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Media Release from Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK

For Immediate Release 22nd May 2018


International Development Committee report must spur UK to act on Rohingya atrocities


Today’s report by the International Development Committee of the UK Parliament shines a light on ongoing ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya people in Burma and must lead to the UK government taking concrete action, said the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK.

The report calls for a “dramatic change” in the UK’s engagement with Burma, in the light of recent ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya people. The Committee also cites violations in other ethnic conflicts and shrinking space for freedom of the media and civil society as evidence of Burma’s deteriorating human rights situation. 

“This very welcome report must spur the UK government into action. The report clearly spells out that the ethnic cleansing against Rohingya in Burma means the UK cannot continue engaging with the Burmese government as if nothing has changed,” said Tun Khin, President of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK).

“The continued refusal of the UK government and the international community as a whole to take serious action against the Burmese military is sending a dangerous signal that atrocities will be accepted. There is no question that the genocidal policies of the Burmese military are still continuing. The worst of the violence may be over, but our people are still being driven from our homes through forced starvation and systemic discrimination.”

In February, a delegation from the International Development Committee was refused visas to enter Burma at the last minute. Burma has also denied access to other international observers, notably members of the UN Fact-Finding Mission, which was established in 2017 by the Human Rights Council (HRC) to "establish the facts and circumstances" of alleged security force violations

The UK must push for justice

In August 2017, the Myanmar military launched an operation in Rakhine State that was characterised by human rights violations that amounted to crimes against humanity. Thousands of people were killed, hundreds of homes burned down and at least 693,000 people were forced to flee across the border into neighbouring Bangladesh.

So far, the Burmese authorities – both the military and the civilian government headed by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi – have refused to commit to providing justice and hold those responsible for violations to account. BROUK has urged the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Burma to the International Criminal Court. Since Burma is not a party to the ICC and has not accepted the court's jurisdiction, only the Security Council can refer the situation to the Court.

“We urge the UK government to do everything it can to ensure that the UN Security Council refers the situation in Burma to the International Criminal Court. There must be justice for the crimes against the Rohingya people to break this cycle of abuse. The Burmese military and civilian government are both unable and unwilling to hold perpetrators to account – the hope for accountability now lies with the international community,” said Tun Khin.

For more information, please contact Tun Khin +44 7888714866.



ERC demands Australian government to do a thorough investigation on the death a Rohingya refugee in PNG island


May 22, 2018

The European Rohingya Council (ERC) is shocked by the preventable and premature death of a 52-year old Rohingya Salim, who was sent to and kept in a remote Papua New Guinea island by Australian authority. According the report, he died after jumping from a moving bus near a refugee transition center. It is also reported that he had suffered from a medical problem for a long time. ERC believes that Mr. Salim took his life due to unbearable condition of such a long time detention in the island and died of medical negligence. ERC also believes that his death could be prevented if Australian authority addressed his suffering and treated his medical condition timely. 

Therefore, ERC demands Australian government to do a proper investigation and release the details report on the death of Mr. Salim. ERC also urges to grant asylum to all of the Rohingya kept in detention center for a long time or resettle them into third countries in order to avoid such horrible, and unnecessary loss of human lives. ERC wants to assure the Australian government that Rohingya are forced to flee their ancestral homeland by Myanmar’s genocidal persecution. 


Contact: Dr. Hla Kyaw, Chairman, European Rohingya Council - +31 6 52358202



RB News
May 20, 2018

Maungdaw -- Two Rohingya women have been detained by the Myanmar Police over the allegation of illegally returning to the country from the Bangladesh Refugee Camps, according to reliable sources.

The women were detained by the Myanmar anti-trafficking police on May 12, while crossing the bridge of Shujah (Shwe Zar) village in northern Maungdaw.

However, it has been learnt that the women were simply returning home from Bangladesh after having emergency medical surgeries and treatments (in Bangladesh).

"4 months ago, Ma Sufaira, 22, d/o U Mohammed Nasim, from 'Maung Ni hamlet of Myoma Kayintan village,' suffered from bone-fracture in her arm and went to Bangladesh for surgery. The doctor fixed the bone by inserting steel-plate and asked her to re-visit him after 4 months to remove the plate.

"Now, 4 months after, on May 12, as Sufaira along with her sister was returning from Bangladesh after having the 2nd surgery to remove the steel-plate, their taxi was stopped by the anti-trafficking police led by Captain San Min while they were crossing 'the Shujah (Shwe Zar) Bridge' under the allegation of returning home from the refugee camps illegally. The police arrested the 2 women and released the taxi driver after extorting Kyat 100,000. They (the women) have been detained in the Maungdaw Police Detention since then," said a local in Maungdaw.

Our attempts to reach to the Maungdaw Police for comments on this have remained unsuccessful.

However, further reports have verified the CLAIM -- that the 2 women were not the refugees in Bangladesh camps but returning their home after having medical treatments and surgeries in Bangladesh -- with the FACT that they took part in the 'Census (Head-counts)' conducted by the authorities against the Rohingya population in Maungdaw District in 2018 (after over 700,000 people fled to Bangladesh to escape from genocidal violence against Rohingya in 2017).

