The UN describes the Rohingya population as among the world’s most persecuted people. The tension, violence and discrimination vents from the ethnic majority Rakhine Buddhists that view them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh although they have been native to Myanmar for centuries.
Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace prize winner, has conspicuously remained silent on their plight, which has drawn international criticism. Tens of thousands of Rohingyas live in appalling conditions that has been forced upon them.
Press TV has interviewed Mr. Raza Kazim of the Islamic Human Rights Commission in London about the repression and abuse of the Rohingyas and the lack of international response the issue has attracted.
What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Let’s look at it in general, why do you think that it is continuing although there has been pressure especially from the Muslim nations and communities. In some cases it almost seems as if the government there in Myanmar is not really paying a whole lot of attention to it?
Kazim: That’s right… and the problem has been that people are turning a blind eye to what’s actually going on – the powers that be, the focus, the media and so on has been very much different in terms of the way that people are looking at this.
And I think one of the problems has been the way that Aung San Suu Kyi was made into a darling of the West, paraded around Western capitals and seen as if all the problems in Myanmar have gone away because she has been freed because her own narrative on the Rohingya Muslims was in itself quite worrying in terms of some of the parallels that you see with nationalist movements, which are not particularly taking into account the rights of minorities.
And when you have a leader, a so-called democratic leader, whose attitude is more nationalistic than actually recognizing that there are people, all people that need to have rights, then that becomes a problem.
What’s happened as a result of that, people in the West are thinking this is something – the problem there, is in the process of going away, when in fact it’s been exacerbated and become a lot worse because of her attitude.
Press TV: What do you think, you’re representing Islamic Human Rights Commission in London – What do you think needs to be done in order to put the pressure on the government there in order to get results for these Muslims?
Kazim: I think we need to look at how and what influence of China in particular who has had a relationship in the past… what kind of pressure can be brought to bear from that side.
I think there is also pressure that needs to be brought to bear on the idea of continuing to make sure that the boycott and sanctions against the Myanmar government continue – it’s something that needs to be continued in that kind of narrative.
Press TV: What about the amount of media attention or the lack thereof, especially in the corporate media – What do you see behind this, especially in the West, there is a very short term memory that if it is not repeated constantly it’s almost as if it no longer exists – What is the reason behind that?
Kazim: It’s about an agenda… partly to do with resources; it’s about making sure that the resources that the Western governments will have access to as a result of recognizing the government as it currently exists – giving favorable treatment in terms of having access to those resources. And that’s one the most fundamental problems – that’s an agenda of the government.
And unfortunately media organizations are following the lines of the Western governments rather than actually critiquing it and analyzing the reasons for the stances that governments have taken.
You know, when we talk having about a media that will question and see what the issues are for the stances that governments have taken, we don’t see that independence actually being carried out in terms of what is a responsibility of the media in the different Western countries.
That problem is quite embedded within the culture of the media and it’s something that if they’re not going to be on message with, then they are going to be brought to book. And it’s something that is continuing and that is what you see as a result of this – a lack of independent scrutiny of the actions of the Western government’s with regards to this particular case.