Official statistics suggest around 300,000 Rohingya Muslims have been forced to flee their homes in Myanmar and move toward Bangladesh since the latest bout of violence by the government against the religious Minority.
Rohingya activist and blogger Ro Nay San Lwin has, in an interview with the Fars News Agency, weighed in on the plight of the Rohingya and the Myanmar government’s persecution of the religious minority. The following are excerpts from the interview:
The Myanmar government is committing ethnic cleansing. We are natives to the Rakhine state, but the government wants to force us to leave here one way or another.
The latest bout of violence erupted after the Myanmar army targeted civilians under the pretext of dealing with a group of youngsters carrying cold weapons.
Local reports indicate more than 4,000 people have been killed in attacks by the military and extremists against Rohingyas.
Government forces show no mercy even toward children and the elderly. Reports suggest many of them have been tortured, paralyzed or killed by government forces’ fire.
In the recent attacks on the Rohingya minority, 1,000 people alone were killed in a single village, and another 1,500 in another village. We put the number of those killed at 4,000 at least, but the real figure is definitely higher. This is while no one is allowed to enter villages and find out about the exact number of casualties.
So far, roughly 300,000 Rohingya Muslims have entered Bangladesh so far, and another 200,000 are either waiting at the border or seeking a way to get to the border.
The people who are still in their villages in Rakhine state are not allowed to buy items from nearby shops, and their food supplies are running out; in the coming days, whey will be starving.
The government does not need to massacre these people because the villagers will starve to death if this trend continues.
If Muslim countries simply continue to issue statements and condemn the violence against the Rohingya [without taking any practical steps], that will be of no help.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has 57 members all of which should put pressure on the Myanmar government and remind its officials that all Muslim countries will sever their trade ties with Myanmar if the crackdown against the Rohingya continues.
It is only a trade embargo that can make the Myanmar government stop acts of violence against Muslims. The Myanmar government is really scared of the consequences of a trade embargo.
The Maldives issued a strongly-worded statement a few days ago and cut off its trade relations with Myanmar. This can set a good example to other Muslim countries.
Other Islamic states should follow suit and not restore their trade ties until all the Rohingya reclaim their rights. This is the only option available to Muslim countries.