USA urges Myanmar to give access to Rakhine crisis area

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If anything, it is a distraction from helping innocent victims.

As tensions in Myanmar escalate, the Swiss ambassador in the southeast Asian country has defended de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under heavy worldwide criticism for failing to stop or condemn the army's attacks on the Rohingya Muslim minority.

Myanmar's importance on the "geopolitical chessboard" of U.S. strategy in Asia allows its leadership to remain unscathed despite the outbreak of violence which has forced the Rohingya minority to flee their homes, global lawyer Barry Grossman told Iran's Press TV. The military has been torturing and killing the population while burning their villages to ashes. According to monitors, up to 1,000 people have been killed. While it is hard to know what the group really seeks, the fact that it has upgraded its strike capacity and consolidated local support over the past few years is undeniable. "But what some have called "ethnic cleansing" and others "a slow genocide" has persisted - and recently accelerated", he stated.

As defined in Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide authored in 1948, a genocide is defined as "any of the following acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures meant to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group". Suu Kyi has been criticised for failing to stand up for more than 10 lakh stateless Rohingyas in Rakhine. I am not undermining the importance of stripping her from the award, but it should not be the first thing that one thinks of.

During the Second World War the Rohingya fought on the side of the retreating British army while their Buddhist neighbours joined the invading Japanese, resulting in horrific reprisals that sent 100,000 Rohingya fleeing into British Bengal and beyond.

Interestingly, at the time of India's Partition, Rohingya leaders had pleaded with Mohammed Ali Jinnah to be included in his plan of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) saying the Burmese would eventually decimate them. Now, she's becoming the face of a genocide.

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A quick analysis of ARSA's Twitter feed reveals that the organisation is attempting to project itself as a legitimate armed group fighting to restore the Rohingya as a recognised ethnic group in Myanmar.

As you read this, a rag-tag column of tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar is on the march in appalling conditions, escaping a ruthless crackdown by the country's military. Since late August, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled the country. The world seems to have failed to learn from its previous actions, as it is doing nothing to avoid such atrocities.

THE reports are horrifying: soldiers and militiamen surrounding villages, raping women, decapitating children, herding men into buildings and setting them ablaze.

On Tuesday, the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, said the government clearance operations in Rakhine "risked" ethnic cleansing. The media continues to favour and prioritise certain catastrophes over others. "China is our friend and we have a similar relationship with Russian Federation, so it will not be possible for that issue to go forward". We must use our voices and platforms to speak up, offer help, and donate. In what amounted to an extraordinarily mealy mouthed defence of what is happening in Rakhine - the region where most of the Rohingya live - she said: "It is a little unreasonable to expect us to solve the issue in 18 months.the situation in Rakhine has been such since many decades".

Hamid Dabashi is Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.

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