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

‘History will take note of those who ridiculed removal of Article 370’: PM Modi in Maharashtra

PM Modi also expressed confidence that the BJP will break all victory records in the October 21 Maharashtra Assembly elections. Prime Minister on Thursday once again lashed out at the opposition saying that history will take note of those who mocked the abrogation of Article 370, that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. “Whenever Article 370 will be discussed in history, — the decision that was taken in the interest of the country — the people who opposed and ridiculed will be remembered,” PM Modi said while addressing a poll rally in Maharashtra’s Parli. He said the next week’s state Assembly elections were a battle between BJP’s “karyashakti” (power of development) and opposition’s “swarth shakti” (selfishness). Further targeting the Congress and NCP leaders, he wondered if “frustrated and dejected” people could do anything good for people. “A Congress


By The Statesman
October 18, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Malaysia’s PM Mahathir says rail line RTS linking Johor Baru to Singapore to proceed

The rail line has been on again and off again. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday (Oct 17) said Malaysia will proceed with the 4km Johor Baru to Singapore rail line. His comments about the Rapid Transit System (RTS) rail link followed that of Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke on Tuesday that details of the project will be decided by the Malaysian Cabinet within two weeks. Tun Dr Mahathir said when asked by reporters on Thursday: “We will proceed with the RTS but we will take some time.” Asked if this meant the Malaysian government had resolved 


By The Straits Times
October 18, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

S. Korean, ASEAN officials look ahead to special summit and stronger regional ties

Korea has increasingly look to Southeast Asia as an export destination and regional partners. Ahead of the highly anticipated summit in Busan next month between the leaders of South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, top officials from participating countries gathered in the southern port city Wednesday and voiced high expectations for the future of the relationship between South Korea and the ASEAN nations. South Korean Ambassador to ASEAN Lim Sung-nam, ASEAN-Korea Center Secretary-General Lee Hyuk, Busan Mayor Oh Keo-don and Myanmar Ambassador to South Korea U Thant Sin said they looked forward to the upcoming summit, calling it a steppingstone to stronger South Korea-ASEAN ties and to economic prosperity and peace on the Korean Peninsula. “In the past 30 years, the relationship between South Korea and ASEAN has grown to an astonishing degree. Trade volume rose 20-fold and human e


By The Korea Herald
October 18, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

We will never abandon people of occupied Kashmir, says Army chief during LoC visit

The army chief said that the Pakistan army will fulfil its role no matter the cost. Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa while visiting troops stationed along the Line of Control (LoC) on Wednesday vowed “to never leave Kashmiris alone” in their fight against Indian oppression. “Kashmiris in IOJ&K are bravely facing Indian atrocities under continued siege. We shall never leave them alone and play our rightful role at whatever cost”, said Gen Bajwa. Gen Bajwa’s remarks followed a briefing of the “deliberate targeting of civilians” by Indian troops and the response by Pakistan’s armed forces. A day earlier, at least three civilians died and eight others were injured in Azad Jammu and Kashmir after Indian troops resorted to “indiscri


By Dawn
October 17, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Singapore’s 4G leadership lays out plans to take relationship with China ‘to a higher level’

The two countries share a close relationship. Singapore’s fourth-generation leadership has a comprehensive plan for engaging with China economically and plugging into the East Asian giant’s rapid development. Ten members of the “4G” cohort drove home this point as they spoke with Singapore media at the end of a bilateral meeting in Chongqing on Tuesday (Oct 15) that was of particular significance, as the Singapore team was composed fully of this new generation of political leaders. Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat led the Singapore delegation as he co-chaired the 15th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation, the highest-level bilateral platform between Singapore and China. Mr Heng, who took over the reins from former DPM Teo Chee Hean earlier this year, said his first meeting in the new role was forward-looking and productive, and that he took the opportunity to “


By The Straits Times
October 16, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Prince William pays tribute to Pakistanis who lost their lives to terror

The future King has met the current Pakistan Prime Minister when he was a boy. Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, on Tuesday paid tribute to all those who “endured sacrifice and helped build Pakistan to the country it is today”. His remarks came during his first official speech delivered during a reception at the Pakistan National Monument in Islamabad hosted by the British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew. “For a country so young, Pakistan has endured many hardships, with countless lives lost to terror and hatred. Tonight I want to pay tribute to all those who have endured such sacrifice and helped to build the country that we see today,” said William. He recognised that for “Pakistan’s great potential” to be realised, difficulties will have to be faced and sacrifices made. William also spoke of the “unique bonds” between


By Dawn
October 16, 2019