According to Kofi, genocide “is a charge that requires legal review and the judicial determination. It is not a charge that should be thrown around loosely.” Clearly the refugees should not be blabbing to AP journalists about atrocities, they should wait until Mr Annan has finished his fact finding activities. Mr Annan is currently head of the Rakhine State Advisory Commission and was formally the United Nations Secretary General. So, obviously, the Rohingya have nothing to worry about.
In fact, Mr Annan has visited Rakhine State (where the ethnic cleansing is taking place) twice. When action is urgently needed, you can not do better than a United Nations person. Its remarkable that he was able to take this time away from his meetings with Suu Kyi (Burma’s De-facto ruler) and General Min. As Suu Kyi claims that the Rohingya do not exist, it is interesting to speculate what happens at these meetings. Maybe something like this:
Annan: We are worried that the Rohingya might be the victims of genocide.
Suu Kyi: What is “genocide”?
Annan: “Genocide” is when a group of people are exterminated and cease to exist.
Suu Kyi: But the Rohingya do not exist.
General Min: How could we possibly exterminate a people that do not exist?
Suu Kyi: And if we are not exterminating them how can we stop exterminating them?
Annan: Yes, I see your point.
So, if Mr Annan finds something amiss, we can look forward to a judicial review. In the meantime, if any refugees have complaints they can send them in writing to the commission (English or Burmese only – the Rohingya language does not exist dispite the fact that it has been written down for 300 years).
Private Tye has long been an admirer of Suu Kyi and the democratic government of Burma:
her love of the commmon people, her defense of a free press and journalists, her compassion for minorities and her example to Thailand.
The Annan story from Frontier Myanmar (6 Dec)
YANGON — Accusations of genocide and ethnic cleansing in northern Rakhine State are “very serious” and can only be verified through a legal review, Kofi Annan said today.
Rights groups have warned of widespread abuses by military forces conducting “clearance operations” in Maungdaw Township in the wake of coordinated attacks on Border Guard Police outposts in October.
Some have suggested genocide or ethnic cleansing could be taking place in the state, but the government has denied any wrongdoing and said the military is using the minimum possible force.
Annan, a former United Nations secretary general who now head the Rakhine State Advisory Commission, said the accusations were “a very serious charge”.
“It is a charge that requires legal review and the judicial determination. It is not a charge that should be thrown around loosely,” he said.
Annan was speaking at the end of his second visit to Rakhine State since the commission was formed, and the first since the October 9 attacks in northern Rakhine State by Islamist militants.
Annan met State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing this morning in Nay Pyi Taw before returning to Yangon for the evening press conference.
The Rohingya Story from Associated Press (5 Dec):
COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh (AP) — The Myanmar soldiers came in the morning, the young mother says. They set fire to the concrete-and-thatch homes, forcing the villagers to cluster together. When some of her neighbors tried to escape into the fields, they were shot. After that, she says, most people stopped running away.
"They drove us out of our houses, men and women in separate lines, ordering us to keep our hands folded on the back of our heads," says 20-year-old Mohsena Begum, her voice choking as she described what happened to the little village of Caira Fara, which had long been home to hundreds of members of Myanmar's minority Rohingya community. She said that when about 50 people had been gathered together, the soldiers, along with a group of local men, pulled four village leaders from the crowd and slit their throats.
Muslims in an overwhelmingly Buddhist nation, the Rohingya have long faced persecution in Myanmar, where most are denied citizenship. The latest outbreak of violence was triggered by October attacks on guard posts near the Bangladesh border that killed nine police officers. While the attackers' identities and motives are unclear, the government launched a massive counter-insurgency sweep through Rohingya areas in western Rakhine state. Most Rohingya live in Rakhine, which borders Bangladesh.
The government, which has implied the attacks were carried out by Rohingya sympathizers, has acknowledged using helicopter gunships in support of ground troops in the sweep. While survivors and human rights groups have tracked waves of anti-Rohingya violence in recent weeks, the Myanmar government insists that stories like Begum's are exaggerations.