The Hidden Genocide in Myanmar

by ChaseDownActivist on November 20, 2015 - 11:14pm

The Hidden Genocide in Myanmar


            As some of you may know, there has been an ongoing clash between two religious groups in Myanmar, the Muslim minority and the Buddhists. Since summer 2012, their conflict has gravely intensified and consequently, an entire population is being wiped-out from this country. Along the lines of how the Jews were exterminated by Nazi forces, the Rohingya (Muslim) people of Myanmar are being prosecuted, deported and imprisoned by the Buddhist monks, with the shocking help of the Burmese government and security forces. Extremist groups such as the 969 have been created for the sole purpose of coordinating attacks and terrorizing this minority group out of the country. In fact, the Rhonigya are not even considered as citizens of Myanmar, rather they are seen as immigrants from neighboring countries like Bangladesh and thus, treated like intruders or invaders. In only a few years, hundreds have been shot or hacked to death, thousands forced to flee and left homeless, mosques and communities have been burned, and mass arrests were made. Oh, and on top of everything, humanitarian help is denied to them.  

            The article that I read and wanted to discuss is entitled “Burma: End ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ of Rohingya Muslims” and written by the Human Rights Watch, which is an non-profit organization that fights and calls out any abuse towards human rights and freedoms. In this text, they have reported the unpunished crimes against humanity and the humanitarian crisis that is present in Myanmar. So, in other words, these humanists share their view on this issue and try to propose a solution that would potentially put a stop to it. The head of deputy of the Human Rights Watch (Asia’s division), Phil Robertson, demands the following:  “The Burmese government has engaged in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya that continues today through the denial of aid and restrictions on movement. The government needs to put an immediate stop to the abuses and hold the perpetrators accountable or it will be responsible for further violence against ethnic and religious minorities in the country” ( Burma ). It is therefore clear by this quote and many others found in the article that these humanists are condemning the prosecution of the Muslim minority in Myanmar. Although it seems very obvious, it is important to list the harms that are done by Buddhists and the government in place.

            The Rohingya’s fundamental rights and freedoms are being violated on three different levels. First off is their right to be born free and equal in dignity and rights. This is a minority group that is being wrongfully punished by their own country merely because of their ethnic background, which is their Muslim religion. For a humanist, this strikes as absurd because they believe that all man, no matter what religion or belief one chooses to live by, should be respected and treated equally. Secondly, Rohingya’s right to social equality is directly disregarded. In fact, their people are seen as outcasts and intruders in society and therefore, are sometimes not even treated like human beings. This is where the Burmese government has failed and should be severely criticized for. Instead of putting a stop to the attacks and killings, they have gone as far as sending the state police to help with the attacks on the Muslim minority, then hiding the evidence and denying any harm done.  Last but not least, everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. As mentioned before, many hundreds of lives have been lost and counting. Also, thousands have lost their houses and live outdoors. From a humanistic perspective, this is completely immoral and wrong. 

            While reading this and other articles on this topic, I kept on thinking about a critical question to which I could not find a proper answer. If Buddhism principally teaches to be pacific and non-violent, then why would the Buddhist monks go to such extreme measures like knifing people and burning homes towards a non-radical minority group? Why not try to find their differences and solve the conflict in a more reasonable and pacific way? Although some answers to this are given online, I still did not find a logical explanation that is satisfying.

            All in all, it is a shame that this issue is kept silent by many in the world including our own United Nations. I think that the Burmese government has to be seriously revised, if not punished in some legal way because of their murderous ways. Also, we have to remember that the Myanmar situation is only one case. Many other similar issues are happening all around the world that we do not hear about often. Also, this topic of persecution of minorities can be related to the orals that we recently had in this course.  In every presentation, we learned about a certain historical figure that was either punished or rejected for their ideas. People such as Socrates were ven put on Trial for believing in something that the majority of the country did not believe in.



Works Cited

"Burma: End 'Ethnic Cleansing' of Rohingya Muslims." Human Rights Watch. 22 Apr. 2013. Web. 19 Nov. 2015.