World, Asia - pacific

Activists welcome UN's financial boycott of Myanmar

UN panel recommend bringing Myanmar’s military commanders before credible court for trial

Md. Kamruzzaman   | 15.05.2019
Activists welcome UN's financial boycott of Myanmar

DHAKA

Rohingya activists and their international supporters have welcomed and endorsed the UN panel's call for the withdrawal of financial and other supports to Myanmar and fair trial of its military commanders on charges of war crime and genocide.

“Rohingya and their Burmese and international supporters working to end the group’s decades-long genocidal persecution by Myanmar, unequivocally welcome and endorse the call made by the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar (FFM) to cut off all financial and other support to Myanmar’s military,” the Free Rohingya Coalition (FRC) issued a statement on Wednesday.

The world’s largest activist network for Rohingya refugees also thanked the UN panel for its call for worldwide isolation of Myanmar’s military commanders.

Referring to its conference held at Barnard College/Columbia University earlier this year, the group added: “The Coalition first announced its intention to launch the total boycott of Myanmar because of the UN member-state’s continuing atrocity and crimes against Rohingya and other national minorities.”

“My fellow refugees here greatly appreciate the FFM’s timely call for stepping up international pressure on Myanmar military commanders whose troops mass-raped and genocidally slaughtered, with a blanket impunity, thousands of our children, women, men and elderly people,” Khin Maung, a Rohingya survivor in Cox’s Bazar camp in Bangladesh, was quoted as saying in the statement.

Maung also accused Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected civilian leadership of being complicit in the military's crimes.

Nay San Lwin, a Rohingya blogger, said: “This UN Mission’s call for isolation and withdrawal of support to Myanmar military came at a very crucial time. [...] The investors need to know that these are crime sites where thousands of our innocent Rohingyas were slaughtered and hundreds of our villagers were burned and bulldozed to the ground.”

Maung Zarni, a genocide scholar, said: “While international justice mechanisms to hold Myanmar accountable for its state crimes are being explored, foreign investors should draw the line somewhere: no country, that is, both the society at large and the regime in power, that commissions a genocide should be allowed to conduct business as usual.”

According to data from the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations, the Myanmar Investment Commission has approved $2.5 billion worth of foreign investment plans in 2019. This year Singapore, Myanmar’s ASEAN neighbour, has surpassed China as the biggest investor, the statement added.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly children and women, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community.

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