In the past two weeks, anything up to 370,000 Rohingya people have fled their homes in Myanmar, crossing into Bangladesh, to escape the Burmese military, and what the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing".
The military have been burning villages to the ground in the Rohingya's home state of Rakhine, and there have been reports of multiple accounts of rape and murder of children, and a humanitarian crises as Bangladesh struggles to accommodate refugees.
The Galway Islamic Cultural Centre is calling on the people of Galway to show their solidarity with the Rohingya this Friday by participating in a march through the city. The march begins at 2:15 pm, departing from the West Side Community Centre and proceeding through the city to the Spanish Arch.
While the latest round of violence was sparked by Rohingya militants killing 12 security officers on August 25, the response of the military has been so excessive, indiscriminate, and violent that it has shocked the rest of the world into awareness of what is in facet, a decades old problem.
The Rohingya have suffered state persecution and genocidal attacks in 1978, 1991, and more recently. In February the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein last year warned that "the pattern of gross violations of the human rights of the Rohingya suggested a widespread or systematic attack against the community, possibly amounting to crimes against humanity".
International reaction has also been shocked by the mixture of silence, denial, and indifference to the genocide being displayed by former Nobel Peace Prize winner and leader of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi. Many international human rights activists have called on the international community not to ignore the plight of the Rohinga community. Archbishop Desmond Tutu recently joined the chorus of condemnation of Aung San Suu Kyi for not providing a moral voice condemning the violence or reigning in the Myanmar army, stating “silence is too high a price".
The Irish Government has previously responded to the humanitarian crisis by offering refugee to 20 families. The Galway Islamic Cultural Centre is further calling on An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar ,and Uachtarán na hÉireann, Michael D Higgins, to use their offices to encourage the European Union to take a leading role in the development and implementation of a lasting permanent resolution to the crisis.