Tuesday 23 June 2020

Speeches of: command to implement the execution order for 3 Rohingyas during 2017 crisis

The young Tatmadaw army captain Nyi Nyi Zaw is with Kha Ma Ra (Fast-moving Infantry Regiment 345). He said he was ordered by his commanding officer Lt-Colonel Than Htun Aung to summarily execute 3 Muslim (Rohingya) which his (Nyi Nyi Zaw's) unit found in an abandoned Rohingya village in Maung Daw Township. He in turn ordered a group of six Burmese army troops under his field command to implement the execution order.

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Argentinian court decision brings hope for Rohingya

Source AA, 2 June

In a significant development, Buenos Aires court admits petition to probe Myanmar leaders' role in Rohingya genocide

A court in South American country of Argentina has decided to pursue a case against Myanmar's leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi and senior officers in the military over the genocide and persecution against Rohingya community.

In a statement issued on Monday, Burmese Rohingya Organization UK (BROUK) said that Argentina's Federal Criminal Chamber No. 1 has accepted its petition and asked to collect more information on the Rohingya genocide.

The court, in its decision on May 29, overturned a previous order when it had rejected to admit a similar petition seeking to probe the role of Myanmar leadership in the acts of genocide.

"A court in Buenos Aires on Friday overturned a previous order of not to pursue a case against [Myanmar's] State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and senior officers in the Tatmadaw [the Myanmar military]," the statement said.

"The court has now requested more information from the International Criminal Court (ICC), to ensure that the case in Argentina would not duplicate other efforts of justice," the statement added.

An Argentinian court on Dec. 9, 2019, had rejected the lawsuit filed by BROUK seeking to open an investigation into the role of Myanmar's civilian and military leaders in committing genocide and crimes against the Rohingya.

Citing the principle of "universal jurisdiction", the BROUK pleaded that the cases of genocide and extreme crimes against humanity can be tried in any court across the globe.

Earlier the court had pointed out that admission of the petition would amount duplicating the investigation launched by the ICC.

The ICC on Nov. 14, 2019, approved a full investigation into Myanmar's alleged crimes against the minority Rohingya Muslims.

The country is also facing a separate genocide lawsuit at the UN's top court, International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Court's decision to strengthen other int'l justice efforts

Speaking to Anadolu Agency BROUK President Tun Khin described the Argentinian court's decision as another great success in their struggle to ensure justice for Rohingya.

"We are convinced that a universal jurisdiction case in Argentina will only complement and strengthen other international justice efforts, not undermine them," Khin said.

Hailing Argentinian Federal Court's order, Rohingya rights activists and experts described it as inspirational development not only for the Rohingya but also for other ethnic groups in Myanmar.

"The court showed there is hope for the victims of such unspeakable violence and they deserve justice," Khin said.

He also urged the ICC to promptly respond to the request from the Argentinian court to ensure that the investigation can begin as soon as possible.

Welcoming the court's ruling, co-author of Essays on Myanmar Genocide and co-founder of the Free Rohingya Coalition, Maung Zarni said the order indicated the seriousness of the Argentinian appellate court in recognizing the concept of universal jurisdiction.

"There are more than 190 nations that have recognized Geneva Conventions and other major treaties whereby they are obligated to act on this legal concept rooted in the Genocide Conventions on the laws of war of 1949," he said.

In 1961, Israel used this concept to prosecute a top German Schutzstaffel (SS) -- a major Nazi paramilitary organization -- officer Adolf Eichmann for his role in the Jewish genocide, especially overseeing and ordering the transportation of 600,000 Hungarian Jews to gas chambers at Auschwitz, he said.

"More recently, the Spanish judge in Madrid used this principle to go after the US-backed Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet", Zarni added.

He said the disgraced Noel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's name has been included in the Myanmar case for her role in the Rohingya genocide.

Zarni accused Kyi of using her enormous societal influence to deny and dismiss the state of Myanmar's heinous crimes against Rohingya. 

Persecuted community 

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women, and children fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar's state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report titled Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience.

