Last week, at least 10,000 Rohingya and Rakhine civilians fled from over 40 villages in the Kyauktan area of Rakhine State, Burma. A local administrator had issued an evacuation order warning of military “clearance operations.” The military claims that it is only conducting “counter-insurgency operations.” UNHCR and OCHA said in a joint statement on Tuesday the order to evacuate had been followed by shooting and shelling.
Already 80,000 people had been displaced by ongoing fighting between Burmese military and the Arakan Army which represents the Rakhine Buddhist communities. Access to journalists and humanitarian agencies has long been severely restricted, and an internet shutdown has in parts of Rakhine and Chin states since June 2019. While COVID 19 contagion steadily increases, this mass displacement increases risk of hunger and mass fatalities. Moreover, the rainy season has begun.
Action 1: Please, write to the German Ambassador Christoph Heusgen, current head of the UN Security Council: email@example.com CC: to firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are some points for you to build on:
- The latest Burmese military abuses in Rakhine State violate provisional measures issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), requiring the government and military to prevent harm to the Rohingya population. An estimated 5,000 Rohingya live in the affected Kyauktan area.
- We request that the Council discuss the latest crisis in Burma to push a resolution and risk a veto by China. Council members should not be hostage to China’s bullying. We also understand that the President of the Security Council has the power to request a copy of the Burmese Government’s response to the ICJ and should critically assess the merits of this document.
- The UN Security Council should refer Burma’s failure to abide by these measures to the International Criminal Court and also immediately place an arms embargo on Myanmar/Burma.
Action 2: Please write to US Secretary of State Pompeo:
Tweet @SecPompeo and comment as appropriate on State Department Facebook https://www.facebook.com/USAsiaPacific/
And please copy: email@example.com
Like the EU, the United States should immediately impose sanctions on all military officials responsible for atrocity crimes, as well as any companies linked to the military.
Action 3: Please sign this petition from our allies at Refugees International for the US State Department to formally declare the Burmese Genocide a genocide.
Action 4: Finally, please write respectfully to Burma’s Cardinal Charles Bo: firstname.lastname@example.org
Catholic leaders in Burma have asked the government to rein in the military, stop seizing lands, and restart the peace process. Good, but religious leaders should also ask for Rakhine and Rohingya to be added to the Panglong Peace process which they are excluded from.