Myanmar Rejects Rohingya Ceasefire, as Bloody Conflict Continues

Though Western eyes have been largely affixed to the plight of Syrian refugee in recent years, another serious humanitarian crisis is unfolding on the global stage.

In the Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar — sometimes referred to as Burma — an appalling conflict has affected hundreds of thousands of lives. Violence erupted in October of last year after a militant group affiliated with the Rohingya ethnic group attacked and killed several policemen. The government was swift to seek retribution, building up an enormous military presence in the Rohingya regions of the country.

Human rights groups claim that government forces have used brutal tactics — including imprisonment, rape, extrajudicial executions and torture — to terrorize the Rohingya population. Homes have been razed to the ground as well, forcing thousands to flee into the jungles. Many more have sought refuge in neighboring Bangladesh.

Myanmar is predominately Buddhist, while the Rohingya are largely Muslim. Though the Rohingya have resided within Myanmar for generations, they have long been denied citizenship within the country.

The reasoning for this, officials state, is because the Rohingya illegally migrated to Myanmar decades ago – at the behest of the British Empire,while it controlled India and modern day Myanmar. The British originally brought these people to Myanmar as laborers, and their decedents ultimately stayed until current day.

An estimated 1.1 million Rohingya were living within Myanmar — but that has rapidly changed over the past year. According to the United Nations, over 370,000 Rohingya have fled from Myanmar since the conflict escalated last fall.

While Myanmar officials justify their actions as merely a response to Rohingya-linked militant activities, international critics insist that the government’s reaction is deeply disproportionate, as it largely targets civilian non-combatants. And some argue that these actions amount to genocide.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Rohingya militants have interpreted the violence as a provocation and used these atrocities as an impetus to wage war against government forces.

This week, in a surprise move, the Rohingya militant group Arkan Rohingya Salvation Army has stated its intent to implement a one-month ceasefire to facilitate the deployment of humanitarian aid. But government spokespeople maintain that they refuse to negotiate with “terrorists.”

Despite the strong international condemnation of its aggressive tactics, Myanmar officials appear to have little desire to end their assault on the Rohingya.

Top political leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has received well-justified criticism for her silence regarding her country’s actions — especially considering that she was once a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Some have argued, however, that Suu Kyi has little power over Myanmar’s military, which is currently controlled by Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing.

Given the extensive abuse and dehumanization of the Rohingya in Myanmar over many decades, it should surprise no one that, right or wrong, a faction of the ethnic group eventually explored a violent solution. It is time for someone like Suu Kyi to act as a voice of reason and institute social and political changes necessary to save thousands of lives.

Take Action!

Call on Myanmar’s leaders to end the bloodshed and persecution of the Rohingya by adding your name to this Care2 petition.

Concerned about an issue? Want to raise awareness about an injustice? Join your fellow Care2 users by learning how to create your own petition and make your voice heard today!

Photo Credit: British Foreign and Commonwealth Office / Flickr

59 comments

Stephanie s
Stephanie sabout a month ago

Thank you

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Stephanie s
Stephanie sabout a month ago

Thank you

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Stephanie s
Stephanie sabout a month ago

Thank you

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Stephanie s
Stephanie sabout a month ago

Thank you

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s2 months ago

Sad

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Kathryn I
Kathryn I2 months ago

So heartbreaking. Petition signed! Thanks for posting!

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Freya H
Freya H2 months ago

Cecily W - is you point that overpopulation makes ethnic cleansing acceptable? By that token, Hitler, Stalin and Mao are saints because of all the "extra" people whom they culled.

Edward V and Muff-Anne Y, since when are the modern Rohingya the perpetrators? Might as well say that Jews are always perpetrators of violence because of how ruthlessly the ancient Hebrews conquered and butchered their neighbors, if the Old Testament is any guide.

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Colin C
Colin C2 months ago

Thanks for the informative article

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Cruel Justice
Cruel J2 months ago

Tyfs.

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Peggy B
Peggy B2 months ago

Reading the comments there is one or two who should go to the sign in page and read what care2 is all about. Bigots are frowned upon.

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