As many as 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar's army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes burned down while 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

Hindi film on Rohingya genocide in the works

Source Cinemaexpress, 29 May

Director Haider Khan's debut feature focuses on the Rohingya refugee crisis. The upcoming film, titled Rohingya, tells the story of over 9,00,000 Rohingya refugees who fled violence and persecution in Myanmar and sought refuge in Bangladesh and other countries. The film is produced by Thunder Dragon Productions of Bhutan. It also highlights "the unsung Special Forces Indian paras, also known as the maroon berets of our nation."

Haider has previously directed promos for Salman Khan Films as well as several ad films and videos. The actor-turned-filmmaker is the son of an ex-Indian army paratrooper.

"This will be world cinema's first-feature film on the Rohingya genocide," Haider claimed. "The film is shot in complete natural light and we actually didn't have hair and makeup. I wanted to bring realism and the feel of the pain (experienced by) them."

The film was shot in Bhutan, North East India and Uttarakhand. The cast is led by Sangay Tsheltrim, a former royal guard of Bhutan who will also be seen in Salman Khan-starrer Radhe. He's joined by Tangia Zaman Methila, a supermodel from Bangladesh, who plays a Rohingya girl. Other cast members include Baharul Islam, Rajib Kalita, Anil Choudhary, Gautam Gossain and Kapil Gujar.

Repeat of Myanmar army`s similar tactics

Source RFA, 27 May
100 Houses Burned in Abandoned Chin State Village Amid Myanmar-Arakan Army Conflict

A fire burns homes in lower Meelatwa village, Paletwa township, in western Myanmar's Chin state, May 26, 2020.
A fire burns homes in lower Meelatwa village, Paletwa township, in western Myanmar's Chin state, May 26, 2020.
Photo courtesy of an RFA listener

About 100 houses in an abandoned village in war-ravaged western Myanmar's Paletwa township, one of the epicenters of armed conflict between the government military and the rebel Arakan Army, have been burned to the ground in an apparent act of arson, ethnic Chin sources told RFA on Wednesday.

The houses in lower Meelatwa village were torched on Tuesday amid the fighting, which began nearly 17 months ago and has raged in Chin state's Paletwa township and in adjacent northern Rakhine state, locals said.

Roughly 30 other houses are still standing in lower Meelatwa village, they estimated.

Most of the houses in the village have been deserted since February after artillery fire prompted fearful residents to abandon their homes and seek refuge in Paletwa town and as far away as Yangon, locals said.

The sources, however, were reluctant to assign blame for the village torching to Myanmar or Arakan soldiers, who seek greater autonomy for ethnic Rakhine people in Rakhine state, which abuts Chin state.

One local villager who requested anonymity out of fear for his safety said some area residents tried to extinguish the flames, but they fled when unknown assailants fired guns at them.

"It must have been caused by arson [because] no one lives in the village," the man told RFA, adding that his home was among those burned down.

"Yesterday, some people went there and had to flee when assailants fired guns at them," he said. "Now, no one dares to go to the site."

Chin state lawmaker Salai Myo Htike said the cause of the fire in the village is unknown.

"It's hard to say how many out of about 100 houses were burned down, but I can confirm the fire," he said. "We cannot tell if it was caused by armed groups or a forest fire."

Chin state government spokesman Soe Htet was not available for comment.

Nearly 700 people lived in Meelatwa village, located on the east bank of the Kaladan River across from Paletwa town, before the community was abandoned.

Salai Tay Ya, director of the Chin Human Rights Organization, said that burning the abandoned village was a human rights violation.

"This is a very horrible human rights violation, no matter who the arsonists are," he told RFA. "The villagers had plans to resettle in their former homes. Now they have lost them all."

AA spokesman Khine Thukha blamed the arson on Myanmar troops who came down from nearby mountains, entered Meelatwa village, and burned the houses in the lower part of the community.

"Some villagers went there to put out the fires, but the government troops fired warning shots to scare them away," he said. "The houses had been burned to the ground."

RFA could not reach Myanmar military spokesman Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun for comment.

Letka village torching

The village burning follows the mid-may torching of at least 200 houses in abandoned Letka village in Rakhine's Mrauk-U township.

Letka residents fled their community in April 2019 following clashes between Myanmar and Arakan forces, and sought shelter in displacement camps

Zaw Min Tun recently told the media that the AA was responsible for the arson during a battle, though no evidence has surfaced to back up the allegation.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has called for an investigation to determine who was responsible for the May 16 fire.

