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WB sleeps while Myanmar burns: HRW

Published : Wednesday, 13 September, 2017 at 12:00 AM Count : 120

World Bank is staying woefully silent as Burma's security forces are committing rampant atrocities against the Rohingya Muslim population, in response to attacks by a Rohingya armed group on police outposts.  
Human Rights Watch, a US based rights body, said this in an article on Monday while criticizing the World Bank, which has an investment of over $2 billion in Myanmar/Burma, for its silence over the atrocities committed against the Rohingya Muslims.
The Rohingya, having suffered decades of state repression, are one of the poorest and most marginalized ethnic groups in the Buddhist-majority country.
The HRW article titled "Where is the World Bank While Burma is Burning?" insisted that WB president Jim Yong Kim should denounce the Myanmar government's abuses.
Referring to UN estimate that more than 313,000 Rohingya Muslims have taken shelter in Bangladesh, the HRW said the refugees have described killings, shelling, and arson in their villages that have all the hallmarks of a government campaign of "ethnic cleansing."
New satellite data obtained and analysed by HRW shows widespread burnings in Rohingya villages.
The Rohingya, having suffered decades of state repression, are one of the poorest and most marginalised ethnic groups in the Buddhist-majority country.
Authored by Jessica Evans, the HRW article mentioned that violence against Rohingya risks the country's development.
It recalled that in 2012, the WB downplayed the violence in Rakhine state as "localised instances of communal violence".
But, according to the HRW, since 2015, following criticism, it recognised that Burma's government has been fuelling institutionalised discrimination against the Rohingya.
"Now it needs to go even further," the article added.
The HRW recommended that the WB chief should highlight how this attack on the Rohingya population runs roughshod over the government's commitments to advance social and economic development, putting the bank's investments at risk and undermining its twin goals of eliminating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.
"The bank should also publicly offer to assist implementing the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, led by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan," the article said.
"Ironically, the bank's silence on the Rohingya is happening as the World Bank and the UN prepare to launch their flagship report on development and the prevention of violent conflict."
The article said Jim Yong Kim has emphasised how institutionalised discrimination is bad for people, societies, and economies.
"His integration of non-discrimination into the bank's work can be his legacy for the institution - but only if he tackles the most serious abuses as they arise. He should start by speaking out against the horrifying situation unfolding in Burma."

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