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Rohingya Muslims, who have been living in the temporary camps since communal violence in 2012, are seen at Thet Ke Pyin camp near Sittwe, capital of Myanmar's western Rakhine state, on September 7, 2016.(Kyaw Kyaw - Anadolu Agency)

By Kyaw Ye Lynn
October 23, 2016

Police say 17 men arrested while waiting to receive money from families to pay extra to be smuggled to Malaysia

YANGON, Myanmar -- Myanmar authorities have arrested 17 Rohingya Muslims who were smuggled from troubled western Rakhine State to the country’s commercial capital Yangon, an official said Sunday.

A police officer in Yangon told Anadolu Agency, “we arrested 17 Bengalis from Rakhine in Yangon yesterday” -- referring to the stateless minority group with a term that suggests that they are interlopers from neighboring Bangladesh.

Rohingya have been fleeing Myanmar in droves since mid-2012 after communal violence broke out in Rakhine between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya -- described by the United Nations as among the most persecuted minority groups worldwide. 

For years, members of the minority have been using Thailand as a transit point to enter Muslim Malaysia and beyond.

The arrest Saturday night came after a local resident reported to police that “some Muslims” were being sheltered in a house in North Okalapa Township of Yangon.

The police officer, who asked not to be named as he was not authorized to speak to media, said by phone Sunday, “based off their questioning, the Bengalis were being temporarily sheltered there before being smuggling to Malaysia.” 

He added each had paid 1.1 million Kyats (more than $850) to three human traffickers to smuggle them from Rakhine to Yangon over land through Magway town -- located around 520 kilometers (323 miles) northwest of Yangon.

They were arrested in Yangon on Saturday night while waiting to receive money from their families in order to pay the traffickers extra to smuggle them to Malaysia through Thailand over land, according to the officer.

“The human traffickers demand 1.2 million Kyats [more than $930] from each of them if they want to continue going to Malaysia.”

He said police are searching for three human traffickers who have been identified as Win Kyaw, Aye Thein and Maung Kyaw.

The 17 arrested men will be charged under the Residents of Burma Registration Act (1949) and Myanmar’s Penal Code.

RB News 
October 23, 2016

Maungdaw, Arakan – The Rohingya villagers from middle hamlet of Kyi Gan Pyin village tract are being forced to leave their houses by the order of Border Guard Police Chief Police Brigadier General Thura San Lwin today morning. 

Today, October 23th, 2016 at 8am, two Molvis (Islamic Religious Scholars) from middle and south hamlets of Kyi Gan Pyin were summoned through the village Administrator by the Chief of Border Guard Police. Once the Molvis arrived at the headquarters of the BGP, the Chief Thura San Lwin ordered them to evacuate all the houses in middle hamlet within 24 hours and asked them to inform all villagers to leave for wherever they want. The chief said he doesn’t care where the villagers go. 

When a Molvi raised question for forcing them to leave from village, the Chief responded to him that it is by the Government’s order. 

As ordered by the BGP Chief, the villagers from the middle hamlet started leaving from their houses to nearby villages at 11 am, carrying whatever personal belongings that they can. According to the locals, more than 300 houses had to evacuate and at least 2000 villagers are homeless now. Most of them manage their daily livelihood by farming. 

“We are facing a lot of difficulties as we have to move cattle, goats, chicken and all household things, clothes and others within 24 hours. We face food shortage and roads are blocked. Now we don’t know where we stay. These all houses belong to our forefathers.” an elderly Rohingya man expresses his sadness to RB News

The Burmese government has been confiscating Rohingya properties for more than four decades. It is not new.

Dr Habib Siddiqui
RB Opinion
October 23, 2016

I was shocked to read Kanbawza Win’s latest posting in the Asian Tribune. Once again, he reveals his appalling bias and prejudice against the Rohingyas of Myanmar, who remain the most persecuted people in our time. As a hardcore racist that he is, his latest rant doesn’t surprise me at all, and should not surprise his readers either who have seen in the past such samples of his degenerated and delusional mind that cannot separate facts from fiction. 

K. Win has been in the business of denying the legitimate human rights of the Rohingya people for many years. To guys like him, the Rohingyas simply don't and shouldn’t exist in his native country. This is rather bizarre of an ethnic Shan minority like him who had settled in the West. Truly, as a diaspora Shan his chauvinism is simply mind-boggling! [But having seen the likes of Rakhine fascists like Aye Chan and (late) Aye Kyaw, both naturalized citizens of the USA, nothing surprises me any longer!]

In an earlier article, Win had called the Rohingyas ‘unwanted guests’ living in his native land who should be dispersed away from their ancestral land in Arakan, much like what the Nazi-fascists had done in the past century with the so-called ‘undesirables’ in Europe. His argument is so immoral and criminal that one can perhaps take pity on an old haggard who refuses to seek the truth and/or alter his flawed course for making our world a more inclusive one. 

As I have noted in the past, calling the indigenous people of Arakan — who identify themselves as the Rohingyas in Myanmar — “unwanted guests” is like calling the Native Americans unwanted refugees who had settled in America after the influx of the Europeans. As much as no massacre of yesteryears and ghettoization of the Native Americans today in designated American Indian Reservations has been able to obliterate their genuine right, place, history and identity to America, no Myanmar government and local Rakhine sponsored pogroms, and surely not an intellectual fraud through his deplorable, half-baked or distorted theory, can erase the rightful identity of the Rohingya people of Burma. History and justice is one their side.

Win likes to demean the legitimate struggle of the Rohingya people to live as equals by distorting facts to suit his menacing motives. His latest article is packed with such half and full lies, displaying once again his selective amnesia. 

He likes metaphors and uses such rather callously, often unaware that such may backfire on his face. Like his fictitious ‘camel and tent’ story before, he now asks his American readers how would they feel if Sarah Palin were to declare that Alaska had joined Russia after the latter had defeated the USA in a war? Seemingly, he is unaware that Sarah Palin is no longer the governor of the state of Alaska, and it is Bill Walker. 

I strongly doubt if Win ever read the Constitution of Alaska whose Inherent Rights (Section 1) begin with the statement: “This constitution is dedicated to the principles that all persons have a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the enjoyment of the rewards of their own industry; that all persons are equal and entitled to equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law; and that all persons have corresponding obligations to the people and to the State.” 

Win may not know that Alaska was part of Russia before it was sold to the USA in 1867 for $7.2 million, and that it’s separated from mainland USA. Section 10 of the constitution also states that “There is no Alaska statute making treason a crime.” 

Arakan, on the other hand, sandwiched between Muslim Bengal and Buddhist Burma, was an independent kingdom most of its known history (at least since 1434 CE) until the territory was annexed violently by a racist Buddhist, Burmese king Bodaw Paya in 1784. Then it became part of an expanding British Raj that also ruled vast territories of India until independence was granted. When Panglong conference was held in February 1947, neither Jinnah’s Pakistan nor Gandhi/Nehru’s India, let alone Burma, had earned independence. As such, all the people living in India and Burma back then served the same Raj, and it was no treason for anyone to express a desire to join a future political entity. As such, Win’s accusation against a particular Arakanese Muslim leadership showing its desire to join a future Pakistan is hogwash; it is not treasonous. (Jinnah also advised the Arakanese Muslims to tie up their fate with other residents of Burma.) 

