During the recent conflict involving the Myanmar/Burmese government and the Rohingya that has been described as ‘textbook ethnic cleansing,’ the Burmese have continuously denied the UN access to conduct an investigation regarding the claims of genocide. Reports from a myriad of aid organizations have all pointed toward massive amounts of human rights violations, including the murder of 1,200 children under the age of five killed in the first month of fighting, the systematic use of rape as a weapon against civilians, and the destruction of homes and belongings. This violence has led to numbers that aren’t disputed — approximately 700,000 Rohingya have fled from their homes in Rakhine state where they have lived for generations, and over the border into Bangladesh. There, they face crowded refugee camps with poor healthcare and often in unlivable conditions.

These reports are often followed up by the UN requesting access by the Myanmar government. After all, the government denies almost all of the claims of human rights abuse, saying that they are weeding out terrorists among the Rohingya.

Finally, that has changed. Myanmar officials have decided to allow 15 council members from the United Nations Security Council to travel to Myanmar to investigate the claims of human rights abuses. The trip will take place beginning on April 26 and will continue until May 2.

Naypyidaw | Wikimedia Commons

There are several things that could happen here. The Myanmar government is known throughout Southeast Asia for its ability to put up a certain kind of front for foreigners (particularly diplomats or other foreign officials) in order to give the impression that all is well. Naypyidaw has been the capital of Myanmar since 2005, and was built entirely for this purpose. Sources tell SOFREP that it’s a surreal feeling there — pristine and sterile, a sharp contrast from the rest of the country, which is more of a normal Southeast Asian country. They could use this same tactic, hoping to divert and play the UN investigators away from the sites of the human rights abuses, until their time is up.