Is Oxford University becoming complicit in Suu Kyi’s Genocide?

Is Oxford University becoming complicit in Suu Kyi’s Genocide?

Post 16 February 2018

By Maung Zarni

                                            When a reality goes off the chart of what is thinkable, fiction is no match.

That Oxford University’s most iconic graduate alive, Aung San Suu Kyi may find herself at the International Criminal Court for her “complicity of silence in crimes against humanity” and even a genocide, will go down in history as one such extraordinary tale. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights situation in Myanmar Professor Yanghee Lee made this unequivocally clear in her six minutes interview with UK’s Channel 4 News on 14 February.

This is no hyperbole.

In the eyes of many conscientious people, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and former icon of freedom, human rights and democracy has lost any of her hard-earned moral authority and the image as the “Queen of Democracy” for her role in what UN officially calls “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing” of nearly 700,000 Rohingyas of Myanmar in the last six months.

Aung San Suu Kyi

The finger pointing at the Oxford-educated Burmese Nobel Peace Laureate comes not from her old nemesis, the Burmese generals, who had routinely vilified her in their state-controlled media for several decades during her 15-years of house arrest. Quite the opposite: her admirers and supporters the likes of Sir Geoffrey Nice – former Deputy Prosecutor of Milosevic in the Yugoslavia Tribunal, the outgoing Chief of UN Human Rights Council Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein and the Special Rapporteur on human rights situation in Myanmar Professor Yanghee Lee of the Republic of Korea.

In an alarming parallel, both Aung San Suu Kyi and Oxford University show indifference to concerns regarding the subject of Rohingya identity, persecution and history. Read more ›

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VOA Interview: UN Chief Antonio Guterres

VOA Interview: UN Chief Antonio Guterres

February 14, 2018 6:00 PM

Margaret Besheer 

Watch : VOA Interview: UN Chief Antonio Guterres

February 14, 2018


United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is in Kuwait this week for an international conference aimed at raising funds for Iraqi reconstruction. He spoke Wednesday with VOA’s United Nations Correspondent Margaret Besheer at Al-Bayan Palace, Kuwait City, about the effort to rebuild Iraq, ongoing conflicts in Syria and Yemen, the situation in North Korea, and concerns over ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. The transcript has been edited for clarity.

Myanmar and the Rohingya

Q: Finally, Secretary-General, I wanted to ask you about Myanmar. On Tuesday, your refugee chief Filippo Grandi, he told the Security Council that the conditions are not conducive for the voluntary return of the Rohingya refugees because the causes of their flight have not been properly addressed yet. So are you, have you been in touch, are you disappointed in Aung San Suu Kyi? She’s been highly criticized for her handling of this. Have you spoken with her recently, and are you still planning to name a special adviser?

Guterres: Yes, the special adviser will be soon appointed. But the central question that Filippos Grandi raised is the following: We considered that it is essential to recognize the right of return, voluntary in safety and dignity, of those that fled and returned to their place of origin not to be put in camps. But for that to be possible, a massive investment is necessary. Not only in the reconstruction of the villages destroyed in the field, but in the reconciliation for people not to be afraid to come back. And the guarantees that the forces that were expelling them will not be retaliating against them again. And this is the investment that the government of Myanmar has not yet made. And before that investment is made, it will be very difficult to have conditions for that massive voluntary repatriation as we all wish to happen. There is still a long way to go, and I think the government of Myanmar needs to understand that they cannot procrastinate things, that they need to engage seriously in creating the conditions for the return to be possible. Unfortunately, that has not yet been done with the determination and the courage, because we know that large part of the population is against the Rohingya’s, we know that. But that is why politicians need courage, is to overcome those differences because the situation of the Rohingya population in Myanmar was absolutely unacceptable.

Q: But those sorts of reconciliation talks and unity talks and things like that, can — they are such drawn out processes, they can take years. So, what are these Rohingya that are in Bangladesh going to do in the meantime?

Guterres: There are many things that can be done much more quickly than years. There’s physical reconstruction and there are a number of things that can be done both to support the Rohingyas and the local community. And doing so, people understand that they have also something to gain with this process. So, reconciliation is not just a matter of gestures, it is a matter of investments made for people to understand that living together, they can live better.

Q: So, realistically, how long do you think before the Rohingyas can start going back?

