The Myanmar authorities continue to look away from the atrocities their forces are committing in Rakhine state and unashamedly ignore the howls of protest and condemnation that are being raised worldwide. Aung San Suu Kyi has disappointed everyone who once saw light in her, saw her as the embodiment of human rights and decency.
That she has said not a word in defence of the persecuted Rohingyas is a dark hint that she will say nothing at all in the days ahead. If she can ask foreign ambassadors based in Myanmar to desist from using the term 'Rohingya' to describe the persecuted Muslim minority in her country, she gives a clear sign of how far she has strayed from her earlier reputation as a leading global campaigner for democracy.
At this point, the Myanmar government is looking frantically to China and Russia for support should the United Nations take measures to censure Myanmar over the genocide going on in Rakhine. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been on an official visit to Myanmar, where he engaged in discussions with Suu Kyi. Disappointingly, the issue of the Rohingyas did not come up, at least in public, in the course of their negotiations.
Now that Myanmar hopes China and Russia will step in to shield it in the face of probable UN Security Council action on the Rohingya crisis, it should be the responsibility of global leaders in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas to impress on the governments of Beijing and Moscow that any support for Myanmar will be a slap across the world's face.
The Myanmar authorities do not deserve help or even respect, for they have systematically failed to secure the lives and property of a people who have been their citizens for centuries. To dub them now as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh is a travesty of the truth and a deliberate attempt to push history under the rug.
Like every nation in the world and like every government, the authorities in China and Russia are certainly cognizant of the realities in Myanmar. It will be the expectation of the international community that Beijing and Moscow will let the Myanmar leadership know that its persecution of its Rohingya citizens is a shame, that its denial of their rights as people flies in the face of history.
Russia and China must not give Myanmar the umbrella of protection it needs at the UN. The Myanmar authorities do not deserve that dignity.
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