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The UN resolution on Rohingyas in Myanmar

Paper No. 5610                                       Dated 25-Nov-2013

Guest Column by Dr. Tint Swe

The UN resolutions passed earlier on human rights situation in Burma/Myanmar have been applauded by the oppressed people of the country since 1992. In fact this has been an encouragement for the people, while the then successive governments of Burma/Myanmar continuously rejected them. Even today, the Burmese authorities reject any resolutions passed by the UN.

But this year’s resolution passed by the UN for granting citizenship to Rohingyas is seen differently by the majority of the people and the Government as well.

Even the political parties have expressed their disappointment through the Burmese language radio stations in the country. It is the topic of condemnation in the social media as well. However, it is not a debate but a criticism.

While the previous resolutions on Burma adopted by the UN were meant for 60 million citizens of the country, this year’s resolution focused only on a small section of the population called Rohingyas whose national identity is shrouded in controversy. It is of serious concern that when the people of Burma are disappointed, an organization based outside the country in support of Rohingyas welcomed the UN resolution.

Any resolution at the United Nations has to be supported by a group of member nations. In earlier occasions at the UN general assembly, no countries under authoritarian or dictatorship, or specifically Islamic nations ever supported a resolution on human rights situation in Burma.

From 1988 to 2012, only two special envoys visited Burma to inspect human rights and the political situation. Now it is an important point to note that the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) visited Burma/Myanmar to look into the plight of the people following the same religion. These Muslim nations never showed up and condemned the human rights situation of 60 million Burmese people before.

This move has threatened the sovereignty of Burma. Questions and doubts loomed over the people on whether this act of ‘good Samaritan’ from the outside world will influence the country’s Citizenship law.

There is a reason for the people’s apprehension of the sudden interest in Burma by these countries. None of these countries came in to offer help and support during the devastating Nargis Cyclone which hit lower Burma on 2-5-2008, in which 138,000 people died, out of which about 6,900 were Muslims. But these countries poured in millions of dollars for relief and rehabilitation in the aftermath of the communal violence in northern Arakan state in mid 2012.

Burma is passing through a difficult time from military dictatorship to a budding democracy. The timing is favourable for those who want to exploit politically, economically or otherwise.

So it can be inferred that this UN pressure in the form of a resolution on Human Rights situation in Burma is not for the cause of human rights but for support of this minority community.

(Dr. Tint Swe , Burma Center Delhi (BCD), New Delhi, The views are of the author and not of this organisation)

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