See More on Facebook

Analysis, Diplomacy

Pressure increases on Myanmar one year after Rohingya crackdown

Protests, findings and social media bans have increased pressure on Aung San Suu Kyi’s government one year after a deadly crackdown on Rohingya refugees.


Written by

Updated: August 29, 2018

A little over a year ago, Myanmar’s military launched an operation against Rohingya refugees in Rakhine state in response to sporadic attacks on its personnel by local militant groups.

The operations resulted in mass arson, rapes and killings and sparking a mass exodus of refugees across the border to Bangladesh.

The UN mission in a report published on Monday said Myanmar’s top military generals, including Commander-in-Chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing, must be prosecuted for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes over their actions against the minority group, according to the Daily Star.

The UN mission, however, found that the Myanmar armed forces had taken actions that “undoubtedly amount to the gravest crimes under the international law” and “grossly disproportionate to actual security threat”.

The three-member UN mission found that the Myanmar military carried out mass killing and gang rapes of Rohingyas with “genocidal intent” while the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi allowed hate speech to thrive, destroyed documents and failed to protect minorities from crimes.

In its recommendations, the panel said the UN Security Council should set up an ad hoc tribunal to try suspects or refer them to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The Security Council also should impose an arms embargo on Myanmar and adopt targeted individual sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, against those who appear most responsible for serious crimes under international law.

The mission suggested that the international community, through the UN, should use all diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means to assist Myanmar in meeting its responsibility to protect its people from genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Myanmar have denied these accusations and the result of the special investigation.

Myanmar’s permanent representative to the UN, U Hau Do Suan, told the BBC: “As we did not accept the idea of a fact-finding mission from the beginning, we reject their report.

“The human rights abuses are one-sided accusations against us. This is designed at putting pressure on us by the international organisations.

According to another government spokesman.

“We have already dissociated ourselves from the resolution of the UN Human Rights Council, meaning Myanmar does not accept the establishment of that mission. So we do not accept any finding of that mission, and there is no way to cooperate with the Fact Finding Mission. We do not accept the one-sided accusations by that mission,” said presidential spokesperson Zaw Htay to the Nation Newspaper.

“Actually, it is like an intentional attack on our country. For one thing, August 27 is not the date set for the launch of UN Fact-Finding Mission’s report, which was supposed to be submitted on September 18. But as the UN Security Council currently is holding a meeting on Myanmar affairs , we believe the report was timed as a blow to us just before the meeting,” Zaw Htay said.

In a speech in Singapore, Myanmar’s de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi echoed those sentiments, according to Eleven Media.

“The word “stigma” is not appropriate word in using here because there are one-sided views and misunderstanding. These must be removed,” Suu Kyi said. “Is there a timetable to settle all forms of problems as to the re-acceptance of displaced persons to Rakhine State?” It is not easy to draw a timetable for our side. This is because we are working together with Bangladesh. Our two countries will have to fix the timetable”

The repatriation of the Rohingyas remains elusive even nine months after the signing of an agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar. The deal inked between Dhaka and Naypyidaw in November announced that their return must begin in January 2018, within two months of the agreement signing. However, the repatriation of the refugees is precipitated upon a voluntary return basis, something refugees are hesitant to do given the conditions that necessitated their exodus.

One Year Later

During the one-year anniversary of the crackdown earlier this month, the Rohingya staged massive protests over an apparent lack of justice.

“We are Rohingya, we want justice,” people chanted in the Kutupalong camp.

According to AFP, in a different part of the camp, thousands of women and children marched behind a huge poster declaring: “365 days of crying. Now I am angry.”

Suu Kyi is also facing increasing pressure from international voices.

More than 130 Members of Parliament from Asean nations, including two from Singapore, have demanded that Myanmar be investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC), the most united condemnation from the region since the violence began against the Rohingya a year ago, according to the Straits Times.

In a joint statement released by Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), the 132 sitting MPs from five countries called for the Myanmar military to be brought to justice for its “murderous operation in Rakhine State”.

The US State Department, which has yet to declare a “genocide” in Myanmar, said the UN report added to a “growing body of information indicating widespread human rights abuses by the Burmese military and other security forces”.

Michael McGrath, Save the Children country director in Myanmar, said the evidence presented by the fact-finding mission is clear. “Children and their families have been murdered, sexually assaulted and forced to flee burning villages, and they have not yet seen the justice they deserve.”



