UK must increase pressure on UN to get justice for the Rohingya | Letters

Mike Noyes of ActionAid UK and SP Chakravarty write on the human rights abuses suffered by the Muslim minority in Myanmar

Charles Petrie is right that the appalling human rights violations committed against Rohingya people are “sufficiently grave … to justify international action” (Debating the definition of genocide will not save the Rohingya, 4 September). The UK has an important role to play here. The British government is a global leader on the prevention of sexual violence in conflict, and the UK holds the diplomatic “pen” on the Rohingya refugee issue at the UN. It is therefore welcome that, after last week’s UN report into the crisis, the UK called for perpetrators to be brought before an international tribunal (Myanmar’s military must be prosecuted for Rohingya ‘ethnic cleansing’, UN toldt, 29 August).

It’s now essential that Britain increases pressure on the security council to act, to ensure justice for the thousands of Rohingya people who have suffered unbearable abuses – in particular, the Rohingya women and girls who have been subjected to rape and other forms of violence. ActionAid has been supporting the most vulnerable women and girls in camps in Bangladesh. Almost every one of them bears the physical and mental scars of the reported human rights abuses they have experienced; including shocking levels of sexual violence, pregnancy through rape, and the loss and murder of their children and other family members. We must seek justice for these survivors. The Rohingya people can no longer survive on empty promises.
Mike Noyes
Director of policy, advocacy and programmes, ActionAid UK

• You let off Aung San Suu Kyi lightly (Editorial, 5 September). She is in the political tradition of majoritarian nationalism in Myanmar, accompanied by violence against minorities, characterising the independence movement in the first quarter of the 20th century.

As independence came, her father began to see dangers to a liberal society he aspired for in the Burman Buddhist supremacist narrative. He tried to reach out to minorities, and declared the country a secular state. He was assassinated within months of becoming prime minister. A subsequent government changed the status of the country to a Buddhist state. Religious freedom completely evaporated soon thereafter following a military coup.

Unlike her father, Aung San Suu Kyi views democracy simply as electoral endorsement of rulers. Anti-Muslim bigotry is a vote winner in a Buddhist majority country where the monks are deeply conservative. It is no wonder that she has little sympathy for journalists who expose genocide against Rohingya Muslims.
SP Chakravarty
Bangor, Gwynedd

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