More problematic, however, is Win’s nonchalance about the gross violations of inalienable rights of the Muslims of Arakan who, unlike the Alaskans, are denied the “right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the enjoyment of the rewards of their own industry; that all persons are equal and entitled to equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law.” Rather than coming to their aid, and working towards restoring such inherent rights, Win likes to see them eliminated! Enough with Win’s metaphors that only reveal his inanity. 

One should not forget that Burma (and today’s Myanmar) remains an artificial geographic entity that comprises peoples of many nationalities, races, ethnicities and religions that has been kept together by strong arms tactics of feudal kings, the British Raj and the military governments that ruled. ‘Divide and rule’ and fear-mongering against a perceived foe became prudent methods to administer this diverse country. There was never any serious attempt to develop or grow genuine nationhood in which all the parties could feel a sense of belonging. This much-needed task for forging national unity was taken up by visionaries like Aung San (Bamar who represented the Interim Burmese government), Sao Shwe Thaik (Shan leader) and others (including U Razak of AFPFL, a Muslim) in the late 1940s. That was the background for the Panglong Conference, which was held in Southern Shan state on February 1947.

Win does not mention that the spirit of Panglong Agreement that was reached between Aung San (Suu Kyi’s father) and other ethnic and community leaders, in an attempt to unite everyone - irrespective of race, ethnicity and religion, Buddhists and non-Buddhists - for a common goal of independence was dead following Aung San's assassination (in which U Razak who was Education and National Planning in Aung San's cabinet, and six other cabinet ministers died) on July 19, 1947, nearly half a year before Union of Burma was to emerge as an independent state in the global arena. It should be noted that the Agreement, amongst other provisions, accepted full autonomy in internal administration for the “Frontier Areas" (bordering British India, Thailand, Laos, China) in principle and envisioned the creation of a Kachin State by the Constituent Assembly.

The founding fathers of Burma were very serious to foster unity in their future state. Thus, in 1946 General Aung San assured full rights and privileges to Rohingya/Arakanese Muslims as an indigenous people, saying: “I give (offer) you a blank cheque. We will live together and die together. Demand what you want. I will do my best to fulfill them. If native people are divided, it will be difficult to achieve independence for Burma.”

The First President, Sao Shwe Thaik, who was the last Saopha of Yawnghwe, famously said, “If the Rohingyas are not indigenous, nor am I.” 

However, after Myanmar gained independence on January 4, 1948, communists and ethnic/national/religious minorities in the country began a series of insurgencies displaying their grave discontent towards the newly formed post-independence government as they believed that the Panglong Agreement was not honored and that they were being unfairly excluded from governing the country. Their overwhelming perception was that the new government was a state for, by and of the majority Bamar and Buddhists only, and not for other minorities. 

Sao Shwe Thaik who had led and organized the Panglong conference became the first president of the Union of Burma. His public speech on 4 January 1949 at a mass rally held outside City Hall to mark the first anniversary of Independence Day captures the troubled mood of the state: “Cooperation and understanding cannot come about so long as the element of violence or threat of violence exists, for violence has no counterpart in freedom, and liberty ends where violence begins.”

There were also widespread practice of discrimination against anyone who was not Buddhist. For example, it was noted that many Christian Karen and Muslim and Sikh military officials, who were originally appointed by the British, were replaced with Buddhist Bamars by the new parliament. The situation was much worse for Muslims everywhere - from Arakan to Rangoon. As a result of serious discrimination, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs lost their jobs in every government sector – civilian, police and military. Many lost their businesses, too, and were looked down upon as either British-era migrants or their children thereof. Loss for them was craved as a net gain for the majority Buddhist. Steadily, intolerance of the minority became the law of the land. 

The occupation of Burma by Japan during the early years of the World War II in which Rakhine Buddhists had allied themselves with the occupying fascist Japanese forces while the Arakanese Muslims collaborated with the British Raj to defeat Japan, had already poisoned the relationship between these two dominant groups in Arakan. After Burma earned its independence, many Rakhine Buddhists took advantage of the emerging situation to ethnically cleanse Muslims from many parts of Arakan, esp. the southern part of the state. This led to the ghettoization of Muslims in towns and villages bordering today’s Bangladesh (erstwhile East Pakistan). 

It is not difficult to understand why almost every racial/religious entity, including the so-called Mujahedeen (made up of Arakanese/Rohingya Muslims), outside the majority Bamar/Buddhist race/religion rebelled in the early years. Being betrayed by the British Raj, in spite of their valuable services rendered during and after the WWII, it was no brainer that some Arakanese Muslims had felt that they had to protect themselves against marauding Buddhist incursions into their northern Mayu Frontier Territories. Muslim rebellion against the central government ultimately stopped when promises for their wider acceptance were made by government officials. Even then the persecution of the Rohingya and other Muslims continued.

According to the Pakistan Times (August 26, 1959), some 10,000 refugees had by then taken shelter in East Pakistan. In 1959, Burma agreed with East Pakistan governor Zakir Hossain to take back Rohingya refugees who had taken shelter in Chittagong in 1958. When questioned ‘why refugees were pouring into Pakistan from Burma, the governor replied that the government of Burma had nothing to do with it. Actually the Moghs [ie, Buddhist Rakhines] of Arakan were creating the trouble.’ (Pakistan Times, August 27, 1959) Governor Zakir Hossain’s reply once again underscored the deep hostility of the racist Rakhines against the minority Rohingyas. On October 27, 1960, the Daily Guardian, Rangoon, reported that Burmese ‘Supreme Court quashes expulsion orders against Arakanese Muslims,’ which once again shows that the Arakanese [Rohingya] Muslims faced much problems in their reintegration. 

Armed resistance by various ethnic and religious minorities and communists became the new norms and not the exceptions, which continued for more than a decade until the military was able to crush such through its savage scorched-earth tactics. Even then armed struggle is a reality in many parts of Myanmar to this very day.

The two largest insurgent factions in Myanmar were the communists, led by the Communist Party of Burma (CPB), and ethnic Karen insurgents, led by the Karen National Union (KNU). The KNU favored an independent state, forged out of Karen State (Kayin State) and Karenni State (Kayah State), in Outer Myanmar (Lower Burma), administered solely by the Karen people.

Even the Rakhine Buddhists were not behind in such insurgency movements, nor were the Chins. Rakhine insurgent groups, such as the Arakan Army and Arakan Liberation Army (ALA) continue to have hostilities towards the government, though major violence has been rare since political reforms and peace talks. The Arakan Army (AA), founded in 2009, is currently the largest insurgent group in Rakhine State, with an estimated 1,500–2,500 fighters active in the region. Its goal is an independent Rakhine state. The military, known as the Tatmadaw, admits to have clashed 15 times with Buddhist Arakan Army rebels since 28 December, 2015, in which several soldiers got killed. [As expected, such attacks by Buddhist rebels don’t infuriate Win though; only the ones committed reportedly by Rohingyas do. What a selective amnesia!]

In the early 1960s, the Burmese government refused to adopt a federal system, to the dismay of insurgent groups such as the CPB, who proposed adopting the system during peace talks. By the early 1980s, politically motivated armed insurgencies (like the communist) had largely disappeared, while ethnic-based insurgencies continued.

