The Myanmar army has unleashed, with impunity, a reign of terror, aggression, ethnic cleansing, and genocide on Rohingya Muslims.
Village after village of Rohingya has been pillaged, torched to ashes, prompting displacement and exodus of nearly half a million Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh.
Barring India, China, Russia, the international community -- including the EU and the US -- has condemned the atrocities perpetrated on Rohingya Muslims, and called for immediate cessation of such atrocities.
Rattled by international outrage, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guteress warned Aung San Su Kyi that it is her “last chance” to stop the atrocities on Rohingya Muslims.
In an interview with the BBC, he said: “If she does not reverse the situation now, the tragedy will be absolutely horrible” adding, “unfortunately then I don’t see how this can be reversed.”
This is a dire warning with serious implications indeed.
While the devil lies
Suu Kyi, however, has dismissed the reports of atrocities as “an iceberg of misinformation” and fake news.
That a Nobel peace laureate could indulge in such falsehood in the face of ground realities of massive human rights violation defies belief. She is an disgrace and a desecration of Nobel’s values.
The Myanmar army chief has called upon his people to unite on the issue of Rohingya, who he said were Bengalis with no roots in Myanmar.
It is clear the Myanmar army is bent upon finishing their campaign of racial bigotry and extermination of Rohingya Muslims from the soil of Myanmar.
Only a stray incident of killing a few security forces in a police outpost by some disgruntled Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar persecution, an apology by the ragtag Arakan Rohingya Resistance Army (ARSA) certainly cannot justify such a disproportionate response.
It is an undisputed truth that the Rohingya are sons of the soil living in Rakhine province for more than 200 years. The persecution of Rohingya Muslims would only serve to intensify forces for radicalisation.
Any agreement after the intervention must enable Rohingya refugees to return home in a safe and secure environment
Parallels with Srebrenica
The UN secretary general has not spelled out what he meant by a looming “horrible tragedy” for Myanmar.
The critical situation of Rohingya Muslims lends support to the only suggestion of response by international military intervention, similar to those by NATO to save Kosovo Muslims and Bosnian Muslims from the aggression and slaughter and ethnic cleansing by systematic racial hatred and an extermination campaign by the Serbs.
The NATO intervention came in the wake of a paralysis of will, inaction, and dysfunction of UN, faced with Russian intransigence and outright hostility.
Weeks of air strikes by NATO forces brought the Serbs to their knees to surrender and come to a peace agreement.
It is quite clear that any attempt to agree on a Security Council resolution will be stymied and stonewalled by a veto from China and Russia who support Myanmar on the issue, which they consider as an internal affair of Myanmar.
But when the suffering masses cry out for help from the tyranny of its own rulers, the question of national sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations becomes irrelevant, and international intervention becomes imperative.
The only alternative envisaged under the existing circumstance is to involve some sort of international military intervention to be crafted by sympathetic Western countries led by the UK, the EU, and American support.
Bangladesh, with its resources stretched thin and bursting at the seams, is overwhelmed by an avalanche of Rohingya refugees. So Bangladesh must mobilise international military intervention.
The ambivalence of the West on the issue of intervention will only confirm the suspicion that the international community is selective, and guided by opportunism and realpolitik and not by ethics and morality on questions of human rights violations.
Any agreement after the intervention must enable Rohingya refugees to return home in a safe and secure environment under the auspices of UN international peacekeeping forces, and an interim international civil and military administration.
Their birth right
The birth right of Rohingya Muslims to live in freedom and dignity as rightful citizens of Myanmar must be ensured.
Myanmar authorities must be forced to pay war reparations for the wanton killing and destruction of homes and properties and rehabilitation of Rohingya Muslims. The Rohingya, on return, will witness a wasteland of devastated homes, mass graves of killed and executed near and dear ones. What is needed for a permanent solution of the Rohingya situation is not only their rights of citizenship, but full autonomy, if not full independence.
Any peace agreement after the intervention must include trials of Myanmar top brass in the UN international criminal court, just as Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic and Serb general Ratco Mladic faced trial as war criminals. While Milosevic died in prison, Karadzic and Mladic are languishing in jail.
The international community must act now to seek justice once again.
Abdul Hannan is a columnist and former diplomat.