Furthermore, 2 Rohingya men -- U Yunose, 48, s/o U Khin Maung and U Lala Yar, 33 -- from Myoma Taung Quarter (Quarter 2) returned home after having medical treatments in Bangladesh last week. Two days after their return, Police Captain San Min, the same police officer that has now arrested the 2 women, extorted Kyat 350,000 each from them after accusing them of illegally returning home from the Bangladesh refugee camps.

A human rights activist in Maungdaw anonymously said "these people are not illegally returning home from the Bangladesh camps. They all took part in the Census (head-counts). Since the government has denied the Rohingya people from access to medical treatments and healthcare, the people need to go to Bangladesh for that. That's the purpose why these people also have gone to Bangladesh and subsequently returned. 

"But the enforcement authorities are knowingly persecuting the Rohingya people and extorting money from them. Above all, what's so ILLEGAL for one in returning to his/her HOME?"

The Myanmar Government has barred the Rohingya people in Maungdaw District from travelling to Sittwe (Akyab) and Yangon, Myanmar's (unofficial) Capital, even in the case of medical emergency since 2012. Therefore, Rohingya people with chronic diseases and medical emergencies, they need to go to Bangladesh for treatments and surgeries. 


[Reported by Rohingya Eye; Edited by M.S. Anwar]

Please email to: editor@rohingyablogger.com to send your reports and feedback.






By Antoni Slodkowski
May 18, 2018

YANGON -- The U.S. government’s aid chief said on Friday he believes in American aid engagement and development work in Myanmar, and the Rohingya crisis is an “impediment” to that work, not a reason to scale back assistance. 

Mark Green, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is in Myanmar for a three-day visit that follows a trip to the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, and Rohingya refugee camps in southeast Bangladesh. 

Some Asian leaders have been wary about U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy and his commitment to the region, especially after he walked away from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact in 2016 in the name of protecting U.S. jobs. 

“When challenges are there, I don’t believe they get better by America pulling back ... I very much believe in what we do,” Green said in Myanmar’s main city of Yangon after meeting government leader Aung San Suu Kyi in the capital, Naypyitaw. 

Green said he believed in American engagement in Myanmar and the importance of “development tools” and “humanitarian assistance”. 

“We want to do more. We want to do good things, we want to do big things,” said Green.

On Thursday, Green told reporters in Dhaka the United States would provide $44 million in additional aid for the Rohingya and vulnerable populations in Myanmar and Bangladesh. 

According to U.N. estimates, nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh from Buddhist-majority Myanmar’s Rakhine State to escape a military crackdown since August, launched in response to Rohingya insurgent attacks. 

Refugees have told of numerous incidents of murder, rape and arson by Myanmar troops and Buddhist vigilantes, which the United States and United Nations have called “ethnic cleansing”. 

Myanmar has denied nearly all of the allegations, saying its security forces have been waging a legitimate counter-insurgency operation against Rohingya “terrorists”. 


“This is a country that I think has tremendous potential. There’s an impediment to that work - and that is the crisis that we’re talking about - but we believe that in the long-term future we can address this impediment,” said Green, referring to the Rohingya crisis. 

He has called on Myanmar to end violence against the Rohingya and to provide humanitarian workers and media unhindered access in the country. 

Green and other American officials on the trip also said the return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar should be dignified, voluntary and safe and that their rights and security in Myanmar must be guaranteed. 

Reporting by Antoni Slodkowski

Tawakkol Karman

May 12, 2018

Tawakkol Karman, a Nobel Peace Prize winner from Yemen, yesterday said what Myanmar did to the Rohingyas was “genocide”.

“We have visited the Rohingya camps recently and talked with over a hundred women and girls who are victims of sexual violence,” she said at a symposium organised by Asian University for Women (AUW) in Chittagong.

“They described us the barbarity committed before their eyes... they witnessed their kids or parents being slaughtered and shot dead in front of their eyes...their houses were burnt in front of them.

“Thousands of Rohingya people have been compelled to leave their houses,” she said, terming these incidents “genocide”.

Tawakkol was addressing the symposium titled “A Bridge Towards Sustainable Development: Overcoming Threats to Survival” held in a hotel in the port city.

The first Yemeni Nobel laureate said the world is now facing a moral deterioration as genocide and violence are going on in its different parts in the absence of international community.

“More than 500,000 people have been killed in Syria because they said they wanted freedom,” she said.

Human beings deserve democracy and freedom, she said, adding, democracy is a must for development and development is essential for peace.

Tawakkol then urged the students of AUW to fight against corruption and for justice. “Corruption leads to poverty,” she said.

“Your victory begins through your leadership,” she said, adding, “Be a leader in every field you are contributing... if you want to change, lead the change.”

Pramila Patten, special representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sexual-Violence in Conflict and UN Under Secretary General, said sectarian violence has been left unpunished for a long time.

She said what Myanmar did to the Rohingyas was “war crime”.

“Many witnesses told me many girls and women were literally raped to death,” she said, adding, “Not a single soldier or commander has been made accountable for their offence.”

“I would like to congratulate both the government and the people of Bangladesh for saving the lives of the Rohingya people,” she said, urging the world to stand beside Bangladesh.

“It is not the problem of Bangladesh, it is the problem of international community and I think the ball is now in the court of the international community.”