The Panglong Agreement of 1947 offered the Shan the option to split from Myanmar a decade after independence if they were unsatisfied with the central government. This was, however, not honored following Aung San's assassination. Instead, what they got are – severe mistreatment, torture, robbery, rape, unlawful arrest, and massacre. As a result, an armed resistance movement, led by Sao Noi and Saw Yanna, was launched in May of 1958 in the Shan State. One of the largest Shan insurgent groups in Myanmar is the Shan State Army - South (SSA-S), which has some 6,000 to 8,000 soldiers, with its bases along the Myanmar-Thailand border.

In October 2012, the ongoing conflicts in Myanmar included the Kachin conflict, between the Christian Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the government; a series of genocidal pogroms directed against the Rohingya Muslims that were participated by Rakhine Buddhists, and aided by the government and non-government groups in Rakhine State, including the Buddhist clergy; and a conflict between the Shan, Lahu, and Karen minority groups, and the government in the eastern half of the country. Armed conflict between ethnic Chinese rebels and the Myanmar Armed Forces have resulted in the Kokang offensive in February 2015. The conflict had forced 40,000 to 50,000 civilians to flee their homes and seek shelter on the Chinese side of the border.

In 2012 alone, fighting between the KIA and the government resulted in around 2,500 casualties (both civilian and military); 211 of whom were government soldiers. The violence resulted in the displacement of nearly 100,000 civilians, and the complete or partial abandonment of 364 villages.

Several insurgent groups have negotiated ceasefires and peace agreements with successive governments, which until political reforms that begun in 2011 and ended in 2015, had largely fallen apart.

As can be seen from the brief review above, civil/genocidal wars have been a constant feature of Myanmar's socio-political landscape since her independence as Union of Burma in 1948. These wars are predominantly struggles for ethnic and sub-national autonomy, with the areas surrounding the ethnically Bamar central districts of the country serving as the primary geographical setting of conflict. 

Far from Win’s assertions, the Rohingya and other Muslims inside Myanmar had been in the receiving end of annihilation. They have faced dozens of extermination campaigns since 1942. [Interested readers may like to read author’s article: Lies about the Rohingya (New Age, July 14, 2015) to learn the facts about the 1942 pogroms against the Rohingya and other Arakanese Muslims.] 

Denied each of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, truly, the Rohingyas of Myanmar remain the most persecuted people in our planet. And yet, until this latest episode of attacks in which some security forces were ambushed, an event reportedly perpetrated by some disgruntled Rohingya youths, affiliated with the mythic RSO, for daily dehumanization that their family members face, they have been the most unarmed, passive and peaceful of all the communities that make up the fractured mosaic of Myanmar. This, in spite of the fact, more than 1 in 2 Rohingyas now live a life of a refugee outside Myanmar. 

In the last few years alone, they have seen only death and destruction of their folks, hopes have evaporated feeding only desperation, and many have fled the country, while some 150,000 remain internally displaced with no shelters except concentration camps within the Arakan state. Suu Kyi has come to power, and yet, they continue to be denied the basic means of livelihood; their women continue to be raped by Tatmadaw as weapons of war to bring collective shame upon them and force them out of their ancestral homeland. As I write, many Rohingya women (ten of which alone are from Anauk Kwin hamlet of U Shin Gya village tract) have been gang raped by the Tatmadaw. 

Under the pretext of capturing the Rohingya attackers, dozens of villages (with more than thousand homes) have also been burnt to ashes in Suu Kyi’s Myanmar, while the world simply watches. More than 133 Rohingyas (mostly children and women) have been killed by government security forces.

Human Rights Watch on Friday said government security operations have cut off assistance to tens of thousands of Rohingya people and forced many to flee their homes. It has urged the Burmese (Myanmar) government to lift its blockade on humanitarian aid for ethnic Rohingyas in the northern Rakhine State.

What is going on inside the Rohingya populated territories of northern Arakan state is nothing short of war crimes! 

So, when K. Win brings the old story of rebellious Mujahedeen ignoring the never-ending war crimes of the Burmese government – old and new – and their civilian Rakhine partners and bigot monks, one cannot but question his sincerity or the lack thereof. Funny that he had the audacity to post a photo-op with Dr. Maung Zarni in the Asian Tribune! Just as a shit-eating crow can never be mistaken for a peacock, his photo-op with Dr Zarni cannot hide his hideous character. 

K. Win also tries to hide the fact that under the First Schedule to the Burma Independence Act 1947, the Rohingya and all other Muslims who were British subjects - who were born in Burma or whose father or paternal grandfather was born in Burma - were considered citizens of the Union of Burma. Under Annex A of the Aung San-Attlee Agreement, 27 January, 1947, they were citizens of the Union of Burma: “A Burma National is defined for the purposes of eligibility to vote and to stand as a candidate of the forthcoming elections as a British subject or the subject of an Indian State who was born in Burma and resided there for a total period of not less than eight years in the ten years immediately preceding either 1st January, 1942 or 1st January, 1947.” 

The Nu-Attlee Agreement (1947), signed between Prime Minister U Nu (Burma) and Prime Minister Clement Attlee (Great Britain) on Oct. 17, 1947 on transferring power to Burma was very important as to the determination of the citizenship status of the peoples and races in Burma. Article 3 of the Agreement states: “Any person who at the date of the coming into force of the present Treaty is, by virtue of the Constitution of the Union of Burma, a citizen thereof and who is, or by virtue of a subsequent election is deemed to be, also a British subject, may make a declaration of alienage in the manner prescribed by the law of the Union, and thereupon shall cease to be a citizen of the Union.” [For a full discussion on the subject, interested readers may like to read the author’s article, The Rohingya Problem: Why?]

In spite of all such Acts and Agreements, the Rohingyas have been robbed of their citizenship. They remain stateless inside Myanmar and are treated as outsiders.

The above brief analysis disproves unproven assertions and claims made by K Win. His views reflect his deep-seated hostility and racism against the persecuted Rohingya people whom he wants to see totally eliminated. 

It is high time that the UN declare the Mayu Frontier Territories (in northern Arakan) a ‘safe’ territory for the Rohingyas of Myanmar so that they could live there with honor, dignity, safety and security. Failing which, I am afraid, that the Rohingyas may disappear from the world in our time.

Rohingya refugees protest in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. May 21, 2015.

Date: October 22, 2016

Burma: ‘Stop violence against the Rohingya’

The Rohingya are an ethnic group facing extreme persecution in Burma (Myanmar). Australia has been criticised for failing to accept Rohingya asylum seekers as refugees.

The statement below was released on October 18 by 35 groups in Malaysia and the Asian region, including human rights groups and political parties such as the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM).

* * *

We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned about the current escalation of violence and the further brutal crackdown against the Rohingya in Rakhine state, Myanmar.

Myanmar security and other forces have occupied the area around Maungdaw in response to attacks by unknown assailants on border posts on October 9. The authorities have accused Rohingyas of carrying out the attacks and are now taking recrimination against the Rohingya population.

We have reports of killings, rape, abductions, forced evictions, beatings, the burning of homes and communities and the general terrorising of the local Rohingya population. The very real concern is that this situation will deteriorate even further and possibly quickly.

