Zarni, at the launch of International Pepsi boycott campaign, Chapel Hill, N. Carolina, 27 October 1995

At the London School of Economic "Rule of Law Roundtable", 16 June 2012

Speaking on the Slow Burning Genocide of Rohingyas in Burma, with Professor Amartya Sen, Harvard University, Nov 2014

N. Ireland peace activist Mairead Maguire presenting Zarni with the Cultivation of Harmony Award on behalf of the Parliament of the World's Religions, Salt Lake City, USA 18 Oct 2015

Drafting the Oslo Communique calling for the end to Myanmar's Rohingya Genocide, Voksanaasen, Oslo, 27 May 2015

Giving the Annual Owen M. Kupferschmid Lecture at the Holocaust and Human Rights Project, Boston College Law School, 13 Apr 2015

Kachin and Rohingya activists in diaspora launch an international opinion tribunal on Myanmar's atrocity crimes against their communities at home

Kachin and Rohingya activists in diaspora launch an international opinion tribunal on Myanmar's atrocity crimes against their communities at home

Kachin and Rohingya activists in diaspora launch an international opinion tribunal on Myanmar's atrocity crimes against their communities at home 

Media Advisory, February 23, 2017

The Rome-based Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) will be holding the inaugural session of its first-ever Tribunal on Myanmar at Queen Mary University of London International State Crime Initiative on 6 and 7 March. (

The establishment of this people’s tribunal is in response to the requests made by Myanmar’s Rohingya and Kachin victims who have made credible allegations that their respective ethnic communities have suffered international crimes at the hands of Myanmar government troops, including crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.

Subsequent tribunal hearings are envisaged in in USA and Malaysia before the jury reach the verdict later this year.

The PPT includes renowned genocide scholars such as Daniel Feierstein, past President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, Dr Helen Jarvis, former Public Affairs Officer at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Dennis Halliday, former Assistant Secretary of the UN and winner of Gandhi International Peace Award (2003). The Tribunal is in the process of selecting members of the Panel of Jury from amongst a list of public figures whose nominations are based on their established personal integrity, professional competence and concerns for the victims. 

Among the experts who will appear before the PPT will be Dr Mandy Sadan, Associate Dean of Research at School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London & author of Being & Becoming Kachin: Histories Beyond the State in the Borderworlds of Burma (Oxford University Press, 2013), Professor Penny Green of the International State Crime Initiative, and Azril Mohammad Amin of the Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra), Malaysia.

“The gravity of Myanmar’s alleged mistreatment of these ethnic communities has been a concern for us at the PPT for a number of years. My colleagues and I are glad to be able to respond positively to the victims’ request for a credible moral tribunal on what appear to be international crimes being committed by the government of Myanmar,” said Dr Gianni Tognoni, Secretary General of Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal.

The People’s Tribunal has a long history as an effective means of transforming communities marred by state sponsored crimes. It has convened forty-three times to deliver judgements that have guided societies through such struggles as post-colonialism, globalization, war, and economic injustice. It is renowned for its rigorous selection criteria for its jury members.

Hkanhpa Sadan, the General Secretary of the Kachin National Organization (KNO), representing many in the Kachin diaspora, said, “Our Kachin people have been crying out for justice and accountability since Myanmar government unilaterally ended the 17-year ceasefire with the Kachin Independence Organization nearly 6 years ago. While talking up democratic transition in the media, Myanmar government has been bombing – even using fighter jets and gunship helicopters – our communities in Northern Myanmar, displacing thousands of our people, including women, elderly, children and infants from their own homes.” He pointed out that Myanmar is blocking humanitarian assistance and supplies to Kachin war refugees while refusing to permit the UN Special Rapporteur Professor Yanghee Lee access to the area last month to travel to the internally displaced people (IDP) camps where IDP thousands of families are freezing in make-shift camps in the high altitude mountainous, with little food or medical supplies.

Tun Khin, President of Burmese Rohingya Association UK, a participating organization, expresses his appreciation for the PPT staff for the tribunal. “We Rohingyas are grateful that this tribunal effort is materializing at this crucial juncture. Generations of us Rohingya have suffered what we experience as a genocide in our own ancestral lands.” He continues, “my grandfather was a proud Rohingya parliamentary secretary in democratic Burma in the 1950’s, and in 2017, my family and I are refugees in UK now. We are subject to Myanmar’s policy of extermination because of our religion and ethnicity.”

On the western frontier region of Rakhine, Myanmar troops have been accused of “very likely” committing crimes against humanity by the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner’s team. On 3 February the UN Office of High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a 43-page report of interviews with 200+ persecution-fleeing Rohingya men and women in Bangladesh’s refugee camps, which detailed harrowing accounts of rape, gang-rape, wanton killings, arson, helicopter and rocket launcher attacks and other numerous forms of inhumane atrocities against unarmed, peaceful Rohingyas.

The UN report states,” “The testimonies gathered by the team – the killing of babies, toddlers, children, women and elderly; opening fire at people fleeing; burning of entire villages; massive detention; massive and systematic rape and sexual violence; deliberate destruction of food and sources of food – speak volumes of the apparent disregard by Tatmadaw and BGP officers that operate in the lockdown zone for international human rights law, in particular the total disdain for the right to life of Rohingyas.”

For decades, the Muslim Rohingya minority in Burma have suffered state crimes that many human rights investigators and scholars conclude amount to crimes against humanity and even a “slow genocide” as stated by Amartya Sen. They have been stripped of their citizenship and rendered stateless; prohibited from travelling even between villages; forbidden from obtaining education or gainful employment; forced into labour; physically brutalized including extrajudicial killings, rape,
and torture; driven from their burning homes and villages; and dehumanized because of their faith & skin colour.

In addition to Rohingya and Kachin organizations in diaspora, International State Crime Initiative at Queen Mary University of London, Burma Task Force USA, JUST and the Centre for Human Rights
Research and Advocacy (Centhra) from Malaysia, USA-based Genocide Watch, South Africa’s Protect the Rohingya and Burmese Muslim Association are supporting the tribunal. Cambodia Genocide survivor and genocide prevention campaigner Youk Chhang and Burmese genocide scholar Dr Maung Zarni are also among the tribunal’s individual supporters.

Within the United Nations, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, has reportedly said that she will be recommending a UN-mandated Commission of Inquiry on Rohingyas in her official Mission report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, which she is scheduled to present on 13 March.

