The United Nations put a resolution to vote on Christmas Eve, regarding the violence toward the Rohingya people by Burma/Myanmar‘s government. The resolution had several stipulations, including the end of the military campaign against the people, an allowance for aid groups to legally go through Burma, and the allowance of a special U.N. envoy appointed by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. It also asks for the return of the Rohingya people and that the government allow them citizenship in the future.
The vote, held at the U.N. General Assembly, was adopted, with 122 for, 10 against, and 24 abstentions. The ten countries that voted against were Burma, of course, China, Russia, Syria, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, Vietnam, Belarus, and Zimbabwe. China is a particularly big name here, as their trade with Burma has been a crucial part of their economy — throughout the years of conflict, toward the Rohingya and other ethnic groups, many locals have wished for sanctions from China and India, like the sanctions seen from the United States in earlier years.
Christmas Day marks four months since the Rohingya militants attacked the police outposts in Rakhine State, Burma, the event that sparked off a response targeting their entire people. Since then, the Burmese government has led a violent campaign against the Rohingya, killing over 1,200 children under the age of five in the first month of the offensive. Overall in that same month, 11,393 Rohingya people were killed.
This is not the first violent campaign the Burmese military has led against ethnic peoples (civilians) throughout their jungles. They have fought the Rohingya before, and also the (largely Christian, Buddhist and animist) Karen on the opposite side of the country, and the Shan and Kachin as well.
The Karen are currently under a cease-fire with the Burmese government, but trust is shakey at best for those on the ground. They worry that the government is using the cease-fire to expand their front lines in the name of expanding infrastructure, but will break promises and revert back to violence as they have often in the past.
In an effort to appease the international criticism for their campaign, the Burmese government has offered repatriation for any Burmese citizens who wish to return and have the appropriate paperwork. Sources have told SOFREP that this is sort of a hollow effort, as most Rohingya are excluded from ever getting citizenship in the first place. So, despite their attempts at –, refugees continue to flood over the border into Bangladesh.
Featured image courtesy of the Associated Press.