Guterres: I think that, in small numbers, there are things that can be done relatively quickly. A process of return, a large group of refugees — and we have done several processes of return … in different parts of the world as High Commissioner for Refugees — a process of return can take sometimes two, three years to be properly organized. But it requires planning, it requires investment, it requires a very serious effort in order to make it successful. If not, we risk to have a situation in which return takes place and then people flee again. And unfortunately, that’s, for instance, what we see in South Sudan. I helped as UNHCR, together will all my colleagues, and lots of elements of the civil society, we have helped about half a million people return to South Sudan and now there are more than one million refugees that fled South Sudan again. This is what we don’t want to happen with the Rohingyas in Bangladesh.


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Article on Rohingya: Scholars blast Oxford press over controversial writer

Article on Rohingya: Scholars blast Oxford press over controversial writer

Published at 02:28 AM February 07, 2018   Last updated at 04:00 PM February 07, 2018Dr Leider is an adviser to the Myanmar military’s Armed Forces Historical Museum in Naypyidaw

A group of scholars and rights campaigners from different countries have blasted Oxford University Press (OUP) over the commissioning of controversial researcher Dr Jacques Leider to write a reference article on the persecuted Rohingya people in a forthcoming series of the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History.

Head of the Bangkok-based Ecole Française de l’ Extrême-Orien, Dr Leider is an adviser to the Myanmar military’s Armed Forces Historical Museum in Naypyidaw, according to a statement issued by the scholars and activists on Monday.

Their statement reads: “We…are disturbed by the fact that OUP’s Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History series has commissioned Dr Jacques Leider to write a reference article on the subject of the Rohingya people…

“We find that positions taken by Dr Leider in interviews with the press, in public talks and in published articles raise serious questions about his objectivity regarding the Rohingya and their history. His well-documented pattern of denials that the Myanmar military-directed mass violence and scorched-earth military operations against the Rohingya community – the subject of his ORE article – is challenged by the growing body of legal analyses and human rights research reports…” Read more ›

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How Burmese forces burned, looted and killed in a remote village

How Burmese forces burned, looted and killed in a remote village                                                            

9th February 2018

Ten Rohingya Muslim men with their hands bound kneel as members of the Myanmar security forces stand guard in Inn Din village September 2, 2017. Picture taken September 2, 2017. Source: Handout via Reuters

Reporting for this story is what led to the arrest of Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.

BOUND together, the 10 Rohingya Muslim captives watched their Buddhist neighbours dig a shallow grave. Soon afterwards, on the morning of Sept 2, all 10 lay dead. At least two were hacked to death by Buddhist villagers. The rest were shot by Burmese troops, two of the gravediggers said.

“One grave for 10 people,” said Soe Chay, 55, a retired soldier from Inn Din’s Rakhine Buddhist community who said he helped dig the pit and saw the killings. The soldiers shot each man two or three times, he said.

“When they were being buried, some were still making noises. Others were already dead.”

The killings in the coastal village of Inn Din marked another bloody episode in the ethnic violence sweeping northern Rakhine state, on Burma’s (Myanmar) western fringe. Nearly 690,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled their villages and crossed the border into Bangladesh since August. None of Inn Din’s 6,000 Rohingya remained in the village as of October.

The Rohingya accuse the army of arson, rapes and killings aimed at rubbing them out of existence in this mainly Buddhist nation of 53 million. The United Nations has said the army may have committed genocide; the United States has called the action ethnic cleansing. Burma says its “clearance operation” is a legitimate response to attacks by Rohingya insurgents.

Rohingya trace their presence in Rakhine back centuries. But most Burmese consider them to be unwanted immigrants from Bangladesh; the army refers to the Rohingya as “Bengalis.” In recent years, sectarian tensions have risen and the government has confined more than 100,000 Rohingya in camps where they have limited access to food, medicine and education.

SEE ALSO: Burma arrests two Reuters journalists covering Rohingya crisis

Reuters has pieced together what happened in Inn Din in the days leading up to the killing of the 10 Rohingya – eight men and two high school students in their late teens.

Until now, accounts of the violence against the Rohingya in Rakhine state have been provided only by its victims. The Reuters reconstruction draws for the first time on interviews with Buddhist villagers who confessed to torching Rohingya homes, burying bodies and killing Muslims.

