According to the UN, nearly 60 thousands of Muslim Rohingya in the last few days fled from the Rakhine state in Myanmar from neighboring Bangladesh or are on the border with them as a result of operations of the army and intelligence against rebel groups in the region. In social networks spread the video with the detected victims of mass killings of civilians in this conflict. Witnesses have described indiscriminate shootings, executions of detainees by cutting its throat, burning the homes of Muslims, planned murder of children, which throw into the fire, mass gang rapes of women. The UN says a humanitarian catastrophe and ethnic cleansing.

The situation is complicated by the fact that the Muslim does not want Bangladesh to accept refugees co-religionists and asks them to move to a desert island Tanger-Enchantment, flooded during high tides. At the same time, the Myanmar authorities to hinder humanitarian organizations access in Rakhine state. Dozens of refugees drowning while trying to cross into Bangladesh over river or take a boat on the sea in Muslim Indonesia and Malaysia. However, even rich compared to Bangladesh, Malaysia is reluctant to accept additional refugees, noting that the country has resettled tens of thousands of refugees-Rohingya. During migration, refugees Rohingya people are also at risk of becoming victims of human traffickers.

The refugees are Rohingya people trying to cross a river to get to Bangladesh

The latest wave of violence broke out after rebels attack Muslims on a military base in the region on August 25, authorities charged them in the attack on 20 police posts and reported that officially in recent days has killed 400 militants and 17 civilians. Great confidence in these numbers there. Besides the crisis of the persecution of Muslims in Rakhine state has been maintained for at least five years. The UN special Rapporteur on Myanmar Ani Do in March 2017, said that the Myanmar authorities may hatching a plan to expel all Muslims-Rohingya from the country.

Recently, in the spring of 2016, in Myanmar changed the power. For the first time in many decades, instead of the military came to power, the democratic opposition headed by Aung San Suu Kyi – a Nobel peace prize, which is almost three decades spent in the fight against the military junta in the country, has been under house arrest for 15 years. This woman, a daughter of one of the founders of the independence of Myanmar General Aung San, was the object of admiration in the West – the Luc Besson even dedicated her film “the Lady”.

Aung San Suu Kyi (photo – EPA)

From April 2016, Aung San Suu Kyi is the Minister for foreign Affairs and adviser to the government of Myanmar is in fact the Prime Minister. With her name pinned the hopes for democratization of the country, long time were in isolation. However, when Aung San Suu Kyi the persecution of Muslims only intensified. In response to criticism she said recently: “Show me a country without problems in the field of human rights”.

The US and Britain have already warned the authorities of Myanmar on the impacts of policies against Rohingya for the country’s image, but not lose hope for the understanding of the situation the leader of Myanmar. “Aung San Suu Kyi is considered to be one of the most inspiring figures of our time, but the treatment of Rohingya people, alas, does not improve the image of Myanmar. She has huge difficulties in the modernization of their country. I hope she’ll be able to use all its remarkable qualities, to unite his country, to stop the violence and put an end to prejudices, which affect both Muslims and other communities in Rakhine,” said the Minister of foreign Affairs of great Britain, Boris Johnson, on 3 September.

Pressure on the Myanmar authorities is complicated by the fact that China and Russia often block the proposed statements on the situation in Rakhine during the discussions in the UN security Council, the last time a resolution on the situation they blocked in March, according to Reuters.

Oppressed people

Rohingya people – an ethnic group who practice Islam and live in Rakhine state (Arakan) in the West of Myanmar. Their estimated population in the country of 1 million people, about one million live in or have fled in recent years in Muslim countries – Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Pakistan.

In the whole country dominated by Buddhists, who make up 88% of the population, and Muslims – is just 4.3% of the population of Myanmar. In Rakhine, the situation differs from other regions: here Muslims 43% of the population, while Buddhists – 52%, in the Northern parts of the region, Muslims even make up the majority. Furthermore, the Muslim Rohingya people belong to the Caucasian race, the Buddhists belonging to people arakantsev – Mongoloid. The Rakhine state does not fit into the overall picture for Myanmar, where Buddhists dominate, and the government encouraged Buddhist nationalism. Muslims are discriminated against, hard and dismissive attitude that almost all local ethnic groups professing Islam, do not have voting rights.

In the case of Rohingya, the situation looks much worse. They are one of the most persecuted ethnic minorities in the world. They have no citizenship in Myanmar, and they are not allowed to move freely within the country without official permission. Rohingya are not allowed to have more than two children, and access to higher education closed to them. Moreover, the military regime carried out the requisition of their land holdings in favour of the Buddhists, and imposed on Rohingya forced labor service.

Due to the large number of Muslims in Rakhine state, the Myanmar government nearly does not invest money into its development, social infrastructure is poorly developed. The state has the highest in the country level of the poor population is 78%, which is a factor of additional tension between Buddhists and Muslims, because both groups literally have to compete for jobs and meager handouts from the center. Poverty is a breeding ground for extremism in Rakhine.

The emergence of extremist groups in the state led to large-scale campaign to silence all people of the Rohingya by the army and the secret services of Myanmar. In October 2016 the government has accused the rebel movement, the salvation Army, the Arakan-Rohingya (ARSA, formerly. Haraka al-Yakin) in the attack on border posts in the area of the city of Mundo and killing 9 guards. The country began a massive counter-terrorism operation against Rohingya people all without exception. 25 August 2017, the Central counter-terrorism Committee of Myanmar officially announced ARSA as a terrorist organization.


