IT’S time for the government to take a strong stand on the Rohingya issue. This comes after remarks by Myanmar’s deputy director-general of the President’s Office, U Zaw Htay, over Malaysia’s decision to allow the solidarity march yesterday in Kuala Lumpur. He has reminded Malaysia to respect its affairs and to not interfere in Myanmar’s issues. But this is no longer an internal matter, as pointed out by Ma-laysian officials and politicians and international bodies. The Rohingya issue is an international matter and it affects Malaysia because there are 56,000 Rohingya refugees here under the banner of the United Nations High Commission For Refugees, while hundreds of thousands seek aid in neighbouring countries. This figure does not include those who entered illegally.
Myanmar’s action towards its minorities not only affects Malaysia but also the security of other countries in the region. It affects our battle with extremist and militant groups. Taking into account the struggle faced by the Rohingya and other minorities in Myanmar and the remarks by its officials, our government can sever diplomatic ties with Myanmar and recall its ambassador. Malaysia should lead the call to set up an international tribunal to investigate and put on trial Myanmar’s inhumane treatment of its people. In recent weeks, we have been exposed to shocking stories regarding the persecution of the country’s minorities, especially the Rohingya. The international community must investigate these crimes against humanity, or ethnic cleansing. It cannot keep silent and watch the slaughter. It cannot keep using the excuse of non-interference in the affairs of other nations as there were many international tragedies where the international community stepped in and exercised the rule of law to bring the perpetrators to justice.
International bodies such as the United Nations should use its influence and exercise its power to carry out such a task. Strong and decisive decisions need to be taken by UN to put an end to the matter. Article 41 of the UN Charter gives the Security Council the authority to compel countries to stop injustices. The article states: “The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the members of the United Nations to apply such measures. “These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.” Twenty years ago, the UN took a bold step by establishing two criminal courts to investigate and prosecute those responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The first of these courts was the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which was established in 1993 to investigate crimes committed during the Yugoslavia Wars. The second court, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, was established the following year to address crimes committed during the Rwandan genocide. The Rohingya are said to be among the most persecuted minority groups in the world. Many are unaware that the sufferings faced by minority groups have long been recorded in the past. International human rights groups said the Rohingya and other minorities have suffered from human rights violations under the Myanmar junta since 1978. Some even said the ill-treatment they received started from an earlier period. If this is true, then there is possible concern over whether ethnic cleansing or even genocide had taken place. Therefore, it is important for Malaysia or other countries or international bodies to set up an international tribunal or court to investigate the matter, to bring perpetrators to justice and end the suffering of the Rohingya and other minorities.
Source : http://www.nst.com.my