Brief: Rescuing the Plight of the Rohingya

A highly disproportionate reflection of world events is usually amplified by an exceptional level of interest by one, if not more interest groups. That is to say, the world media focuses on issues that it believes is relevant to the public. These disproportionate affairs and issues are not merely reflected in the national media but extend as far as foreign affairs and foreign policy issues. Britain’s alliances with regional and international powers have caused considerable bias in subject matter.  Political alliances mirror media concerns to a large extent and vice versa, therefore though the British public have no immediate concern with the welfare of America’s home issues, many incidents are relayed to the British press as highly important, front-page news. What has become incredibly apparent in recent years, is the lack of concern by major political powers (ergo superpowers) on other non-domestic affairs.

Issues of humanitarian rights abuses, genocide and ethnic cleansing should have a major impact on political ethics. What has been witnessed in the reactions of the intra-governmental organisations and nations (standing independently) have not led to a satisfactory halt in overcoming the abuse of a right to life. More specifically, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Bosnia and the most recent case in Burma has been a repetitive programme of reaction rather than prevention. Nevertheless, at this point in time the Rohingya, an ethnic population, who live in Myanmar, require action.

International interference in the domestic affairs of other nations is not permitted by the United Nations (UN) however, there have been a number of incidents of disregard. The references here are to the alleged regime changes in Iraq and Libya. In such circumstances, where overlooking a UN precedent is deemed worthy of non-compliance, would it not be equally worthy in cases of human rights abuses?

The situation in point: Nearly 800,000 Rohingyas live in Myanmar, none of whom have been granted citizenship. International law states that ‘no person should be rendered stateless’ which is a situation that the Rohingya have suffered since 1982, when the their citizenship and rights were revoked. The Rakhine claim that the Rohingya are a people without history, such propaganda is akin to the claims of pro-zionist groups that allege that the Palestinian people have no real ancestry. Nevertheless, in Myanmar, 30 years of incessant brutality and abuse have de-sensitised the locals into believing formalised bigotry. Systemic abuse and misinformation helps to misguide further generations and in order to stop the abuses from taking place, it needs to be targeted from the top down. Rakhine campaigners have used their public platforms to belittle the existence of the Rohingya minority. The press, unfortunately, has not been granted adequate access into the country and cannot report the intensity of violence that has taken in Rakhine state. What is understood is that as of June 29th 2012, at least 52,000 have been displaced (according to the UN) with scores killed and injured. The allegations  of the abuses are overwhelming, but it is equally important for people to seek the truth and not be misguided by exaggerations and other propaganda.

Political responsibility however is not incumbent upon any particular nation but there remains a moral and ethical responsibility to preserve life. Unfortunately, as reported in the UN daily press briefing, Sheikh Hasina has stated that the Rohingya are not Bangladesh’s immediate problem []. However, for at least 30 years, Bangladesh has housed refugees fleeing from Burma despite economic constraints on one of the poorest countries in the world. In such case, who is responsible for the welfare of stateless persons. Charity and providing shelter are not inexhaustible but by no means unwelcome. The Independent reported that humanitarian assistance is being blocked by Rakhine Monks []. It is imperative that individuals act with financial aid and beyond to raise awareness to their government. This is not another ‘Make Kony Famous’ campaign, this really is about making the plight of an oppressed people known. Hopefully, with more press coverage there will be a greater impetus for the government(s) to react.

By filling out the petition below, you will enable at least some time for the issue to be raised:

The approach, as implied in the introduction is to raise awareness in the media and also in political forums. When Britain is gripped by the Olympics and the world wishes to forget about the economic hardships that must be endured, it seems a little to morbid to mention the Rohingya. The purpose of this post is simple: Airtime.


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