Sanctions Against Myanmar, Will It Take ?

Sanctions Against Myanmar, Will It Take ?

With the humanitarian crisis of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar unabated, Indonesia interfaith figures have called on the government to take stronger action against Yangon for its failure to address the persecution against its minority group.

The call was made amid fears that radical groups in the nation with the largest Muslim population are exploiting the Rohingya issue to advance their interests.

The chairman of Confucian Supreme Council of Indonesia (Matakin), Uung Sendana said Indonesia could push for the international community to impose sanctions on Myanmar if the country kept doing nothing to address the violence against Rohingya Muslims. Matakin has expected the Indonesian government would also continue efforts to provide humanitarian relief for the Rohingya minority.

“If Myanmar showed no efforts to stop the violence, the country could be sanctioned through the UN or the International Criminal Court for human rights violences,” Uung said further.

Meanwhile, the chairman of PBNU, Indonesia’s largest Islamic group, Said Aqil Siradj has criticized Myanmar’s state Councellor and Nobel prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi for failing to take the stance of siding with the minority group, who have had their human rights deprived.

“If the violence persists, Indonesia could just threaten to recall its ambassador for Myanmar,” Said Aqil Siradj said on Friday.

Lastly, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has reported that more than 420,000 people, most of  whom are Rohingya Muslims have fled the Buddhist-majority nation and crossed the border into Bangladesh territory since August 24, following a military crackdown in what the UN has called a campaign of ethnic cleansing.

In the separate place and time, the seven-judge the Permanent People’s Tribunal panel had announced that the Myanmar government was guilty of genocide against the Rohingya people and other Muslim minorities.

Head judge Daniel Feierstein from Argentina has said the Myanmar regime was indicted and found guilty of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. “The tribunal ruled that Myanmar is guilty of genocide against the people of Kachin and Muslim groups there,” he said.

The tribunal also made 17 recommendations following the judgement. Among them was that the Myanmar government cease of acts of violence against the Muslim minorities there.

The tribunal’s findings, judgement and recommendations would be forwarded to international bodies and civil groups to pressure the Myanmar government to act accordingly.

The Permanent People’s Tribunal was founded in Italy in 1979 and has 66 international members. Since its establishment, it has held 43 sessions involving human rights and genocide.

Meantime, referring to The New York Times, the White House issued a statement of concern about “massive displacement aqnd victimization” in Rakhine and called for Myanmar’s authorities to put in place the recommendations of a commission led by former the United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, to address the root causes of the Rohingya’s plight. The person most responsible for the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya is Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the commander in chief.

But there is no indication that Gen. Min Aung Hlaing cares a hoot what the world thinks. The only thing that may get his attention is what forced the military to accept a measure of democracy, economic sanctions and squeezing Myanmar’s military.

Some observer and former intelligence officers have suggested President Jokowi to take foreign policy actions to push Myanmar government specially its military to stop human rights violence specially to the Rohingya Muslims, because the ever-lasting Rohingya’s saga and case could make uncertainty situation in Indonesia as the largest muslim in the world.

If Myanmar government doesn’t take necessary actions over Rohingya’s muslims, President Jokowi must take firmly actions to squeeze the diplomatic relationship between Indonesia and Myanmar. If Jokowi doesn’t do it, some political and security experties’s prediction that radical groups in the nation with the largest Muslim population are exploiting the Rohingya issue to advance their interests will be happened in Indonesia, and its could be triggered and lightered un-stable situation in Indonesia.

Beside that, the pressure groups, interest groups and Jokowi’s opposant in Indonesia will be used the strategic and sensitive issue of the Rohingya Muslims saga, as a political tools to defeat Jokowi in presidential election in 2019 because they will make a public opinion that Jokowi doesn’t take care on Muslim problems in Indonesia or abroad.

*) Johannes Dharmana Oetoro Pamungkas, Senior researcher and observer at LSISI, Jakarta.

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