8 September 2017
The Socialist International has witnessed with growing concern the severe deterioration of the situation in Myanmar's Rakhine state. Renewed violence has led to multiple deaths and the displacement of many thousands of members of the Rohingya minority in that country, deepening the humanitarian crisis. Ethnic Rohingya refugees who have successfully fled to Bangladesh have reported massacres in their villages and the burning of hundreds of homes by the Burmese military, in an effort to remove the civilian Rohingya population from this area by forcible means.
The government and authorities of Myanmar have a moral and legal responsibility to ensure the safety and security of all those living in the country, regardless of ethnicity and religion, and the SI calls on the government to now cooperate with the United Nations and to allow aid to reach those in desperate need. The reluctance of the Burmese authorities to allow independent monitors to access the affected areas of Rakhine state casts doubt on their denial of responsibility for the violence and destruction. The SI appeals in particular to State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi to show moral leadership and exert her influence and authority to put a stop to the suffering of the Rohingya.
As the crisis continues to deepen, the international community must also fulfil its responsibility to the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, by increasing pressure on the Burmese government to take the necessary steps to bring an end to the violence and grant the Rohingya people their fundamental rights. Those who have been forced to flee to neighbouring countries, including more than 120,000 who have crossed into Bangladesh in the last two weeks, must be assured of humanitarian assistance and given support until they are able to return to their homes.
The SI has consistently spoken out in support of the rights of the Rohingya people in Myanmar, a subject that has been addressed by both its Committee on Migrations and the XXV Congress of the SI, which took place in Cartagena earlier this year. It has heard first hand from representatives of the Rohingya on their current and historical plight. The SI now reiterates its call, made at the XXV Congress, for the leadership and government of Myanmar to immediately end persecution and human rights violations against the Rohingya and to open a full dialogue to address their minority rights and needs to be recognised and respected as full citizens.