Dhaka Conference on Ending the Slow Burning Genocide of Rohingyas by Myanmar, The University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, 29 Nov 2017



Dhaka Conference on Ending the Slow Burning Genocide of Rohingyas by Myanmar 
The University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, 29 Nov 2017

Over the last three months, the world has witnessed Myanmar’s full fledged genocidal campaign against the most vulnerable and unarmed Rohingya population in northern Arakan or Rakhine State across the borders from Chittagong, Bangladesh. As a significant and welcome departure from the past, Bangladesh society and the government have shown remarkable empathy towards Rohingya survivors, estimated to be 700,000, reaching the rate of 100,000 per week in the first six weeks. As a nation, Bangladesh has been praised worldwide as a humane country that has shown compassion, official and societal, in the face of this massive burden of feeding and sheltering Rohingya survivors of genocide from next door. 

Myanmar government led by Aung San Suu Kyi justifies the violence as a national self-defense against a small band of what they fallaciously call “Bengali extremist terrorists”, namely Arakan National Salvation Army (ARSA). 

Much of the world including governments that have waged the “war on terror” such as USA and UK do not accept the Burmese official narrative that the State of Myanmar is exercising its sovereign responsibility to defend itself. 

Instead, USA, UK, Canada and France have joined the chorus of credible UN officials and genocide scholars who apply the international state crimes perspective that Myanmar as a signatory to the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide is committing “ethnic cleansing”, a euphemism for genocide, as the renowned genocide expert Gregory Stanton put it. 

Whatever the name of the crime, Myanmar is emerging as a neighbour that has committed well-documented crime against Rohingya population, the world’s largest stateless people, who have been stripped of the right to citizenship, a nationality and the right to self-identity. 

This international conference is aimed at generating public discussions among relevant stakeholders, including Rohingya survivors themselves, in terms of the difficult road ahead. One of the objectives of the conference is to shed light on the root causes, behind the recurring waves of Rohingya exodus since 1978 which the Prime Minister from Bangladesh rightly pointed out, “lies in Myanmar”. 

In the light of the repatriation arrangement signed by Dhaka and Naypyidaw, the conference is perfectly set to mobilize ideas and energy among eminent genocide scholars, Dhaka-based Bangladeshi academics and public intellectuals, researchers in the region with relevant expertise, and prominent Burmese activists and scholars who have spoken out in support of the Rohingya people, in the face of scathing attacks on them by Myanmar as “traitors”, “enemies of the State” and so on. 

Finally, the conference intends to generate ideas and networks of individuals who can contribute to the efforts of Dhaka and other concerned international actors such as the UN who seek to find durable and viable end to both genocide and resultant displacement of up to 1 million Rohingya survivors on Bangladeshi soil.

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