Does US President Donald Trump have the slightest clue about where Myanmar’s Rohingya refugees are living these days? We’re pretty sure you know the sad answer to that question, but why not go ahead and confirm your worst fears by watching the following video?
In a meeting/photo-op yesterday between Trump and more than two dozen survivors of religious persecution, Rohingya activist Mohib Ullah introduces himself as living in a refugee camp, explains that he and other Rohingya Muslims hope to return to Myanmar some day, then asks “what is the plan” to help them accomplish that.
“Where is that?” Trump can then be heard asking Sam Brownback, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.
“It’s right next to Burma. Yeah, the Rohingya have been run out,” the former Kansas senator replies in explaining where the refugee camps are located.
“OK. Thank you. Appreciate it,” Trump tells Ullah before then turning to an attendee from Cuba without answering his question.
You can jump to 13:05 of the video bel0w to see the beginning of the encounter.
The at-times cringeworthy video, in which the notoriously briefing-phobic Trump spends about 25 minutes greeting and taking questions from the group, comes barely 48 hours after the United States was earning kudos in some quarters for their public decision to ban Myanmar military commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing along with three other top generals and their families from the US.
Fair play, the move did make the US the first Western power to level sanctions of any sort on Myanmar’s military brass. United Nations Special Rapporteur to Myanmar Yanghee Lee, however, wasn’t in a particularly giving mood, telling the AFP news service last night that the move “does not go far enough, it should go further.”
More than 700,000 Rohingya have been living in refugee camps across the border in neighboring Bangladesh since being driven out of Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state during brutal military operations that began in August 2017. Countless crimes against humanity including rape, murder and the wholesale razing of villages have been documented.
Other groups represented at Thursday’s White House meeting included members of four persecuted religious minorities in China: a Uighur rights activist, a Buddhist from Tibet, a Christian, and a practitioner of the banned Falun Gong.