Will the world’s attention and will to act fall away from the injustice in Tigray just has happened in Myanmar to the Rohingya? After intentional famine imposed on millions of Tigrayans, unjustified imprisonment of innocents, as well as hundreds of civilian deaths by drone attacks Nobel Prize winner Abiy Ahmed’s leadership in Ethiopia seems to be following in a similar pattern to that of a previous winner, Aung San Suu Kyi. Esteemed leaders who bought time doing little until the world eventually lost interest.
In 1991 Aung San Suu Kyi was hailed as “bringing power to the powerless” winning the Nobel Peace Prize then in 2015 she was elected in the “first democratic election of Myanmar” to lead the country. However in 2017 Myanmar security forces carried out genocidal violence as described by the United Nations displacing several hundred thousand Rohingya within Myanmar and another 740,000 people fleeing to neighboring Bangladesh. At the time Kyi remained silent on issue and was criticized by many of the world’s leaders. Since the early 2000s her status has been shaky in Myanmar as her power has been continually challenged by the military whom she has been adverse to criticize calling them “sweet”. She and the military leaders have imprisoned the press and limited free speech.
Despite intense world-wide attention for a few years Myanmar has made no significant progress in resolving the crisis, or providing accountability and justice for the victims. The court-martial conviction of three military personnel for crimes against Rohingya reflects ongoing government efforts to evade meaningful accountability, scapegoating a few low-level soldiers rather than seriously investigating the military leadership who directed and oversaw the atrocity crimes. Today almost one million Rohingya refugees live in the world’s largest refugee camps in Bangledesh’s Cox Bazar Region. Meanwhile Rohingya remain without rights of citizenship such as voting, owning a business, or even to work in Myanmar.
A brief inquiry was officially made by the United Nations to see how the UN could have better responded to the crisis but placed no blame. The International Criminal Court found that changes in election procedures, law enforcement, and civil rights were needed but nothing substantial has happened.