There’s a Human Rights Crisis Happening Right Now in Myanmar

The Background

The United Nations is finally intervening after fighting in Myanmar sent more than 8,700 refugees fleeing into Bangladesh this past weekend. Most of those seeking refuge are members of Myanmar’s Muslim minority, Rohingya, a group that’s been caught in the crossfire between security forces and militants who call themselves the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army. The infighting mounted when the office of the country’s de facto leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, accused international aid organizations of supporting terrorist organizations (which is clearly not true). New York Times

What Else You Need to Know

Tensions have been escalating between Myanmar’s government and the UN since October 2016, when insurgents attacked police border posts in the state of Rhakine. Since then, things have been getting worse in the region, with officials targeting Rohingya in retaliation for the October attacks. Though officials called it a “security crackdown,” reports suggest it involved a lot more vicious criminal activity than simply keeping the peace. Eighty thousand Rohingya fled to Bangladesh immediately after the so-called “security crackdown” and told horrific stories of “summary executions, mass rape and villagers being burned alive in their homes.” The UN’s concern is that the more recent exodus is an indication that similar activity is happening in Myanmar right now.

What’s Next?

The UN believes the behaviour of said security forces are within the government’s control, and is calling on Myanmar’s leadership to set out clear rules against using “disproportionate force” and that those who do so should be held accountable. The UN’s Human Rights Watch is also trying to put pressure on Myanmar’s government to get to the bottom of what’s happening across the country.

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