Human Rights

Rohingya Muslims flee violence in Myanmar, Suu Kyi keep silence

Rohingya Muslims are fleeing their homes and seeking shelter in neighboring countries amid threats of ethnic cleansing by the Myanmarese government.

Fleeing harrowing rights violations, they suffer at the hands of Myanmar’s authorities, some of the members of the heavily-persecuted Muslim community arrived in Jammu Kashmir on Sunday.

Some 500,000 Rohingya Muslims have also sought refuge in Bangladesh to avoid persecution.

Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said on Friday that his country would offer assistance to repatriate the refugees to Myanmar, a process that has remained stalled for decades.

The request by Bangladesh comes amid increasing concerns over state-sponsored ethnic cleansing against the minority Muslim group in Myanmar.

The government of Myanmar refuses to recognize Rohingyas, whom, it claims, are not natives and classifies them as illegal migrants, although, the Rohingyas are said to be Muslim descendants of Persian, Turkish, Bengali, and Pathan origin, who migrated to Myanmar as early as the eighth century.

The UN says decades of discrimination have left the Rohingyas stateless, with Myanmar implementing restrictions on their movement and withholding land rights, education, and public services from them. The world body has also described the Muslim community as the Palestine of Asia and one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

Myanmar’s President Thein Sein said on July 19 that the “only solution” to the plight of Rohingya Muslims is to send the nearly-one-million-strong community to refugee camps run by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). “We will send them away if any third country would accept them,” he added. “This is what we are thinking is the solution to the issue.”

Bangladesh calls Rohingya refugees illegal immigrants. The UN refugee agency has recently aggravated the situation of the minority group by dismissing a demand by Myanmar’s government to accommodate the persecuted Muslims in new refugee camps.

Even Myanmar’s Western-sponsored democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi has remained silent on atrocities perpetrated against the Rohingya Muslims.

Over the past two years, scores of ethnic Muslims have attempted to flee by boat in the face of systematic oppression by the Myanmarese government.

Reports say 650 Rohingya Muslims have been killed since June 28 during clashes in the Rakhine state in the west of the country. This is while 1,200 others are missing and 80,000 more have been displaced.

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