The Myanmar military widely used arson as an attack tactic during the 2017 crackdown on Rohingya communities in northern Rakhine state, burning down entire communities.

The violence left thousands of Rohingya dead and forced a mass exodus of about 740,000 others across the border and into Bangladesh.

Reported by RFA's Myanmar Service. Translated by Ye Kaung Myint Maung. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

Yanghee Lee: Champion of justice for Rohingyas

Source TheDailyStar, 19 May

"We all knew that [Aung San Suu Kyi] was put on a pedestal or portrayed as the icon of democracy and human rights, but ever since [her party] has taken office [after the 2015 election] and ever since she took the office of the State Councillor, all of her actions and her words, statements point otherwise", noted Professor Yanghee Lee, in one of her last conversations with Al Jazeera as the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Burma. "Perhaps the world didn't really know who she was", she said.

UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee, pictured in Kuala Lumpur on 18 July, 2019. Photo: AFP

At a time when the world, including neighbouring Malaysia and Thailand, have shunned the Rohingya (acknowledged as the most persecuted minority in the world), at a time when the Burmese state audaciously tramples the whole corpus of international human rights instruments being aided and abetted by major powers; at a time when those who stand for reason, rule of law and justice feel betrayed by the high and mighty of the world, Yanghee Lee stood firm as a beacon of hope.

A developmental psychologist and professor with decades of involvement in the UN's rights bodies, Lee held the mandate of the Special Rapporteur from 2014 until end of April this year. Over the years, she made extensive visits to the region, including Burma. Her objective reporting on the human rights situation in Rakhine and the rest of Burma did not augur well and during their last one-to-one meeting, the de facto head of Burmese government Suu Kyi threatened visa denial if the UN Special Rapporteur kept pushing the "UN line". Lee refused to be cowed by the former human rights icon's interference and Suu Kyi delivered on her threat—she has been denied entry to the country since 2017. Lee viewed the Burmese decision "as a strong indication that there must be something terribly awful happening in Rakhine, as well as in the rest of the country". While holding office, she was one of the very few global public figures who unwaveringly championed the Rohingyas' quest for dignity, justice and protected return to their homeland.

Yanghee Lee's tenure came to be largely dominated by the Burmese state's attempt to complete the "unfinished business" of Rohingyas' physical and historical existence, the Burmese equivalent of the Final Solution, in the early fall of 2017. The genocidal terror that was unleashed resulted in the exodus of at least 750,000 people into neighbouring Bangladesh. It was presented as a clearance operation of "ARSA terrorists", a pretext enthusiastically accepted by Islamophobic western governments, world media and "security experts". Choosing to ignore the genocidal nature of these "security clearance operations", the emerging chorus of policy and media discourses faulted the Burmese military for "disproportionate and excessive use of force", despite Lee calling out the "the hallmarks of a genocide" by Burma. As a matter of fact, on August 10, 2017, at least two weeks prior to the alleged ARSA attack on Burmese police outposts, Lee warned of the buildup and ominous movement of security forces in northern Arakan and appealed for restraint and respecting human rights.

In her parting statement to the Human Rights Council, Lee noted, "(w)hen I took up my mandate in 2014, I had thought that by 2020 a rights-respecting democracy would have been firmly established in Myanmar… Rather than a nation that protects human rights, I observe rights violations that continue to routinely occur and a country that stands accused of the most serious crimes under international law."

Lee proposed ways to move towards an equal, tolerant and pluralistic society, including through victim-centered transitional justice mechanisms. Among other things, the UN expert underscored the need to bring the entire government and security forces under civilian control and initiate extensive legal reforms—including of the Constitution, land laws, the Citizenship Law and laws that violate fundamental rights such as freedom of expression, assembly and religion. "An end to impunity is the lynchpin for Myanmar to succeed in its transition to democracy. Perpetrators of human rights violations and international crimes must be held accountable," she argued.