Ismail Serageldin, former vice president of World Bank and founding director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, said the world should keep open the door for the refugees.

Izzeldin Abuelaish, a professor of the University of Toronto, termed the persecution of the Rohingyas “crime against humanity”.

“The Rohingyas have been living in Myanmar for decades. So, the Myanmar government should recognise them,” he said at the programme.

Kamal Ahmad, founder of AUW, and Prof Nirmala Rao, vice-chancellor of the university, also spoke among others.

Rohingya families arrive at a UNHCR transit centre near the village of Anjuman Para, Cox’s Bazar, south-east Bangladesh after spending four days stranded at the Myanmar border with some 6,800 refugees. (Photo: UNHCR/Roger Arnold)

By UN News
May 11, 2018

Late last year, as violent repression in Myanmar sent Rohingyas fleeing to safety in Bangladesh, women from the mainly Muslim minority were subjected to what a United Nations official called “a frenzy of sexual violence”.

Now, a surge in births among these women is imminent, according to aid officials working in the vast refugee camps in the Cox’s Bazar region. And in possibly thousands of cases, aid workers believe, the pregnancies resulted from rape — a source of silent anguish among the mothers and likely stigma for the newborns.

With the monsoon season fast approaching in Bangladesh, United Nations agencies and their partners are struggling to protect nearly 700,000 Rohingya refugees from disaster and disease. Providing proper medical care in the camps is a severe challenge at best, and one made more difficult by the wrenching legacy of sexual violence.

The displaced population includes an estimated 40,000 pregnant women, UN officials estimate, many of whom are expected to give birth in coming weeks. An unknown but significant share of these pregnancies, aid officials believe, resulted from rapes committed by members of the Myanmar army and allied militants.

Pregnancies resulting from “what we believe could have been a frenzy of sexual violence in August and September last year could come to term very soon”, Andrew Gilmour, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, told UN News. “So, we are expecting a surge of births.”

In March, Mr. Gilmour travelled to Cox’s Bazar on Bangladesh’s south-east coast, where the refugees have settled in camps and makeshift clearings after escaping violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Pregnant women fear stigma

Fearing stigma, sometimes feeling depressed or shamed, pregnant refugee women are often reluctant to admit that they were raped, according to medical and aid workers in the camp. But these workers, from non-governmental groups, told Mr. Gilmour that “they can just see from the faces of the girls who are pregnant that something terrible happened”, he reported.



“And there is no joy whatsoever,” he said, “and nor is there any talk of a husband, either back home or with them in the camps.”

While more than 200,000 were already living in neighbouring Bangladesh, hundreds of thousands more fled across the border since last August as violence spiralled in northern Rakhine state.

Rohingya homes were looted, villages razed and civilians killed in what the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said appeared to be: “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”. As in many past and current conflicts, women and girls were priority targets.

Women 'profoundly traumatized'

The latest UN report on conflict-related sexual violence, issued in March, charged that members of the Myanmar Armed Forces, at times acting jointly with local militias, used rape, gang rape, forced public nudity and other sexual attacks as part of a strategy to drive the Rohingya from their homes.

Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, flew to Bangladesh in November to meet with refugees. All the Rohingya women and girls that she spoke to, she said, reported either enduring sexual violence or witnessing it.

“I met a number of profoundly traumatized women who related how their daughters were allegedly raped inside their home and left to perish when the houses were torched,” Ms. Patten told the Security Council.

“Some witnesses reported women and girls being tied to either a rock or a tree before multiple soldiers literally raped them to death,” she said. “Many reported having witnessed family members, friends and neighbours being slaughtered in front of them. The two words that echoed across every account I heard were ‘slaughter’ and ‘rape’.”

Ms. Patten had dispatched an expert team ahead of her visit, comprising representatives of a UN inter-agency network that advocates for ending conflict-related sexual violence and supporting survivors.

Her Chief of Staff, Tonderai Chikuhwa, who headed that mission, said it was among the most shocking he has experienced. With a continuing influx of desperate refugees, he recalled, the trauma was “so visceral, so raw, so immediate”.

Sexual violence in conflict, such as rape as a weapon of war, is “the most underreported human rights violation”, Mr. Chikuhwa said in an interview with UN News.

The cycle of sexual violence and stigma is a repeating one in conflicts around the world, and even has intergeneration impacts, he said.

In Bosnia, he noted, Ms. Patten met with survivors of wartime sexual violence that occurred 20 years before. The grown children of those survivors still suffered from the stigma of their origins, leaving some of them to “live on the margins of society”, he said.

In Bangladesh, Mr. Chikuhwa said, there are now fears that women and children in the camps could fall victim to traffickers. That’s one of the major concerns that Ms. Patten is looking into during a follow-up mission to Cox’s Bazar this week, he noted.

Monsoon rains inflict further hardship

Although the monsoon season in Bangladesh does not officially start until June, heavy rains and winds earlier this month had Rohingya children scuttling to the roofs of their family shelters to keep the plastic sheeting from blowing away.

And while Bangladesh has been praised for its support for the refugees, conditions in Cox’s Bazar remain challenging due to the sheer number of people crammed into what is now the world’s largest refugee camp.