Myanmar’s hybrid government of Aung San Suu Kyi and the military has responded to these serious international crimes allegations first by dismissing them as “fake news” and later setting up its own “national investigation commission” headed by ex-general and Vice President Myint Swe. UN Special Adviser on Genocide Prevention Adama Dieng has officially dismissed Myanmar’s national commission as “not a credible option” while Ms Yanghee Lee said, “it doesn’t even have the methodology” to investigate the atrocity crimes. Dr Maung Zarni said “Myanmar’s own investigation would be like wolves figuring out who ate the chickens.”

There has been a concerted activist campaign worldwide for UN member states to adopt a resolution to establish a UN inquiry. UK government has come under strong criticism from human rights campaign groups for privileging its business interests in Burma while ignoring serious allegations of crimes against humanity committed by Myanmar Security troops which the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) says the British Armed Forces are training on human rights and accountability.

//end text//

Media Contacts:

Dr Gianni Tognoni, Secretary General of Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal, Rome, Italy

Tun Khin, President, Burmese Rohingya Organization UK

Hkun Htoi Layang, Deputy Secretary, Kachin National Organization 

Myanmar Government invited to attend the tribunal and present its version of truths

(Photo: Reuters)


Vice President Myint Swe
Chair of Myanmar Presidential Investigation Commission on Rakhine
Former Lt-General and former chief of
Military Intelligence


H.E. Kyaw Zwa Myint
The Embassy of Myanmar
19A Charles Street
London, W1J 5DZ

Dear Sir,

please, find attached the letter of invitation from the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal for the Opening Session on the accusation of state crimes committed against the Rohingyas, Kachins and other ethnic minorities in Myanmar, which will take place in London, on 6 and 7 March.

This letter is a formal invitation to be officially present in the hearings in the form you esteem most suitable to represent your interest and point of view.

We are ready to provide you with all the supplementary information you could need and request.

Looking forward to your answer, and, hopefully to receive a positive response to the request of having your presence.

Thank you for your attention.


Gianni Tognoni
PPT Secretary General

“Rohingyas would be eliminated from Myanmar.”: A detailed emerging picture of Myanmar Genocidal Violence as extracted from the UNOCHR Flash Report

“Rohingyas would be eliminated from Myanmar.”

“Now is the worst it has ever been. We have heard from our grandparents that there were bad things happening in the past too, but never like this.” 

- A Rohingya victim from Pwint Hpye Chaung

“(C)all your Allah to come and save you”, “What can your Allah do for you? See what we can do?”

- A typical taunt by perpetrating Myanmar soldiers and officers while beating, torturing, raping and killing Rohingyas


The “calculated policy of terror” that the Tatmadaw has implemented in nRS since 9 October cannot be seen as an isolated event. It must be read against the long-standing pattern of violations and abuses; systematic and systemic discrimination; and policies of exclusion and marginalization against the Rohingya that have been in place for decades in nRS, as described in the HC’s report to the HRC (A/HRC/32/18). Even before 9 October, widespread discriminatory policies and/or practices targeting them on the basis of their ethnic and/or religious identity had led to an acute deprivation of fundamental rights. The information gathered by OHCHR indicates that the victims of killings, rape and sexual violence, arbitrary detention, torture, beatings and other violations outlined in this report, were targeted based on their belonging to a particular ethnicity and religion. Many victims mentioned that soldiers and officers taunted them by saying that Islam is not the religion of Myanmar; that Rohingyas are Muslim Bengalis; and that Rohingyas would be eliminated from Myanmar.


“The testimonies gathered by the team – the killing of babies, toddlers, children, women and elderly; opening fire at people fleeing; burning of entire villages; massive detention; massive and systematic rape and sexual violence; deliberate destruction of food and sources of food – speak volumes of the apparent disregard by Tatmadaw and BGP officers that operate in the lockdown zone for international human rights law, in particular the total disdain for the right to life of Rohingyas.”


All of the eyewitness testimonies the team gathered referred to violations allegedly perpetrated by either the Myanmar security forces (Tatmadaw, Border Guard Police and/or the regular police force, operating both separately and through joint operations) or by Rakhine villagers (either acting jointly with security forces or at least with their acceptance). Worryingly, the team gathered several testimonies indicating that Rakhine villagers from the area have recently been given both weapons and uniforms, which bodes ill for the future relation and trust between the two communities.

What does a typical Myanmar Government’s “area clearance operation” look like? 

“When the team analysed the 111 testimonies gathered from the most affected villages - Yae Khat Chaung Gwa Son, Kyet Yoe Pyin, Pwint Hpyu Chaung, Dar Gyi Zar and Wa Peik - a clear picture emerges of how the Myanmar security forces’ so called “area clearance operations” are conducted, as well as of the violations they generate:

Interviewees from these villages, as can be seen also in previous chapters, typically reported that large numbers of armed men (often from both the Tatmadaw and the police, sometimes accompanied by Rakhine villagers) would arrive at once in the village. As is confirmed by satellite imagery analysis, they would proceed to destroy many houses, mosques, schools and shops, typically by RPGs (that interviewees call “launchers”) but also by simply using petrol and matches as detailed above. Fields, livestock, food stocks would also be deliberately burned, destroyed or looted.

They would separate the women from the men. Men who did not manage to flee would be severely beaten, often with their hands tied to their back, often with rifle butts or bamboo sticks, or kicked with boots. Many men, especially those in a specific age range (teenage to middle age) would also be taken away, with their hands still tied, by military or police vehicles and not heard of again.

Women would be rounded up, and either told to stay inside a school or other building or outside in the burning sun. Many would be raped or experienced others forms of sexual violence, often during strip searches, either during round-ups or in homes.

Simultaneously, those fleeing would be shot at with rifles and RPGs, and in Yae Khat Chaung Gwa Son, Dar Gyi Zar and in Kyar Gaung Taung, also from helicopters.

There were also many reports of summary executions, either by shooting at point blank range or by knife, including of babies, toddlers, children, women and elderly people.

In some villages, only very few houses are reportedly still standing. According to testimonies, there are no or few men of working age left, and the women and children who could flee have done so. According to the testimonies the team gathered, some who were too old or too poor to flee are still trying to survive among the ashes and the wreckage, lacking food.

Interviewees who were still in touch with relatives in their home villages reported that the “area clearance operations” continue, with continued regular presence of the security forces in the villages (although the burning of homes seems to have ceased since December, replaced in some cases by destruction by other means).”

