Myanmar’s Vice-President Henry Van Thio has reiterated the claims of the country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi in an effort to pull a veil of bluff over the world, yet again.

He phrased Suu Kyi’s speech before the world and repeated that Myanmar government is oblivious to the reason behind the exodus of 450,000 Rohingyas fleeing into Bangladesh.

In face of international condemnation and subjection over violence on Rohingyas – which has been termed ethnic cleansing, Van Thio reiterated some of the dubious claims of Suu Kyi.

The bluffs from Myanmar government comes at a time when agencies are coming forward with satellite images and photographs as proof of violence, apart from the stories of the fleeting refugees.

Also, Myanmar government has not allowed unfettered access to journalists and other independent observers to see what has actually happened in the Rakhine state.

Van Thio was speaking at the UN General Assembly in place of Aung San Suu Kyi, who declined to attend the General Assembly in order to handle the crisis in face of mounting international pressure.

The same claims Van Thio reiterated from Suu Kyi’s speech were:

Myanmar is oblivious to the reason behind the exodus

The majority of Muslim population remained in Rakhine

No violence since September 5

The Myanmar vice president stressed that the international community is oblivious to the sufferings of other minority groups in Rakhine state.

He tried to offer assurance that “the situation there has improved” and that “Myanmar’s first and foremost responsibility is to respond to the challenges in Rakhine”.

“There is no denying that this is a problem of significant magnitude,” Van Thio. “I am [however] happy to inform you that the situation has improved. No armed clashes have been reported since 5 September.”

He said Myanmar government prioritised the national reconciliation and peace process. “Our vision here is clear: to achieve a democratic, federal Union, based on the principles of freedom, justice, equal rights and self-determination.”

Van Thio noted that his country had made some real progress and sought the international community’s “continuous support to Myanmar’s efforts to achieve peace, prosperity and democracy”.
Contradictions to Van Thio’s claims

The truth into claims of being oblivious to the reason of exodus can be found from the stories of the fleeting mass, who say Myanmar security forces are torching houses, killing unarmed men and raping women.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, analysing photographic and satellite images, said security forces and vigilante mobs are carrying out a scorched-earth policy in Rakhine, burning down entire Rohingya villages and shooting at people as they try to flee.

Also, the Final Report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State released in August had identified several key issues into the problem. Lack of citizenship for stateless Rohingya Muslims, socio-economic challenges facing Rakhine, and police and military action in the state were among the issues addressed.

Van Thio’s claim of majority Muslim population remaining in Rakhine is confusing and difficult to determine, since journalists and observers do not have unfettered access there.

It is true that nearly half – 415,000 – of the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state have fled to Bangladesh.

His claim of no violence since September 5 have been proven wrong.

However, more than a dozen burned villages and fires were shown since that date in satellite imagery examined by the Amnesty International, while, according to Human Rights Watch, at least 62 villages were torched between August 25 and September 14.

21 September, 2017 06:46 am