UN To Probe Myanmar For Rohingya Human Rights Violations

In response to alleged abuses from Myanmar military officials against the minority, the Rohingya Muslims, the UN has decided to launch investigations to hold the abusers accountable. Rohingya Muslims have been fleeing into neighbouring Bangladesh in response to the attacks, which is creating a significant refugee problem in the area. The UN’s response to the situation has been prompted by recent events, though they have failed to recognize Myanmar’s own efforts to address the problem. A top Myanmar official said that the UN’s efforts are unconstructive and unwanted.

The country’s national security advisor, Thang Tun, stated that the UN is not seeing what the Myanmar government is doing to improve the situation. He told the Seattle Times that the UN’s involvement is counterproductive and that the country needs “help, not obstacles,” as well he stated that the Myanmar government “looks forward to the understanding and constructive support of the international community in our endeavor to build peace, justice and development for all in [the] Rakhine.” Despite this sentiment, critics of the government say that the atrocities committed deserve more than an investigation by the military at this point. With that said, refusal to cooperate with the UN and the international community could strip Myanmar of the credibility it has gained in recent years, especially since the de facto Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi has done little to investigate this situation, despite her winning the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with human rights and the fight for democracy.

The inability of the UN to intervene and supportively fix the situation shows the inherent weakness in the national organization. The situation in Myanmar has roots stemming back to before the violent outbreak, with regards to the discrimination against the Rohingya. With that said, if the UN does not take successful action in Myanmar to protect the rights of all people living in the Rakhine state, the discrimination and human rights violations will only continue. Despite the Myanmar government’s alleged attempts at investigating and bettering the situation, there has been no positive outcome. In addition to using forming a UN military coalition to advise, the UN needs to send aid and humanitarian workers to the area that grants the Myanmar government access to resources necessary to maintain a peaceful existence for Rohingya Muslims.

On October 9th, 2016, the conflict in Myanmar was kicked into high gear when Islamic militants were accused of attacking security outposts along the border. Hundreds of thousands of people have since been feeling the effects from the conflict, which has left people without food, medical care, and basic shelter. The Rohingya are the minority in Myanmar, though there are still 1.1 million living within the country’s borders. There has been intercommunity violence between the Rohingya and Buddhists since 2012, which illustrates that this conflict has been left unattended for several years. Rohingya have no political representation, are geographically isolated from resources, are vilified in media, and are being forced to flee violence and persecution. The recent investigations into the violence focus on the indiscriminate killings against Rohingya by Buddhist military officials.

Therefore, it is evident that if the UN and the international community does not intervene to negotiate with the Myanmar government to protect all people living within the country, the situation will continue to escalate. The resistance from the Myanmar government to the investigations will give the reputation of the government a suspicious name, which is something that Myanmar cannot afford in the midst of the humanitarian crisis that is occurring.

Eva McLafferty