Remember the Rohingya
January 27th was International Holocaust Day where we remember the terrible events of the Second World War. That war and the appalling treatment of gypsies, gay people and Jews by the Nazi regime, led to the creation of the crime of genocide to recognise the intention to get rid of an entire race of people. People said ‘never again’ and shortly after the war the UN Declaration of Human Rights was declared as a common standard on how states should behave towards their citizens.
Regrettably, it has not seen an end to massacres and genocide. Since the war, we have seen massacres in Cambodia, Darfur, Rwanda, Bosnia and Uganda. The total annihilated in these and other similar events exceeds the death toll in WWII.
In our last post we reported on a talk given at Southampton University on the latest example of genocide currently taking place in Burma/Myanmar. The UN Human rights Chef describes this as a ‘textbook example of ethnic cleansing’ which has been taking place since 1978. It is ethnic in origin. He draws a parallel between the events in Burma and those in Nazi occupied Europe in the ’30s and ’40s. An Amnesty article on the situation there can be found here.
The latest post by Rights Info discusses these issues and goes into a lot more detail. The Holocaust is remembered and we are, rightly, reminded of it on 27th. There is however a sense in which we have become used to these events and our powerlessness to prevent them. We do not have specific memorial days for the more recent genocides although these are included in the Holocaust memorial.
In a recent debate in the House of Commons, Mark Field a Foreign and Colonial Office Minister said:
[…] In my role as FCO Minister for Asia, I remain persistent in our lobbying the Government of Burma to allow the Rohingya back to their homeland with sufficient guarantees on security and, importantly, on citizenship that they will be able to rebuild their lives. As I have said before, that can begin only when conditions allow for a safe, voluntary and dignified return. My hon. Friend the Member for St Albans [Anne Main] spoke passionately about the importance of Rohingya representation in that process. If the returns are to be genuinely voluntary, there must a consultative process to establish the refugees’ intentions and concerns. 24 January 2018
At the event in Southampton, in answer to a question, one of the problems the Rohingya have is a lack of representation. This is partly because they do not have a leader able to speak for them which in turn is because of the lack of spoken English.
We must not forget the genocides which are taking place now when we remember the events of 80 or so years ago. Although the Holocaust was an historical event, genocide is still being practised today.
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