Tuesday, November 8, 2016

When Rape becomes a Weapon to terrorize a community

There is nothing more humiliating for a victim's family when rape of their loved one becomes a weapon to terrorize it, and a community, in general. As I have repeatedly shown in my articles on the recent war crimes by the Myanmar military, the condition of the Rohingya people is sliding to a very sad one in which life is losing its meanings for these victims.


Three days ago the Myanmar army raided the village of Nga Sar Kyu in northern Rakhine state where Soe Myat Naing lives with his family. They stole his solar panels, but did not stop at this.
"They arrested 30 women and raped 19, including my younger sister who is 23 years old. She cannot walk," he says. "The situation is getting worse every day."


"The worrying thing about these human rights abuses is that the government deny every single allegation. They have put down the rape allegations and that [the military] have been burning houses, even though it has been confirmed," says Chris Lewa, of  the advocacy group Arakan Project, who have sources across Maungdaw township.
"The biggest problem right now is that [the military] have expanded their area of operation so even more people are experiencing raids, looting and arrests," she says.


With every day that the military operation continues comes greater pressure from the international community for the persecution of Myanmar's Rohingya population to stop. However, as I said also before, genocide of the Rohingya has long been part of a national agenda particularly for the racist Rakhines of the restive state of Arakan, and generally for the vast majority of the Buddhists in Myanmar, where Buddhist Fascism has become a common ideology that is embraced by many.


These fascists are indifferent to world opinion. They are bold and murderous in their evil aspirations.
Thus, world opinion is of little consequence to the regional government which is heavily represented by the Arakan National Party, an ethnic Rakhine political group that pursues a nationalist agenda.
In an interview last week, executive secretary of the Rakhine State government, Tin Maung Swe said: "We must protect our national interests and these Muslims are not part of that. We don't care what you foreigners think. We must protect our land and our people, humanitarian concerns are a secondary priority."
To counter the alleged threat from Rohingya militants, the Myanmar government have begun arming and training a "regional police force" comprised of non-Muslim residents from the troubled townships in northern Rakhine.
Only citizens of Myanmar are eligible for the training, ruling out the 1.1 million Rohingyas living in Rakhine State, whose citizenship was revoked by the military junta in 1982.
This was a welcome announcement for the Buddhist minority living in northern Rakhine State, where 90 percent of the population are Rohingya Muslims.
"Staying in Maungdaw is like staying in a foreign country because of the other group of people [the Rohingya]. We have been so worried and could not go anywhere freely," says Buddanta Manithara, a monk from the Alo Taw Pyae monastery.
"Establishing an armed, untrained, unaccountable force drawn from only one community in the midst of serious ethnic tensions and violence is a recipe for disaster," said Sam Zarifi, from the International Commission of Jurists.
These fears are echoed among the Rohingya Muslims in northern Rakhine State who are already feeling the full force of the Myanmar military.
"Most of the security forces here are members of Rakhine ethnic group. Now they are going to give their civilians that training too so there will be even more armed Rakhine and we will be even more oppressed. I am worried that the situation is going to get even worse," says Maung Soe.
Like Myat Naing Soe, he has passed the last few weeks cowering in the shadows of his family home, fearful of the dreaded security forces.
"The township administration came and told us that the border force and military are going to torch our house, they haven't shown up in our area so far, but in other places near us," he says.
The recent trouble in Rakhine state comes just one year after Aung San Suu Kyi - recipient of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize - swept her party to electoral victory in the country's first democratic elections in quarter of a century. Her party holds no authority over the Myanmar military.
Nevertheless, she has offered few words on the human rights situation in Rakhine, focusing instead on a tour of nearby Asian countries, and it is her silence on the brewing sectarian conflict, rather than the military brutality inflicted upon the Rohingya population, that is causing them the greatest amount of distress.
"What hurts the most is that we're suffering under the democratic government rather than military regime. We thought we would have a better life under Aung San Suu Kyi's government." says Maung Soe.
"We have no future now."
Please, click here to read the entire news article.

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