Yanghee Lee was appalled at the world's reaction to the Rohingya plight—particularly that of the Security Council, which could not manage to agree on a single unified stance on an unfolding genocide in real time. She made her feelings loud and clear. Lee felt it was "shameful" that China and Russia, being UN security council members, have not taken any action against Burma. "China cannot be a global leader if it ignores such atrocities," she noted. The Special Rapporteur also said the US decision to impose sanctions against senior military leaders in Burma did not go "far enough" and recommended these be tougher and applied to more generals.

She was disappointed at the response of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to the developments in northern Arakan. The situation posed an increasing risk to the peace and security of countries of the region, she warned, urging them to prioritise human rights in its dealings with Burma. She expressed regret at the lack of response from the Government of India on her request to visit the country to meet refugees there. She reminded them that it is incumbent on member states to respect mandates established by the Human Rights Council and provide timely and reasonable answers to such requests.

The UN's role in addressing the Rohingya plight has been palpable. Lee personally appealed to Secretary General Antonio Guterres for an international investigation, to no avail. In October 2017, when The Guardian reported the scandalous news of Renata Lok-Dessalien, UN Resident Coordinator in Burma, compromising UN Human Rights Up Front policy by prioritising a cozy relationship with Burma's rulers, Guterres relented and commissioned former Guatemalan foreign minister Gert Rosenthal to do an internal assessment of the UN's performance in Burma. The Rosenthal Report condemned the organisation's "obviously dysfunctional performance" over the past decade and noted "the overall responsibility was of a collective nature; in other words it can truly be characterised as a systemic failure of the United Nations." Accordingly, no UN official was held accountable, and Lok-Dessallien was even rewarded with a larger portfolio when she was appointed head of the UN in India!   

Yanghee Lee was unequivocal in expressing her disappointment of the UN system in dealing with the Rohingya issue, particularly the UN's technical agencies in the New York headquarters and in Burma. She was brutally honest about how she felt about the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by the Burmese government, UNHCR and UNDP in early June 2018 purportedly "to assist the process of repatriation from Bangladesh". The document was not made publicly available, nor was there any transparency about its terms. UN's failure to defend the self-identity of the Rohingya and their refugee status appalled her. "I am dismayed about the fact that the parties to the MoU, including the United Nations agencies involved in this process, have apparently failed to recognise Rohingya living in Bangladesh as refugees and as Rohingya".

The tendency of concerned states, including Burma and Bangladesh, to deny any role to Rohingya refugees was of grave concern for her. "Most frightful … is the fact that the Rohingya refugees have not been included in any of the discussions … around this MoU nor consulted in relation to the repatriation process as a whole", she noted, posing the uncomfortable but pointed question to the Council—"how can the process of repatriation be voluntary with the people who the process is for excluded from it? How can you be sure that any return is based on individual informed consent?"

Conveying the common view among Rohingya refugees to the Council, Lee said "it is futile to speak about their safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable return unless the root causes of their exodus are properly addressed". She argued that to ensure such repatriation, the international community must ensure that Burma dismantles the system of discrimination against the Rohingya by law, policy and practices that continue to exist, and guarantee fundamental human rights to them, including by restoring their citizenship rights and property.

Helping lay the foundation for global justice for both Rohingyas and other victims within the UN's system of accountability has been the single most important contribution of Professor Lee to Burma's oppressed communities (not just the Rohingya), especially given that the country does not have national or domestic justice and accountability mechanisms that recognise and are capable of processing the gravest crimes in international law, such as crimes against humanity and genocide. Her persistent demand for an independent investigation into Burma's state crimes against the Rohingya led to setting up of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar (FFMM) by the UN that was succeeded by the creation of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM) by the Human Rights Council in September 2018. The IIMM became operational on August 30, 2019—it is mandated to collect evidence of the most serious international crimes and violations of international law and prepare files for criminal prosecution.

Despite widespread skepticism, it was the relentless effort of Lee that led to the huge success in setting up of an accountability mechanism. She even wrote the TOR of the personnel of IIMM and prepared its budget. All these were achieved with the meagre support of a desk officer and a research assistant. Acknowledging her significant role, Rohingya genocide scholar Maung Zarni succinctly noted "No Yanghee Lee, no Fact Finding Mission and The Gambia-vs-Myanmar case at the International Court of Justice". 

