UN Secretary General Deeply Concerned About Escalating Violence in Myanmar

UN Secretary General Deeply Concerned About Escalating Violence in Myanmar

UN Secretary General Deeply Concerned About Escalating Violence in Myanmar

The ongoing conflict in Myanmar has reached a very critical point, drawing intense concern even from the international community. Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary- General has expressed his deep concern over the increasing violence, particularly its impact on the Muslim Rohingya community. The stateless ethnic group primarily residing in Myanmar’s Rakhine State Rohingyas, have faced systematic prejudice for decades, a situation that has only worsened in recent years.

Conflict in Myanmar and the Rohingya Crisis

Formerly known as Burma, Myanmar has been entangled in severe ethnic and political conflicts for decades. This conflict can be traced back to Myanmar’s independence from British rule in 1948. Tensions between the Buddhist majority and the Muslim Rohingya minority have existed since then, fueled by the ethnic nationalism and discriminatory nationalism.

  The situation worsened significantly in the late 1970’s, when Myanmar military launched operations that forced thousands of Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh. The pattern of persecution continued and in 1982, the Rohingya were effectively left stateless by a citizenship law that excluded them from the list of recognized ethnic groups.

Tensions intensified further in 2012, when violent clashes started between Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists, leading to widespread suffering and displacement. The conflict reached a level of brutality when the Myanmar military launched a major crackdown in response to attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on police posts in August 2017. This military operation involved mass killings, rapes and the burning of Rohingya villages, leading to what the UN described as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

Rohingya Fleeing into Bangladesh

In the face of such violence and brutality, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled Myanmar, seeking refuge in neighboring country Bangladesh. The mass diaspora, which began in earnest after the violent military operation in August 2017, has led to one of the largest refugee crises in history. Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh is now known as the largest refugee camp on global level, giving shelter to nearly a million Rohingya refugees. These refugees live in overcrowded and under- resourced camps, facing multiple challenges in accessing even the basic necessities like food, clean water and medical assistance.

   The journey to Bangladesh is full of danger. Refugees recount chilling tales of violence, rape and murders. Many have seen their homes and family members turned into ashes. This forced migration is driven by an overwhelming fear of bigotry, with refugees often arriving in Bangladesh traumatized and in dire need of assistance.

Acute Food Insecurity and Alleged Attacks

The quandary of the Rohingya is further compounded by acute Food insecurity. In the refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar shortage of food is a daily reality. International aid organizations struggle to provide sufficient food supplies due to funding constraints and logistical challenges. The World Food Programme (WFP) has again and again called for increased support to address the nutritional needs of these refugees, highlighting that pregnant women and children are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition.

      Reports from within Myanmar indicate that food insecurity is also prevalent among the Rohingya who remain. Access to markets and farmlands is totally restricted, intensifying their already precarious living conditions. Allegations of targeted attacks on Rohingya communities continue to happen, including instances of arson, forced displacement and brutal killings. These attacks allegedly initiated by both military forces and local militias, contribute to an environment of instability and fear.

Accountability for Perpetrators

In response to the increasing violence and human rights abuses, Secretary General Guterres has called for urgent action to hold culprits accountable. The UN has consistently urged the Myanmar military to cease its operations against civilians and respect human rights. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has started investigations into the alleged crimes against the Rohingya, aiming to bring those responsible for barbarity to justice.

    The Secretary- General’s statement highlights the need for a united international response to the crisis. This includes an increase in humanitarian aid, diplomatic pressure on Myanmar’s military regime and sturdy efforts to ensure accountability. Guterres emphasized that the international community must not turn a blind eye to the suffering of the Rohingya and other affected communities in Myanmar.

The increasing violence in Myanmar and the critical situation of the Rohingya require urgent and sustained international attention. As the UN Secretary- General underscores, addressing this crisis involves not only urgent humanitarian assistance but also long term solutions to ensure stability and justice. The world must stand in solidarity with the Rohingya, ensuring their rights and dignity are upheld and working tirelessly to end the cycle of violence and persecution.

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