From p.38, 3 Feb 2017 UNOCHR Flash Report

This testimony from a woman from Pwint Hpyu Chaung is indicative of what the residents of the hardest hit villages experienced:

“While we were sleeping, it was 2 or 3 a.m., I did not notice that the military surrounded my whole house. They suddenly entered. They carried both rifles and knives. One used a knife to cut some rope in my house. My brother and my sister-in-law’s husband had their hands tied behind their backs with that rope. They were first beaten with rifle butts. They were beaten so harshly that my brother was about to die, it was so horrible to watch. When they were beating my brother and my sister-in-law’s husband, we were close to them, we were also lying down. Whenever they were crying we were also crying. My oldest son and my (11-year old) daughter were beaten too.

And then they shot and killed my brother and my brother-in-law. This happened just outside our house. When they were shooting, a bullet grazed my daughter’s skin too. Then they dragged their bodies away. We never found their bodies.

I cannot tell you what I am feeling inside. The military was kicking us with their boots, my husband was lying down as if he was dead, spreading his hands wide. The military thought he was dead, so they brought bamboo sticks and threw them on top of him.

We were very scared. We fled to my father’s house which is located just next door. But by this time another group of military came and they set the house on fire. All of us were trying to flee, but then they called my father out from all us women and children. We told our father, please don’t go, they will kill you. They asked us women and children to go away, so we left, and then they took our father from us. They took him, his hands were tied with a rope. Then they set the house on fire.

Then we fled into the forest, by this time the house was burning. When we came back we were looking for our father, and then we found his body totally burned, together with three other bodies. It was my other brother who is alive and who is here in Bangladesh, he was the one who went to the house, and he found our father and our uncle lying on his shoulder, his uncle’s son was also there, burned. Maybe they held each other tight, that could be why they seemed to be hugging in their death, my brother said (p.40).”

- A mother of 8 and 11 year old children from Pwint Hpyu Chaung village

The aforementioned excerpts are from UNOCHR Flash Report released on 3 Feb 2017, which detailed systematic and unprecedented atrocities committed against Rohingyas in Northern Rakhine State by Myanmar government’s troops (and armed local Rakhine). 

SOURCE: Report of OHCHR mission to Bangladesh -- Interviews with Rohingyas fleeing from Myanmar since 9 October 2016

UN Human Rights Chief Zeid: Report on Myanmar's Rohingya

(Photo: Reuters)

“The devastating cruelty to which these Rohingya children have been subjected is unbearable – what kind of hatred could make a man stab a baby crying out for his mother’s milk. And for the mother to witness this murder while she is being gang-raped by the very security forces who should be protecting her – what kind of ‘clearance operation’ is this? What national security goals could possibly be served by this?” - UN Human Rights Chief Zeid. Learn about the new report:

Devastating cruelty against Rohingya children, women and men detailed in UN human rights report

February 3, 2017

GENEVA – Mass gang-rape, killings – including of babies and young children, brutal beatings, disappearances and other serious human rights violations by Myanmar’s security forces in a sealed-off area north of Maungdaw in northern Rakhine State have been detailed in a new UN report issued Friday based on interviews with victims across the border in Bangladesh.

Of the 204 people individually interviewed by a team of UN human rights investigators, the vast majority reported witnessing killings, and almost half reported having a family member who was killed as well as family members who were missing. Of the 101 women interviewed, more than half reported having suffered rape or other forms of sexual violence.

Especially revolting were the accounts of children – including an eight-month old, a five-year-old and a six-year-old – who were slaughtered with knives. One mother recounted how her five-year-old daughter was trying to protect her from rape when a man “took out a long knife and killed her by slitting her throat.” In another case, an eight-month-old baby was reportedly killed while his mother was gang-raped by five security officers.

“The devastating cruelty to which these Rohingya children have been subjected is unbearable – what kind of hatred could make a man stab a baby crying out for his mother’s milk. And for the mother to witness this murder while she is being gang-raped by the very security forces who should be protecting her – what kind of ‘clearance operation’ is this? What national security goals could possibly be served by this?” High Commissioner Zeid said, noting the report suggests the recent level of violence to be unprecedented.

“I call on the international community, with all its strength, to join me in urging the leadership in Myanmar to bring such military operations to an end. The gravity and scale of these allegations begs the robust reaction of the international community.”

After the repeated failure of the Government of Myanmar to grant the UN Human Rights Office unfettered access to the worst-affected areas of northern Rakhine State, High Commissioner Zeid deployed a team of human rights officers to the Bangladeshi border with Myanmar, where an estimated 66,000 Rohingya have fled since 9 October 2016.

All the individuals interviewed by the team had fled Myanmar after the 9 October attacks against three border guard posts, which had prompted intense military operations and a lockdown in north Maungdaw. The military indicated that it was conducting “area clearance operations” in the region.

The report cites consistent testimony indicating that hundreds of Rohingya houses, schools, markets, shops, madrasas and mosques were burned by the army, police and sometimes civilian mobs. Witnesses also described the destruction of food and food sources, including paddy fields, and the confiscation of livestock. 

“Numerous testimonies collected from people from different village tracts…confirmed that the army deliberately set fire to houses with families inside, and in other cases pushed Rohingyas into already burning houses,” the report states. “Testimonies were collected of several cases where the army or Rakhine villagers locked an entire family, including elderly and disabled people, inside a house and set it on fire, killing them all.”

Several people were killed in indiscriminate and random shooting, many while fleeing for safety. Those who suffered serious physical injuries had almost no access to emergency medical care, and many of the people interviewed remained visibly traumatized by the human rights violations they survived or witnessed. People who did not know the fate of loved ones who had been rounded up by the army or separated while fleeing were particularly distressed.

Many witnesses and victims also described being taunted while they were being beaten, raped or rounded up, such as being told “you are Bangladeshis and you should go back” or “What can your Allah do for you? See what we can do?” The violence since 9 October follows a long-standing pattern of violations and abuses; systematic and systemic discrimination; and policies of exclusion and marginalization against the Rohingya that have been in place for decades in northern Rakhine State, the report notes.*

Reports suggest that operations by security forces in the area have continued into January 2017, although their intensity and frequency may have reduced. 