Mr. Gilmour fears monsoon conditions could inflict further hardship on Rohingya women who have already suffered immensely and who now lack access to adequate medical services as they approach childbirth.

“It will be even harder for them when the rains prevent access because there will be serious flooding, we fear,” he said. “There may be landslides, there may be a cholera outbreak, there may be many things that will make it even harder for the girls to get the medical attention they so desperately need,” he said.

Women and girls who have been raped also need to see that justice is served.

Though difficult to achieve, it is not impossible, as proven by the 2016 conviction of former Congolese rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba for crimes committed by forces under his command in the Central African Republic.

The UN Special Court for Sierra Leone, as well as UN tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, have also prosecuted sexual violence cases.

Mr. Gilmour said the Rohingya refugees, themselves, have made accountability a pre-condition for returning to Myanmar.

“Obviously, they don’t want to go back if they feel that the soldiers who may have raped them, killed their relatives, burned their houses, are going around with impunity and liable to do something similar again,” he said.

“But on top of that, in a more general sense, it is vital that there is accountability,” he said, “to send a message to other people who might be tempted to carry out such horrific crimes in the future.”



By Habib Siddiqui
RB Opinion
May 9, 2018

The Rohingyas are victims of a ‘slow-burning genocide’ that is perpetrated as a national project in Buddhist Myanmar (formerly Burma). Some 700,000 Rohingyas have been forced out of their ancestral homes in western Rakhine (formerly Arakan) state since September 2017 to seek refuge inside Cox’s Bazar of Bangladesh. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas have also been living as internally displaced persons (IDPs) inside the Apartheid Myanmar since 2012. The International Rescue Committee (Nov. 15, 2017) estimated that there were 75,000 victims of gender-based violence (meaning rape), and that 45% of the Rohingya women attending safe spaces in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh had reported such attacks. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has estimated that at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed in the first month of the crackdown alone. Credible estimates suggest that tens of thousands of Rohingyas may have been killed by Tatmadaw (Myanmar security forces that are more commonly known as the ‘rapist army’) and their civilian partners-in-crime within the mostly Rakhine Buddhist population. 

According to satellite imagery (March 2018), more than 360 Rohingya villages had been partially or completely destroyed by Buddhist forces since August, with at least 55 villages completely bulldozed, removing all traces of buildings, wells and vegetation. 

An international conference on “Rohingya Crisis and Solution” was convened on May 2, 2018 in Cologne, Germany. It was hosted by the Hasene IGMG (a not-for-profit organization of Turkish people working in Germany) and attended by some 500 participants from all over the globe and comprised representatives from the diplomatic corps, international organisations, human rights groups, academia, civil society, non-governmental organisations and media, as well as leaders of the Rohingya organisations. 

Muhammad Turhan, Mesud Gulbahar and Kemal Ergun from Hasene IGMG welcomed the attendees to Cologne, which is the fourth most populated city in Germany. The keynote speech for the morning session was delivered by Philip Ruddock, ex-MP (1973-2016) who had served as a cabinet minister during the Howard Government and then as the Attorney General. He highlighted the importance of holding the murderous Myanmar regime accountable for its genocidal crimes. The speakers and panelists included Professor Abid Bahar (from Montreal, Canada), Prof. Michael Charney (University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies), Jacob Sterken (from Canada) who is the co-founder of the Euro-Burma Office, and Nurul Islam, Chairman of ARNO (Arakan Rohingya National Organization). They discussed various aspects of history of Arakan showing the indigenous root of the Rohingya people there. 

Mr. Islam thanked Bangladesh government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for letting the fleeing Rohingya refugees to take shelter inside Bangladesh and for bringing their plight to the international community, including the UN. He and other speakers urged the Government of Bangladesh not to forcibly resettle the refugees inside Myanmar until and unless they are truly secured with equal rights as citizens of Myanmar. 

The keynote speaker for the second session was Tansri Dr. Syed Hamid Albar who had held multiple ministerial positions in Malaysia, including the foreign ministry. He discussed how the government of Myanmar had abused the openness shown by the ASEAN that did not want to interfere in internal affairs of a fellow block member. The speakers and panelists included (besides myself) Dr. Maung Zarni (from the UK) – a fellow human rights activist and Burmese dissident, Imam Dr. Abdul Malik Mujahid (Chairman, Burma Task Force, USA) and Mehmet Ozturk of Anadolu Agency. 

The theme of the second panel discussion was around genocidal crimes against the Rohingyas of Myanmar. We stated categorically that genocide is a process that goes through several stages; it does not happen by accident but is a deliberate act with warning signs. We also reiterated that Myanmar had committed four out of the five acts of genocide as spelled out by the 1948 Convention on the Punishment and Prevention of the Crime of Genocide, while just one of those acts is sufficient to incriminate a group or state for such crimes. 

We urged the international community to punish the criminals – state and non-state actors – including those (e.g., fascist academics like Dr. Aye Chan and bigoted monks like Wirathu) who provoked (and continue to provoke) genocidal crimes against the Rohingya people. Dr. Mujahid shared the opposition routinely faced by Burma Task Force – an advocacy group for human rights in Burma - from the lobby groups representing India, Indonesia and the Jewelry merchant group in the U.S. State Department. He also shared information that the Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch – two of the major human rights groups - are opposed to any comprehensive sanction imposed on Myanmar, thus, making the task of changing the policy in Washington D.C. an arduous one, if not a zero-sum activity. 