In our meeting during her last visit to Bangladesh, she underscored the need for sustained engagement of civil society against all odds. Brushing aside my shyness, I told her that we celebrate her good fight against a system that stands for the status quo and the powerful, and has repeatedly failed to deliver justice. I added, she was the role model for those who stand for justice for the wretched of the earth. Maintaining her graceful composure, she smiled. Gracias, Professor Yanghee Lee.


C R Abrar is an academic. He is the Coordinator of Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit.

Myanmar soldiers from Kha-La-Ra (8) of division 88, burnt down over 190 houses in Lakka village of Mrauk Oo and blaming AA, on 16 May

Source RFA, 17 May

မြောက်ဦးမြို့နယ် လက္ကာရွာမှာ နေအိမ်နှစ်ရာနီးပါး မီးရှို့ဖျက်ဆီးခံရ

ရခိုင်ပြည်နယ် မြောက်ဦးမြို့နယ် လက္ကာရွာက နေအိမ်များ မပျက်စီးခင် မေ ၁၆ ရက်နေ့က ဂြိုလ်တုမှ တွေ့မြင်ရပုံ နှင့် မီးလောင်ပျက်စီးသွားပြီးနောက် မေ ၁၇ ရက်နေ့တွင် တွေ့မြင်ရပုံ။ Credit: Planet Labs Inc.

ရခိုင်ပြည်နယ် မြောက်ဦးမြို့မြောက်ဘက် ၇ မိုင်လောက်အကွာက လက္ကာကျေးရွာမှာ မေလ ၁၆ ရက် စနေနေ့ နေ့လည် ၂ နာရီကျော်က နေအိမ်အလုံး ၁၉၀ ကျော် မီးရှို့ခံရတဲ့ ဖြစ်ရပ်ဟာ "AA အဖွဲ့ရဲ့လုပ်ရပ်" ဖြစ်တယ်လို့ မနေ့က တနင်္ဂနွေည ၈ နာရီမှာ တပ်မတော် သတင်းမှန်ပြန်ကြားရေးအဖွဲ့က ထုတ်ပြန်လိုက်ပါတယ်။

တပ်မတော်က မြောက်ဦးမြို့နယ် လုံခြုံရေးအတွက် ဆောင်ရွက်နေတဲ့အချိန် လက္ကာရွာနားအရောက်မှာ AA အဖွဲ့က ရွာထဲကနေ ပစ်ခတ်တိုက်ခိုက်လို့ တပ်မတော်ဘက်က ပြန်တိုက်တဲ့အခါ AA အဖွဲ့ဝင်တွေက ရွာကိုမီးရှို့ပြီး ထွက်ပြေးသွားတဲ့အတွက် နေအိမ်အလုံး ၂၀ လောက် မီးလောင်ပျက်စီးသွားခဲ့တယ်လို့ တပ်မတော်ရဲ့သတင်းမှာ ရေးသားထားပါတယ်။

ဒီစွပ်စွဲချက်နဲ့ပတ်သက်လို့ ရက္ခိုင့်တပ်တော် (AA) ပြန်ကြားရေးတာဝန်ခံ ခိုင်သုခကို RFA က ဆက်သွယ် မေးမြန်းရာမှာ ဒါဟာ စစ်တပ်အနေနဲ့ သူတို့ရဲ့ "စစ်ရာဇဝတ်မှုကို ဖုံးကွယ်ဖို့" ကြိုးစားတဲ့အနေနဲ့ ပြောတာဖြစ်သလို သတင်းဌာနတွေက ဒေသခံတွေကိုမေးကြည့်ရင် ပိုသိရလိမ့်မယ်လို့ ပြောပါတယ်။

ဒေသခံတယောက်ကို ဆက်သွယ်မေးမြန်းရာမှာတော့ စနေနေ့ နေ့လည် ၂ နာရီကျော်က ရွာထဲကို တပ်မတော်စစ်ကြောင်း ဝင်သွားပြီးတဲ့နောက် မီးလောင်တာတွေ လှမ်းတွေ့ရပြီး ၄ နာရီကျော်လောက်မှာ ပြန်ထွက်သွားတာ တွေ့ရတယ်လို့ RFA ကိုပြောပါတယ်။