We call on all parties to put a stop to this terrible situation with immediate effect.

This is not the first time that there has been state-sanctioned violence against the Rohingya women, men and children who are still trying to live their lives in dignity in their homeland. There is extensive documentation of more than 30 years of systematic violence, discrimination and repression against the Rohingyas by the government of Myanmar and its friends.

Thousands have been killed, thousands of women sexually violated and physically abused and hundreds of thousands forced to flee (often into the hands of human traffickers). Most recently the Rohingya have been written out of the Constitution, denied any citizenship rights and rendered stateless.

The government of Myanmar must take complete responsibility for the situation. It has consistently failed to protect the rights of the Rohingya and consistently failed to give them any protection. Instead, it has consistently denied them their rights as human beings and citizens and has sanctioned hatred, bigotry, racism, violence and deprivation against them for years.

The current violence re-ignites fears that there will be another round of state-sanctioned killings, violence, destruction and land appropriation. This would force ever more Rohingya away from their homeland and worsen the humanitarian crisis for the Rohingya and the region.

It is long overdue that this stopped. We hereby call upon the government of Myanmar to:

• Immediately stop the killings and violence in Rakhine State;

• Respect, restore and protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Rohingya people, including re-recognising them as citizens with full rights to freedom of movement, marriage, education, healthcare, justice, protection and more;

• Expedite the work of the nine member State Advisory Commission chaired by Kofi Annan, charged with finding solutions to the situation in Rakhine state. The Commission should help ensure that any person or persons, whoever they may be, who have been involved in killings, rape, abductions, or any other abuse of the basic rights of people are brought to justice. That all properties and land destroyed in the recent violence are restored to their rightful owners and compensation paid for any loss. That steps are taken to rehabilitate and reintegrate all internally displaced persons and refugees who have fled their homes because of the conflict in Rakhine state; and

• Lift all restrictions of aid to Rakhine state and allow unfettered access to Rohingya for persons including international aid workers and media.

We also call upon the ASEAN community and all other parties to take immediate steps to facilitate the process for a lasting peaceful solution for the ongoing crisis in Rakhine state.

We urge the governments of ASEAN to recognise the basic rights of refugees, including all Rohingya refugees, and to provide proper and timely humanitarian assistance to those fleeing the terrible situation.

List of endorsing organisations:

1. Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
2. Penang Stop Human Trafficking Campaign
3. PSM Youth
4. Community Development Centre (CDC)
5. Rohingya Society in Malaysia
8. KL & Chinese Assembly Hall Civil Rights Committee
9. Alumni PBTUSM Northern Region
10. Migrant CARE
11. Tenaganita
12. Projek Dialog
13. Building and Wood Workers' International Asia-Pacific Branch
14. Islamic Renaissance Front
15. Committee for Asian Women (CAW)
16. Pesatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
17. Lawyers for Liberty (LFL)
18. Perak Women for Women
19. Hindraf People’s Movement
20. North South Initiative
21. Diversity
22. Child Development Initiative
23. Malaysian Indian Youth Council
24. People's Service Organisations
25. Semparuthi Iyakkam
26. Academy of Tamil Studies
27. Persatuan Kebajikan Orang-orang Miskin Malaysia (PERKOM)
28. Pemuda Youth
29. Network of the Oppressed People (JERIT)
30. Youth Wing of Malaysian Dravidian Association
31. ROYALTI Kelantan
33. Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia
34. Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility
35. Third World Network

(Photo: Ye Aung Thu/AFP)

RB News 
October 22, 2016

Tokyo, Japan -- Rohingya human rights activists in Japan visited the US Embassy in Tokyo on October 20th, 2016th at 3pm to appeal to the US government for their urgent intervention in helping to stop Myanmar military’s extrajudicial killing of innocent Rohingya men, women and children indiscriminately since the 9th of October in northern Arakan, where unidentified assailants attacked Myanmar security forces. 

The activists were received by Secretary for Political section Mr Van Deusen and Senior Political Advisor Mrs Kikushi Shinobu. The meeting lasted for an hour and they discussed several issues including October 9th attacks in Kyi Gan Pyin, Ngakura, and Kodankauk in Rathedaung, Myanmar military’s indiscriminate killing of Rohingya men, women and even the children since then. They also discussed torching Rohingya villages to push Rohingyas to IDPs camps, looting Rohingyas’ houses and shops, other valuable things together with Natala villagers, mass arrest of Rohingya inhumanely torturing, sexually assaulting the Rohingya women, hiding dead bodies in the mass graves, blocking food, medicine and other essentials to make Rohingya die.

The activists lead by Zaw Min Htut presented an appeal letter for Secretary for State, John Kerry detailing all above the issues. The Embassy officials promised to relay all information directly to the State Department officials urgently.

The letter is here:


The Honorable John F. Kerry, 
Secretary of State. 
The State Department 
United State Of America 
20th October 2016. 

Your Excellency, 

I would like to raise the grave situation of the Rohingya people in the Northern Arakan State into your kind attention. 

Some unidentified assailants launched early morning attacks on three security forces posts in Maungdaw and Rathedaung townships on 9th October, according to information released by the Myanmar Government. We, Rohingya people strongly condemn violence at all cost and oppose any violence on anyone whilst pursuing a peaceful solution for the plight of Rohingya. Rohingya community is not capable of targeting the security forces, given the extremely restrictive environment they live in Rakhine State. 

Since 9thOctober, under the pretext of looking for attackers, the Myanmar military and police forces have been indiscriminately killing the Rohingya, torching and plundering their homes and villages. Two mass graves were found and over 100 innocent Rohingya were extra­- judicially killed that included old men, women and children .One of my second Cousins was shot dead by military on 12th October. At least 15 Rohingya villages were set ablaze destroying many houses including my family house and Mosques. The Myanmar military forces together with the local Rakhines are looting Rohingya houses and shops. At the same time several local people are reporting that their women are sexually assaulted by the military forces. Several hundreds innocent Rohingya have been arrested and severely torturing. 

The grave situation has caused many Rohingya to flee their villages. Several Thousands of Rohingya have been internally displaced causing great humanitarian disaster. Due to curfew order and blockade imposed on only Rohingya there is an acute shortage of Food, Medicine and other essentials. The situation is exponentially worsening. 

The fear on the ground is that the violence may now escalate to at least the level of 2012, when hundreds were killed, several villages had been burnt down , over 1,40,000 were displaced to IDP Camps and many more Rohingya were driven out of the country altogether. This new upsurge of violence may ultimately prove to be the final trigger to outright genocide that the UN and many NGO observers as well as genocide scholars have been dreading. 

The only thing that can stop the spiraling levels of violence from escalating into a full blown latter-day Rwanda scenario would be the intervention of United States together the government of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to pacify Rakhine and impose the rule of law effectively. But as of yet, the Myanmar Government is making no efforts to protect Rohingya civilians and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi does not seem to be moved by the gravity of the situation while military is taking the law in their hands. 

Your Excellency, 

You are in a uniquely privileged position to help build the international pressure needed to move Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her government to suppress the recent upsurge in violence before the situation get completely out of control. I solemnly urge you to take charge of this issue and help prevent yet another international humanitarian catastrophe. 

