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The Rohingya Crisis

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They are known in many ways, some label them the boat people other simply call them a Muslim minority. However, one thing the world has come to realize is that the Rohingyas are the most persecuted minority in the world. Mostly situated in the Myanmar state of Rakhine, the discrimination against the Rohingya has been written into Myanmar’s History. The growing Buddhist nationalism during Burma’s (Myanmar’s previous name) fight for independence created a lasting divide between the Rohingyas and the general population. The government left out the Rohingya from its list of the official ethnic groups. Only later in 1961 did it recognize the Rohingya as an ethnicity. But, till date the Rohingya are not granted citizenship in Myanmar, which means they are legally stateless. However, the main problem lies in more recent times as violence against the group began to grow. In 2012, the government declared a state of emergency after an alleged rape case involving some Rohingyas. There villages were burned, violence followed leading to 90,000 displaced Rohingyas. A more recent and tragic case took place in 2017 when there was a mass influx of Rohingya refugees fleeing from atrocities committed against them by the military and local Buddhist. The Myanmar government just watches and in some cases, tries to cover up the tracks. This situation is rightly defined as the textbook example of genocide.

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So far, the government of the United States has undertaken an extensive investigation against the atrocities that have been committed against the Rohingya. The investigation was led by the US state department and included interviewing thousands of Rohingyas. It aimed to document claims of human rights abuse and crimes committed against the Rohingya, in order to be able to prosecute the Myanmar military in the future. However, the United States hasn’t released the results yet as it is still analyzing the report, soon to be public.

The United States has been a long-time champion of human rights, and does not believe in violence. The Rohingyas are no different, and the crimes that are committed against them, like mass-murder, rape etc. are unacceptable. The US will however, not support any solution that would currently require a military interference since, such a large-scale program will not prove to be effective in such a delicate situation. A situation in which many of these people have fled Myanmar and become refugees. Thus, the US would look favorably upon a solution that would use diplomatic means to pressure Myanmar into taking back the Rohingyas and even providing them equal rights and recognition.

The US believes that an effective solution will include a pragmatic multipronged approach. Which would include brokering a political solution, eventually allowing the Rohingyas to return home. And in the meantime, helping Bangladesh cope with the influx of Rohingya refugees that it faces due to its close proximity to Myanmar. The US would use its own and urge other countries to use their diplomatic power (targeted sanctions and cutting off ties) to make the Myanmar government cease all military acts. And to allow the Rohingya to return with equal rights and a promise of citizenship. This should be the first step to a long-lasting program in which the status quo regarding the Rohingyas slowly changes. While simultaneously Bangladesh should be offered support from the whole international community and provide refugees freedom to work. To get them less dependent on aid and more importantly reduce crimes such as trafficking.

The US hopes to be able to get its message and idea of a multipronged approach across to the council. And eventually be able to offer convincing reasons for the council to support this idea. Because, if we don’t do anything about this then the “never again” promise that we made after the genocide in Rwanda, would be broken.

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