May 01, 2013
Press TV has conducted an interview with James Jennings, the president of the Conscience International from Atlanta to shed more light on the issue of Muslims in Myanmar.
What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Mr. Jennings, why is the international community silent on the issue of Muslims in Myanmar? What makes this most persecuted Muslim minority left defend for themselves?
Even we see the police force there standing idly and watching in cold blood how bad these people are being treated by others?
Jennings: This is a major problem, it is a long-term problem, it is one that Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations has said is one of the greatest humanitarian problems if not the greatest one in the world and the reason is this, that the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine province of Myanmar are people who are stateless, not only are they stateless but they are really unwanted in the country and as far as Bangladesh is concerned they also do not want them to return back to Bangladesh.
Many of them have been there for hundreds of years.
Now the situation is hardening, the people who are the majority group in the country are very determined to suppress the Rohingya Muslims and this, I think, is a very ominous turn of affairs.
Press TV: Of course, I mean the ultimate question that comes to mind is that what can be done to address this issue? I mean is there any practical solution to this?
Jennings: There is a very practical solution and that is that the international community can act in concert.
Of course the United Nations has a role but just today I saw, in the most recent Foreign Affairs Magazine, a long advertising section touting the benefits of doing business with Myanmar.
Myanmar is emerging as one of the most important countries in Asia, it will be as important politically as Vietnam was in the 60s and 70s.
There are great business opportunities there but there are also great conflicts in the country and the North for example, their war with the Kachins is ongoing and there have been other conflicts with the Chins and the Karens and other tribal groups but this particular problem, I think, even though the number of people killed and the increasing pressure on the Rohingya community is terrible.
There is something that is even worse than that and that is that there are people in the majority community, who are asking for the suppression of the birthright among the Rohingyas.
Now that is something that we saw in the World War II and have seen it maybe in a few places since then.
I can think of places in Central Asia where tribal groups are attempted to be suppressed in their birthright.
This is very close to a genocidal attempt and must not be countenanced. Fortunately the government has not taken that stance yet but they have recommended stronger military means.
So I think that this conflict deserves the attention of the world and it can be alleviated, I think in part, if there is a determined and concerted effort on the part of the international community.