LAST_UPDATESun, 24 Jun 2018 11am

Human Rights Professor Denies Rohingyas Are Victims Of Ethnic Cleansing

While the world has been actively condemning the crime against humanity that has plagued the Rohingyas, a human rights professor hailing from York University in Canada has publicly denied that the Muslim-majority group are victims of ethnic cleansing.

Taking her two cents to social media, Merle Jacobs, who left Myanmar when she was 18 years old, has vehemently and claimed that the calamity in Rakhine State s not ethnic cleansing.

According to National Post, Jacobs criticised the United Nations as she accused the human rights organisation of being “corrupt” for “never charged UK/US over false wars, drones… Myanmar not involved in ethnic cleansing,” in a tweet dated September 12.

Six days later, the human rights professor once again stressed that, “This is not ethnic cleansing. Yes the army is ruthless, just like US in Iraq. Westerners are hypocrites.”

Jacobs continued to express her stand in a series of tweets on September 30, as she stated that the sexual assault allegations against the Myanmar army can be falsified due to the fact that investigations are complex.

“As a woman, sexual assault can be charged, but the investigation is complex. A case against Toronto police was dismissed,” she tweeted whilst referencing the sexual assault violence against the Rohingya.

“I am concerned about rape, but stories can be made up blaming soldiers when it can be from their own men.”

With Jacobs sentiments going against what has been reported by credible and independent sources, the secretary general of Amnesty International Canada, Alex Neve, underlined that there is not a cinch of doubt that what is happening in Myanmar is in fact ethnic cleansing.

“We never come forward with the sorts of statements we’ve made lightly and without extensive evidentiary basis,” he said.

“We are absolutely confident in our assessment that the Rohingya have been subjected to widespread ethnic cleansing (and) extensive crimes against humanity.

“Six hundred thousand people do not flee a country in less than two months and huddle in overcrowded makeshift refugee sites in the world’s most impoverished country just for the fun of it.”

As a matter of fact, the Asia Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch John Sifton conveyed that seasoned human rights activists were shocked by the violence exuded by the Burmese army.

“We have emergencies division researchers who have worked in Darfur and South Sudan and Iraq and Syria and all of them say they have never documented atrocities committed with such brutal and sadistic fury as this ethnic-cleansing campaign,” he conveyed, as quoted by National Post.

The outspoken York University professors’ denial evidently did not sit well with former Australian politician Ronan Lee, who has been actively conducting human rights research in Myanmar, as he deemed her comments as galling and disrespectful.

“I don’t think there’d be a victim at her institution that would feel she is a safe person to report a sex crime to,” he communicated to National Post.

“She’s on the record as expressing abhorrent views, disrespecting victims in a way that’s disgusting.”

But despite the criticism Jacobs received from various prominent figures and organisations, it did not hinder her from claiming that some of the rape reports could potentially have been fabricated.

“I’m not going to say they (the soldiers) didn’t rape them,” she said in a brief interview with National Post.

“But have 70,000 been raped? I don’t know. I’ll tell you why, because many times you’re talking to a person who may also have been told to say certain things,” she deduced.

However, when the Canadian news portal asked the professor regarding the ‘alleged’ ethnic cleansing, she emphasised that the definition for ethnic cleansing varies from one scholar to the next and professed that she is unsure as to why the Rohingyas are fleeing Myanmar.

“Have 500,000 been crossed over and moved? Yes. Are all Muslims in Myanmar being moved out? No? So how is ethnic cleansing happening?

“I’m not saying they’re not brutes. I’m just saying I don’t know what to believe. Can one have that attitude? I think so,” she conveyed.

In a statement addressed to the National Post, York University emphasised that Jacobs’ opinions are her own and does not represent the education institute.

- Malaysian Digest