The soldiers of the army of Myanmar in Rakhine state (photo – EPA)

Local military fight against ARSA, did not scruple to use any means of suppression of the unwanted ethnic group. Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International stressed that practiced large-scale human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions, gang rape, murder of young children and women, burning of villages and destruction of mosques. Widespread was the practice of collective punishment for the misdeeds of individuals from the ethnic Rohingya. Instead of the courts to punish the guilty local Buddhist extremists burned the whole village, the descendant of which is the perpetrator.

These refugees Rohingya people were lucky – they were rescued by Indonesian fishermen (photo – EPA)

The dispute about the origin of the Rohingya people

The conflict has historical background is still an open question about whether the indigenous Rohingya ethnic group in Myanmar, or they alien people. Rohingya consider themselves the sole masters of the Rakhine state, because their ancestors came here in the XVI century, and are descendants of the Arabs colonized the region. For this reason, in the language of the Rohingya many borrowings from Arabic, Sanskrit, Persian and Portuguese languages.

But the Myanmar authorities distribute another theory, based on historical facts, they indicate that the Rohingya people are ethnic Bengalis-Muslims. They moved the British colonial government of Bangladesh in Rakhine, as very cheap labour. Another part of the illegal Rohingya people arrived in what was then Burma during the war for Bangladesh’s independence, fearing the persecution of the Pakistanis. It turns out that Rohingya are not local and must return to Bangladesh. And according to the law of Myanmar on citizenship of 1982, migrants from British India who arrived in the country after 1823 are not eligible for citizenship.

The flames of conflict between Muslims and Buddhists added the Japanese occupation of Burma, as at that time it was called Myanmar. Then the Muslim Rohingya remained loyal to the British and began a guerrilla struggle. In turn, the Buddhists in Rakhine state have supported the Japanese invaders, tempted by the promise of independence. It is also important that the head of the Pro-Japanese National army of Burma was the father of the leader of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi, General Aung San. Perhaps this is another reason why the Nobel laureate is not willing to respond to international criticism over cleansing against Rohingya.

The monument to General Aung Sana’a in the capital of Myanmar (photo – EPA)

The goal for the Buddhist nationalists

The Central government aims to make Rohingya scapegoats to explain problems of development of the country. The fact that this small ethnic group, makes it a convenient target for constant pressure from the government. If the military junta in the 1970s and 1980s, accused the Rohingya of separatism, it is now convenient to blame the fact that they in the country there is a risk of the appearance of the cells of the terrorist group Islamic state.

Against the Rohingya people sent to the edge being encouraged by the government of Buddhist nationalism. The most striking example is the activities of the nationalist anti-Islamic 969 Movement led by the monk Asinam the Virat, which Time magazine called “the face of Buddhist terror”.

Asin the Virat (photo – EPA)

The Virat openly calls for the destruction of Muslims, pointing out: “if we show weakness, our land will become Muslim”. His propaganda led to anti-Muslim speeches in 2013, then killed 50 people. The Virat was in jail as a political prisoner in the 2003-2012 period, and immediately after he led a movement in support of the initiative of President Thein Sein (2011-2016) at the forcible relocation of Rohingya to another country. From Virat denied himself the Dalai Lama. In the last days Asin to Virat holds meetings of its supporters and calls for decisive action against the Rohingya.

The rally opponents of granting Muslims-Rohingya citizenship in Myanmar (photo – EPA)

The geopolitical factor

The last and most important factor that led to the aggravation of the situation around Rohingya in 2016-2017 has a geopolitical origin. Rohingya live in a strategically important region in the West of Myanmar is an area of the sea coast, facing the Bay of Bengal. For China, this is the most important from the point of view of carrying out of trading operations with the countries of the Middle East and Africa corridor to reduce dependence on supplies through the Strait of Malacca. Already implemented projects oil and gas pipeline from city Kouakou (Sittwe), in Rakhine state to the Chinese province of Yunnan. Oil pipeline to China comes from Saudi Arabia and gas supplies, Qatar. Both middle East countries, like UAE has invested heavily in critical infrastructure projects, and now want them paid off faster.

To smooth out the problem of the Rohingya, the government of Saudi Arabia has even developed a plan for their relocation to himself, if only the situation in Myanmar was calm. But this plan is not fully implemented, only 400 thousand Rohingya resettled in the Arabian monarchy. At the same time, Riyadh and Islamabad are the sponsors of the insurgency ARSA to have leverage as Myanmar and China. International Crisis Group confirms that the leader of the ATA Ulla has connections with individuals in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.


                    Refugees-Rohingya in Malaysia are asked to protect their people from genocide (photo – EPA)

For the government of Myanmar, the existence of ARSA is also beneficial, but in certain limits, because the struggle against it can be used as a trump card in its bargaining with Beijing to attract investment in infrastructure projects. Also, when Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar for several weary brotherly relations with China, because it wants to attract investors from the West. In turn, the United States highly appreciate the strategic position of Myanmar to exert pressure on China. The latter has already proved to be densely surrounded by allies, then India, Vietnam and South Korea with Japan, and Vietnam, and Thailand. In General Myanmar is the only friend to the Chinese now, and to waste. Especially in the context of rising tensions in the South China sea, leading to risks for the Maritime transit.

However, if China is now fighting with conflicting geopolitical strategies, the Rohingya people for their survival. This underscores how dangerous it is in the twenty-first century to be the small people without a state, living in a strategically important region of the planet.

Alexander Mishin,

K. polit. Sciences, especially for

Incessant massacre: why in Myanmar EN masse to exterminate the Muslims 03.09.2017

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