In Burma, citizens are being slaughtered because of their sexual orientation and status as transgender.
The Burmese police have been arbitrarily arresting, detaining, and torturing gay and transgendered people, claiming to be getting rid of “public disturbances.” In July 2013, the Asian Human Rights Commission reported, a group of policemen and administrators assaulted and arrested a group of gay people, abused the detainees in custody with humiliation and obscenities.
These actions are crimes against humanity. These individuals are being dehumanized, thus affecting their physical, mental, and emotional states.
Fortunately, the United Nations has been trying to promote peaceful coexistence in Burma despite obstacles. Religious, local, and communitarian leaders have been urged to promote respect for diversity and coexistence in the multi-ethnic and multi-religious society. Although it is impossible to reverse the damage done by the Burmese government and police forces, Burma must take action to promote more acceptance for other religions and lifestyles as a state.
Adama Dieng, a UN special advisor, states that “failing to [prevent the escalation of violence] can have serious future consequences which the international community has solemnly promised to prevent.”
These violations of human rights can never be justified with any reason. The systematic murder and dehumanization of human beings is a crime against humanity, and this is exactly what has occurred in Burma for the past few years. Although there are not many ways to stop the entire conflict, acknowledging the immorality of the situation is a place to start.
Colin Davidson, a rising junior at Crescenta Valley High School, says, “The authorities in Burma have turned a blind eye to this discrimination, allowing it to surpass personal vendetta and enter a state of physical violence.”
Fortunately, groups such as the Asian Human Rights Commission and Genocide Watch monitor the situation and promote international awareness of the issue.
Specifically, the Human Rights Education Institute (HREI) of Burma promotes and protects the rights of LGBT people from Burma and works to educate and empower these individuals. This organization sends a message of tolerance through documentaries, pamphlets, and other mediums. Additional public events are recognized, such as the Pride Parades and the International Day Against Homophobia, and Colours Rainbow magazine documents the incidents and circumstances of the Burmese LGBT community.
Despite these efforts, citizens themselves must acknowledge the immorality behind discrimination resulting from homophobia, or else such measures taken by this organization will prove to be futile.
Burma is just one example. Homophobia exists everywhere, and if individuals do not take action, the world will remain stricken with persistent hate. Standing up against misconduct in everyday society seems like a daunting task, however, we can begin in our own communities by simply being a positive influence around others and rejecting the use of derogatory terms about people who are different than us.
It is essential to recognize that all individuals must actively work to promote values such as peace and tolerance.