World View: Burma Blocks UN Rohingya Investigator as Genocide Charges Are Raised

The Rohingya exodus was triggered by a Myanmar army crackdown that has been described as ethnic cleansing

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Burma (Myanmar) blocks UN investigator from investigating atrocities against Rohingyas
  • Burma officials, including Aung San Suu Kyi, may face genocide charges

Burma (Myanmar) blocks UN investigator from investigating atrocities against Rohingyas

Rohingya boys in Burma search through the ashes of their village after it was burned down by Buddhists (Reuters)
Rohingya boys in Burma search through the ashes of their village after it was burned down by Buddhists (Reuters)

Yanghee Lee, the United Nations’ special investigator on the Rohingya crisis in Burma (Myanmar), has been blocked from doing any further investigation by officials from Burma. She had previously made several invited visits to Burma as part of her investigation and was recently invited to come again in January.

After being barred on Wednesday, Lee said that “there must be something terribly awful happening in Rakhine,” referring to years of genocidal attacks on Muslims, especially Muslim Rohingyas, by Buddhists, led by led by Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu and his “969 movement,” where 969 is a historic Buddhist sign, referring to the nine qualities of Buddha, the six qualities of Buddha’s teaching, and nine qualities of the Buddhist community. “969” is supposedly a sign of peace and happiness, but Wirathu and the Burmese have turned “969” into a sign of genocide and ethnic cleansing. Buddha must be turning over in his grave.

In a statement, Lee said:

I am puzzled and disappointed by this decision by the Myanmar Government. This declaration of non-cooperation with my mandate can only be viewed as a strong indication that there must be something terribly awful happening in Rakhine, as well as in the rest of the country.

[After promising continued cooperation two weeks ago,] now I am being told that this decision to no longer cooperate with me is based on the statement I made after I visited the country in July.

The Government has repeatedly denied violations of human rights are occurring throughout Myanmar, particularly in Rakhine state. They have said that they have nothing to hide, but their lack of cooperation with my mandate and the fact-finding mission suggests otherwise.

What Lee said in July was that it was “unacceptable” that people meeting her were watched and even followed by agents.

Lee’s official title is UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar. She has visited Burma six times since she began her mandate in June 2014, although the government has consistently refused access to some areas. United Nations and Reuters and Al-Jazeera (22-July)

Burma officials, including Aung San Suu Kyi, may face genocide charges

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, says that after years of Buddhist slaughter, rape and ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims, it is possible that Burma’s leaders, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, may face genocide charges, as well as Gen Aung Min Hlaing, the head of Burma’s army.

Since 2011, I have been using the word “genocide” in an informal sense to describe the atrocities that Burmese Buddhists are conducting against Burma’s Muslims, especially the Rohingya Muslims.

By 2013, thousands of Buddhists were making frenzied attacks on Muslims in cities across Burma, with multiple rapes, murders, and atrocities, killing dozens. In one publicized event in the town of Meiktila, Buddhists took 20 Muslim boys from a madrassa, and hacked them to death, soaked their bodies in petrol and set them alight, leaving a blackened patch of ground.

This was a major milestone in Burma’s genocide of Muslims, similar to Kristallnacht, when the Nazi Germans made the same kinds of frenzied, uncontrolled attacks on Jews in 1938.

These attacks were led by racist Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu, who calls himself the “Buddhist Osama bin Laden.” He was pictured on the cover of Time magazine on July 1, 2013, with a caption, “The Face of Buddhist Terror.” He advocates the extermination of all Muslims in Burma, and many Buddhists are killing, raping, and mutilating Muslims, burning down their homes and villages, because Wirathu tells them to do it.

During 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017, the massive genocidal attacks by Burma’s army on Rohingyas have driven over 600,000 Rohingyas into Bangladesh, killing, raping, and mutilating them and burning down their homes and villages.

The United Nations became particularly alarmed in August 2017 when some Rohingya activists attacked some Burma border posts, triggering a massive increase in the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas. An analogy in the US would be that after Black Lives Matter killed a policeman, the US army started entering black neighborhoods and killing, torturing, and raping all the black civilian residents, including women and children.

Burma’s Buddhist genocide of Muslims is the second-worst genocide so far this century, the worst being Bashar al-Assad’s Shia/Alawite genocide of Sunnis in Syria. Aung San Suu Kyi is turning out to be the Hitler of Burma’s genocide.

Although I have used the word “genocide” informally, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein is suggesting that it may actually be proven formally in a court of law:

For obvious reasons, if you’re planning to commit genocide you don’t commit it to paper and you don’t provide instructions.

The thresholds for proof are high. But it wouldn’t surprise me in the future if a court were to make such a finding on the basis of what we see.

Zeid said that he spoke to Suu Kyi in February 2017, and asked her to stop the atrocities:

I appealed to her to bring these military operations to an end. I appealed to her emotional standing … to do whatever she could to bring this to a close, and to my great regret it did not seem to happen.

Ethnic cleansing “clearance operations” by Burma’s (Myanmar’s) army have driven some 620,000 ethnic Rohingyas from Rakhine State into Bangladesh, threatening to destabilize the entire region. BBC and News Corp (Australia) and Straits Times

Related Articles

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Burma, Myanmar, Rohingyas, Bangladesh, Yanghee Lee, Ashin Wirathu, “969 movement”, Buddha, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, Aung San Suu Kyi, Aung Min Hlaing
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