I am a notorious news junky who prides himself on keeping abreast of news and issues around the world, particularly stories dealing with free speech and human rights. It was therefore with some shame that I listened to presentations yesterday at the ABA’s program on the horrific treatment of Myanmar’s Muslims. I was asked to moderate a panel on Rohingya by the Hon. Delissa A. Ridgway, Judge of the United States Court of International Trade, who remains one of the most influential figures globally in bringing together legal, political, and academic figures to discuss pressing problems in our world. Judge Ridgway is not just a friend but an inspiration for her tireless work for the rule of law around the world. You do not say no to Delissa Ridgway if you want to have any shot at the afterlife. However, I was not prepared for the heart wrenching account of the killings, rapes, and beatings of Muslims by extremist Buddhists in Myanmar. It is an on-going crime against humanity being committed on a daily basis in plain sight. The panel entitled “While the World Stands Idly By: Myanmar and the Threat of 21st Century Genocide” met at the Capital Hilton and was sponsored by the ABA Section on International Law. Below is a videotape on their worsening conditions in government camps.
Despite the introduction of democratic process in the country and the 2015 victory of Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition party, Buddhists continue to abuse this small religious and social minority. The Rohingya have lived in Myanmar for centuries but continue to be denied citizenship and forced to live in squalid camps by the government. A UN Special Rapporteur condemned as “crimes against humanity.” The Pope has called for action to protect the Rohingya and their treatment has been described as genocidal in its scope and intent.
I was honored to moderate a panel of human rights activists who have been waging this fight for the Rohingya.
Acting Deputy Washington Director
Asia Advocacy Director
Human Rights Watch
Senior Program Officer – Rights at Risk
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Professor James Silk
Co-Author, Report, “Persecution of the Rohingya Muslims” (2015)
Yale Law School
Co-Author, Report, Persecution of the Rohingya Muslims” (2015)
I cannot thank the panel enough for the honor in moderating this event and highlighting their important work. I hope that you will watch this videotape and educate others about the plight of this Muslim population in Myanmar.
Here is the program of this extraordinary event: ABA Section of International Law — Rohingya