I humbly appeal to your Excellency to save Rohingya from total annihilation. Rohingya are peace-loving people believing peaceful co-existence with equal rights and dignity. Rohingya men, women and children are looking at you for their salvation. 

Yours Sincerely, 

Zaw Min Htut. 
Rohingya Human Rights Activist in Japan.

RB News 
October 21, 2016 

Maungdaw, Arakan – On October 19th, 2016, U Shin Gya village tract in northern Maungdaw Township in Arakan State was raided by the Myanmar Army and reportedly ten Rohingya women were raped. 

On the morning of October 19th, 2016, the Myanmar military raided U Shin Gya village tract in Maungdaw Township. They raided all the houses. As men know they were likely to be tortured they had fled the village and only the women and the children remained in there. Although the men were not tortured as escaped, the military looted all personal belongings of the women such as their gold and jewelries. 

According to locals, the military took valuables physically off themselves from women’s bodies. The military also destroyed many household belongings. When the military raided Anauk Kwin hamlet of U Shin Gya village tract, some women were raped. 

“Only the women remained in the village. The soldiers looted whatever they wanted. Then they destroyed many household things, and they raped some women. They raped them inside of their houses.” a villager told RB News

As of now now RB News has received the names and details of 10 Rohingya women who were raped by the Myanmar military. In the list, 2 are 15-year-old, 1 is a 17-year-old, 1 is an 18-year-old, 1 is a 20-year-old, 1 is 25-year-old, 1 is a 26-year-old and 3 are older than 30. All the women older than 20 are married. 

As the dignity and safety of the rape victims is a major concern, RB News will not reveal the list with the news but will send their detail to international governments and human rights organizations who may hopefully investigate further.

(Photo: Ye Aung Thu/AFP)

Ro Mayyu Ali
RB Article
October 21, 2016

Maungdaw is a border trading town in Rakhine State, situated in south-west of Myanmar. It is home to more than 500,000 inhabitants from varying backgrounds such as Rohingya, Rakhine, Hindu, Thet, Dai-net Mro, Kamee and Marmagyi.

Among the people, Rohingya are historically the most indigenous and documented as the richest people in the township. In population, approximately 80 percent are Rohingya, 15 percent Buddhists and five percent are Hindus. Most of the land, forests and lakes are owned by native Rohingya. Religiously, Rohingya are the only group who believes in Islam and all the rest except Hindus are Buddhists who enjoy full freedom of all legal rights. The fate of most Rohingya is so perilous and their ethnic identities in Myanmar have been denied as well as they have been suffering Civil and Human Rights violation and even genocide today.

In other townships in Rakhine State, Buddhist nationalists and anti-Muslim chauvinists who play a role in the Union and State governments have been bringing their attention on the population and influence to the wealth of Rohingya in three townships: Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathidaung in Northern Rakhine State. They have been focusing their racial and religious concerns in those townships.

Firstly, they chose to filter the township of Maungdaw where there is the most Rohingya population in. Because they foresee that other two townships would be easier if they could damage the livelhoods of Rohingya intiailly in Maungdaw by implementing several kinds of profound schemes and deep-running strategies.

In these regards, over the last two decades, they have been installing two new risky groups like an anti virus to monitor bona fide Rohingya in the township. One are the Natala (local term) who are taken from Upper Myanmar and provided with facilities of a bungalow, some acres of paddy land which was taken from native Rohingya, a couple of cows and some other religious accesses per a family. Strategically, the village tracts of Natala people are set up in the middle of Rohingya villages and where there are easy accesses of transportation, education, medical assistance and marketing services.

The second risky group are Bangali Rakhines whom are taken from the border of Bangladesh. They fit better than Natala people because they are from the same feather. Usually, they receive Myanmar National Scrutiny Card like other Rakhines whose births are in the township. Their children can enjoy education initially in monasteries and Buddhists orphan houses. Moreover, after 2012 communal violence, hundreds of Bangali Rakhines including Thet and Myo have been taken significantly three times to Maungdaw Township.

But today, both groups enjoy in the luxuries of wealth, education, transportation, medical assistance and other facilities much more than native Rohingya and even the roads to their model villages are specially made of cement which will last a long time, as is found in southern Maungdaw Township.

Now, they take pride in themselves that they are Thaiyinthar (local term for indigenous people). To use a common phrase, they come to exile native Rohingya whose rice and water they survived on, using the offending terms (Kalas and Bangalis) that other Rakhines in the township use for Rohingya people.

Nevertheless, the local authorities have been setting up several kinds of snares for Rohingya in the township such as, trading hindrance from one township to another, extortion large sums of money, arbitrary arrests, long time incarceration , accusations of illegal activity, etc.

Incidentally, the fire of 2012-June communal violence began in Maungdaw Township and spread to other townships in Rakhine State. In 2013, the fire was resumed again in Du Cheer Tan Village, in southern Maungdaw. During that violence, Maungdaw is, in fact the most hidden of the affected townships in Rakhine State, where the result of losing more than 50 Rohingya innocent souls, a loss of 100 Rohingya houses, looting millions from properties of Rohingya, incarceration of more than (100) young Rohingya men and the fleeing thousands of vulnerable Rohingya to their neighbor countries such as, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Thailand and Bangladesh. The worst is many Rohingya lives have been lost drowing in the sea while trying to reach, on rickety boats, a safe shore for a refuge. These reported tolls are only for Maungdaw Township. At the time, they have targeted and cleared whatever they could particularly in downtown and south of Maungdaw Township.

Now, northern Maungdaw is still fresh and green, but their hunger sees no bounds., and the appetite of their greed and lust are keener. They gear up to a higher level with their many ill-talents what they can be as the followers of Gautama.

It is very tense as their racial divisions and prejudice become stronger and more aggregated. After the 2012-June precarious violence, their movement is much more operative than before. In the township, along the border are iron-fences. Hundreds of Border Guard Police check points are installed. A leader of 969 anti-Muslim movements from each Rakhine Village tract is locally organized. The supply of INGOs and Agencies humanitarian aids are remarkably limited and the approval of their activities are delayed for a long time and often denied, as well. The services of medical assistance of the Township Medical Department is limited and the immunization process is limited and this has led to suffering of polio by a couple of Rohingya children during the last year in township. The techniques and methods of Schools for Rohingya students are unbelievably separated and discriminated. And the twists and propaganda of Myanmar Social Medias are in the headlines against Rohingya. For sure, it is then in dangerous with their racially multi-sectarian currents to attack the dwellings and lives of those native Rahingyas who have a long existence in the township. Would the Buddhist chauvinists take full aim in northern of Maungdaw at this time? 

Unfortunately, at the predawn of 9 of October, 2016, Border Guard Police Head Quarter No.1 in Kyi Kan Pyin Village and a check outpost in Nga Khu Ya Village in Maungdaw Township as well as another check outpost in Ko Tan Kauk Village in Rathidaung Township were attacked by some militants. According to local authorities, 9 BGP Forces were killed and some weapons were taken away by the attackers who were holding rods, swords and pistols. As two of three attacks were in northern Maungdaw Township the township became again like a well-blocked dam to catch fish and they may whatever eat whatever they like. What a moment comes for them!

