Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Do Something about the Rohingyas

Press TV has conducted an interview with L. Ali Khan, a professor at the Washburn University from Kansas, to ask for his insight into the impact of political change in Myanmar on the fate of the country's Rohingya Muslims.

The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: It’s quite clear that Myanmar’s path towards democracy isn’t as democratic as many would like it to be.
Khan: That’s very true. I think the National League for Democracy, which is the political party of the Nobel laureate has won landslide more than 70 percent of the seats in both houses; so, one would hope that the situation of Rohingyas will change, but I would suggest that there should be two international pressures that should be brought on the government of Myanmar.
One is through the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the other is through the Human Rights Council. Now, we know that in the Human Rights Council, there’s a special rapporteur, who is monitoring the situation in Myanmar, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and many other Islamic countries around their council.
And they should push the rapporteur to find what exactly is the persecution in Myanmar and then do something about it.
And I think the other is the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, 56 Muslim states, and does feel like they’re helpless and they can’t take care of 1.3 million fellow Muslims who are the most persecuted minority on this planet.
Press TV: Will any of this works specifically considering that even Aung San Suu Kyi herself has failed to address the plight of the Rohingyas when asked and prodded about it, she even went on to say that the situation is being grossly exaggerated by media outlets?
Khan: Well, let in she’s not in power and she was not in a position to say something very strongly, because the elections were under way.
And now that her political party has won, hopefully she would change her stands and she would be more sympathetic to the situation of Rohingyas.
After all she has a Nobel Peace Prize and it is obligatory that she takes care of the rights of Rohingya people.
I hope she would change, but if she doesn’t change, I still would ask that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, 56 Muslim states, they should do something to pressurize the new government that they recognize the rights of Rohingya people.
Press TV: How much would Aung San Suu Kyi’s party in the form of a government have power to bring about change, so to speak, because, let’s not forget that the military junta still retains much of the power in one way or another.
Khan: That’s very true. I think right now the military is still in power and the power will change in February next year.
That’s been the new political party would take power and you’re right that previously the military did not allow the same party, who won the elections, to take power.  

So, it remains to be seen whether the National League for Democracy would actually be able to take power and we don’t know. I think the military records are seriously anti-democratic in Myanmar.