Response of Asian Nations In Regards To Burma Are Questioned
After Burma was ravaged by Cyclone Nargis, the international community was quick to respond as it offered aid in food, medicine, and shelter. However, the aid provided has yet to get the two-million Cyclone victims due to actions taken by Burma’s junta. Still, the junta has dismissed all accusations and criticisms from the international community.
There have been talks about a possible unilateral operation in Burma by the United Nations. The US House of Representatives had urged US President Bush to back unilateral intervention into Burma. Four US Naval warships part of the USS Essex group have recently left after constantly being denied entry by Burma’s junta.
Warships from the US and European countries are off the coast of Burma. However, warships from other Asian countries were not present. One could question what happened to the Chinese warships? It is known that Burma and China are allies. The events that have unraveled in Burma could be counted as an issue to be added to a list of others that can prove nightmarish to China as it hosts the 2008 Summer Olympics.
However, it is understandable as China is recovering from being rocked by a 7.9 magnitude earthquake. Coincidentally, it was caused by the shift in tectonic plates around the Tibetan plateau. Before the earthquake happened, China was under international criticism for its treatment to the Tibetan protesters. Hollywood actress Sharon Stone said that the earthquake was karma. It did not bode well for Stone as a result.
Rama Yade, the junior Human Rights Minister of France, said that the UN principle of the “responsibility to protect” should be applied to the case of Burma. Recently, the junta has started evicting the victims from aid camps. The victims were placed back at their devastated villages. They were even given spoiled food. Recent reports say that the junta has forced the victims to do labor in exchange for food.
Also, the country of Zimbabwe is slowly sharing the same political and humanitarian fate of Burma.
Lim Kit Siang, the leader of the party opposite to the Malaysian government said that the inaction of the Asian countries reflects badly on the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). This gives off the indication that Europeans and Americans seem to have more compassion and sympathy than Asians. But, many say that is unlikely due to an interesting history.
It seems a bit ironic since many Southeast Asian countries practice Buddhism. Buddhism is one faith that stresses compassion and mercy. The Tibetan community of New Zealand did not protest. Instead, they used prayers. Also, they also prayed for the victims of the earthquake.
While China was rocked by the earthquake, the government was more than eager to accept international help. It even made the effort to try to help pay for its own reconstruction. Progress has been made in China; but, Burma is a different story.
In the case of Burma, there has not been a response from ASEAN’s governments. There is the sheer irony as none of them opposed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) back in 1948.
In a nutshell, the actions taken by other Asian countries look to be questionable at best.
Tags: Burma , Myanmar , China , Olympics , Tibet , Asean , Un , Human Rights , Cyclone Nargis
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