Contact: Roland Watson, roland@dictatorwatch.org


December 15, 2017

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In the last two and a half months, there have been many open letters calling for action on the Rohingya genocide (although none of them used the "G" word.) Five notable examples were an appeal for U.N. action, with 96 NGOs signing on; a call for targeted U.S. sanctions - 58 NGOs; a call for a special session of the U.N. Human Rights Council - 36 NGOs; a guarantee of safe refugee return - 15 NGOs; and a call for protection of civilians in Rakhine State - 108 NGOs.

None of these letters achieved anything. The genocide is still in progress. Personally, I wonder if in retrospect the signers think it was worth the effort. Maybe they were just participating for show.

There is one way for the NGOs to help end the Rohingya genocide, and ensure the safe return of the refugees. They should all sign a letter calling for a global boycott of Burma, of international companies active in the country; anything imported from it; and also tourism to it. This, unlike their letters, which no one paid any heed, will command worldwide attention. The dictatorship, including Aung San Suu Kyi, will wilt.

After a military intervention, economic boycotts are the greatest means of pressure that can be applied.

This won't happen, though. First and foremost the NGOs have to protect their funding, and their officials their pay. Most funders in turn back the policy of the international community: (1) There is no genocide. (2) Burma is a sovereign state and can do anything it wants. (3) Time to exploit!

Actually, I have no doubt that the leaders of many of the smaller NGOs would be happy to join a boycott. Isn't there one well-recognized organization out there which will lead the way? (Isn't stopping the genocide and protecting the Rohingya worth the career risk?)

Please pass this around.