တပ်မတော် သတင်းမှန်ပြန်ကြားရေးရဲ့ ထုတ်ပြန်ချက်မှာ နေအိမ်အလုံး ၂၀ လောက် မီးလောင်ပျက်စီးသွားတယ်လို့ ဖော်ပြထားပေမယ့်၊ ဒေသခံရဲ့အဆိုအရ အလယ်တန်းစာသင်ကျောင်း တစ်ကျောင်းနဲ့ နေအိမ် ၁၉၄ လုံး မီးလောင်သွားတာလို့ ပြောတဲ့အတွက် မီးလောင်ပျက်စီးတဲ့ နေအိမ်အရေအတွက် ဆယ်ဆလောက် ကွာနေတာ တွေ့ရပါတယ်။ လက္ကာရွာမှာ အိမ်ခြေ ၃၀၂ လုံး ရှိတဲ့အတွက် ၁၀၈ လုံး ကျန်နေတယ်လို့ အဲဒီဒေသခံက ပြောပါတယ်။

"မိုးရာသီမှာ လယ်ထွန်ရင်သုံးဖို့ စုထားတဲ့ ဓာတ်ဆီပုံးတွေ အားလုံးကိုဖောက်ပြီး မီးရှို့သွားပါတယ်။ ပြည်သူ့ ပစ္စည်းဥစ္စာတွေကို ဘယ်လောက် မတရားအနိုင်ကျင့် နှိပ်စက်နေလဲဆိုတာ ကြည့်ကြပါဗျာ။ ဒီလောက် ပူပြင်းနေတဲ့အချိန်မှာ ရွာထဲကိုဝင်ပြီး မီးရှို့နေပါတယ်၊ တအိမ်မှကျန်မှာ မဟုတ်တော့ပါဘူး။ တပ်မ (၄၄) ခလရ (၈) လက်အောက်ခံတပ်ဖွဲ့က ရွာထဲကိုဝင်ပြီး မတရားမီးရှို့နေတာပါ"

အခုလို စစ်တပ်ကလုပ်‌ဆောင်နေတာကို ခံရတဲ့ ပြည်သူတွေအတွက် အစိုးရအနေနဲ့ ကာကွယ်တားဆီး မပေးနိုင်ဘူးဆိုရင် တရားမျှတမှု ရရေးအတွက် AA အဖွဲ့အနေနဲ့ နိုင်ငံတကာနဲ့လက်တွဲပြီး ဆောင်ရွက်သွားရမှာ ဖြစ်တယ်လို့ ခိုင်သုခက ပြောပါတယ်။

အခုဆိုရင် လက္ကာရွာက ပြည်သူတွေဟာ စစ်ကြောင်းတွေနဲ့ဝေးတဲ့ နေရာတွေမှာ သွားရောက်ရှောင် တိမ်းနေကြတယ်လို့ စောစောက ဒေသခံက ပြောပါတယ်။

အဲဒီလက္ကာရွာက လူငယ် ၂၇ ဦးကို မနှစ်က ဧပြီလ ၁၀ ရက်နေ့မှာ တပ်မတော်ကဖမ်းသွားပြီး AA နဲ့ ပတ်သက်တဲ့အကြောင်း အတင်းအကြပ် ဝန်ခံခိုင်းတယ်လို့ အဖမ်းခံရတဲ့လူငယ်တွေက မနှစ်က ဇွန်လအတွင်း တရားရုံးထုတ်ချိန်မှာ ပြောထားပါတယ်။ စစ်ကြောရေးကာလမှာ သုံးယောက် ဆုံးသွားတယ်လို့လည်း ဒေသခံတွေက ပြောပါတယ်။ ကျန်တဲ့သူတွေကို စစ်တွေထောင်မှာ ထည့်ထားပြီး အကြမ်းဖက်တိုက်ဖျက်ရေး ဥပဒေနဲ့ တရားစွဲထားလို၊အမှုရင်ဆိုင်နေရပေမယ့် လတ်တလောမှာတော့ ကိုရိုနာဗိုင်းရပ်စ် ကပ်ရောဂါကြောင့် တရားရုံးမထုတ်တာ တစ်လကျော်လောက် ရှိပြီလို့ သိရပါတယ်။

