Calling for international action to end the genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority community, Asia Sentinel quotes Anna Roberts, Executive Director of Burma Campaign UK, saying that the British government has not changed its policy and is conducting business relations with Myanmar as if nothing has happened.
In its editorial today, the Guardian calls for an end to British training of the Burmese army. “The military’s head, Min Aung Hlaing, has no pedestal to topple from. Few even know his name. But they should; he is the man who calls the shots. Finding ways to exert pressure on the military is essential. Suspending the UK’s training of Myanmar’s army would be a good start.”
Experts say targeted sanctions, rather than general criticism, are the best way to help the Rohingya, reports Mint Press News.
Arguing for pressure to be placed on individual governments to stop feting Min Aung Hlaing, Mark Farmaner said “He loves his international trips – going abroad and luxury dinners. He’s posting it on his Facebook all the time.”
The international community should focus its attention on the Burmese army chief to stop the violence in Rakhine State, Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, told the Al Bawaba Middle East news service. “There is one person in Burma who has the responsibility for what’s happening and has the power to stop it and that is Min Aung Hlaing, the head of the military,” he said.
The Burmese army’s systematic campaign of terror against the Rohingya is the “biggest human rights crisis Burma has faced in decades”, Mark Farmaner told the BBC’s World at One today. He called for visa bans against Min Aung Hlaing and other army chiefs, an end to the British military training programme, and a global arms embargo.
Listen to BBC interview – 23.30 minutes in
Burma Campaign UK has called for an immediate halt to the British foreign aid training programmes that are provided for free to the Burmese military.
‘British taxpayers will be horrified to learn that their tax money is spent training an army of rapists and child killers,’ Mark Farmaner told the Daily Mail.
Mark Farmaner, the Director of Burma Campaign UK, supported a statement from the British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson condemning the violence against the Rohingya but criticized the British government for its continued funding of the Burma Army, reports Karen News.
“Boris Johnson is right to call for action by Aung San Suu Kyi, but why has he let Min Aung Hlaing, head of the Burmese military, off the hook. Min Aung Hlaing’s soldiers are the ones killing hundreds of Rohingya and he is the only person in Burma with the power to order soldiers to stop attacking Rohingya villagers, shooting children and burning families alive in their homes. It’s time Britain stopped training the Burmese Army, which is committing crimes against humanity.”
Burma Campaign UK said that Boris Johnson’s critical comments on Burma could have gone further, according to the Middle East news service The National.
Burma Campaign UK’s director, Mark Farmaner, said that the British government needs to be pressurising Ming Aung Hlaing, the armed forces’ commander-in-chief, in order to halt the attacks. He also said the Foreign Secretary should have explicitly referred to human rights violations. “Why no mention of mass killings, burning villages or use of the words human rights?”
Burma Campaign UK’s director, Mark Farmaner, believes the foreign secretary could have gone further in his remarks urging Aung San Suu Kyi to do what she can to end the violence in Rakhine State.
He said Mr Johnson should have also criticised the armed forces’ commander-in-chief: “Min Aung Hlaing’s soldiers are the ones killing hundreds of Rohingya and he is the only person in Burma with the power to order soldiers to stop attacking Rohingya villagers, shooting children and burning families alive in their homes.”
Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, welcomed the UN Security Council discussion on Burma requested by the UK, but called on the British Government to go further in its objections to the current situation in Rakhine.
“Supporting Aung San Suu Kyi and reforms in Myanmar doesn’t mean the British government has to stand by and do nothing as hundreds of Rohingya are slaughtered by the military,” he said.