Wednesday, May 29, 2024
HomeOpinionThe 'second wave' of genocide facing the Rohingya in Arakan State

The ‘second wave’ of genocide facing the Rohingya in Arakan State

Guest contributor

Pacifist Farooq

If a Rohingya brother is illegally conscripted by the military regime, and his younger brother is forcibly recruited into the Arakan Army (AA), they would be fighting against each other on the frontline in Arakan State.

Imagine this happened in Europe or in the Middle East. How would the international community react? 

Nothing can justify the fact that Rohingya genocide survivors are now being used as human shields and cannon fodder by both sides in the war over control of townships and villages, home to the Rohingya, in Arakan for generations. 

The U.N. Security Council briefing on Myanmar last month successfully failed once again to protect innocent Rohingya and Rakhine lives from the human rights and humanitarian catastrophe that is the never-ending state of affairs in Arakan.

After the 2021 military coup in Myanmar, the regime has killed 5,000 civilians, with over 26,000 arrested and another 20,000 held in prison, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP). 

The nationwide crackdown on the anti-coup movement has led to 2.9 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) with over one million having fled to neighbouring countries such as India, Thailand and China, according to the U.N.

I believe that the Rohingya are facing a second wave of genocide. They are caught in the crossfire between the military and the AA, which launched its latest offensive against regime troops in Arakan on Nov. 13. 

Over 200 Rohingya have been killed and over 100 have been injured since then. An additional 100 have been abducted and 500 have been arbitrarily arrested by the military and the AA. 

Nearly all Rohingya in Arakan live as IDPs. They lack access to food and other basic necessities, such as medications. The situation is further exacerbated by the daily curfew from 7 pm to 6 am, which was imposed by the AA. 

And don’t forget that the Rohingya are not allowed to move freely, which means both the military and the AA make them sitting ducks in their communities with movement restrictions, unable to flee the fighting or forced recruitment/conscription.

Despite the International Court of Justice (ICJ) provisional measures to protect the Rohingya from further acts genocide (The Gambia v. Myanmar), the military has forcefully conscripted over 1,000 Rohingya since February.

Now the military is attempting its divide and rule strategy once again. It has forced Rohingya to protest against the AA, which has resulted in ratcheting up the ethnic tension with the Rakhine community in Arakan.

Last month, the AA was accused of forcefully recruiting one man per Rohingya household into its army. This, I believe, is the final phase of genocide against my people.  

Therefore, it is a moral imperative for the international community to assist the National Unity Government (NUG), and its allied resistance forces, to uproot the military regime installed in Naypyidaw three years ago.

It must call for Myanmar to reestablish peace and return to its path toward democracy. 

If a country like the U.S. supports the NUG, the Rohingya crisis will come to an end. Its founding body, the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC), has stated it would abolish the 1982 Citizenship Law, which has been used to strip the Rohingya of legality in Myanmar. 

It is strongly believed that when the NUG comes into power, it will bring Rohingya refugees back from Bangladesh by providing full citizenship rights to them, which would end their suffering in the refugee camps, where the U.S. has provided over one billion USD. 

The U.S. should begin to financially support the NUG to end the root cause of all of Myanmar’s problems, which have been caused by the military and its successive regimes.

Moreover, the U.S. has spent trillions on the defence of Ukraine, but when it comes to  Myanmar, it is quite passive. It has been over three years since the coup and seven years since the genocide against the Rohingya. 

It took the U.S. until 2022 to label the violence against the Rohingya in 2017 a genocide. Nobody in the international community should turn a blind eye to the escalating conflict in Myanmar. 

It is time for the U.S. to step up at the U.N. Security Council and demand a resolution that protects all civilians in Myanmar, especially the Rohingya. 

Pacifist Farooq is a Rohingya refugee, poet, and teacher living in the world’s largest refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

DVB publishes a diversity of opinions that does not reflect DVB editorial policy. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our stories: [email protected]


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