For the past 12 months, some 700,000 Rohingya refugees have been living in the confines of cramped camps in Cox’s Bazaar and elsewhere in Bangladesh, somewhat safe from the mobs, soldiers and security forces that burned their homes and razed their villages across Rakhine state in northeastern Myanmar. And the only reason why these desperate and desolate people now live in these camps is because of their faith. They are Muslim.
A year ago, after long months of festering anger and simmering hatred, a wave of vile, visceral violence was unleashed on the Rohingya by Myanmarese who say they are now part of the 130 or so ethnic groups that make up their troubled nation.
Mob anger targeted all things Rohingya and all things Muslim. Mosques were torched, shops and villages burned, men, women and children were killed – and the orgy of violence occurred under the eyes and efforts of Myanmar’s police, security forces and military. Indeed, as the refugees tried to flee from their homes, the military planted fresh landmine fields along their escape routes.
These crimes are well documented. What has not yet been documented are the holding to account of all those responsible, those who aided and abetted this textbook case of ethnic cleansing and state-sanctioned genocide.
Whether it be the de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, her ministers, her military or even the Buddhists or neighbours who participated in this slaughter, all need to be held to account. Evil only thrives when good men do nothing. The tragedy and latest crime in this litany of evil is that no one has so far been held to account. And that’s simply unacceptable.