Yangon (Agenzia Fides) – It is urgent to take immediate action to stop the Burma Armys campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya people, including an arms embargo against Myanmar: this is what Christian Solidarity Worldwide Council have asked the UN Council for human rights. In a note sent to Fides, CSW called on the UN Human Rights Council "to put pressure on the military in Burma, in particular, a global arms embargo and the suspension of military training programmes for the Burma Army". CSW also urged the UN Human Rights Council "to pass a resolution calling for an end to civilian deaths and immediate humanitarian access to all in need, regardless of their religion or ethnicity, in the state of Rakhine".
Mervyn Thomas, Director of CSW, says to Fides: "The scale of the tragedy unfolding on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in the past three weeks is truly appalling. The international community must act to stop a campaign of ethnic cleansing which involves the displacement of at least 400,000 civilians, the killing of thousands and the destruction of hundreds of villages. The Burma Army is responsible for this crisis".
According to the Director, "over the past six years Burma has begun a period of fragile reform and democratisation, which we have welcomed. At this time, however, we believe the crisis is so severe that it is vital that a strong message is sent to the military: that it cannot be allowed to continue killing indiscriminately. The Commander-in-Chief of the army, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, is the one person with the power to stop this, and action is needed by the international community to put pressure on him to do so". CSW highlights that the Burma army is violating human rights and has also intensified its assault on the predominantly Christian Kachin ethnic group, and on the Shan people.
The Muslim population of Rohingya are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world, and are stateless as a result of a Citizenship Law introduced in Burma in 1982 which revoked their citizenship, even though they have lived in Rakhine State, Burma for generations. In 2012, violence in Rakhine State left thousands displaced, and in October 2016 the Burma Army launched a new military offensive against civilians in Rakhine after a small armed Rohingya group, ARSA (Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army), attacked Burmese border guard posts. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 21/9/2017)