Sunday, November 24, 2013

Interpreting the UN resolution 2013 on Myanmar

The UN resolutions on human rights situation in Burma/Myanmar have been applauded by the oppressed people of the country since 1992. In fact this has been an annual encouragement for people, while the then successive governments of Burma/Myanmar continuously rejected it. Even today, the Burmese authorities reject any resolutions by the UN.

But this year’s resolution passed by the third Committee is seen differently by the majority of the people and the Government. They were discouraged.

Not only the people or government but also the political parties who expressed their disappointment via the Burmese language radio stations in the country. It is the topic of condemnation in the social media as well. However, it is not a debate but a criticism.

While the previous Burma resolutions adopted by the UN were meant for 60 million citizen of the country, this year focused only on a small section of the population, whose national identity were shrouded in controversy. It is a serious concern that when the people of Burma were disappointed, a certain organization based outside the country under the identity of Rohingya welcomed the UN resolution.

Any resolutions at the United Nations have to be supported by a group of member nations. In earlier occasions at the UN general assembly, no countries under authoritarian or dictatorship, or specifically Islamic nations ever supported a Burma resolution on human rights situation.

From 1988 to 2012, only two special envoys visited Burma to inspect human rights and political situation. Now it is an important point to note that 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) visited Burma/Myanmar to look into the plight of the people following the same religion. These were nations who never showed up and talked about the human rights situation of 60 million Burmese people before.

This move has threatened the ignorant and common people of Burma. Questions and doubts loomed over the people on whether this act of ‘good Samaritan’ from the outside world will influence the country’s Citizenship law.

There is a reason for the People’s apprehension of the sudden interest in Burma by these countries. None of these countries came in to offer help and support during the devastating Nargis Cyclone which hit lower Burma on 2-5-2008, about 138,000 people died, out of which about 6,900 were Muslims. But these countries poured in millions of dollars for relief and rehabilitation in the aftermath of the communal violence in northern Arakan state in mid 2012.

Burma is passing through a difficult time from military dictatorship to a young democracy. The timing is favorable for those who want to exploit politically, economically or otherwise.

So it can be interpreted that this UN pressure in the form of a resolution on Human Rights situation in Burma is not for religion nor for the cause of human rights but for a name and identity that is Rohingya.

Dr. Tint Swe
Burma Center Delhi (BCD) New Delhi