Londoners protest in solidarity with Rohingyas
A group of British activists have marched in London to condemn Myanmar’s deadly crackdown on Rohingya Muslims.
Gathering outside the 10 Downing Street on Wednesday, the protesters called on Prime Minister Theresa May to help end the Myanmar government’s ongoing genocide against the religious minority.
The protesters said Britain had to utilize its position on the UN Security Council and use its historical ties with Myanmar as grounds for an international solution.
Myanmar’s security forces have long been attacking Rohingyas and torching their villages since October 2016, in a bid to push them out of the western state of Rakhine. The attacks have been intensified since August 25, with State Counselor Aung San Suu Ky ignoring international demands to call off the operation.
Thousands of Rohingyas have already fled their homeland to take refuge in Bangladesh. Many people have been killed during the perilous boat journeys on the Naf River, which separates the two neighboring countries.
The refugees have also tried to cross the border into Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
UK MPs call for government action
Also on Wednesday, Members of UK Parliament asked May’s cabinet to step forward and help end the violence, which they described as “ethnic cleansing.”
Labour MP and shadow foreign minister Liz McInne called on May to suspend London’s military aid to Myanmar.
“This government must do everything it can to help bring to an end this senseless violence”, Ms McInnes said, denouncing as “wholly inappropriate” the UK’s sale of over £500,000 worth of weapons to the Myanmar government in the last three years.
Foreign Office Minister Mark Field said in response that London had “strongly urged the security forces in Rakhine to show restraint.”
He said May’s government had also asked for humanitarian aid “to reach those in need as soon as possible.”
Yasmin Qureshi, another Labour MP, said she was “a little bit disappointed by Field’s response.
“Will you actually condemn this campaign of ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims?” she asked.
“This is one of the worst examples of violence in decades, yet the international community is effectively remaining silent as we watch another Srebrenica and Rwanda unfold before our eyes. This situation requires urgent intervention,” the MP argued.