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Cod Satrusayang
About the Author: Cod Satrusayang is the Managing Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis, Diplomacy

Brexit deal refusal to have limited impact on Korean economy

Seoul vows to speed up efforts for Korea-Britain bilateral trade deal, bracing for post-Brexit era. The British parliament’s latest rejection of the government’s proposed Brexit deal is likely to have a limited impact on global financial markets as well as the South Korean economy, Seoul’s government said Wednesday. Vowing pre-emptive steps to counter a possible fallout, Korean authorities will work on preparations for a bilateral free trade deal with Britain, as the latter will no longer be subject to the Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement upon Brexit. “The vote to reject the Brexit deal was seen to have a limited impact on global financial ma


By The Korea Herald
January 17, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Beijing rebukes French, German ambassadors

Beijing says award for Chinese lawyer is politically motivated. Beijing on Wednesday slammed the French and German ambassadors to China after they granted a human rights award to a detained Chinese lawyer, saying their wrongdoing gravely violated China’s internal affairs. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that China has lodged stern representations and expressed strong dissatisfaction, as well as firm opposition, to the ambassadors’ action. The relevant case is purely judicial, which has nothing to do with human rights, the ministry said. The wrongdoings of Germany and France gravely interfered with China’s internal affairs and judicial sovereignty, the ministry said. China urges the ambassadors of relevant countries to do more to develop bilateral relations and enhance political mutual trust, not the opposite, it added. The lawyer, Yu Wensheng, was detained


By China Daily
January 17, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Singapore-Malaysia relations still ‘good’, says Malaysian Foreign Minister

Ties between Malaysia and Singapore are still “good” despite ongoing air and maritime disputes between the two countries. “Our relations with Singapore remain good. There are some issues but we are talking to each other, and that is very important,” said Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah on Wednesday (Jan 16), “Most importantly, the discussions are going on. I am confident the discussions are moving in the right direction.” He said five senior government officials will meet with their Singaporean counterparts to discuss ongoing issues. Besides Mr Saifuddin, the others are Transport Minister Anthony Loke, Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas and Foreign Ministry secretary-general Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob. Both Singapore and Malaysia are currently locked in two separate disputes – over 


By The Straits Times
January 17, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

China accuses Canada of double standard

Beijing slams Justin Trudeau’s criticism of drug smuggler’s death sentence. China on Tuesday expressed strong dissatisfaction at the Canadian prime minister’s criticism of a drug smuggler’s death sentence, urging the country to respect China’s judicial sovereignty and stop making irresponsible remarks. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing that drug crimes are recognized worldwide as serious crimes and are extremely harmful to the society. She said all countries severely crack down on the issue and so does China. Remarks made by a “relevant Canadian person” lack the spirit of rule by law, she said, urging the Canadian side to correct the mistakes and stop making irresponsible remarks. Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, a Canadian national convicted of smuggling over 222 kilograms of methamphetamines, was sentenced to death on Monday at


By China Daily
January 16, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

South Korean defense paper doesn’t label north an enemy

Ministry also says the north has specialized battalion for assassination of key figures. The Defense Ministry does not directly refer to North Korea as an enemy and takes a less hostile tone toward the communist state in its 23rd white paper published Tuesday. The ministry’s latest biennial white paper — the first to be published since the Moon Jae-in administration came to power in 2017 — addresses security threats, military policies and the regional security environment. Perhaps most notably, the Defense Ministry eliminated the phrase specifically describing North Korea as South Korea’s “enemy,” a move that appears to reflect


By The Korea Herald
January 16, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Rohingya issue will not be solved easily

Bangladeshi foreign minister says the road to a solution will be long and paved with difficulty. The much-talked-about Rohingya issue will not be solved easily, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said on Monday. “I have directed to conduct a study on the Rohingyas which will try to find out the impacts of Rohingyas on our country’s social, economic and security system,” said the minister while talking to the journalists at his office in Dhaka. Urging the international community to step forward for a logical solution to the crisis, he said, “The international community has also responsibilities to solve the crisis. If Rohingya crisis is continued, interest of everybody including India and China will be hampered.” India and Russia are much positive over the Rohingya issue right now, the minister informed. About the resistance from several countries including China over the issue, he s


By Daily Star
January 15, 2019