By Dave Avran
MOST Malaysians will surely be aware that since 1978, genocide has been building up in Rakhine state. It involves rape, mass killings, looting, forced displacement, denial of food, basic healthcare and the outright refusal by Myanmar to recognize the Rohingya identity.
Such brutality in violation of human rights must not be allowed to continue.
What is not helping is the current attitude of certain politicians and activists spurring Malaysians to look at everything in terms of race and religion.
The Rohingyas are not spared, being made to look like a Muslim issue rather than a human rights issue, of protecting Muslims rather than reaching out to a minority community in desperate need of help.
Many non-Muslims end up feeling they have no role to play in this matter and if the Rohingyas are facing genocide, it is a Muslim problem and the only people who should be getting emotional are their fellow Muslims.
So are we non-Muslims supposed to turn a blind eye to the 1.1 million Rohingya in Rakhine?
I say this is a human rights and humanitarian issue. We are talking about people being persecuted – not just Muslims being oppressed.
I say we should stand up for the Rohingyas because they are fathers, mothers and children forced to flee their homes and country.
An interesting observation is that certain non-Muslim groups and “human rights” activists who are very quick to mouth off a press statement over the merest shadow of a perceived issue seem to be silent or at best lukewarm towards the Rohingya matter.
Take Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasan who famously said “It is shameful that Burma (Myanmar) can propose a far more democratic law than us. It is a terrible insult to Malaysians because we were promised more democracy, but now it is the opposite” in The Malaysian Insider in November 2011.
She has been silent on the Rohingyas except for an article on human trafficking in June 2015 where she commented in her capacity as President of HAKAM.
Similarly SUARAM’s last comment on the Rohingyas was in May 2015.
They did however, endorse a joint statement by 35 NGOs on the Rohingyas on 1 Nov 2016.
Lawyers for Liberty’s last comment on the Rohingyas was in May 2015. Another coincidence!
Lawyers for Liberty also coincidentally endorsed the joint statement on the Rohingyas by 35 NGOs on 1 Nov 2016.
Proham’s Datuk Denison Jayasooria presented “Human Rights Violations & Remedies: The Rohingya Case”, an Ethnic Studies Paper in March 2016.
The Human Rights Watch released a report entitled “Burma: New Wave of Destruction in Rohingya Villages” on Nov 21 2016.
Is it only me or does anyone else find the silence deafening?
Where is the normal sense of urgency?
The moral outrage?
The call to action?
Do the Rohingyas lives not matter because they don’t fit the agenda? Isn’t this sheer hypocrisy?
At least the Malaysian Bar Council had the decency to issue a statement on 2nd Dec 2016.