5 April 2014
Burma Times: Press TV has conducted an interview with Barry Grossman, International Lawyer, Bali about a violent attack on a Rohingya community by Buddhist extremists in Myanmar as the government stands by.
The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: The Rohingya’s being viewed as a stateless people. Tell us about the solutions that potentially exist for these people and what the international community or the Myanmarese government can do for them?
Grossman: One of the problems is we have a complete blackout of information. Let’s remember that only a year ago in 2012 that Obama visited President Thein Sein.
A commitment was given by the president of Myanmar to honor eleven points almost all of which had to do with providing international monitored access to the region and to the camps in which Rohingya refugees are living, in quite horrible conditions.
As it stands now almost all of those undertakings given by the president of Myanmar have been violated.
And there is a bit of a disconnect if you like between the public position taken by the Obama administration and what in fact are the facts. Only a few days ago the US Secretary of Defense joined the Burmese Secretary of Defense in bilateral talks.
There is a policy if you like of engagement that has been unfolding now for a couple of years between the United States and Myanmar, which seems to place a much higher priority taking a position in Myanmar from which is something resembling a proxy …, which forces the issue of the Rohingya very much into the back-burner.
Bearing in mind this distance between the US position publicly and what is actually taking place I think it’s high time now for the Obama administration to make some very clear demands.
Perhaps first and foremost is that it is high time the leaders of the ‘969 movement’ and the movement itself be listed as terrorists.
In fact the little bit of information we’re getting about yesterdays’ violence suggest that the perpetrators of the violence are a 969 movement mob. It’s happening all the time now, these massacres and outbreaks of violence. These are not isolated incidences, they’re happening virtually weekly.
The second thing the administration in the US and the international community can do is under threat if you like of sanctions; suspension of inter-government cooperation is to basically compel the regime in Myanmar to honor the commitments given in 2012 to provide access by the international community to the Rohingya camps.
Thirdly, what’s critical in all of this an initiative be put into place to set up a framework on the issue of citizenship for the one million Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
And perhaps while this is all unfolding somehow the regime needs to be compelled to ensure the Rohingya access to basic health care, education and the standard civil liberties like the right to engage in religious practices is a natural God-given right for everybody on this planet.
None of these things are happening and it’s high time that the Obama administration made good on the position it’s taken.
Certainly what we saw in the Ukraine the administration… about interfering in the country thoroughly on the strength of claims of corruption. This is obviously far more serious and it’s high time the administration started doing something.