On 10 of October, 2016 in the early morning, 7 innocent Rohingyas including Mohammed Ayas son of Kamaal, 13 year old, a grade-8 student in Myo Thu Gyi Village track (located in 6-miles away to BGP HQ where there was attack that of the previous night) were shot to death in cold blood by military personals. At noon on the same day, a mass grave of three Rohingya men, shot by military forces, was discovered in Kyauk Pyin Saik Village, northern Maungdaw and the hamlet of Wapaik in Kyi Kan Pyin was set on fire by the military. Before the statement of the Myanmar President‘s Office, consecutively the village tracks of northern Maungdaw such as, Kyet Yoe Pyin, Nga Sar Kyu, Oo Shan Kyar, Phur Wet Chaung, Ngan Chaung, Kyauk Pyin Saik were already cleansed by Myanmar army.

On 14 of October, 2016, Myanmar President Office released a statement regarding the terror attack in Maungdaw. It stated that the name of the attacking group is Aquamul Mujahidin, the leaders of the group are outsiders who entered through Bangladesh and the leaders convinced around (400) young Rohingyas, particularly in the villages of Oo Shan Kyar, Ngar Khu Ya, Kyauk Pyin Saik and other neighbor where military forces have already burned down, shot dozens of Rohingya to death and looted the properties. In facts, what I mention about the statement in there is just brief. However, the statement intentionally described events beyond the abilities of the attackers. But also, it has a purpose pointing out a location and a type and amount of Rohingya in the township. It is a statement that can worsen the lives of Rohingya much more than previous schemes on them. But still the questions remain to ask: Why did Bangladeshi government let the attackers to jump to Myanmar through their country when they could hand over catching up the attackers during coming back? What did thousands of Myanmar Border Guard Police forces stand for in West Gate? 

However, the process of Myanmar military’s clearance operation for those sectors is officially launched. And the forces have started to play with fire. Under the process, military personals have killed more than (100) Rohingyas including children and old women, set fire to more than (1000) Rohingya homes, looted billions Kyat of Rohingya’s properties, raped some Rohingya girls and women and displaced internally more than (30000) Rohingya people.

Is it enough for those hungry schemes? Not at all, still tthose mentioned by the President’s office’s statement are wanted. Are they only seeking the men who are wanted for these crimes? No, they have to practice how to kill the birds while targeting the eggs in the nest of Rohingya. It is the target to the nest, not only to the eggs.

Though there was no more shooting nor setting fire in Maungdaw for the past couple of days, some strange actions are taking place against Rohingya in northern Maungdaw. On the 18th of October, 2016, Karim Ullah, 58 years old, a senior humanitarian Rohingya, was tortured to death while in Maungdaw Police Custody. On the 19th of October, 2016, two prominent Rohingya men, Jenna Khan and Ludeya were killed in Maungdaw Police Custody while they were being interrogated. Dozens of Rohingya are detained and still in custody. Moreover, in some hamlets, many men and young boys pass their nights in nearby the fields, toddy gardens and embankments of the lakes and lagoons. Just the women and young girls are staying at home. It is because of this that the Myanmar military forces who have a reputation for using rape as a weapon in war are raping young Rohinya girls and some have been taken away as sex-slaves. This is the update as of the 20th of October, 2016.

Indeed, today the township becomes the third Ghetto. However the brutality is, no Rohingya can move and flee to other neighboring countries like before. Bangladeshi government has choosen to hand over any Rohingya who flee to their country while most of Rakhine people have been taken to Sittwe city for safety. Would they also move them to safety at the first sign of a soft rain as well? Aung San Suu Kyi shows no interest in finding a good resolution of its Rohingya issue. The international community remains unmoved to act in the face of human rights violations continuing against the Rohingya, but have spoken up periodically. This has moved for hidden movements against the Rohingya where crimes can be hidden or ignored. 

The worst possible outcome is that the supremacists will get what they want, and Rohingya will be wiped away from the land. The Lady of Myanmar herself bears responsibility as well for the killing of old Rohingya ladies, gang rape of young Rohingya girls, displacement of Rohingya pregnant women and heart-break of long-suffering Rohingya mothers. Does her heart have any sympathy for the persecuted Rohingya people in her country? What is most painful is that under the first democratic Government of Myanmar Rohingya suffer more than ever before.

A woman who fled from recent violence in Maungdaw feeds her daughter at a temporary internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Sittwe, Burma on October 15, 2016. © 2016 Reuters/Wa Lone

October 21, 2016

Humanitarian Groups, Journalists, and Rights Monitors Need Access

Rangoon – The Burmese government and army should urgently ensure humanitarian aid can reach ethnic Rohingya and other vulnerable populations in northern Rakhine State, Human Rights Watch said today. Government security operations have cut off assistance to tens of thousands of people and forced many to flee their homes.

The United Nations and donor governments should publicly call on the Burmese government to ensure aid organizations can reach those in need.

“Recent violence in northern Rakhine State has led the army to deny access to aid agencies that provide essential health care and food to people at grave risk,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “The Rohingya and others have been especially vulnerable since the ethnic cleansing campaign in 2012, and many rely on humanitarian aid to survive.”

On October 9, 2016, armed men attacked three police outposts in Maungdaw township near the border with Bangladesh, killing nine police officers and seizing weapons. The President’s Office blamed a previously unknown Rohingya group called Aqa Mul Mujahidin for the attacks, though other officials have said it is unclear who was responsible.

Government security forces declared the area an “operation zone” and began sweeps to find the attackers. According to senior members of the government, security forces have killed 30 people, while five members of the security forces have also been killed. However, reporting is heavily reliant on government sources as journalists have been denied access.

Rohingya activists have alleged that government forces have committed serious abuses during the current operations, including summary executions and the burning of villages.

Since October 9, authorities have blocked all aid deliveries to Maungdaw township and aid agencies have not been able to conduct a needs assessment. “We have asked [for access] from township level to Union level,” a World Food Programme (WFP) partnerships officer said. “The official explanation [for being denied access] is that security operations are ongoing.”

Under international law, authorities may restrict freedom of movement for specific security reasons for a limited period of time, but broad and open-ended restrictions are not permissible. Under the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, all authorities “shall grant and facilitate the free passage of humanitarian assistance and grant persons engaged in the provision of such assistance rapid and unimpeded access to the internally displaced.”

A number of UN agencies and nongovernmental organizations have long operated in northern Rakhine State, including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), WFP, Medecins Sans Frontieres, and Action Contre la Faim, providing food aid and mobile health clinics, among other services. WFP alone assists 152,000 vulnerable people with various services, including nutrition support for pregnant women, nursing mothers, children under 5, and people living with HIV and tuberculosis.

WFP told Human Rights Watch that while the government has recently permitted the resumption of food assistance to 37,000 people in Buthiduang township, 50,000 people remain without food aid in Maungdaw.

The blocking of aid will also severely impact nutritional programs and mobile health clinics that serviced the area, aid workers said. With freedom of movement restricted, ill or wounded people cannot access the main hospital in Maungdaw.

Humanitarian organizations said the violence has displaced some 3,000 ethnic Rakhine people and as many as 15,000 Rohingya, but the lack of access prevents an accurate count.

