Rohingya poets turn words into art of resistance

New anthology of Rohingya poets reflects resilience of a community driven away from their homeland Natalie Brinham, Yuriko Cowper-Smith and Maung Zarni | Published by Anadolu Agency on August 7, 2019 Rohingya poets featured in an anthology, I am Rohingya, write with an urgency and passion of genocide survivors. They reclaim their experience, their group identity and their agency from the victimhood that has framed their existence for so long.  The collection is the first of its kind to be translated and written in English, yet it speaks to the deep significance of all three languages in which the poetry […]

International legal options for addressing the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar and humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh

By Yuriko Cowper-Smith | Published by The Sentinel Project on August 13, 2019 Addressing the seemingly intractable Rohingya genocide and the humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh requires looking at all possible international legal options. The continued (in)action of the Burmese government demonstrates that state officials are unwilling to bring the perpetrators to account. As international pressure mounts for Myanmar’s government to change its conduct, various countries and actors in the international system have started to consider various legal channels. This article articulates a few means of recourse that can be used to introduce a modicum of accountability. The International Criminal Court […]

How ethnonationalists use the UNESCO World Heritage label

Myanmar, India and China have all pursued UNESCO World Heritage status for sites of mass victimisation of minorities.By Azeezah Kanji | Published by Al Jazeera on August 4, 2019 On July 6, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced the success of Myanmar‘s application to recognise the ancient Buddhist city of Bagan as a World Heritage Site – a boon for the image and tourism industry of a country accused by the UN‘s own fact-finding mission of committing genocide and crimes against humanity. While preserving the archaeological remnants of “the heart of the largest Buddhist empire of its time” (from the 9th to […]

Bangladesh can make Myanmar pay for crimes against Rohingya

By Maung Zarni | Published by Anadolu Agency on July 8, 2019 Dhaka should move International Court of Justice to force Myanmar to pay reparations to for hosting victims of genocide LONDON — Last week, UN International Independent Fact-Finding Mission’s Chris Sidoti, Bangladesh’s high commissioner to the U.K. and prominent experts from Bangladesh, gathered in London to tackle an overlooked, but pressing issue: the challenges of repatriating 1.2 million Rohingya refugees to their homes in Myanmar. This comes in the back drop of Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen reportedly accusing Myanmar of “lying” about the status of the repatriation of […]

Applying law to end Myanmar’s impunity for genocide

By Maung Zarni | Published by Anadolu Agency on July 2, 2019 Prosecutor to probe alleged crimes in which at least one element occurred in Bangladesh, a state party to the Rome Statute LONDON — As Myanmar continues to commit crimes against the Rohingya people, the international legal community appears to be buzzing with measured excitement over the possibility of holding the country’s senior-most perpetrators accountable for genocide and other crimes against humanity, and justifiably so. Last week saw two important developments at the International Criminal Court (ICC): the establishment by the ICC Presidency of a pretrial chamber regarding “the situation […]

The UN Has Failed the Rohingya in Myanmar. Now it Should Take Responsibility

By Maung Zarni | Published by The Wire on June 30, 2019. The United Nations recently accepted a 36-page report that examined the body’s systemic failures in the country. The United Nations recently accepted a 36-page report that examined the body’s involvement in Myanmar from 2010 to 2018. The report, by former Guatemalan foreign minister and UN executive Gert Rosenthal, acknowledges that there were “systemic failures” in how the UN responded to the crisis in Myanmar. The Rosenthal report (dated May 29, 2019) finds that the UN response was “dysfunctional” in Myanmar, and that its leadership and conduct was “relatively impotent.” These […]

Dr. Zarni offers a first-hand understanding of the failed Myanmar democracy movement and its autocratic leader Suu Kyi

Published by The Citizen on June 24, 2019 ‘Suu Kyi and Virtually the Entire Opposition Were Completely Enamoured with US Power’An extended interview with Maung Zarni, an educator and political activist in exile who was closely associated with Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy and erstwhile face of democratic politics in Myanmar. Zarni recalls the hopes many vested in Suu Kyi after her father Aung San was assassinated in 1947, and his own journey towards disillusionment. The interview is the first in a series of reports from or about India’s neighbouring countries, yesterday and today. […]

Myanmar: Building businesses over killing fields

By Maung Zarni, Published by Anadolu Agency on June 21, 2019 Bleak future lies ahead of Rohingya, as Myanmar is getting away with genocide amid UN ‘system failure’ LONDON — Amid former Guatemalan Foreign Minister Gert Rosenthal’s shocking report about the UN’s leadership, policy and system failures in Myanmar the Southeast Asian member state has for all intent and purpose accomplished its ongoing national project of cleansing the strategic border region of Northern Rakhine off Muslims — most specifically ethnic Rohingya people.  Other ethnic communities like Kachin, Mon, Karen, Chin, Wa, and Shan also inhabit border or “peripheral” regions of Myanmar. […]

Zarni’s Comment on the Extra-judicial Killing of Rakhine Civilians by Myanmar Government Troops

Photo Credit: Kevin Abosch

Killing six out of more than 200 detained villagers for different reasons is a lawless activity perpetrated by the Myanmar army, it’s an extrajudicial offence.  Such offences during an armed conflict are viewed as war crimes. When enemies surrender, you have to treat them well as prisoners of war. You are not allowed to bully and torture them. The Tatmadaw committed such offences in every ethnic region, they especially made trouble for hundreds of thousands of Muslims in Arakan State.  The Tatmadaw has carried out whatever they wanted to do for more than 40 years. They have killed monks, communists […]

Myanmar’s Suu Kyi is turning far-right

By Maung Zarni, Published by Anadolu Agency on June 8, 2019 Translation in Spanish| Turkish| Arabic |MalaysianNobel laureate and de-facto ruler of Myanmar is joining ranks of far-right leaders like India’s Modi, Hungary’s Orban ANKARA — The wire pictures from Budapest of a smiling Nobel Peace Laureate and Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi shaking hands with Viktor Orban, Hungary’s president, strikes fear down my spine. That is, fear for my Muslim friends back home in Mandalay in particular and Myanmar’s Muslims in general, including the systematically persecuted Rohingya. The two reportedly exchanged their unconcealed fear and loathing of Muslims and migrants.  In Suu Kyi’s […]