This account also marks the first time soldiers and paramilitary police have been implicated by testimony from security personnel themselves. Members of the paramilitary police gave Reuters insider descriptions of the operation to drive out the Rohingya from Inn Din, confirming that the military played the lead role in the campaign. Read more ›

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Rohingya crisis: UK urges independent investigation amid growing calls for ICC probe

Rohingya crisis: UK urges independent investigation amid growing calls for ICC probe                                                                          

By Max Walden | 13th February 2018 | @maxwalden_

Britain’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson shakes hands with Burma’s State Counsellor and Union Minister for Foreign Affairs Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyitaw, Myanmar February 11, 2018. Source: Myanmar New Agency/Handout via Reuters

BRITISH Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has used a visit to Burma (Myanmar) to encourage a peace settlement and an investigation into alleged rights abuses in Rakhine State, as calls mount for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to launch an investigation into crimes against humanity.

Johnson met with Burmese State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi for an hour on Sunday in the capital of Naypyitaw, where he expressed deep concern with the situation of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State and emphasised the need to ensure returns to the area are voluntary and dignified. “I spoke to her about my own experience witnessing the terrible conditions of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, and my deep concern about their future,” said Johnson in a statement from the Foreign Office. Read more ›

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Haul Myanmar’s military leaders before the international criminal court

Haul Myanmar’s military leaders before the international criminal court

Rushanara Ali

If Boris Johnson is serious about helping the Rohingya people, he must push for the prosecution of General Min Aung Hlaing

Tue 13 Feb 2018 10.26 GMTLast modified on Tue 13 Feb 2018 10.28 GMT

Boris Johnson and Aung San Suu Kyi at their meeting in Naypyidaw. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

At the weekend Boris Johnson visited Myanmar and Bangladesh, and saw for himself some of the devastated and burned-out villages where the Rohingya people used to live. The foreign secretary also met with the country’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. Yet nearly six months on from the outbreak of the horrific violence that led to the Rohingya refugee crisis, what action has the British government taken against the head of the Burmese army, General Min Aung Hlaing?

Boris Johnson pushes Aung San Suu Kyi on Rohingya refugees

Read more

The UK claims it has led the diplomatic effort to help the Rohingya and apply pressure to the military. Since violence broke out last year, the government has given £59m in aid, making it one of the biggest donors. It has also suspended military training programmes with the Burmese army after pressure from British parliamentarians and secured a statement from the UN Security Council on the crisis. But that’s it. Read more ›

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 A revered lady and a persecuted people

Rohingya refugees wait to be let through a border crossing into Bangladesh, October 2017. (Reuters photo: Zohra Bensemra

by Jay Nordlinger February 13, 2018 12:00 AM @jaynordlinger

Editor’s Note: What follows is an expanded version of a piece published in the current issue of National Review.

The Rohingyas must be the most despised and persecuted people in the world right now. And there are many such peoples. The Rohingyas live, or lived, in Burma, also known as “Myanmar.” This is the country now led by Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel peace laureate, and one of the most admired people of our time. In general, her admirers are shocked and saddened. Rarely has someone so admired — idolized, even — fallen so fast from grace.

Let’s pause for some pronunciation: “Rohingya,” in English, may be pronounced “Roh-HIN-ja.” (The last two syllables rhyme with “ninja.”) And the name of the leader is usually pronounced “Awn Sahn Soo Chee.”

The Rohingyas belong to a distinct ethnicity, having their own language and culture. They have lived in the Rakhine region for 500 years or more. (That name is pronounced “Rah-KINE,” with the last syllable rhyming with “line.”) Rakhine State is in western Burma. There are 55 million Burmese, 90 percent of whom are Buddhists. Most Rohingyas are Muslim, though some are Hindu. They never mix with the Buddhists of Rakhine.

The Associated Press, however, reported an amazing exception. A Rakhine Buddhist named Setara married a Rohingya man named Mohammad. The marriage is kept secret from the community in which she grew up. “If they knew, they would kill me right away,” she says. Her husband has this to say about their marriage: “She sees me as a human being and I see her as a human being, and it’s that simple.” An astonishing statement, in a madly, viciously tribal world.

In the past, the Rohingyas were partially accepted in Burma. They were allowed a political party and seats in parliament. Today, they are not accepted, denied citizenship, denied any recognition at all. They are even denied their very name. The government wants you to call them “Bengalis,” not “Rohingyas.” The government views them as immigrants and squatters from Bangladesh.

At the end of November, Pope Francis went to Burma and carefully avoided the word “Rohingya.” This pained many of his supporters because he had freely spoken of the Rohingyas before. But things were different in Bangladesh, his next stop, where he talked with Rohingya refugees. “We won’t close our hearts or look away,” he said. “The presence of God today is also called ‘Rohingya.’ ” Read more ›

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Witness to horror
The Rohingyas

The cover of the Rohingya; A short account of their history and culture