“The killing of people as they prayed, fished to feed their families or slept in their homes, the brutal beating of children as young as two and an elderly woman aged 80 – the perpetrators of these violations, and those who ordered them, must be held accountable,” High Commissioner Zeid said. “The Government of Myanmar must immediately halt these grave human rights violations against its own people, instead of continuing to deny they have occurred, and accepts the responsibility to ensure that victims have access to justice, reparations and safety.”

The report concludes that the widespread violations against the Rohingya population indicate the very likely commission of crimes against humanity.


Full report here:

PM assures Myanmar’s President Kyaw that Kingdom will stay silent on Rohingya

Prime Minister Hun Sen shakes hands with Myanmar President Htin Kyaw at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on Saturday. Facebook

By Erin Handley
February 6, 2017

Prime Minister Hun Sen has reassured his Burmese counterpart that the Kingdom will not interfere in the escalating “Rohingya issue”, a day after a damning UN report revealed widespread gang rape and murder allegedly committed against the Muslim ethnic minority by Myanmar security forces. 

During talks at the Peace Palace on Saturday, the premier told President Htin Kyaw that “Cambodia disagrees with the attempt to internationalise the Rohingya issue, considering it as an internal issue of Myanmar, and the ASEAN Charter prohibits the interference in the internal affairs of each Member State,” according to a Facebook post from Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith. 

Reached yesterday for clarification, Kanharith said Cambodia could not condemn Myanmar’s actions and that “the government of each country has to settle their own issues”, though Prime Minister Najib Razak of fellow ASEAN state Malaysia recently called for the world to act to end what he characterised as “genocide”. 

Hun Sen’s comments came barely a day after the UN released a harrowing report in which 204 interviewees who had fled to Bangladesh testified they had seen homes burned, people killed, and women and girls raped in Rakhine state (see page 12 for more information on the report).

“They held me tight, and I was raped by one of them. My 5-year old daughter tried to protect me, she was screaming, one of the men took out a long knife and killed her by slitting her throat,” a mother of three from Kyet Yoe Pyin told UN investigators. 

Another described how her 8-month-old baby was slaughtered with a knife before her eyes as five men raped her. More than half of the 101 women interviewed reported they were raped or subjected to other forms of sexual violence. 

In stark contrast to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s comments, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein called on the international community to urge Myanmar to end the atrocities. “The gravity and scale of these allegations begs the robust reaction of the international community,” he said in a statement on Friday. 

Dr Maung Zarni, Burmese co-author of the Slow Burning Genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingyas and non-resident fellow at the Sleuk Rith Institute in Cambodia, said the parallels between the human rights abuses committed in Myanmar and those which ravaged Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge should prompt the premier to be more compassionate.

Prime Minister Hun Sen talks with Myanmar President Htin Kyaw at the Peace Palace on Saturday. Facebook
“Myanmar’s decades-long persecution and extreme mistreatment of Rohingyas have been causing periodic and voluminous flows of persecution-fleeing refugees . . . across both South and Southeast Asia, who are in turn preyed upon by the ruthless human-trafficking criminal gangs,” Dr Zarni said. 

“A population having been halved as a matter of provable national policy based on extreme racism against an ethnic group is deeply troubling. This is where the international concern comes in,” he said, adding the crimes amounted to “ethnic cleansing”.

Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch in Asia, said the prime minister’s assurances were a form of “mutual back-scratching among rights-abusing leaders”. 

“The real reason [Prime Minister] Hun Sen said that is [because] he doesn’t want anyone interfering in his own rapidly intensifying crackdown on opposition party members and civil society activists.”

While the ASEAN Charter outlines respect for a country’s sovereignty, it also calls on member states to respond effectively to all forms of threats and to ensure that people live in peace in a just and harmonious environment in those member states.

The OHCHR’s acting regional representative for Southeast Asia, Laurent Meillan, said in an email yesterday that the report called for stronger engagement from ASEAN to address the plight of the Rohingyas. 

“The ASEAN principle of non-interference should be interpreted with flexibility when significant humanitarian and human rights crises occur in the region,” he said. 

Mohammed Rashid, a Rohingya refugee living in Cambodia, said while it was nearly impossible to reach those being persecuted in the closed-off zone, Cambodia should do anything it could to assist. 

“Yes, yes they should help,” he said. 


Trump's Muslim Ban enboldens Myanmar Racists: Suu Kyi's Sole Muslim Adviser Shot Dead Upon Return from Jakarta

"Muslim Insurgency",NOT a game changer, but this political killing is. 

Myanmar Generals don't like inter-communal peace & reconciliation.

Shooting U Ko Ni dead in the head at a high profile place like Yangon Airport, upon arrival from the official visit to Jakarta to go and study peaceful, interfaith life in Indonesia, was, in my view, to make the point that Muslims assuming advisory positions to NLD and ASSK would cost life. 

Additionally, it is meant to further inflame religious bigotry as the news of the killing is widely reported and shared on Burmese language social media. 

This is a calculated political move, not simply a homicide. 

Donald Trump's official anti-Muslim policies and Muslim refugee ban may have emboldened and inspired this very first anti-Muslim political assassination in Myanmar. 

Here is Ko Ni's organizational efforts/background: 

A gun man pictured here shot dead Ko Ni (holding a child) at point blank range at Yangon International Airport, 29 Jan 2017.

Aung San Suu Kyi laughs out loud at Rohingya genocide allegations while in Singapore

A Youtube video of Aung San Suu Kyi laughing out loud at allegations of genocide of the Rohingyas in Myanmar has gone viral with over 40,000 shares. Youtube user Haikal Mansor said that the incident happened during the Nobel Peace Laureate’s recent visit to Singapore, on 1 Dec 2016.

The video showed Suu Kyi addressing an audience and reading a letter which addressed her as ‘mother’. The letter writer said that he had been her fan from a very young age and asked her how the people of Burma should respond to ‘fabrications’ of genocide of the Rohingya people.

Suu Kyi laughed out loud in saying that accusations of genocide were just ‘fabrications’. She urged the Myanmarese to not only disbelief such ‘fabrications’, but also to counteract the allegations.

A red carpet was rolled out for the Myanmar State Counsellor during her visit to Singapore where she was hosted for lunch and even an orchid was named after her. her views on the Rohingyas are no surprise, considering her exclusive interview to Channel NewsAsia. In the interview she claimed that the problems in Burma’s Rakhine state was being exaggerated by the international community so much so that “everything seems worse than it really is”. She further said that the situation is well under control and have calmed down tensions.

