16.2.09

Good job Angelina

Last week Angelina Jolie and her hubby visited a Karenni refugee camp on the Thai/Myanmar border. She came to speak out against the violations of human rights that the Rohingya people have been subject to by the Thai government. She asked that "the Thai authorities to show the same generosity to Rohingyas as they have to tens of thousands of other asylum seekers fleeing from Burma." Other asylum seekers like the Kachins, Karens, Chins, and Mons.

Thailand wasn't very happy with this. Apparently the UNHCR sent Angelina to the wrong camp - not the camps that the government gave her permission to visit. So now the Thai government is reprimanding the UNHCR for allowing her in. Ugh. Just the fact that they're making such a huge deal out of it means that something smells fishy

The Thai government is saying that the Rohingyas are a greater threat than the rest of the Myanmarese tribes because they are Muslim, because they come in large groups, and because they are mostly men. The Refugee Resettlement Watch criticized Jolie's actions: "Jolie needs to know that they are Muslim, some of them are trained as jihadists, they do not get along with other groups, they are highly aggressive and intimidate other people, and many other facts before she passes judgment. Angelina Jolie is a bright woman. She should think over what she has learned and ask some Thais why it is that their country has been hospitable to these other refugees (many of whom are Christian) while turning away the Rohingya."

Just because a handful of people have gone bad doesn't give Thailand a reason to violate the rights of an entire people group. It doesn't give them the right to dispose of them like animals. In case you don't know, stories have just started to emerge about the Thai navy towing hundreds of Rohingyas out to the open sea in boats without motors or food or water. These boats have started appearing in far-fetched places like the Andaman Islands with very few survivors. Some died of dehydration, some jumped off and drowned, and some were apparently eaten by sharks. They say that 800 Rohingyas were "disposed of" this way - who knows how many have died. Whatever the number, the Thai government denies it all. Perhaps the most ghastly thing is that the Indian government (the Andaman Is. belongs to India) is going to ship the survivors back to Myanmar, the very nation that they risked their lives to flee from. The BBC recounts a survivor's tale:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7832947.stm

Myanmar appeared in the news last year because of the typhoon, but like all news stories, it has been long since forgotten. The Burmese government wouldn't let anyone into their country, so we still know nothing about it, except from the mouths of the survivors themselves. What's happening in Myanmar and the stories that I have heard are appalling. Rape, murder, slavery, religious persecution, you name it, it's happening in Myanmar. The people might not be drowning from the typhoon floods anymore, but they're still dying. And they're fleeing their own country more than ever. And more than ever, their neighboring countries are rejecting them. The UNHCR is trying its best, but with both Thailand and Malaysia rejecting the UN convention on refugees, they're not free to do what needs to be done. What a shame.

Angelina does so much that no one else can do. People pay attention to what she does and where she goes and what she says. I would do what she does, but frankly, no one would care...it's just little old me. She has 6 kids and still visits refugees all over the world. She's adopted three children from the places she's traveled. If only more celebrities and people in the limelight would do the same. So good job Angelina, I wish more people in the world were like you. Well, sort of.

No comments

Post a Comment

© Reuben + ErinMaira Gall