »

Algunas de las atrocidades han sido captadas en video. Credit Matthew F. Smith, Taimoor Sobhan y Japhet Weeks

Este documental de opinión revela imágenes impactantes que han recopilado los refugiados rohinyá sobre el genocidio que se lleva a cabo en Birmania.

La única manera en la que la comunidad internacional hará lo correcto es si los responsables son procesados por estos delitos y es sabido que Birmania no es ni capaz ni está dispuesta a asegurar que se haya justicia a nivel doméstico. La situación es justamente una de las razones por las cuales existe la Corte Penal Internacional (CPI).

El Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU no debe perder más tiempo; debe aprobar una resolución que refiera la situación birmana a la CPI y, ya que eso suceda, los procuradores podrán empezar a armar el caso.…  Seguir leyendo »

A group of Rohingya refugees at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh. (Munir uz Zaman/AFP)

One year ago, a small group of Rohingya militants attacked security forces in western Myanmar. The attacks by the insurgents left 12 troops dead — a regrettable tragedy in its own right. But what happened next would pale in comparison.

Within the next few weeks, the Myanmar military launched a full-scale campaign of violence and terror against the Rohingya Muslim minority population in Rakhine state. The soldiers set homes ablaze, massacred thousands of civilians and in many cases even deployed rape as a weapon of war. The Rohingya — almost entirely unarmed — responded the only way they could: by running away.…  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 »

mpowering Rohingya Women

During the second half of 2017, an estimated 671,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar due to systemic violence perpetrated against the ethnic group, including killings, rape, and torture. Much of this violence, allegedly committed by Myanmar’s armed forces, specifically targeted women and girls. Pramila Patten, United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, stated that the organized gang rape of Rohingya women was “a calculated tool of terror aimed at the extermination and removal of the Rohingya as a group.” Adding to the trauma of this campaign of sexual violence, many Rohingya women continue to experience sexual exploitation and violence after reaching the refugee camps in Bangladesh.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rohingya refugees rebuild their makeshift house, in preparation for the approaching monsoon season at the Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp in Kutupalong, Bangladesh. April 28, 2018. (A.M. Ahad/AP)

On my first visit to this immense refugee settlement on Bangladesh’s border with Myanmar, I crossed a bamboo bridge that refugees had built. It spanned a stream and connected an old settlement, where Rohingya refugees from previous waves of forced displacement have lived for decades, to the new one, now a sprawling city where more than 600,000 have taken shelter.

The bridge is a vital artery for the refugees here. It allows them to carry jerrycans, blankets and solar lamps from a distribution point in the old settlement to their families in the much larger new settlement. The stream becomes a river when it rains; when the refugees first arrived, the only way across was to swim until they were able to suspend several stalks of bamboo just above water level.…  Seguir leyendo »

In August 2017, the flight of 700,000 Muslim Rohingya from Myanmar produced the world’s newest refugee crisis – and one of its worst. Now stuck in miserable camps in Bangladesh, the Rohingya have little prospect of returning to their homes any time soon.

Their suffering is primarily a grave humanitarian concern and the Bangladeshi government and its foreign partners should focus their response on protecting the well-being of those displaced and assisting host communities. But the Rohingya’s plight also raises a so far unspoken question: Will they wait patiently to return in a safe and dignified manner – for now an unrealistic goal – or will the main militant organization in their midst lead them to pursue their goals with violence?…  Seguir leyendo »