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.
On 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.
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 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.
In recent past, more people have been killed in the name of religion than for any other thing in the world. Religion has become a symbol of death, terror and agony. Subsequently, a recent Pew Research “Changing U.S. Religious Landscape” shows the decline of religious affiliation in the United States. The study finds there are more adults who consider themselves ‘unaffiliated’ with any other form of religion than those who subscribe to a certain faith. This bludgeoning disaffection and disenchantment is partly the product of what we witness in the world around us – terror in the name of religion.
“Humanitarian crises fuelled by waves of terror, intimidation, and violence have engulfed an alarming number of countries over the past year”, maintains Commissioner Dr Katrina Lantos Swett of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
In its 2015 annual report the USCIRF catalogues the horrors of religious led terror groups and their affiliates affecting millions of lives around the world. This axis of death and destruction of sheer human lives continues to haunt innocent children, women and men of all faiths around the world.