Myanmar’s persecution of Rohingya Muslims is producing a ready supply of slaves

by Penny Green, Professor of Law and Globalisation, Queen Mary University of London; Alicia de la Cour Venning, ‎Research Associate, International State Crime Initiative, Queen Mary University of London, and Thomas MacManus, Research Fellow, Queen Mary University of London

A historic general election is about to take place in Myanmar, and hopes for transition to full democracy remain high. But there are already worrying signs.

In Rakhine state, the hardline Arakan National Party looks set to win a landslide in the country formerly known as Burma. That could mean a drastic escalation in a pattern of discrimination and violence against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims – a crisis that many observers have decried as genocidal.

Rohingya Woman in the RainOn the eve of the elections, human rights groups are imploring the UN to investigate possible acts of genocide against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims, on which we at the International State Crime Initiative have just issued a report.

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Persecution of religious minorities in Modi’s India

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The worldwide Sikh community is in anger and unrest ever since the recent desecration of Sikhs’ Holy Book Sri Guru Granth Sahib was discovered in the village of Bargari, near Kot Kapura in Faridkot district in Punjab, India. Subsequently, the Sikh community aired their concern and worry about their everyday persecution in protests, but the situation even worsened as police rather than guarding the protests opened fire and killed two protesters and left dozens of other left injured.

This tragic most recent incident is yet another episode of endless catalogue of Sikh persecution who feel alienated, disillusioned and abandoned in their own country. The police brutality, which included the use of water canons and even fire arms against the protesters, resurrected the memories of the 1984 Sikh genocide in the Golden Temple. Some members of the Sikh community believe state behavior has not changed in more than three decades. India, being one of the largest democracy in the world has failed to honour its international obligations to which it is the signatory countries where its own citizens are targeted by its own police.

Right to protest and peaceful assembly is the basic fundamental rights of every democratic country in the world. It is enshrined in the Article 20 of United Nations Declaration of Human Rights as well as in Article 21 in the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The signatory state is obliged by the UN treaties to honour its obligations towards its own citizens. The Indian government instead of looking into the case of the desecration of Sikh’s holy book rather targeted the protestors and ordered its policeto disperse the crowds through water cannons and batons. The misdirected state action lead to the killing of two Sikh members and left many injured.

This rigid, cold and indifferent state behavior is not alien to Sikh community. The police brutality of Sikh massacre which killed more than 3,000 sikhs in the Gold Temple still fresh in the members of Sikhs around the world. Some resonated their fear and concerns to this day as evidenced in the most recent police brutality.

Since the leader of the right-wing Indian People’s Party (BJP), Nerandera Modi came to power, the plight of minorities has worsened and calls for ‘Hindu India’ begin to grip minorities who have suffered persecutory events in the past. The Gujarat 2002 Massacre of Muslims, when Modi was the Chief Minister in the Gujarat State, and the 2008 persecution of Christians in Orissa are few to mention. The most recent state led oppresions include a ban on beef for Muslims and state violence against the Sikh.

While the Indian government claims the recent desecration of Sri Guru Grath Sahib has ‘clear and concrete evidence’ of foreign funding does not justify the questions of the state violence, while multiple arrests have been made in connection with the alleged desecration will the attempts suffice the institutionalised persecution minorities suffer in India?

Bio Shahid Khan

Refugees: Art and Photo Exhibition

Refugee Camp in Burma Credit: Andrew Day Photography

Refugee Camp in Burma Credit: Andrew Day Photography

Aberdeen, Scotland:  The Global Minorities Alliance University of Aberdeen student society is organising a photo exhibition during student festival, held from the 26th – 30th October on campus to highlight events beyond the usual focus of the media and our TV screens. The daily lives of refugees fleeing persecution, wars and conflicts from Burmese state oppression to the refugee crisis at the heart of Europe will be exhibited through art and photography.

The Art and Photo exhibition is the part of the university-wide campaign Aberdeen University See Refugees running during the student festival.

The event will feature images taken by @AndrewDayPhotography and UN award-winning artist @Zainab Zeb Khan.

The event will engage the wider student community in Aberdeen, and is also open to the public. The society is promoting the event and encouraging people to share the invitation with their friends and family.

‘It is just a small gesture of our contribution towards this huge crisis that we as students at Aberdeen University care about, and we are thankful for the contributions of the artists for a good cause’ said the secretary of the society, Salla Hänninen, who studies sociology with politics and International relations at the university.

Please check our Facebook event page and details of the refugee art and photo exhibition 

Please share our event with your families and friends who are able to attend this event.Thank you!

From: Global Minorities Alliance Student Society