We, the speakers, highlighted the fact that genocide against Rohingya has continued this long because of ignoring early warning signs since at least the early 1990s when some 270,000 Rohingyas were forced to take shelter inside Bangladesh when Pyi Thaya operation was launched by the Myanmar security forces. It was the second such massive operation in 14 years when Naga Min (King Dragon) operation in 1978-79 forced the exodus of nearly 300,000 Rohingyas to Bangladesh. Even the 2012 genocidal pogroms that led to internal displacement of nearly 150,000 Rohingyas were not taken seriously by the international community, including the next-door Bangladesh government, despite serious urging from human rights activists and genocide experts/scholars. 

The keynote speaker for the third session was Professor David Scheffer who is the Mayer Brown/Robert A. Helman Professor of Law, and Director, Center for International Human Rights at the Northwestern University, Chicago, USA. He joined via Skype and discussed issues surrounding genocidal and war crimes. The speakers and panelists included Dhaka University (Bangladesh) professors of International Relations: Drs. Chowdhury R. Abrar and Imtiaz Ahmed. The other speakers included Harn Yawnghwe who is the Executive Director of Euro-Burma Office (and son of Burma’s fist president – Sao Shwe Thaike) and Amir Ahmic, Liaison Officer at International Criminal Tribunal (Bosnia). 

The speakers shared their experiences in dealing with genocidal crimes perpetrated against the Rohingyas and Bosnians (in former Yugoslavia). They called for ‘Protected Return to Protected Homeland’ for the Rohingya people. They highlighted the importance of providing formal education to the Rohingya children in refugee camps. They also raised the issues surrounding raped victims, their pregnancy and children, and that more international funding is necessary to address such issues immediately. The speakers also discussed the ‘Suu Kyi’ factor and how democracy went backward rather than moving forward under her de-factor leadership in Myanmar. She is a complicit to the genocidal crimes perpetrated by her security forces. They also urged concerned global citizens, esp. lawyers and legal experts, to file cases implicating members of the Myanmar government and military for their genocidal crimes against the Rohingya people. They also urged all to boycott Made-in-Myanmar products to create pressure on the criminal government of Myanmar to change its course so that the Rohingyas are integrated as equal citizens with all their rights preserved inside their ancestral homeland of Arakan.

The last session of the day was chaired by Dr. Graham Thom who has worked as Amnesty International Australia’s Refugee Coordinator since May 2000. Regina Paulose, J.D., an attorney specializing on International Criminal Law and Razia Sultana, a Rohingya lawyer who grew up as a refugee inside Bangladesh, and is the founder of Rohingya Women Welfare, joined via Skype, sharing their views on international law as these pertain to Myanmar’s genocidal crimes against the Rohingya people, esp. females. 

Munira Subasic who had lost 22 family members in Srebrenica in July 1995 to Serbian genocidal criminals and was a primary eye-witness at The Hague International Court shared her insights about dealing with the pains of being a survivor to genocide, esp. the fact that while the Bosnian genocide stopped some two decades ago the Serbian criminals that killed his family members and raped so many women (and little girls) are still alive and continue to work and roam around unscathed within the Serbian territory of the new republic. She urged resoluteness in dealing with the Rohingya genocide and never to give up in demanding and to seeing justice carried out against the perpetrators of a genocide. 

Beini Ye who works as the Legal Officer of Open Society Justice Initiative in the UK shared her expertise in legal matters dealing with the Rohingya genocide. She said that the Myanmar’s rapist military have been using rape as a weapon of war to terrorize the Rohingya community permanently. The ‘rapist’ military has had used similar tactics in its war against ethnic rebels in the border territories. 

A lively questions and answers session followed each panel discussion. The conference ended with a note of solidarity with the Rohingya people and called upon the international community to stop the Rohingya genocide and to prosecute the criminals for perpetrating and/or inciting genocidal crimes against them. 

The speakers and attendees thanked Hasene International and its organizers for their generosity in hosting this much-needed international conference in Germany.



May 9, 2018

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has wanted to know Bangladesh's opinion on whether The Hague-based court has jurisdiction to run a case on atrocities against Rohingyas.

The pre-trial chamber of the ICC has sent a letter in this regard on Monday and sought Bangladesh's opinion by June 11 either publicly or confidentially.

"The chamber hereby invites the competent authorities of Bangladesh to submit written observations, either publicly or confidentially, on the prosecutor's request no later than 11 June," reads the letter, a copy of which obtained by UNB.

The chamber invited the competent authorities of Bangladesh to submit written observations, either publicly or confidentially, on the three specific matters.

These are (i) the circumstances surrounding the presence of members of the Rohingya people from Myanmar on the territory of Bangladesh; (ii) the possibility of the Court's exercise of territorial jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of members of the Rohingya people from Myanmar into Bangladesh; and (iii) any other matter in connection with the prosecutor's request that, in the opinion of the competent authorities of Bangladesh, would assist the chamber in its determination of this request.