ရခိုင်ပြည်နယ်မြောက်ပိုင်းမှာ မောင်တောမြို့နယ် တစ်ခုတည်းကိုပဲ ပြီးခဲ့တဲ့သီတင်းပတ်က အင်တာနက် ပြန်ဖွင့်ပေးလိုက်ပြီး၊ မြောက်ဦးမြို့နယ် အပါအဝင် ရခိုင်ပြည်နယ်နဲ့ချင်းပြည်နယ်က စစ်ပူနေတဲ့မြို့နယ်တွေမှာ အင်တာနက် အသုံးပြုလို့ မရအောင် အစိုးရက ဆက်ပြီး ဖြတ်တောက်ထားပါတယ်။

ဒါကြောင့် ဒေသတွင်း ဖြစ်ပျက်နေတာတွေကို ပြည်သူတွေက တင်ပြချင်ပေမယ့် အချိန်မီ မတင်ပြနိုင်သလို သတင်းရဖို့လည်း ခက်ခဲနေတယ်လို့ ပြောဆိုကြပါတယ်။ အဲဒီဒေသမှာ အင်တာနက် ပြန်ဖွင့်ပေးဖို့အတွက် ပြည်တွင်းပြည်ပ လူ့အခွင့်အရေးအဖွဲ့တွေက အစိုးရကို တိုက်တွန်းနေကြတာလည်း ကြားသိနေရပါတယ်။

Cornell library gains permanent access to genocide archive

Source Cornell, 11 May

A photo from USC Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive, of witnesses of different acts of genocide. Left to right: Edith Umugiranez, from Rwanda; Dario Gabbai, who survived the Holocaust; Yevigne Salibian, from Armenia; Aracely Garrido, from Guatemala; Sara Pol-Lim, from Cambodia.

Witnesses and survivors of the Holocaust and other acts of genocide are dwindling in numbers, but their faces and voices will live on through Cornell University Library's recently acquired permanent access to USC Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive (VHA).

Spanning 65 countries and 43 languages, the audiovisual archive includes 55,000 firsthand accounts of genocide – from the Jewish Holocaust to the massacre of Armenians; from the atrocities against the Rohingya in Myanmar to the civil war in South Sudan.

"The Visual History Archive is a massive resource for research and teaching, but it should not be thought of only as a repository of victims' experiences of genocide," said Jonathan Boyarin, the Mann Professor of Modern Jewish Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, and director of the Jewish Studies Program. "It is also a repository of the full lives they lived before and after these events."

Magnus Fiskesjö – an associate professor of anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences who was awarded a teaching fellowship by USC Shoah Foundation – uses the archive to teach ANTHR 3552, Genocide Today, a class studying examples from the past to examine current atrocities against ethnic minorities in Myanmar and China.

Because the video testimonies in the archive have been thoroughly indexed, Fiskesjö's students can use keyword searches to explore various topics.

"The archive provides research materials for several different angles on genocide," he said, including the conditions and warning signs of atrocities, the complex relationship between memory and trauma, and the tensions between national and ethnic identities that can lead to violence against minorities.

Fiskesjö said testimonies also have a potential to be used as evidence in the International Criminal Court.

"I speak to my class about the importance of not letting perpetrators get away with what they've done," he said, "because that paves the way for the next genocide."

Patrick J. Stevens, curator of the Fiske Icelandic Collection and a Judaica bibliographer who coordinated the acquisition of the archive, said the VHA's testimonies also serve as powerful reminders.

"Living witnesses are becoming fewer, whether it's Jews who experienced the Holocaust or the indigenous peoples who suffered under oppression in Guatemala," he said. "At the same time, we have upcoming generations who may not know about these genocidal acts. And if they don't know, how can they work to try to prevent these events from happening again?"

The library first gained access to the Visual History Archive in 2015, with philanthropic support from Betsy and Philip Darivoff. A portion of the funds they provided to the Jewish Studies Program and a recent gift from Steven Chernys '83 – a supporter of Jewish collections and a decadeslong donor to Cornell University Library – funded permanent access to the VHA.

Other alumni have been vital to building the archive and providing access to the Cornell community.

Jose Beduya is a staff writer, editor and social media coordinator for Cornell University Library.