High time for multi-party talks on Myanmar crisis
Myanmar’s quasi-civilian government has reportedly rejected an initiative of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to open tripartite talks involving the ASEAN, Myanmar and the United Nations to quell the deadly communal violence in the country, claiming that it was an ‘internal matter’ of the country. While we are strongly opposed to the idea of the external with the internal affairs of any country, Myanmar’s claim in the present case is absolutely baseless, at least as far as Bangladesh is concerned. In the Rakhine state of Myanmar, by all standards, the Muslim minority community has been exposed to racial cleansing by the chauvinistic Buddhist majority community, causing violent murders of, according to an AFP report printed by New Age on Wednesday, at least 180 people since June. Besides, the sectarian violence in the Rakhine state has caused, according to a recent UNHCR statement, more than 28,000 people to flee their homes in October. Notably, Myanmar illogically refuses to accept some 800,000 Rohingyas, a Muslim minority community of the country, as its citizens, obstinately claiming that they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh! What is surprising, as well as disturbing, is that authorities in Myanmar do not at all look serious about containing the violence. The spokesman of the Rakhine government reportedly said on Tuesday that they ‘do not know’ as to how long the violence would continue. It could go on, said the spokesman, ‘for about a month or two… even… as long as a year or two.’ Any reasonable person can imagine what would happen to the minority Rohingya people, who already are, according to the United Nations, ‘one of the most persecuted minorities on the planet,’ if the violence against them continues for ‘a year or two.’ Some of them would become refugees in neighboring countries and the rest will just perish in their own country. Is this what the Myanmar authorities are paving the way for?
While there are Americans and Britons in Washington and London protesting against the violation of human rights by their respective governments, Indians in Delhi fighting against the persecution of Muslim minority by Hindu fundamentalists, Bangladeshis in Dhaka protesting against government inaction regarding sectarian violence against minority Hindu and Buddhist communities, it is shocking to see that no Buddhist, including Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, living in Myanmar has so far been heard protesting against the sectarian violence against the minority Rohingya Muslims. It seems that either the incumbents are too undemocratic to tolerate any protests or the Buddhist monks have transformed the non-violent Buddhism to a violent religion. Neither of the phenomena can do good to the people of Myanmar, let alone the rest of the world.
It is, therefore, high time international democratic communities, committed to humanities, came forward to effectively pursue the Myanmar authorities to sit for a multi-party dialogue to end violence against the Rohingyas. The United Nations must come forward and Dhaka has to be made a party to the talks for Bangladesh has been bearing the brunt of looking after more than three lakh Rohingyas, now in various camps in Cox’s Bazar and beyond, for quite some years now. The sooner the talks, the better it is for all concerned.
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