Amnesty says Rohingya crisis consequence of society "encouraged to hate"

"hate-filled rhetoric" by leaders was normalising discrimination against minorities


Reuters February 22, 2018
Rohingya Muslim refugees looking on near Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox's Bazar. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

LONDON: The crisis in Myanmar and reported massacres of Rohingya Muslims are the consequence of a society encouraged to hate and a lack of global leadership on human rights, Amnesty International said on Thursday.

The human rights group said in its annual report covering
159 countries that "hate-filled rhetoric" by leaders was
normalising discrimination against minorities.

Amnesty slams Trump-led 'politics of hate' worldwide

"We saw the ultimate consequence of a society encouraged to
hate, scapegoat and fear minorities laid bare in the horrific
military campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya
people in Myanmar," said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of
Amnesty.

Last week, the United States urged the UN Security Council
to hold Myanmar's military accountable for what it said was the
ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims.

Nearly 690,000 Rohingya have fled Rakhine and taken refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh since the Myanmar military launched a crackdown on insurgents at the end of August, according to the UN.

More than 6,500 Rohingya are currently trapped on a strip of unclaimed land between Myanmar and Bangladesh. Amnesty said the international community had failed to respond robustly to "crimes against humanity and war crimes from Myanmar to Iraq, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen".

It said that leaders in countries such as the United States,
Russia and China were not standing up for civil liberties and
instead were "callously undermining the rights of millions".

Amnesty said President Donald Trump had taken backward steps
on human rights that were setting a dangerous precedent. Shetty
described his move to ban people from several Muslim-majority
countries in January last year as "transparently hateful".

Last year's report accused Trump of 'poisonous' rhetoric. Free speech will be a key issue for those concerned about human rights this year, the report said.

Eight countries push UN to take up Myanmar Rohingya crisis

Amnesty said its staff were arrested at an unprecedented
rate in Turkey in 2017, which along with Egypt and China was
also among the biggest jailers of journalists.

Two Reuters reporters in Myanmar were arrested while
investigating the killing of Rohingya Muslims. Court proceedings
are ongoing.

"In 2018, we cannot take for granted that we will be free to
gather together in protest or to criticise our governments. In
fact, speaking out is becoming more dangerous," Shetty said.

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