Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Denouncing Myanmar's Massacre and "Textbook Ethnic Cleansing" of the Rohingya

The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), the largest coalition of leading national and local Muslim organizations in America, strongly condemns the Myanmar government's ongoing systematic and categorical persecution and ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya civilian population, in flagrant neglect of the longstanding, urgent warnings by top UN officials against these unethical practices that are illegal under international law.

We are shocked and dismayed at State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi's tacit approval of the recent mass deployment of the state army to indiscriminately brutalize the already abjectly dispossessed and shamefully despoiled Rohingya. We further denounce her perfidious and feeble justification of it-in the face of the near-universal international condemnation of her-in the tired name of terrorism.

Rather, Myanmar's political and military authorities have clearly descended to the disgraceful actions of terrorizing the Rohingya into leaving the lands and homes of their ancient birthright and legacy because of the depraved incitements of a base religious bigotry and political expedience, in what the UN has branded as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing."

The Myanmar army's well-documented use of heavy artillery against unarmed innocents, along with rocket launchers and helicopter gunships, and its merciless program of burning out villagers, mass slaughter, rape, torture, and extrajudicial killings are utterly unconscionable acts of inhumanity. This unjustifiable systematized exercise of both a government's inherently coercive force and the use of its deadliest war machines against its own inhabitants constitutes sufficient cause to delegitimize the political leadership of any party or individual, even to revoke the claimed rights of nationhood of any complicit people.

That is the lesson of Nuremburg, and, indeed, it is by the standards of genocide that independent observers have now begun to measure Myanmar's political and military authorities' heartless assault on the havenless Rohingya, whom Myanmar has deliberately kept in a stateless status with no civil or human rights.

The sheer savagery of the Myanmar security forces against the Rohingya, especially in northern Arakan, since August 11-whether the Rohingya were cowering in their homes, fleeing upon the open road, hiding in the mountains, braving its jungles, or skirting its rivers and dales-leaves few other names than 'genocide' by which this mass atrocity may be called. Since August 25, an astounding 313,000 Rohingya have crossed the River Naf into Bangladesh in "urgent need of life-saving assistance," according to the International Organization for Migration.

The Myanmar government cannot contest these egregious facts by what the UN calls a "complete denial of reality" but only by allowing independent humanitarian agencies, including Muslim agencies, to minister to the cordoned-off Rohingya's grave traumas-mental, physical, and social-and by permitting independent media to tell their stories and human rights advocates to assess their allegations and conditions.

USCMO urges our United States government, the UN Security Council, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to take concrete steps in holding the government of Myanmar responsible and accountable, to immediately demand the protection and enfranchisement of the Rohingya people, and to open safe passage for countries and relief organizations to provide the life-saving humanitarian assistance that the Rohingya now so desperately need.

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Founding members of USCMO: American We Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), Muslim American Society (MAS), Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA), Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA), The Mosque Cares (Ministry of Imam W. Deen Mohammed).

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