Several videos which are in the public domain however, tell a story different from Suu Kyi’s assurances. They show the Rohingyas being persecuted and tortured.

Even the United Nations have expressed concern about the gross human rights violations and ethnic cleansing that is being executed by the military junta of Burma. The systemic gang rapes of Rohingya women, the burning down of their villages, the looting of their property and genocide are also well documented, and prove that the situation in the Rakhine state in Burma is far from being “under control”.

Myanmar's Rohingya: Truth, lies and Aung San Suu Kyi

The Rohingya say they have been trading in the region for generations

By Jonah Fisher
January 27, 2017

A government-appointed investigation is due to publish its final report on whether atrocities have been committed against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

With journalists banned from northern Rakhine state, the Burmese government has been trying to counter allegations that its soldiers have been raping and killing civilians.

Readers have told us they would like to know more about Rakhine and what is happening to civilians there.

We asked our correspondent Jonah Fisher, in Myanmar, to tell us more.

Donald Trump and Aung San Suu Kyi have more in common than you might think.

The leaders of the United States and Myanmar are both aged the wrong side of 70, both have much-discussed hair and share a strong dislike of journalists.

Mr Trump's turbulent relationship with the media is covered extensively. Ms Suu Kyi's may come as a surprise.

"The Lady", as she's known here, became famous in the 1990s as an icon of human rights and democracy. While under military-enforced house arrest in Rangoon, reporters took great risks to speak to her, to hear her courageous story of resistance.

Now Ms Suu Kyi is in power, things are rather different.

She has created a powerful role for herself called State Counsellor to fulfil a promise of being "above the President". In practice that seems to also mean "above" public scrutiny.

Aung San Suu Kyi speaking at a conference

Ms Suu Kyi now never gives interviews to the Burmese press and carefully hand picks her encounters with international media. There is no regular questioning from MPs in parliament and there has not been a proper press conference since just before the election 14 months ago.

Then there is the propaganda, which is eerily reminiscent of the dark Burmese days of censorship and military rule.

Who are the Rohingya?

On a daily basis, state-run newspapers print articles that denounce the international media for stories that highlight the plight of the Rohingya Muslim ethnic minority.

There are about one million Rohingya living in Myanmar and they have been discriminated against for decades. For the last three-and-a-half months, those living in the north of Rakhine State have also been subject to a brutal military crackdown.

Exactly what is happening there depends on who you choose to believe, as the government has kept out everyone who is independent.

Some claim the Burmese army is committing ethnic cleansing, even genocidebut that is rejected by the Burmese army and Ms Suu Kyi, who says it is a counter-terrorism operation to catch the Rohingya militants who started the crisis when they attacked police outposts.

Rare interview

So it was a surprise when last week, the BBC finally received permits from the Rakhine State government to go to the conflict area. We quickly flew to the capital Sittwe and boarded a ferry heading north up the Mayu River, towards the border with Bangladesh.

Four hours, and several Burmese films later, we were in Buthidaung, only 45 minutes from the conflict area.

Unfortunately the authorities were there too. A welcoming party of policemen and security officials blocked our path up the pier and "offered" to take us to the township administration.

Once there we were politely informed that permission for our trip had been withdrawn. Word had reached Ms Suu Kyi's government in the capital Naypyidaw and the order had been given to stop us.

Before we boarded the boat back, a local administrator agreed to do an on-camera interview.

This in itself was a minor triumph. Ms Suu Kyi and her spokesman have rejected all our approaches to speak about Rakhine since the latest crisis flared in early October.

It has been tough to set up interviews with Ms Suu Kyi's spokesman

A doctor by trade, Than Htut Kyaw is a Burmese Buddhist who has lived in northern Rakhine State for the last 10 years. Chatting to him, it soon became clear that he, like many Burmese, believes that reports of atrocities being committed against the Rohingya are simply fabricated.

"We have nothing to hide," he told me. "The national government is releasing all the true facts about this situation. The teachings of Burmese Buddhism do not allow raping. It's all just rumours."

Verification challenges

The problem for Ms Suu Kyi is that it is more than just rumours. With journalists and aid workers unable to get access, the Rohingya have taken reporting into their own hands. They have been filming their own testimony on smartphones and sending it via messaging apps to those outside the country.

Over the last few months I have seen a steady stream of appalling videos of women with bruises on their faces saying they were raped, bodies of children lying on the ground and burnt skulls in piles of ash.

Verifying them is difficult but not impossible. Often there are multiple sources from the same location and some organisations have discreet networks of people on the ground. Usually Burmese state media puts out its own version of events.

It's not easy to verify precise numbers, given that people are usually fleeing and have no overall perspective. But those videos are important snapshots that show without doubt that something awful has been taking place.

The response of Ms Suu Kyi and her officials to them has been straight out of the Mr Trump playbook.

What the media says

Firstly they sought to discredit the overwhelming evidence about the Rohingya by focusing on the few occasions when the media has got things wrong.

For example, a piece in the Mail Online which alleged that a toddler being tortured was Rohingya (he was Cambodian) became front page news in state media, even though it was rapidly taken down.

Similarly, interpreting a speech by Ms Suu Kyi to suggest she laughed at the Rohingya issue also caused a huge outcry and a threat of legal action.

At times the propaganda emerging from Ms Suu Kyi's officials has been truly bizarre.

At the beginning of January the State Counsellor's office posted a picture of Sylvester Stallone, the Hollywood actor, dressed as Rambo fighting his way through the jungle. It was used as an example of the fake pictures that the Rohingya are supposedly using to support their false stories.

It is not clear who may have been so stupid as to post it, possibly a lone Facebook user. But focusing on it is a tactic we have also seen in Washington this week, using a mistake from one person to dismiss or distract from the overwhelming evidence of others.

More detailed stories that have appeared on CNN and The Guardian from Rohingya who fled into Bangladesh have been crudely "debunked". For this there is a set formula being used.

Security officials are sent to the featured Rohingya's home village and their family or neighbours are rounded up and asked to sign statements casting doubt on the story.

Could propaganda be stopped?

There are countries, Britain among them, who are giving Ms Suu Kyi the benefit of the doubt, stressing the positive aspects of Myanmar's still impressive move away from dictatorship.

After all, Ms Suu Kyi is still new in office and constitutionally does not control the army or police.

