Myanmar

In a September address to the United Nations Human Rights Council, top UN human rights official Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, described the Myanmar military’s attacks on Rohingya as being “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

Satellite photos show the Myanmar security forces and local militia burning entire Rohingya villages to the ground. There are consistent accounts of extrajudicial killings, including the shooting of fleeing civilians.

Up to 800 people rallied in Martin Place against the genocide of the Rohingya ethnic minority in Burma on September 17. The protest was organised by the Sydney Press and Media Council.

Hundreds and thousands of Rohingya, including women and children, have been displaced from their homeland in Rakhine, Burma and forced to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh.

The protest highlighted the mass killings of Rohingya community, including women and children, under the leadership of Nobel Peace Prize winner Ang Sang Suu Kyi and the military regime in Burma.

The National Union of Workers (NUW) joined with Melbourne’s Rohingya community on September 7 to protest the genocide against Rohingya in Myanmar. The NUW has formed a strong bond with the Rohingya community through its work organising Rohingya and other heavily exploited migrant farm workers to win better wages and working conditions.

Many members of the Rohingya community in Melbourne have family members who have been killed in the current genocidal attacks on Rohingya in Myanmar.

More than 500 people attended a rally called by the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) on September 9 in solidarity with the Rohingya people of Myanmar (Burma).

Rally chair Adel Salman, the vice-president of the ICV, said genocidal policies against the Rohingya have been carried out for decades. The Rohingya were citizens of Burma when it became independent in 1948, but were deprived of citizenship after a military coup in 1962.

Campaigning kicked off on September 8 for the first competitive elections in Myanmar (Burma) since the 1950s. The November 8 poll will pit the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) against more than 100 opposition parties, including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD).

Myanmar’s military ceded power to a quasi-civilian government through 2010 elections that were boycotted by the NLD, ending a military dictatorship that spanned from 1962.

A protest was held outside the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Sydney on March 19, to oppose the controversial state visit by the Myanmar president Thein Sein.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard met with Thein and announced a $20 million two-year aid program, as well as the posting of a resident military attache and a trade commissioner in Yangon.

Protesters representing the Rohingya, Karen and Kachin communities demanded the Australian government address the gross human rights abuses before business and military deals are made.

Photos by Peter Boyle.

Subscribe to Myanmar