Rohingya constitute approximately a third of Rakhine State’s population of over three million people. The Muslim minority has long suffered from discrimination and a host of serious human rights violations, including restrictions on the rights to freedom of movement, access to health care, and education. Successive Burmese governments have effectively denied Rohingya citizenship under Burma’s discriminatory 1982 Citizenship Law.

The fighting has also increased tension in the camps for the nearly 120,000 displaced Rohingya near the town of Sittwe in Rakhine State. These people fled their homes after communal violence in 2012, which left large numbers of people dead and entire villages destroyed.

“The Burmese government has a responsibility to search for and arrest those who attacked the border posts,” Adams said. “But it is required to do so in a manner that respects human rights, ensures that the area’s people get the aid they need, and allows journalists and rights monitors into the area.”

Joint Statement
Date: October 21, 2016

The urgency of the current humanitarian situation in Northern Arakan

After attacks on police posts, on 9 October, allegedly by unknown Rohingya fighters, Myanmar authorities have disproportionally militarized Northern Arakan/Rakhine state raising a false alarm and creating human tragedies aim at destroying the Rohingya population. 

The siege and assault on Rohingya civilians in bordering township of Maungdaw clearly represent the Myanmar military’s intention to use the extraordinary level of mass detention, torture, summary execution, rape and other atrocities against the Rohingya people.

UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) has confirmed that its food deliveries planned for more than 80,000 people have been blocked because of a military clampdown in the area and that the military has prevented any supplies from getting through. This interference with aid is clearly intended to directly cause starvation and the deaths of civilians.

Humanitarian principles must be respected by all parties. It is a dire situation that UN agencies should not compromise humanitarian principles in the face of unjust demands by the Myanmar authorities. We demand that Myanmar government lift all restrictions immediately on humanitarian aid. 

We urge upon the UN, OIC, EU, USA, UK, ASEAN, Bangladesh and Myanmar’s neighbours and international community and governments to intervene in the matter to urgently provide the needy with humanitarian aid in order to alleviate suffering of the starving population on the ground. 

We also request all to protect the Rohingya civilians from ongoing indiscriminate killing, torching houses, arresting and torturing.


1. Arakan Rohingya National Organisation
2. Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK
3. Bradford Rohingya Community in UK
4. Burmese Rohingya Community in Denmark
5. Burmese Rohingya Association Japan
6. Burmese Rohingya Community Australia
7. Canadian Burmese Rohingya Organisation
8. Rohingya Arakanese Refugee Committee
9. Rohingya Community in Germany
10. Rohingya Community in Switzerland
11. Rohingya Community in Finland
12. Rohingya Community in Italy
13. Rohingya Community in Sweden
14. Rohingya Organisation Norway
15. Rohingya Society Netherlands
16. Rohingya Society Malaysia

For more information, please contact:

Tun Khin (Mobile): +44 7888714866
Zaw Min Htut (Mobile): +818030835327
Nay San Lwin (Mobile): +49 69 26022349

Men set up a sign against UN and humanitarian aid organisations’ assistance in Rakhine State, outside a monastery in Maungdaw on October 19. Photo: AFP

By Fiona MacGregor
October 21, 2016

Among all the murky reports to emerge from Rakhine State this week, one thing that is clear: When it comes to the biggest crisis to hit Myanmar since Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian led administration was elected, the military is undoubtedly running the show.

Almost two weeks on from three deadly attacks on border police stations in northern Rakhine State, evidence about who was behind the attacks and their underlying motivation are no more certain. Yet that has done nothing to damp the military’s lockdown, nor to staunch the anti-Muslim rhetoric from the President’s Office.

It is a situation that does not bode well for long-term democratic progress in this country.

Following the deadly October 9 attacks on the border guard posts, the military assumed control over Maungdaw and Buthidaung township. Outside observers have been excluded from the region as security forces carry out “clearance operations” which have sparked great fear among the Muslim population there.

An estimated 9000 to 15,000 people from the Rohingya minority are reported by sources on the ground to have fled their homes, with claims that at least 100 civilians have been killed during military operations, although those numbers remain entirely unsubstantiated due to access restrictions. The military has acknowledged that at least 30 alleged attackers have been killed by security personnel in what senior officers described as a necessary use of lethal force.

Allegations that Muslim civilians have faced extra-judicial killings and seen their villages burned by security forces have also gone entirely unmentioned in the missives coming out of the President’s Office, and have been widely ignored by the local media. Yesterday it was reported that two people arrested in relation to the attacks had died in custody, with authorities blaming asthma-related complications.

Meanwhile according to the UN, an estimated 3000 people from the region’s Buddhist population have also fled their homes and being looked after by state authorities.

Reports from the government have focused entirely on support being offered to the ethnic Rakhine villagers. A representative for the Mynmar Red Cross, which is providing assistance in Buthidaung, Maungdaw and Sittwe townships, said he had no knowledge of the displaced Muslim population.

Aid organisations have stressed that they are deeply worried about more than 70,000 people in the Muslim-majority northern townships of Maungdaw and Buthidaung who are being kept from receiving humanitarian assistance, including vital food rations, because the military refuse to allow agencies access while their operations are ongoing.

Meanwhile those elsewhere in the state are also facing restrictions, humanitarian actors say, as fears among local staff and uncertainty about protocol hampers access and supplies.

These clampdowns are risking the lives of people in already-vulnerable communities, despite the fact that authorities have acknowledged that the only violence to have occurred in recent days had broken out when they entered villages on a clearance operation and allege that they have brought the wider security situation under control.

Indeed the entire “terrorist” narrative is being questioned, not only by international observers, who point to the fact that the attacks were targeted at security officers not civilians, but even by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi herself.

“We don’t know the full details. We don’t know when those six months were,” she told the Hindustan Times while visiting India earlier this week, referring to the government’s reports that arrested suspects had said during interrogations that the man organising them had received six month’s training in Pakistan.

“And we are also told he had been receiving funding from various Islamic countries. That is just information from just one source, we can’t take it for granted that it’s absolutely correct,” she said.

But the state counsellor’s attempt to bring some balance to the terror narrativehas been of little avail. The matter has continued to dominate both the national and social media agenda.

Even as updates from the President’s Office make no mention of the perilous situation the Muslim population in northern Rakhine State unquestionably face as security forces search their villages for assailants, those behind the department’s daily updates are less reticent about depicting Muslims as violent, extremist liars.

On a post on the official government website from October 18 entitled “Voices from government employees, local people in Maungdaw over deadly attacks”, which did not cite a single Muslim voice, stories such as the following – purportedly the words of an evacuated school teacher – reinforced the demonisation of the Muslim population.

“I have been here since 2007 as a middle-school teacher and a high-school teacher. The government told us that people here often resorted to violence because they were not educated. Now, they are learning from us and some of them are good at English. However, they posted lies and religious instigation on the internet,” she added. “Later, helicopters from the Tatmadaw evacuated us to a safe place.”

It is concerning, but not unexpected, when military chiefs in Rakhine State start making biologically and mathematically questionable assertions about the Muslim population rapidly increasing because some people practise polygamy.

However when the president of a democratically elected government widely seen to be a proxy for one of the world’s best-known rights campaigners-turned-politician starts churning out such pernicious writings, it is alarming.

