Archives for posts with tag: EthnicCleansing

Cultural Ethnic Cleansing
Diplomat Artist Buzz: Genocide inevitably involves wiping away the cultural as well as physical existence of the people targeted. No continent has been spared & examples are too many to enumerate, from Native Peoples of the New World to the Holocaust.


Ukraine Needs Political Solution, But Can Diplomacy Succeed without Weapons?
By, Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey
Perhaps as American & European leaders warn that an AL-Qaeda or ISIS seeks the destruction of “our way of life,” we should come to see the Putin danger similarly, but unchallenged he actually has the capacity to deliver on the threat.

Myanmar Policy’s Message to Muslims: Get Out
Human Rights groups have described the Myanmar (Burmese) Government of pursuing a strategy nothing short of ETHNIC CLEANSING toward the Rohingya who have faced discrimination for decades, been denied citizenship, & evicted from their homes, their land confiscated, & who have been attacked by the Burmese military.

Who Will Get Sold Out at Syria Peace Talks?

All individual leaders — and, for that matter, ideologies — are expendable. No global or regional power or current leader should be allowed to claim as their own a shared future that first belongs to all Syria’s citizens. That would be a sell-out!

Pionirska Street Live Pyre – Another Bosnian Nightmare

RECOMMENDED read for all interested in the pursuit of justice Never To Be Forgotten – Some 70 Bosniaks from the village of Koritnik – including a newborn baby – became part of a live pyre, when shut in a house, & deliberately set on fire in June 1992. A Memorial, not a highway needs to be established for victims’ legacy & their families.


1992 and 2012, Bosnia & Myanmar are connected by also the person most directly in authority over UN operations in the two countries, then and now. In 1992-93 General Vijay Nambiar was in command of UN troops (UNPROFOR) for the former Yugoslavia – now he is the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative on Myanmar. Just a few weeks earlier, General Nambiar characterized the situation in Myanmar as a “glass half-full rather than half-empty”. However, I’m concerned that once again he may be missing, some would argue deliberately ignoring substantial evidence of ethnic cleansing, as his command did in 1992 when most of the killing, expulsions and concentration camps occurred in Bosnia & Herzegovina – and the momentum for more conflict and genocide was set into motion for another 3 years.
Concealed Evidence of Systematic Abuses of Humanitarian Law/Genocide?
In August of 1992, I received two documents from internal sources directed from UNPROFOR field commanders in the region who were alarmed by evidence of mass executions in one and evidence of brutal detention camps, concentration camps in the other. The UN command had failed to make such evidence/documents available to the public or even to most members of the UN Security Council. In a tense exchange with a high-level UN official, I was queried on how I obtained the “secret internal documents,” but I asked why the information had not been made available for deliberations of the UN Security Council. A UN spokesperson offered that the evidence had been made “public” to those who should have the right to know within the UN Security Council – but this appeared to be only a select group of Permanent Powers.

Within days, several courageous journalists on the scene, (including Roy Gutman, Ed Vulliamy, Penny Marshall, Ian Williams, A), confirmed the atrocities on a large scale. It took half a year for the UN to acknowledge the breadth and systematic nature of such atrocities when preventive action or more transparency may have saved lives and at least to degree stemmed the conflict. The most notable consequence though of the August 1992 crush of evidence of ethnic cleansing was the call for another conference, (in London with Milosevic representing Serbia and whose hollow promises only bought more time for more crimes), and finally the initial steps for the establishment of an international war crimes tribunal (eventually a year later being realized in form of the ICTY).

