ELODIE INTROIA WRITES – The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is exposing the world to the suffering of the Burmese Rohingyas.
The Rohingya are a Muslim minority that represent 4% of Myanmar’s population. Though they’ve lived in Myanmar, also called Burma, for many generations, the country’s most recent Constitution denies them basic rights, such as citizenship, the right to have more than two children, to travel, marry freely, and more. As a result, more than 140,000 Rohingya have been displaced and forced to live in confined camps.
The museum’s nighttime photo exhibition premiered on the day Myanmar’s president Thien Sein was “working for democracy” at the White House. The black and whites on the museum’s walls depict the struggles of the Rohingya, and the extreme conditions in which they live.
Human Rights Watch released a new communiqué to President Obama expressing concern that sanctions on Burmese human rights violators may be lifted. In light of Myanmar’s opening up to foreign investors, it’s crucial that the names of those individuals on the U.S. blacklist remain until things improve.
The list contains the names of people and companies that have an affiliation with terrorist organizations, human rights records, arms trading, and, in this case, the identities of those involved with the military junta that ruled Myanmar until 2011. According to this latest report, since 2012 the administration has waived numerous sanctions against Myanmar and altered the blacklist, which could potentially damage the safeguard of foreign investors.
The U.S Holocaust Memorial Museum considers the case of the Rohingya to be genocide on the level as Rwanda and Sudan. It is time for our government to see it as such, and do what is necessary to stop ethnic cleansing.