She probably could not stop the military operation in Rakhine if she tried and, whatever her many flaws, all agree she is Myanmar's best hope at present.

The problem is that Ms Suu Kyi could stop the inflammatory propaganda.

Ministries she controls and officials she directly employs are rubbishing the accounts of desperate people and repeating as fact the denials of the Burmese army. That is the same army that has an appalling track record of burning villages and raping women from Myanmar's many ethnic minorities.

Under pressure from abroad, Ms Suu Kyi did set up a commission to investigate the alleged abuses and itis due to report back in the next few days. But it is headed by the vice-president Myint Swe, a former general, and is widely expected to be a whitewash.

The truth about what has been happening in northern Rakhine state may never be truly uncovered.

End of Mission Statement by Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar

End of Mission Statement by Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar

Yangon, 20 January 2017

Thank you for the opportunity to address you this evening. As you know I have just completed a 12-day visit to Myanmar and have visited parts of Kachin, Rakhine and Mon States as well as Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw. In Kachin, I stayed one night in Myitkyina as I was not allowed to go to Laiza and Hpakant. In Rakhine, I went to Koe Tan Kauk in Rathedaung; Buthidaung prison; and four villages in Maungdaw north. I met with IDPs in Myitkyina , and in Koe Tan Kauk, and Maungdaw, – I also visited Sittwe prison. During this trip, I visited for the first time a hard labour camp, in Mon State. In Nay Pyi Taw, I met with the State Counsellor as well as Government ministers of all the ministries I had asked to meet except for two. One was away and another ministry declined to see me as did the Commander-in-Chief. I also met with the Attorney General, as well as Governmental and Parliamentary Committees. I will elaborate further on the issues I touch upon in this statement in my report to the Human Rights Council in March. For now, let me share with you my immediate impressions and observations.

There is one word that has hung heavily on my mind during this visit – reprisals. In every one of my visits and in every one of my meetings, I ask the Government of Myanmar to ensure that the people I speak to and even work with, do not suffer reprisals for speaking out on rights issues or expressing their opinions. Yet, distressingly several people I met during this visit would say to me, “I don’t know what will happen to me after our meeting.” In one case, an individual directly told me they thought they would be arrested following our conversation. In another village, where there were more than two communities living separately but side by side, I asked if that person was comfortable talking to me. The response: “I am afraid I will not give the right answer.”

I recall during my preparations before arriving, the news broke of a man having been beheaded – his only crime was apparently to have an opinion and to voice that opinion out loud. In fact, we still do not know the full circumstances leading to that man being beheaded. But the message is clear. Do not express yourself. Do not speak your mind if your opinion or position does not fit or support the narrative and agenda of those who have no qualms in how you live or die. Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. Reportedly, there are at least four more cases of beheadings.

Knowing that by talking to directly affected community members, I could in fact place them and their family’s lives at risk. Yet even more distressing is that many of those I speak to tell me they are willing to take the risk – they see speaking out as their only hope for change and want desperately for the rest of the world to be aware of the situation that they are in. As such I feel a greater responsibility to listen and give a voice to potential victims of human rights violations. It is also a stark indicator that, whilst there have been positive developments in Myanmar, there is still a long way to go to achieve a society where individuals are free to share what has happened to them, to speak their mind, and to live peacefully without fear.

I know many of you here want to hear from me about the situation in Rakhine state, and several of these examples are from this state. I will of course get to Rakhine in more detail. However, I want to start, as I started my visit this time, with the extremely worrying situation in Kachin State, as well as in the north of Shan State. The plight of people in this area is too often overlooked, but sadly, here too, people are suffering and the hope generated by the outcome of the 2015 elections is starting to wane. As you know, for the last three visits I have asked to go to Rakhine, Kachin and northern Shan without fail. Due to time constraints imposed, I made the decision to limit my visit to Kachin and Rakhine.

I pushed hard to go to Laiza and Hpakant. In the past, I had always asked to go to Laiza but access was never granted. My predecessor in his last country visit had gone to Laiza area as had a high-ranking UN official more recently. Yet I was denied access for the fifth time due to security reasons. I also pushed hard to go to Hpakant. This is a Government-controlled area, but like Laiza, the Government did not confirm or deny access until the last minute. The reasons given for the refusal by the State government did not match those given by the Union Government. Furthermore, later that day, I met local interlocutors who had travelled all the way from Hpakant – a 5-6 hour journey to Myitkyina – to share with me their concerns and fears. The explanation I was given by the Government was that, as a ‘special guest,’ the Government was concerned about my security; and as a special guest, I would be apparently particularly targeted.

It is evident that the situation in Kachin and at the northern borders is deteriorating. Those in Kachin State tell me that the conditions have deteriorated – that the situation is now worse than at any point in the past few years. Whilst I was not able to travel to the areas most severely affected, the situation is now such that even in Myitkyina, the capital of the state and home to over 300,000 people, residents are afraid – and now stay home after dark.

I have heard that in active conflict areas the situation is far worse. I met a family who was displaced from Zai Awng IDP camp after shells fell nearby – they had fled in terror and resorted to digging a hole in the forest to stay in at night for six days whilst they tried to gather the funds needed to escape the area – six days in a hole with four children, the youngest a few months old and another only two. I heard after my visit, that some of those from the Zai Awng camp were displaced for a third time. These people have done nothing wrong, yet they suffer, merely because they live in an area, where others fight. When I raised this case with the State Government, and by state government meaning the military side, the response was again denial – I was told the IDP camp did not exist, as I was told before that in Kutkai there were no IDPs either.

Like I always do during my visits to Myanmar, I made a point of going to several places of detention during this trip; and when I was not allowed access to Laiza and Hpakant, I asked to make a day trip from Yangon to a hard labour camp [officially called a production camp] in Zin Gyaik, Mon State. And as I always do in places of detention, I asked to meet those who are being held there in addition to making a site visit and observing the conditions of detention.

Some whom I met at the hard labour camp said they were afraid of what would happen to them after speaking to me. And a few described how they had the previous three days “off” from their usual hard labour work to clean their living and sleeping quarters as a “VIP was coming.” While some of the facilities appeared better than other prisons I have visited, major concerns from that visit to the hard labour camp are the use of shackles as a form of additional punishment (including while working in the quarry) as well as the lack of transparency and information shared with the prisoners regarding their selection and transfer from another prison to the hard labour camp. I also have a concern about the lack of an independent complaint system for the prisoners at this hard labour camp but unfortunately this is the case in all prison camps in Myanmar.

