In testimony to the House of Commons International Development Committee, Burma Campaign UK’s director said Aung San Suu Kyi was complicit in the persecution of the Rohingya.
Mark Farmaner said her “near heroine status” should now be re-evaluated, drawing attention to what he called her “authoritarian tendencies” and her decision not to repeal repressive laws.
Commenting on the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s forthcoming visit to Burma, Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, said the Trump administration has done “very little to pressure either the government or the military in Burma over the Rohingya crisis,” and the visit will send important signals one way or the other.
“Failing to take a strong stance will be interpreted as weakness by the military, and seen as a green light to continue abuses,” Farmaner said. “Tillerson has to make clear to Aung San Suu Kyi that her government must stop its policy of denial and commit to giving Rohingya full citizenship if it wants continued support from the U.S.”
Frontier Myanmar reports on Burma Campaign UK’s decision to revive the ‘Dirty List’ of human rights violators.
Anna Roberts, executive director, told Frontier Myanmar “The new list will mainly focus on companies involved with the military, as the military are responsible for most human rights violations in the country, and blocking democratic reform. We hope this new ‘Dirty List’ will force companies to stop supplying and funding the military in Burma.”
Beyond some sanctions, little action has been taken toward accountability, reports TIME. Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, says the lack of international action over the crisis has essentially given Min Aung Hlaing a green light for murder. “You have to hand it to Min Aung Hlaing,” Farmaner tells TIME, “he is a very smart guy to have correctly calculated that he could commit ethnic cleansing and get away with it.”
As the US joins the EU in taking action against the country’s military leadership and considering targeted sanctions, Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, says neither have gone far enough. He told the Irrawaddy it was “very disappointing” that the EU decided not to impose any sanctions on the military, “only suspending invitations to senior military officers.”
“The failure of the USA to impose any significant sanctions combined with European Union is basically giving a green light for the military to continue ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya,” he said.
“The Bogalay massacres of Karen villagers in October 1991 are as much a part of Burma’s history as the 88 uprising”, writes Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK, for Karen News. “It may not have had the same nationwide political repercussions, but it is too significant an event to pass by year after year with no investigation having happened, no justice, and no official acknowledgement or commemoration for those who were killed.”
Aung San Suu Kyi used her State of the Union speech to finally break her silence on the escalating conflict in the Rakhine State, reports ASEAN Today. However, her address was a mixture of excuses and misinformation and offered little comfort or encouragement to the persecuted Rohingya communities.
The report quotes Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK, saying that Aung San Suu Kyi “doesn’t see Burma as a multi-ethnic multi-religious country, but a Burma-Buddhist country”.
The EU is to cut back ties with Burma’s military in response to the brutal security force crackdown on Muslim Rohingya areas of Rakhine State, reports the Financial Times.
“Only to suspend invitations to some Burmese military officers to visit Europe is an absolutely pathetic response to ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya,” said Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK. “This weak response will be interpreted by the head of the military, Min Aung Hlaing, as a green light to continue abuses.”
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The European Union has done absolutely nothing to pressure Burma Army head Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing and his military to stop its campaign of what the United Nations has described as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” against the Rohingya, writes Mark Farmaner of Burma Campaign UK, in the Democratic Voice of Burma.
Calling for an arms embargo and targeted sanctions, he concludes that failure to act will send a clear message to Min Aung Hlaing that when it comes to ethnic cleansing, Europe’s response is, “Yes on our watch.”
Burma’s military has launched an internal investigation into the actions of its soldiers in Rakhine state, from where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled in recent weeks, reports the Independent.
“This isn’t an investigation, it’s a public relations effort,” said Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK. “It does appear that the government and perhaps the military have been receiving some public relations advice. We’ve seen a concerted effort this week and a significant change in tone in the way they are talking about what’s going on. We know there isn’t going to be a genuine investigation by the Burmese army, we saw this after the attacks against the Rohingya in October last year.”