The chamber ordered the registrar to notify this decision to the competent authorities of Bangladesh together with a copy of the prosecutor's request.

A senior official at the foreign ministry said the government received the letter and is considering the matter.

Reading the content of the letter, the official said, Bangladesh has been affected due to influx from Myanmar and the chamber thinks is it right to seek opinion from Bangladesh.

On 9 April, the prosecutor submitted her request in pursuant to regulation 46(3) of the regulations of the court and article 19(3) of the Rome Statute.

On 11 April, the president of the Pre-Trial Division assigned the prosecutor's request to the Chamber.

In the request, the prosecutor seeks a ruling from the chamber on the question whether the Court may exercise jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of more than 670,000 members of the Rohingya people from Myanmar into Bangladesh.

The specific legal matter arising from this request is whether the court may exercise territorial jurisdiction over alleged acts of deportation of persons from the territory of Myanmar (a State not party to the Statute) into the territory of Bangladesh (a State party to the Statute.

Rule 103(1) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence provides that any stage of the proceedings, a chamber may, if it considers it desirable for the proper determination of the case, invite or grant leave to a State, organization or person to submit, in writing or orally, any observation on any issue that the chamber deems appropriate."

Bangladesh has been particularly affected by the events concerning the deportation of Rohingya people from Myanmar.

Accordingly, the chamber considers it appropriate to seek observations from the competent authorities of Bangladesh on the prosecutor's request.

Such observations would, in these particular circumstances, assist the chamber in its determination of the request sub judice.

Bangladesh currently has a Rohingya population, which is far more than Bhutan's entire population.

Bhutan has around 800,000 people whereas Bangladesh had to give shelter to some 1.2 million Rohingyas.

Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a repatriation agreement on 23 November 2017. On 16 January, Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a document on 'Physical Arrangement' which will facilitate the return of Rohingyas to their homeland from Bangladesh.

The 'Physical Arrangement' stipulates that the repatriation will be completed preferably within two years from the start of repatriation but the repatriation on the ground is yet to take place.



By Fatima Moosa
May 9, 2018

After last year’s condemnation around the violence which was being committed against the Rohingya Muslims, the world seems to have gone silent once more around the issue. A pair of activists are doing something to make sure their plight isn’t forgotten. Nay San Lwin is a activist and blogger who runs a blog site, Rohingya Blogger which narrates the on the ground experiences of the Rohingya Muslims who have been facing persecution in Myanmar. Shafiur Rahman is a journalist and documentary maker who has made a doccie about the Rohingya. The pair are currently in South Africa on a tour speaking about the genocide and international solidarity. The Daily Vox team spoke to them about the need for awareness of the plight of the Rohingya.

Lwin has been running the blog, which was started by his father, since 2012. He leads a local network of activists based in Rakhine state in Myanmar who report on what is happening. Some of them are now in Bangladesh.

Lwin was recently in Bangladesh: “I was there organising education projects because the students there don’t have any education. Even when they were in Myanmar they didn’t have the education aspects so I am trying to create something and in South Africa as well. With students and teachers to go and teach there.”

His blog has been widely recognised by the international community and diplomats who read the updates. Lwin says the local authority also respond whenever we post updates. On the blog there is an English and Burmese section because Lwin says they have to write everything in Burmese for the local people and authority.

On why he thinks it is important for people to know about the persecution, Lwin says people are not just facing normal persecution and it is a genocide.

“It is going on for the past 40 years. Since 1978, and the people at the time there was no internet, there was no telephone line. That’s why people didn’t know but nowaday we have the internet and the mobile phones and people have access to the social media so we came to know more about the Rohingya situation. It is very important that these people are facing the genocide and it has to be stopped. The people who are now more than a billion in Bangladesh, they have lost everything and have to rebuild their lives so the global citizen must support the end of their sufferings. They also want to live as a dignified person. So the awareness is very much important,” adds Lwin.

While the bloggers are doing very important work on the ground, Lwin says it is very dangerous because the media and the journalists are not allowed to report on the area so the people who are reporting on the violence are considered the enemy of the state. “They cannot reveal the identity, they cannot even say anything about the violence in public. They will be arrested. There are some people who got arrested because they were discovered they are sending the updated information to the media and to me. They are still some people who are in jail.”

Rahman made a documentary about the violence which was happening in the Rakhine state after visiting the place in 2016. He spoke to 20 victims of sexual violence.

“[They were] extremely eager to speak to me. [They] removed their veils saying they took away our dignity so when we’re confronting our violators and attackers, we’re not going to speak behind our veils.”

Rahman says those were difficult testimonies to hear but that documentary led him to follow these women for about six months.

“And that showed up the dangers they had to face. Within one month, one of the girls had been trafficked. Refugee camps are dangerous. People fall prey to malnutrition and trafficking and environmental issues like landslides. [It’s a] difficult place to be.” Rahman says.

With regards to the response to his work, Rahman says the documentary, Tula Toli, showed the pre-planning that took place from the testimonies of the villagers and one could see this was very much planned massacre.

“The response has been great. People were shocked at the brutality and horror of it all. That the military can commit such atrocities with impunity, throwing babies into fire. Mass killings and mass burnings of villages. People were shocked that this was going on and the international community not doing anything commensurately in response.”

