Nobel Laureate and social entrepreneur, Muhammad Yunus has written this open letter to the UN Security Council to end the crisis in Myanmar faced by the Rohingya people.
Dear President and Members of the Security Council,
As you are aware, the human tragedy and crimes against humanity has taken a dangerous turn in the Arakan region of Myanmar. It needs your immediate intervention.
According to different organizations, recent military offensive by the Myanmar Army in Rakhine State has led to the killing of hundreds of Rohingya people. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. Complete villages have been burned, women raped, many civilians arbitrarily arrested, and children killed. Crucially, humanitarian aid organisations have been almost completely denied access, creating an appalling humanitarian crisis in an area already extremely poor. According to local administration sources, around 120,000 people have fled to my country during the last twelve days. Human misery created by such massive displacement of men, women and children under the threat of death is getting worse every day.
I, along with several Nobel Laureates and eminent global citizens denounced the previous spate of violence late last year and wrote to you to intervene. Despite initiatives taken by you, the situation has not improved. This time, I urge you to take decisive actions to stop the violence against innocent civilians and bring permanent peace in Rakhine.
I call on UNSC to intervene immediately by using all available means. I request you to take immediate action for cessation of indiscriminate military attack on innocent civilians that is forcing them to leave their home and flee country to turn into stateless people.
I urge you to persuade Myanmar government to take immediate steps to implement the recommendations of the Rakhine Advisory Commission which the Myanmar government established in 2016 under the pressure of international community. The Commission, mostly comprised of Myanmar citizens, chaired by Kofi Annan, recommended providing citizenship to the Rohingyas, to allow them freedom of movement, rights and equality before the law, to ensure communal representation, lack of which affects Muslims disproportionately, to facilitate UN assistance in ensuring safety and security of returning people. Decades of persecution appears to be breeding radicalization which the Rakhine Advisory Commission, rightly apprehended. The fear became reality through the attack on Myanmar security forces by the militants. Unless, constructive effort to build lasting peace is taken, the situation will get worse which in turn may pose serious security threat to the neighbouring countries.
A bold change in approach is needed by United Nations and the international community if there is to be an end to the cycle of violence against the Rohingyas. The government of Myanmar needs to be told that international support and finance is conditional on a major change in policy towards the Rohingya. Propaganda and incitement of hatred and all violence, particularly state violence against Rohingyas must stop, discriminatory laws and policies must go, the recommendations of Kofi Annan’s commission must be implemented immediately.
The world is waiting to see that UNSC has played its role to bring end to a humanitarian crisis and build peace in the region.