Members of the UN Security Council at the Thursday meeting failed to see eye-to-eye on the issue of genocide and ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. While it is not the norm to take important decisions during the council’s open debate, it is unacceptable that the members fail to sense the horror of the situation.
The peace-loving people of the world stand against the genocide and ethnic persecution being carried out for over a month in Myanmar, and have also extended aid and assistance to the 500,000 Rohingyas taking shelter in Bangladesh. United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres has termed the recent events in Myanmar as a human rights nightmare. It is important for the Security Council to fix specific objectives and a timeframe in order to dispel this nightmare. It is very unfortunate that the Security Council’s permanent members China and Russia, in their statements, have virtually supported Myanmar’s scorched earth policy.
The statement of the Myanmar representative to the effect that there had been no military operation there after 5 September, is a blatant lie. International media and human rights organisations have photographic evidence of the atrocities. In response to the Myanmar representative’s statement, the Bangladesh representative called for them to create conditions conducive to taking the Rohingyas back.
This disunity in the UNSC has disheartened us somewhat, but we want to have faith in world conscience and humanity. Representatives of some countries in the council strongly called for a halt to the violence against the Rohingyas in Myanmar. The US representative called for an embargo on selling arms to Myanmar and for the trial of the guilty army officers.
They called for diplomatic means to resolve the crisis. We do not differ from their good advice, but the main thing is for the killing and persecution of Rohingyas to halt. It must be ensured that the Rohingyas can live there with equal respect and rights. The Rohingyas have been living there for centuries. They cannot simply be eliminated with the scratch of a pen.
Alongside diplomatic efforts, there must also be national unity at this critical juncture. The bigger powers cannot dispense of their duty by merely doling out relief. They must also ensure an end to this cruel ethnic cleansing as well as for the culprits to be tried.