The president may wear a civilian gaung baung, but the messages coming from his office show every sign of having been penned by a propagandist wearing a military cap.

In an October 14 statement on events in Rakhine State the previous week, the government noted the following: “According to the findings of the interrogations, the attacks in Maungdaw were intended to promote extremist violent ideology among the majority Muslim population in the area. Using Maungdaw as a foothold, this was an attempt to take over the areas of Maungdaw and Buthitaung. For this, they received significant financial support from extremist individuals in some Middle Eastern countries. This funding was not provided by particular organisations, but was provided secretly through contacts between individuals.”

If a single paragraph were to encapsulate the fears of Rakhine people and the wider population, exacerbated by various provocateurs for various nationalist and political reasons, that paragraph would be it.

And it appears to be working. It is not just social media users who are buying into and promoting the “our military will protect us” message.

National newspapers, many of them staffed by journalists who have bravely questioned the military’s motivations and stood up to oppression in the past, have almost entirely failed to question what is happening to the Muslim population in Rakhine State – the vast majority of whom have shown absolutely no appetite for militant uprising in the past four years.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s protests in India that it is very unclear who and what was behind the October 9 attacks are little more than a whispered acknowledgement of uncertainty contending with the booming onslaught of military-backed propaganda.

The international community is, behind the scenes, horrified by the lack of access and expressing serious concerns about the extent of the rights abuses potentially now being perpetrated against the Muslim population in the north.

Yet, public demands for access have so far failed to highlight these very genuine concerns.

The Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, chaired by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, finally had a formal briefing from the government on October 19, but as yet its only statement was on October 14, deploring the attacks, but making no mention of possible or alleged reprisals.

Meanwhile Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN secretary-general, on October 19 noted a “sober response” by the security forces in northern Rakhine State, an observation that appeared to be made more on trust than fact, given he also stressed concerns that UN staff were not being given access to the area and people concerned.

Whether such trust is misplaced remains to be seen. However even Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has this week stressed the insecure state of democracy in Myanmar right now.

“We as a nation are struggling to make the democratic culture take root,” she told reporters after meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on her visit to New Delhi.

“We too have many challenges to face, but we are confident that these challenges can be overcome because our people are determined to overcome them.”

It is to be hoped she is right, but such determination will only succeed if it is rooted in the principles of human rights and respect for others, rather than fear and politically motivated propaganda. For now, in Rakhine State, the latter appears to be winning.

Joint Statement
Date: October 21, 2016

We, the undersigned Rohingya organisations in Australia release the following statement to raise our serious and profound concern for the ongoing extreme human right violations and crackdown on the innocent Rohingya population in Northern Rakhine State, Myanmar.

Since 9 October 2016, under the pretext of looking for attackers on security posts, the Myanmar military and police forces have been indiscriminately killing the innocent Rohingya elders, young adults (men & women) and children. Together with the killing, the military forces have been looting, torching and plundering the houses and villages of Rohingyas. Till today, more than 150 innocent Rohingyas were mercilessly killed and 10,000 have become IDPs (Internal Displaced Persons). Due to curfew order and blockade, there is an acute shortage of food, medicine, and other essentials. According to the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) report published on 20 October 2016, more than 80,000 Rohingyas are in need of urgent humanitarian aid and Myanmar government has blocked the aid reaching to them with the excuse of security. The situation is exponentially worsening. It is a violation of international law and Geneva Convention. Amnesty International also urged Myanmar government yesterday (20/10/2016) to urgently lift restrictions in Rakhine state to have humanitarian aid for the affected Rohingya villages.

Myanmar State counsellor, Daw Aung San Su Kyi initially stated that extra cautious would be taken in handling, however, the reality is far from it. The causalities of innocent Rohingyas have increased day by day. Even yesterday, it has been reported by the residents of Ngakura village that the village elders were invited to military post in the name of cooperation, however, they have been tortured instead there and 2 villager elders were killed by the action of military. The fate of the remaining elders is unknown yet. The military has been entering Rohingya village by village, arresting the men found at house, looting the houses, sexually attacking the women found at home vulnerable. There is also a terrible news reported yesterday (20/10/2016) that 30 teenage girls were forcefully taken from a village called NgasaKyu in PyaungPyaik hamlet by the military and the fate of these girls are unknown yet. Burmese military is infamous for raping and murdering the women in war zones and therefore it is very concerning for those young girls. 

We do not support any terrorised and violent attack or harming on any innocent people. However, we strongly believe that the Myanmar military has different agenda from this attack, which may have been purposely planned. We were always made scapegoats by the Military junta for its propaganda and in this occasion, we found that we are used again as scapegoat to divert the attention of general public from worsening Kachin war and other armed conflicts in Myanmar and to gain popularity with Rohingya’s elimination plan with the majority Buddhists. According to President Office of Myanmar press release on 13 October 2016, the attackers initially used knives and sticks however later they blindly accused non-existence organisation links and support from individuals from Middle East countries. Furthermore, it has been linked to some known terrorist organisations with one sided interrogation and biased reports, which seemed to be based on the fabricated reports supplied by the military. Myanmar military and security agency are well famous for inhumane method of torture on captives and they are known for enforcing the captives to give fabricated statements in the way they like for decades. Therefore, we strongly believe that it is a groundless, purposely fabricated news played by some actors for the benefit of Myanmar military only. Arakan Army (AA) has also released a press release on 20/16/2016 highlighting similar concern as ours.

Further evidence adding to that is the Rohingya victims blamed to be attackers and killed are actually the innocent Rohingya villagers including 70 years old man and women. The two videos posted by those attackers clearly showed that they were young and adult men group; no single women involved in it. However, in the pretext of bringing security in the area, the military and Burma Border Guard Police (BGP) are carrying massacre and fear on Rohingyas so that Rohingya takes rickety boat journey again to leave the country. It is a systematic 2 ways strategies work for the military only. Therefore, an independent international investigation is required to find out the actual culprits behind those attack and play.

We, therefore, gathered today here to send our request to Myanmar government, UN and International Community the followings:

· Request to the Australian government; to strongly raise our concerns and issues with the Myanmar government to provide full protection to Rohingya community in Northern Rakhine State, not only to Rakhine ethnic community.

· To Australian public; as a democratic nation in Australia with the rights to practice freedom of speech, we request the public to raise stateless and vulnerable Rohingya issue with your local politicians, to speak our matters in the Australian parliament.

· To UN to strongly voice Rohingya issue with Myanmar government to provide humanitarian aid to the Rohingyas in dire situation and to intervene the massacre and destruction of Rohingya’s properties by the notorious Myanmar military.

· To International community; to save the remaining Rohingya in Myanmar by raising your concern otherwise Rohingya’s existence in Myanmar will be in the history.

· To Myanmar government; to allow an independent international investigation on the attacks on security posts and the innocent Rohingya civilians being murdered by the military and BGP personnel; to lift the international humanitarian blockade for the Rohingyas who are in dire situation due to continuous security crackdowns and curfew; to investigate the whole extent of the event and bring those responsible to justice. 

Signed by;

1. Burmese Rohingya Community in Australia (BRCA)
2. Burmese Rohingya Association in Queensland-Australia (BRAQA)

Rohingya Exodus