World Bulletin / News Desk
A researcher for a leading global human rights NGO has said humanitarian aid organizations should be allowed in Myanmar's western Arakan state where attacks targeting Rohingya Muslims have recently escalated.
"Sectarian violence (in Arakan) has continued, potentially with the complicity of the security forces, because they have not made sufficient or adequate efforts to stop it and they themselves have perpetrated human rights violations against the ethnic minority of Rohingya population," said Amnesty International's Myanmar Researcher Benjamin Zawacki, in an interview with Anadolu Agency.
Listing the urgent steps to solve the ongoing crisis in Arakan, Zawacki said, "The government should be compelled to allow aid and access to the region. At the same time, attacks being perpetrated by the authorities of the state of Myanmar need to stop".
SYSTEMATIC RACISM AND DISCRIMINATION AGAINST MUSLIMS
Zawacki said a large percentage of the security forces in Arakan were of Buddhist origin. Rohingya Muslims living in the state had been suffering a "systematic racism and systematic discrimination" for decades, he added.
The researcher said the situation in the region had been particularly intense for the past week and there were daily reports of attacks targeting Rohingyas.
"Rohingyas are a minority both ethnically and also religiously. So one assumes that some of the persecution they have suffered over the years and they are suffering now is on account of their religion and as well as their ethnicity," he said.
NUMBER OF DEAD, DISPLACED HARD TO VERIFY
Zawacki noted that Amnesty International would not endorse the term "ethnic cleansing" at this time to describe the situation in Arakan, however, it could certainly be said that the attacks were targeted, discriminatory in their nature and they were resulting in an increase in the number of political prisoners.
Commenting on the number of casualties and displacements, the researcher said it was difficult to verify such information as Myanmar authorities had been preventing the access of humanitarian actors into the region. "So, it's very difficult to assess the number of displaced and homeless," he said.
Pointing to the low nutrition rates and harsh living conditions for women and children, Zawacki said the real job was to re-impose some sort of law in security and allow humanitarian access.
"Whether aid is completely blocked or effectively blocked, the point is that tens of thousands of people are in need of humanitarian assistance," he underscored.
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY'S RESPONSE TO THE CRISIS
Regarding several Western states' lifting or easing sanctions on Myanmar in the recent term due to the progress in the country's democratization process, Zawacki said sanctions could be lifted, but authorities could be urged to cease violations at the same time.
He said "the international community clearly failed to step up and take concerted action in this crisis".
"Even [Burmese opposition politician] Aung San Suu Kyi has spoken out in favor of reforming the citizenship law, but has not spoken out in favor of making Rohingyas citizens," Zawacki said.
Abe to become 1st Japanese leader to visit site of deadly attack by country’s imperial forces that led to US joining WWII
Pakistan and Turkey consult each other very frequently, and Turkey's enemy is ours, says Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif
Keppetipola Disawe, a local leader, and his men were declared traitors over the 1817 rebellion against British rule.
Rebel groups reach out after army brings major town under control
Plane lost contact with control tower Saturday with 13 people on board
Blaze starts in kitchen of Regent Plaza in Karachi, official says
Scandal-hit President Park Geun-hye could drag South Korea’s conservative camp down with her
John Key says he cannot 'commit much longer than the next election'.
Leni Robredo says had been warned of plot to steal vice presidency, acknowledges ‘differences’ with President Duterte
Protesters accuse Malaysia gov’t of meddling in Myanmar internal affairs by organizing rally in support of Rohingya Muslims
MILF says ISIL-affiliated group complicated situation in Muslim south amid delay in establishing autonomous region
Latest fatalities, including 3 children, bring official death toll from floods to at least 65 since October
Australia downplays concerns that US president-elect could scrap refugee resettlement arrangement with US
Considering buying, deploying advanced US anti-missile system amid increasing concern about North Korea’s growing arsenal
Authorities believe police aircraft crashed in waters off Batam island where debris has been recovered
Leaflet distributed during rally organized by gov’t says Myanmar should ‘immediately stop military violence’ in Rakhine