Friday, July 3, 2015

Forced Slave Labor widely practiced against the Rohingyas of Myanmar by government forces

Myanmar government is guilty of forced slavery of the Rohingya people, a fact which I have brought to the attention of my readers nearly a decade ago. In spite of all the newly found interest around the Rohingya crisis, the criminal government of Myanmar continues to practice such horrendous crimes.

In the Rohingya majority area in the Rakhine state, close to the border of Bangladesh, villagers have described cases in which two local units – Light Infantry Battalion 552 and Light Infantry Battalion 352 – pressed scores of villagers into work in recent months, sometimes accompanied by beatings or threats of violence. When probed by journalists, Myanmar's military did not respond to questions on forced labour and the central government spokesman, Ye Htut, declined to comment.

As I have noted, persecution against the Rohingya people is a national project, which enjoys wide support within the Myanmar society - from Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to military generals to soldiers to Buddhist monks to ordinary Buddhists. At the forefront of this persecution  is the racist Rakhine leadership, which is led by one of the worst racists and bigots of our time, Maung Maung Ohn, who is  the chief minister of Rakhine​ state. He obviously denies that the military carried out forced labour there. "If forced labour was really happening in Rakhine​ state, we would have already heard about it and taken action," Maung Maung Ohn said when probed by journalists. Such deceitful words should not fool anyone. The villagers said the forced slavery practice was widespread.

And sadly, unlike other cases around the world, the world community has chosen to simply ignore it. It is shameful. As I have repeatedly called, Myanmar Government needs to be tried for their crimes against humanity in the Hague. Sooner the better. Otherwise, the regional security will be threatened making the once-prospering ASEAN region and Southeast Asia very vulnerable and insecure, which will have terrible impact on the rest of the globe.

The Sydney Morning Herald has recently published a documentary report on forced slavery of the Rohingya people of Myanmar, which you can read by clicking here.

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