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.”
A persistent myth that the military in Burma are looking for an excuse to retake direct control of the country is now being used to justify inaction over the ethnic cleansing and possible genocide of the Rohingya.
While a misplaced fear of a coup is understandable given Burma’s history, it misreads the current political set-up in the country. The political system in Burma now is entirely the creation of the military. It has been painstakingly designed by them to protect their interests while at the same time relieving the domestic and internal pressure they were under. It has and is working very well for them.
To retake direct control would undo more than a decade’s worth of painstaking work to create the system currently in place.
This new briefing details why this is a myth and how it is used by the government of Burma and international community as an excuse for inaction.
Bangladesh has offered Rohingya refugees shelter, says an AidEx writer for the Diplomatic Courier, but aid organizations face challenges such as restrictions by the Bangladeshi government and difficult logistics.
Burma Campaign UK’s Director Mark Farmaner said: “While Bangladesh has understandably been praised for allowing refugees in, they have not given official refugee status to them. The government of Bangladesh has traditionally placed severe restrictions on aid to Rohingya in Bangladesh, causing great suffering.”
The Foreign Office has confirmed that Prince Charles will not visit Burma on his tour of southeast Asia and India later this month, reports the Democratic Voice of Burma.
“To have someone of Prince Charles’s stature go to visit the country would be seen as a reward, and giving legitimacy to the government and the military that are currently violating international law,” said Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK.
Pakistan’s Daily Times reports that Mark Farmaner, Burma Campaign UK’s director, has urged St. Hugh’s College to confirm that the removal of Aung San Suu Kyi’s portrait is connected to her refusal to acknowledge the ongoing genocide against Rohingya Muslims. He has also urged the college to write to Suu Kyi and urge her to respect human rights.
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