08/27/2021, 15.35
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Myanmar military now want to vaccinate Rohingya against COVID-19

For military spokesman, the Rohingya “are also our people as well”. For years the Muslim minority was the victim of violence by Myanmar’s military. Junta leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing introduced a law against genocide, but the anti-coup resistance fear it will be used against them.

Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Rohingya will be vaccinated against COVID-19, said Zaw Min Tun, a spokesman for Myanmar’s military junta

Adding that no one would be left behind in the vaccination campaign, Zaw noted that government authorities were making progress in reducing infections. Some 2,635 new cases were reported yesterday with 113 deaths.

Local doctors have complained however that the real figures are much higher. What is more, only 3 per cent of Myanmar’s population has been fully vaccinated. According to some volunteers, crematoria are working non-stop.

Speaking about Muslim Rohingya, but referring to them as Bengalis, Zaw noted: “They are also our people as well” and “We will not leave anyone behind.”

In the Buddhist majority country, the Rohingya are considered illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. This has left hundreds of thousands of them stateless.

In 2017, at least 700,000 Rohingya fled to neighbouring Bangladesh due to the violence by the military. The latter’s leader, the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, currently heads the ruling military junta (State Administration Council)

Yesterday, the junta adopted a law against genocide. For anti-coup resistance fighters, the measure will likely be used against them. It punishes killings and other offences committed “with intent to destroy, in whole or in part” a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.

In 2017 the United Nations described actions by Myanmar’s military against the Rohingya as genocide and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) had opened a case against Myanmar.

In January last year, when Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy, was still in power, the ICJ ordered Myanmar to take action to stop the violence against the Muslim minority.

Kyi Myint, a veteran lawyer, said the regime’s move may be intended to “trick” the international community.

Thein Oo, the justice minister of the underground National Unity Government, said he suspects the regime intends to use the new genocide law against armed resistance groups fighting the junta. 

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