He says as a journalist and a documentary-maker, he’d been in difficult situations and difficult places but this was so overwhelming and was truly emotionally impactful.

Regarding the South Africa tour, Lwin and Rahman are here to spread awareness on the plight of the Rohingya people. They also want the South African government and organisations to revoke two awards from Aung San Suu Kyi. The awards are the Gandhi Memorial Award and an honorary doctorate from the University of Johannesburg.

Lwin says she doesn’t deserve it because she is complicit with the genocide and taken side with the military and has helped cover up the crime.

With regards to South Africa’s role, Lwin says South Africa has abstained from voting on the issue in the United Nations and that needs to be changed in the future.

“South Africa as a country needs to pressure the UN to take strong action against military and government in Myanmar. The United Nations has been failing since 1992 and have never taken any action,” says Lwin. He also says the UN needs to start labelling the situation in the Rakhine state as a genocide.

In South Africa, Rahman wants to get through to people that there is a conspiracy of silence. He also wants to inform people that what is going on isn’t just a Muslim issue – it’s a genocide.

“What’s required is investigations on the ground which Myanmar will not allow. People need to be informed and take whatever action they can take. And concretely bring attention that SA has given two awards which need to be revoked… What is happening is genocide. [It’s] said never again but it’s happening all over again. People need to step up and act,” Rahman says about what South Africans and the international community needs to do.

To find out more about Lwin and Rahman’s tour, follow @ProtectRohingya on Twitter.

Rohingya refugees line up to receive blankets outside Kutupalong refugee settlement near Cox's Bazar, November 24, 2017. PHOTO: SUSANA VERA/REUTERS

By C R Abrar
May 9, 2018

THIS week has experienced a flurry of diplomatic activities centring the Rohingya issue. Principal among those was what has been dubbed a “historic and highly unusual” visit of an important delegation of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to Bangladesh and Burma. Quite understandably, the visit drew attention of various quarters—states, international agencies, refugee and rights organisations, and most importantly, the hapless Rohingyas who have been “living in mud and shacks, with no hope and no future, no nation and no identity, no past and no future.”

During its visit, the delegation should have experienced two contrasting scenarios. On the one hand, in Kutupalong refugee camp and in the no-man's land, they heard heart-wrenching testimonies of scores of survivors of the ongoing genocide—horrifying tales of mass murder, rape, torture, tossing of children in raging fire, torching of homes and hearths and systematic expulsion of an ethnic community whose identity and claims to citizenship have been meticulously dismantled over the last four decades by a state that has little regard for human rights, which the world body so fervently champions (at least in theory). The delegation also heard how a resource-poor and one of the most densely populated countries of the world, has lived up to its commitment to uphold the UN Charter and the lofty principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in sheltering more than a million of refugees in distress. While UN diplomats heap massive praise on Bangladesh for its generosity and compassion, the organisation has so far failed to do the heavy-lifting in mobilising resources and garnering political will in addressing the root cause of Burma's genocide.

On the other hand, the delegation met representatives of a regime that not only perpetrated perhaps the most gruesome crime against humanity this century has ever witnessed, in fulfilling its long-term genocidal agenda to free Arakan of ethnic Rohingyas, but also blatantly flouted the UN Charter and UDHR, and since the outbreak of current crisis in August 2017, repeatedly hoodwinked the security council that called for bringing an end to the current humanitarian crisis.

By now the authorities in Naypyidaw have established themselves as masters of the art of deception. Time and again they have promised the UNSC that effective action would be taken to create an enabling environment for the return of Rohingyas who are languishing in refugee settlements in Bangladesh. The delegation does not need reminding that till date not a single case of repatriation has taken place, save the staged repatriation of five Rohingya individuals out of a million who have been deported.

Befitting the adage “giving the devil its due”, the astute policy planners of Burma have been immensely successful in manipulating the UNSC. As early as September 2017, Burma informed the UNSC that it was prepared to start the repatriation at any time. The country's National Security Advisor U Thaung Tun assured the UNSC that repatriation would take place by using the framework worked out jointly by Bangladesh and Burma in 1992. However, despite such a pledge, seven months have passed with no sign of repatriation. Under the memorandum of understanding with Bangladesh, Burma promised to stem the flow of refugees. In less than two weeks after signing the document, more than 100,000 Rohingyas crossed the border into Bangladesh. Anticipating the security council's displeasure over its inaction, Naypyidaw was smart enough to cook up yet another scheme—the Union Enterprise Mechanism, with the purported aim to extend humanitarian assistance and resettlement of repatriated Rohingyas. The UNSC fell into the trap and in a presidential statement it “welcomed” the signing of the memorandum with Bangladesh and the formation of the Union Enterprise Mechanism.

Despite its explicit commitment to UNSC to cooperate with Bangladesh in expediting the repatriation process, in contrast to 1992 accord, Burma further tightened the eligibility criteria for the Rohingyas' return and the verification process, thwarting any substantive effort for repatriation. In essence, it rebuffed the calls made by the UNSC in its two meetings held in September and November 2017.

