Note: This article first appeared on counterpunch.org
There is an image engraved in our minds of a
stoic, reserved, elegant Aung San Suu Kyi unbending in her struggle
against Burma's generals for democracy, and we assumed for human
rights. Last year, when the refugees streamed out of her country in the
wake of atrocities, it blocked all UN agencies from delivering food,
water and medicine to affected civilians; her office accused aid workers
of helping terrorists.
Her iconic stature long gone, she made a public appearance the day after the International Fact-Finding Mission released its initial 20-page overview to the UN Human Rights Council on August 27, 2018. The damning evidence of murder, rape, torture, persecution, burned villages, landmines along escape routes reported on by NGOs and news media over the past year had been confirmed. Elegant and patrician as usual, Aung San Suu Kyi discoursed on poetry and literature. No mention of the genocide or the UN report. No longer an icon, there have been calls to relieve her of the Nobel Peace Prize.
UN group criticized her for her continued refusal to condemn the
genocide. The full report detailing unspeakable horrors in its 440-page account has now been released (September 18, 2018). What might surprise people is a simple shocking fact: This is not the first UN report on Rohingya massacres.
On February 3, 2017, the UN issued a detailed account of the military's operations in north Maungddaw with
"the very likely commission of crimes against humanity." It recounted
the murders, rapes and tortures that have now become the trademark of
military operations against the Rohingya.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein is quoted as saying " ... what kind of hatred could make a man stab a baby crying out for his mother's milk. And for the mother to witness this murder while she is being gang-raped by the very security forces that should be protecting her."
were no major consequences for Myanmar then and what happened the
following summer was the same magnified over Rakhine state. As a result
we have 700,000 refugees, and they are still coming -- "11,342 new arrivals as of mid-June this year," Mr. Zeid has noted.
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