On July 23, 2012, Al Jazeera published an article asking why Western media wasn’t reporting on accounts of massacres against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). A few weeks earlier, Causes organizer Bakhtavar Manzoor asked the same question and created a petition on Causes to ask for the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, to intervene and investigate the violence. We emailed Bakhtavar this week asking what inspired her to create the petition.
Bakhtavar is concerned that the United Nations, human rights organizations, and mainstream media around the world aren’t doing enough to spotlight the violence. Derek Mitchell, US Ambassador to Myanmar — the first ambassador in the country since 1990 — stated in an August Wall Street Journal article that the violence is “unfortunate when you see the depths of intolerance and discrimination.” Causes organizer Bakhtavar agrees. She told us via email, “Muslims are being tortured and killed, but the international authorities are still unmoved.”
Bakhtavar’s petition has been steadily gaining steam on Causes. After a slow launch, Bakhtavar’s petition gained 13,000 signatures on August 6, its biggest spike to date. Presently, more than 60,000 people have signed and the petition is growing.
Since her petition’s launch in mid-July, media outlets such as The Nation, Al Jazeera, and The Wall Street Journal have begun writing more about the violence in Northern Myanmar. Additionally, Causes users around the world continue to discover the petition through peer-to-peer sharing via social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.
Bakhtavar believes the signatures accumulated throughout the last two months signal a huge step forward toward a big win offline. “The ethnic unrest in Burma is not a new phenomenon. The Muslims in Burma claim that they have been there for more than a 100 years but since 1982, they have been denied recognition as citizens of Burma…I hope that this petition may make a difference by raising voices of million people in all over the world.”
Tell us what you think in the comments below and learn more about violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar by visiting Causes organizer Bakhtavar’s petition.