Besides the hard labour camp, I also visited Insein prison in Yangon, and Buthidaung and Sittwe prisons in Rakhine State. In these prisons, I met prisoners and detainees who were charged (and convicted) for criticising high-level Government or military officials, for raising human rights issues, for filing court cases against the Government and for not meeting the rules for peaceful assembly in attempts to express their concerns for the Government’s attention. I have received reports that over 40 people are now facing prosecution for defamation under section 66 (d) of the Telecommunications law – many of them merely for speaking their minds. In other meetings, lawyers taking on sensitive cases, reported harassment and even prosecution. I visited a Chin community in Sittwe. This community had raised an issue about limited drainage with their local authority, and in response an adjacent community built a road block at the entrance of the 11 Chin households. For nine months, the main access road for these 11 households was blocked despite complaints brought by the Chin community to the relevant authorities.

In Rakhine State, I asked to meet with some of those who had been arrested and detained for allegedly playing a role, active or supporting, in the armed attacks against the security forces in early October and mid-November. Except for one suspect whose family knew that the detainee had rights and sought a lawyer for him, the other prisoners did not have legal representation. They did not seem informed of the charges, if any, against them apart from being aware that they could be suspected of being associated with the attackers against the Border Guard posts on 9 October. Some had not been in communication with their family for the 2-3 months since they had been arrested. I further noted that their families – were not informed of their arrest or the location of where they were detained causing untold distress for families members. One suspect was certain that his family would think that he was dead and during my visit to villages in Maungdaw, I met women whose husbands were in their words ‘taken away’ whom they believed would never come back. The prison officials told me that there are more than 450 individuals detained in Buthidaung in relation to the attack – meaning many families unaware and uninformed of this detention fearing that they will never see their loved ones again.

What has been said to me over and over by Government representatives regarding the 9 October attacks is that this was not an inter-communal violence or crisis; that this was a calculated attack against the sovereignty of Myanmar and that the Government rightly launched a security response. The Government described to me how the attacks occurred and I saw the three Border Guard posts concerned. I deplore these attacks carried out in a brutal manner and I convey my deepest condolences to the families of those killed.

Whilst authorities are required to respond to such attacks – the response must be carried out within the parameters of the rule of law and in full compliance with human rights. I saw with my own eyes the structures that were burnt down in Wa Peik, and it is hard for me to believe that these are consequent to actions taken in a hurry or haphazardly. I was told by Government officials – as had been reported – that it was the villagers who had burnt down their own houses. And the reason they would burn down their own houses was because these houses were of poor quality; and by burning down their own houses, they can expect to get international actors to come in and help build them better houses. The authorities offered no evidence for this, and I find this argument quite incredible.

Considering the policy of systematic and institutionalised discrimination against the Rohingya with limited access to education and healthcare services – basic services that the international actors have been ready to supply but blocked from providing, it would be quite far-fetched for them to suddenly think that the authorities would allow international actors to help build them better houses. The alternative argument given by the authorities were that this was part of the Rohingya villagers’ propaganda campaign to put the security services in a bad light. Again, I find it quite incredible that these desperate people are willing to burn down their own houses (where they may have lived for generations) to be without a home, potentially displaced, for five years or more like those in Sittwe, just to give the Government a bad name.

I must remind again that these attacks took place within the context of decades of systematic and institutionalised discrimination against the Rohingya population. Desperate individuals take desperate actions. And while such desperate actions in this case are not justified in any way, I do believe if the affected population had felt that the new Government would start addressing their situation and grievances, then extreme elements would not have easily been able to hijack their cause.

When the allegations of human rights violations consequent to the security operations started surfacing, the Government’s immediate response was to deny them. Even when a scientifically-based analysis of the burning and destruction of houses was presented, the immediate response was dismissal. Perhaps some of the portrayal of the situation may have been sensationalised. In fact at least one media outlet had reported that my access was blocked in Rakhine when this was not entirely true. But for the Government to continue being defensive when allegations of serious human rights violations are persistently reported, that is when the Government appears less and less credible. This perception is then reinforced when a video clip of the Myanmar Police personnel beating men – and children – who were rounded up during the security operations went viral. While the authorities may have swiftly responded in this case by arresting some of those captured in the video it highlights the possibility that such treatment of the local population by the security personnel may not be an isolated incident but rather a more common practice.

Over and over it has been said that trust needs to be built between the two communities in Rakhine State; that they need to learn to live together, as they had done for decades before. But I believe another important relationship that requires trust building is the relationship between the people and the Government, particularly with the security forces in this instance. By conducting a security operations with seemingly little regard for the rights and dignity of the majority population residing in the affected areas, the security forces have further weakened the trust the Muslim population had cautiously put into the new Government. It should not be a surprise, in this context, that many from among the Rohingya population have not welcomed the announcement of the resumption of the citizenship verification exercise and resumption of the issuance of the Identity Card for National Verification subsequent to the expiry of the TRC. The timing of this announcement while security operations are still on-going is concerning. Furthermore there has been no progress on the fundamental issues which have plagued previous attempts at conducting a citizenship verification exercise under the 1982 Citizenship law. It is evident that clear, timely and accessible information needs to be provided and further consultation undertaken. A fundamental problem still remains however when individuals who received citizenship in the last verification exercise are still not able to enjoy their rights as citizens. The situation in Myebon, where those granted citizenship remain subject to limitations, is a case in point.

Data and evidence is important here, and in order to assess, evaluate and respond to those needs, we need technical experts to help provide the most feasible response. We cannot make a broad assumption for example that there is no malnutrition in an area as the government-appointed investigation commission did – simply because the conditions for fishing or farming are favourable there. When there are available relevant data which had been obtained through a rigorous method by experts in their field, then the government should consult such data. We cannot simply dismiss data that it does not accept or fully understand.

Humanitarian actors are mandated to use their expertise to help suffering individuals but are currently being prevented from doing so by the Government. In Kachin and Shan States as well as in the north of Rakhine, humanitarian access is worse now than it was when I last visited, with access shrinking month on month and is allowed is subject to ever increasing bureaucratic hurdles. Access is slowly starting to improve in the North of Rakhine state, but it remains mostly limited to national staff, with international staff stuck in towns unable to do their jobs.

