Violence in Myanmar shows the world needs to stop romanticising Buddhism


The UN migration agency (IOM) said the deepening crisis of Rohingya refugees arriving in Bangladesh continues to overwhelm humanitarian agencies and has exceeded their initial predictions for emergency planning. / AP

Pressure to act

Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who lived for years under house arrest when Myanmar was ruled by a military junta, has faced a torrent of criticism since the crisis erupted.

Facing growing condemnation globally, Suu Kyi decided not to attend UN General Assembly meetings between September 19-25 to instead deal with what the government said were domestic security issues.

On Thursday Security Council members called for “immediate steps to end the violence,” de- escalate the situation and ensure civilian protections.

The statement was the first made by the UN’s most powerful body in nine years addressing the precarious situation Rohingya face, Britain’s UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said, calling it “an important first step.”

But Dr Zarni said countries like Australia should stop providing aid to Myanmar and work together with other nations to exert serious economic and diplomatic pressure.

“The western world as well as others, stood together when (a) 5 per cent white minority ran an apartheid regime in South Africa,” he said.

“We are not simply talking about apartheid where people were at least allowed to live as second class citizens, we are talking about fully fledged genocide.”

Dr Zarni said the Rohingya was being subjected to “nothing less than a slow genocide of nearly 40 years” and the world was failing to stop these types of crises.

“The UN is completely paralysed when it comes to issues of the world’s most downtrodden, oppressed people, not just Rohingya,” he said.

“We’re failing in Rwanda, we failed in Cambodia, we failed in Srebenica, now we’re failing in this.”

Dar Yasin of the Associated Press reported from Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh. David Keyton in Stockholm, Sweden, and Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed.

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