Is General Nambiar now committing the same mistake and/or omission in Myanmar?  
Having met General Nambiar at that time, I was not disposed to see him as either evil, incompetent, or lacking courage. Rather, my conclusion is that he was part of a mindset that was hopeful in seeing Milosevic as peacemaker even reformer while not wanting to see crimes for which some would have to be held accountable under international law. I’m not particularly familiar with the array of actors in Myanmar, including Rakhine and Kachin states; however, I cannot help but sense that a too rosy a projection of both events and so called reformers is being projected in view of ongoing failures to remedy or even confront the most recent abuses of ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya, and perhaps other minorities. The glass is certainly worse than half empty for the victims of ethnic chauvinism within the new Myanmar where the regime is repositioning itself as more defender of the majority religion/ethnicity in order to rationalize and perpetuate its absolute hold on power, (another similarity with the image projected by Milosevic’s Belgrade two decades earlier).

Most critically, all the big power capitals want to see “reform” within the Myanmar regime. Myanmar’s resources and new markets are in play now. As in Bosnia, evidence of systematic abuses and complicity of authorities would ruin a rosy projection but also undermine in Myanmar the rush to capture greater trading opportunities and profits.


For  UN News Centre’s 3 January 2013 Interview with Vijay Nambiar, Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Myanmar, see:



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UN PHOTO/JC Mcllwaine :  Vijay Nambiar, Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Myanmar



Rohingya Muslims are fleeing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. They are the land’s despised minority not wanted in Myanmar and not welcomed by Southeast Asia neighbors. Many take their chances on the open sea. Many are turned away, and many drown as the world silently watches.  The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) today appealed to Southeast Asia governments to open borders. This month, the Bay of Bengal witnessed sinking boats and more drownings are expected as an increasing number of internally displaced Rohingya Muslims flee in fear, desperation, and hope for a better future.

UN News Centre Source

“We are calling on countries in the region to strengthen burden-sharing in the face of this growing humanitarian emergency – we stand ready to support states in assisting and protecting these individuals,” the chief spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Melissa Fleming, told journalists in Geneva today.

According to UNHCR, an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 people set out into the Bay of Bengal from Myanmar during the previous sailing season, from October 2011 to March 2012. Each year, the sailing season sees a mix of asylum-seekers and irregular migrants risk their lives on fishing boats in the hope of finding safety and a better life elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

Ms. Fleming said UNHCR was “seriously concerned” at the recent boat tragedies in the Bay of Bengal, involving people fleeing insecurity and violence in Myanmar. In the last two weeks, there have been reports of two boats sinking off western Myanmar with an estimated 240 people on board – among them, Rohingya from Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

The north of Rakhine state has been the site of inter-communal violence over recent months. The violence first began in June, with clashes between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims, which eventually led the Government to declare a state of emergency there. The violence reportedly left at least a dozen civilians dead and hundreds of homes destroyed, while internally displacing some 75,000 people.
Since then, at least 89 people have been killed and 35,000 displaced in the wake of a renewed upsurge in violence, beginning in late September, which also left more than 5,300 houses and religious buildings destroyed, according to UN estimates.

Ms. Fleming said the refugee agency cannot confirm any figures in relation to casualties from the reported sinkings “as we have no presence near the wreck sites, but available information is that more than 40 people have been rescued from the two boats.” She noted that there were reports of bodies seen floating in the water.

While calling on other states to keep their borders open, the UN refugee agency is also alarmed by reports of countries either pushing back boats from their shores or helping them on to another country.
“We are appealing to these governments to uphold their long tradition of providing humanitarian aid to refugees instead of shifting the responsibility to another state,” Ms. Fleming said.

The UN refugee agency is urging the Government of Myanmar to take urgent action to address some of the main factors prompting people to take to the sea, Ms. Fleming added, especially issues connected with the problem of citizenship and statelessness in relation to the Rohingyas in Rakhine state. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has previously urged the authorities in Myanmar to take action to bring an end to the lawlessness currently affecting the state.

Looking back several years ago, Myanmar’s Ambassador to Singapore was quoted as describing the Rohingya as “ugly as ogres,” that they didn’t look anything like Burmese, being darker. In casting out these internally displaced refugees only to drown at sea, are Rohinya Muslims facing ethnic cleansing?

By, Susan Sacirbey

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