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UN’s Myanmar probe

Filed on July 29, 2012

THE UNITED Nations spotlight has finally fell on Myanmar. By taking note of human rights excesses and killings of Muslims in the Southeast Asian country, the world body has made a decent beginning.

This is a welcome development after a prolonged criminal silence over the mayhem that the Buddhist population was unleashing over the Muslim minority in Rohingya. The UN human rights chief Navi Pillay’s institution of an independent investigation to probe into the abuses that has seen hundreds of Muslims slaughtered and more than 80,000 displaced in Rakhine state should get to its logical conclusion. It has been witnessed that the world body’s interaction with the military junta had not been on a faster pace, and things had moved quite slowly. Apparently owing to its unrepresentative and ad hoc nature of governance, the generals in Yangon do not feel it as a compulsion to respond to international queries and concerns. But at that time it was owing to the restoration of democratic credentials that the world was knocking at their doors, but this time around the issue is one of sensitive nature. The more the time passes it would be a disaster in the making, as the exodus doesn’t have any practical access and means to cross over into neighbouring countries owing to the tough geography of the ill-fated country. The UN should keep in mind that a human catastrophe is in the making, and none are sure to what extent have the crimes been carried out against a hapless community.

There is, however, another contention that has seriously mired the credentials of the newly elected dispensation in Myanmar. The silence and aloofness of the democrats, including Noble laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, has literally disappointed not only the Burmese but also the world at large. It is high time she comes out of her self-carved domain of political and ethnic exigency and speaks out in favour of the discriminated community. The Muslims of Myanmar had been at the vanguard of struggle for restoration of democracy and civil rights, and this extermination of theirs at the hands of radical Buddhists comes as a test for Burmese conscience. The UN cannot abdicate its role merely after commissioning an inquiry. It has to bring the culprits to book and ensure that the Muslims of Rakhine state are rehabilitated.


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