The government’s response to all of these problems seems to currently be to defend, dismiss and deny. And this response is not only counterproductive but is draining away the hope that had been sweeping the country. But I do believe it is not too late to reverse this trend, and during my visit, I also met many people who are doing their best in very difficult situations. I met groups working tirelessly to bring communities together. I was pleased to see many new public servants growing into their roles despite the constraints of an institutional structure that is far from perfect. Several ministry and local officials were keen to discuss the problems they face and were open to considering new ideas. This sense of openness and adaptability needs to be nurtured and spread.

It pains me to see when talking to the ordinary people of Myanmar during this visit their feelings of optimism and hope slowly fading just after one year when the whole country was elated with the outcome of the last general elections. From my meetings and conversations with the State Counsellor and the various officials, I can see their genuine commitment and dedication in improving the lives of all in Myanmar. Somehow this commitment has yet to translate into real actions that are felt on the ground. I encourage the Government to appeal to all communities in the country to be more open and understanding of each other, to respect each other instead of scapegoating others for the sake of advancing their own self-interests. It would be particularly important for the security forces to always act within the parameters of the rule of law and in compliance with human rights. It would be crucial for the Government to combat the apparent climate of impunity that seem to have emboldened certain extreme elements by taking the law into their own hands and meting out their own justice. There must be accountability and justice must be done and seen to be done to reassure the ordinary people that no one is above the law.

I would like for the Government, the military side including, to be open and accepting of the offer of assistance from other international actors, particularly the UN that always stand ready to support the successful democratic transition of Myanmar. I take this opportunity to thank the Government for its invitation and for maintaining cooperation with my mandate. I particularly would like to note with appreciation the efforts made to ensure my safety and that of my team. I would also like to thank the United Nations Country Team for their support and assistance.

As I have repeatedly said in the past, I stand ready to assist in the journey towards a more free and democratic Myanmar.

Originally published on UNIC Yangon website.

Myanmar’s Shameful Denial

Rohingya women near a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, in November. Credit: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters

By Editorial Board
January 10, 2017

Last month, President Obama lifted sanctions against Myanmar, citing “substantial progress in improving human rights” following the historic election victory of the Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party in November 2015. Tragically, that praise is proving premature.

Hopes that Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi would bring an end to the brutal repression of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority, lie dashed by a military campaign against the Rohingya in Rakhine State that began after an attack on a police station on Oct. 9. Since then, some 34,000 people have fled over the border to Bangladesh amid allegations of murder and rape by military forces, and satellite images of burned villages. At least 86 people have been killed.

Yet, a commission appointed by Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi concluded last week that “there were no cases of genocide and religious persecution in the region.” Human rights groups rightly accuse the commission of a whitewash. In an effort to muzzle reporting, Myanmar’s government has barred independent journalists from the region, and dismissed reports of abuses as “fake news” and “fake rape.”

After a disturbing video of police brutally beating Rohingya villagers in November surfaced in late December, the government said “legal action was being taken.” But, as Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski observed, the video suggests such abuses are “normal and allowed.”

Meanwhile, the International Crisis Group reports a new militant Rohingya organization with ties to individuals in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan was behind an Oct. 9 attack. The group warns that failure by Myanmar to address longstanding grievances by the Rohingya and the indiscriminate military crackdown in Rakhine State risk “generating a spiral of violence.” This is the last thing Myanmar needs.

As the United Nations’ human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, said last month, Myanmar’s approach to the crisis is “shortsighted, counterproductive and even callous.” On Monday, the United Nations human rights envoy for Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, arrived in the country on a 12-day visit. She will present a report to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in March. Given the failure of Myanmar’s own commission to conduct a credible investigation, Ms. Lee should call for an independent investigation conducted under the auspices of the United Nations.

Last April, the European Union renewed remaining sanctions on Myanmar on “arms and goods that might be used for internal repression” for one year. The union should renew those sanctions if the government of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi fails to end abuses against the Rohingya. That failure would also warrant new sanctions from the United States.

Dismembering Democracies, Fracturing Societies

Tatmadaw or Bama Military, Rohingyas were officially recognized as an ethnic group as late as 1977.

Deniers of genocide

"And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." (John VIII-XXXII.)

A new phenomenon is emerging, which will trigger, or more speed up, the process of great unravelling of the World Order put together post-WWII.

It's called the war on facts - not simply subjective truths.

Remember Brexiters' promise of "350+ million pounds per week for NHS"? That was a blatant butchering of fact, an un-reality or a categorical falsehood. That was what shaped the public opinion in Britain and that was how Brexiters butchered Great Britain.

Obviously, the intentionally deceptive British leaders have gotten away with the crime, worse than a homicide - dismembering a good nation from a larger entity, namely EU.

Now a similar process is being pursued - by none other than the freshly minted President Trump and his men (and women).

As this piece in the Scientific American put it, "democracy in America" itself is under siege - from the fact-slayers.

I am all too familiar with this process. The Burmese military has been at it since 1978, insofar as facts about the people whom we officially embraced as our own ETHNIC MINORITY, not just a political label opportunistically hoisted, as falsely argued by philistines like Jacque Leider, the Sorbonne-trained former diplomat from the government that runs a tax haven (read, enablers of cheaters and liars with $$ Luxemborg.

When a political elite class, military or civilian, butchers empirical truths about the entire ethnic community called Rohingyas - and when Aung San Suu Kyi and her populist NLD have joined in this carnival of fact-slaying the country itself is being destroyed.

No society can be built, let alone thrive on outright lies and dead facts.

Pol Pot and his Brothers tried to re-set history to Year Zero. Hitler de-germanized the Germany Jewry, despite centuries of their attachment, presence, contributions to and love for the country. The rest is history as they say.

Scientists are among the most non-partisan class of citizens. When they are outraged - and fearful - to the point of calling for Scientists' March then it is very obvious that things have gone too far.

One reason I stand up not just simply for the Rohingyas, the immediate target of my own country's destruction , but for the truths I KNOW to be factual, is precisely because I know the attack on truth is the attack on the ethical foundation of a good society, a good people.

In this, I may be a lone voice, even a mad voice at that. I am not going to go down in history as part of this historical trend of Truth-Killers.

It's better to die truthfully than occupy office that rests on lies - and corpses.

Why covet such power when I know I am an embryonic corpse myself?

The War on Facts Is a War on Democracy

In a time when facts don’t matter, and science is being muzzled, American democracy is the real victim

By Jonathan Foley on January 25, 2017