The Burmese swindlers made best use of November 23 agreement with Bangladesh to stave off UNSC criticism for not progressing with repatriation. In a December UNSC meeting, Burma's envoy to UN informed the council that repatriation would begin within the next two months. While the gullible world body appeared to have fallen for the hoax, true to its colour, a week before the commencement of repatriation (on 22 January), Burma demanded family-wise list of Rohingyas—a demand that Bangladesh subsequently complied with.

Even though the Burmese threw in a spanner in the latest effort of repatriation, its minister for international cooperation, Kyaw Tin, claimed that his country was ready to welcome refugees and held Bangladesh responsible for the delay. One hopes while assessing the sequence of stalled repatriation, eminent members of the UNSC delegation would bear in mind the subterfuges that the Burmese resorted to in undermining the repatriation effort.

In their meeting with the UNSC delegation, Rohingya refugees handed over a 13-point demand which they had earlier passed on to the visiting Burmese minister for social welfare. Included in the list were demands for restoration of their citizenship rights, bringing the perpetrators of heinous crimes to justice, ensuring international presence in Arakan, return of ancestral land confiscated by the authorities, payment of compensation for losses, presence of international media and human rights groups in Arakan, release of all political prisoners and closure of internally displaced camps. In other words, the refugee community demanded ensuring “protected return to protected homeland”—a plan that was floated in the February 2018 Rohingya conference in Berlin that has gained near unanimous acceptance of the global Rohingya community.

While briefing the press in Bangladesh, a member of the UNSC delegation noted “We don't have any magic solution in the Security Council”. May he be reminded that maintaining “world peace and security” forms the core function of the security council and the council is duty bound to deliver on both counts? All states that are members of the council are meant to act on what is good for international community and not be guided by their own selfish political, strategic and economic interests. Any departure from this would tantamount to violation of the UN Charter. Rohingyas do not want UNSC delegation to whisk around a magic wand in its search for solution. They want the UNSC to adhere to the UN Charter, in word and spirit, to ensure their protected return to protected homeland and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The influential UK permanent representative Karen Pierce observed “…it is not the Security Council's fault that there is a crisis.” Well, not quite so. For decades, the Burmese state has pursued a policy of annihilation of ethnic Rohingya considered as “the most persecuted minority in the world” by the United Nations. As the community was gradually stripped of their citizenship and other associated rights, being subjected to methodical discrimination and unleashing of spikes of violence periodically triggering massive refugee flows, the international community opted to look the other way. Rohingyas were also considered a dispensable lot as western countries raced to exploit the resources and engage in trade with the genocidal regime under the rubric of supporting democratic transition. Every veto wielder in the security council is guilty of complicity in the four decade long slow genocide. The difference in complicity among them is in degree and not in kind.

This charade is exposed when UK representative in the delegation Pierce told BBC in Burma on May 1 that there is no difference between Burma's domestic investigation and international investigation as long as Aung San Suu Kyi accepts and launches the investigation with the help of the security council. What could be crueller for the victims of genocide than the security council openly lending its collective assistance to the genocidal government to conduct such investigation into its own crimes?

Over the last four decades, the UN has failed to stop genocide and other atrocious crimes that led to death and displacement of millions (Rwanda, Bosnia, Sudan and now Burma). The onus lies on the permanent members of the security council to make the institution functional and relevant. The Rohingya case provides an opportunity for the UN's redemption. Ensuring protected return to protected homeland and bringing the perpetrators to justice is the first step in that direction.

While members of the UNSC delegation return to New York and deliberate on their whirlwind mission, one hopes they bear in mind that for the first time in the history of the august body that is tasked to maintain global peace and security, they had the rare opportunity of visiting the sites where genocide was perpetrated by a murderous regime.

C R Abrar teaches international relations at the University of Dhaka.

UNSC delegation arrive at Naypyidaw airport on April 30, 2018 to meet Suu Kyi [Photo: AFP]

by Zarni Aung (MYARF)

RB News | May 2, 2018

Maungdaw -- Rohingya youths who spoke to the members of the UN Security Council Delegation are now facing the risk of arrest by the Myanmar Military Intelligence Service, sources say.

The UNSC delegation members visited the ‘Refugee-Receiving Camps’ at 'Hla Phoe Kaung, Ngakura and Taung Pyo' in Northern Maungdaw on Tuesday (May 1). They were not allowed to meet with the Rohingya villagers there, it has been reported.

In afternoon, the delegation visited the village of ‘Pantaw Pyin (Nol Boinna)’ -- which is now the last standing Rohingya village in Southern Maungdaw and all other villages to its South were burnt down by the Myanmar military and the Rakhine extremists last year.

There, the delegation spoke to Children, Youth and Women waiting in the last rows instead of the Men prepared and placed in the front rows by the Government to speak to the delegation.

The delegation asked the children and youth "which ethnicity are you and who burned down your homes?" Amidst the fear of being targeted due to the surveillance of the Myanmar Security Forces, the youths dared to reply "Myanmar military and Rakhine extremists burned down our homes. And our ethnicity is Rohingya."

Aerial View of Burnt Rohingya Villages in Maungdaw [Photo: SS from video shared by @KarenPierceUN on Twitter]
After that, the delegation asked “what ID Cards are you holding now?" To which they replied "our grand-parents and parents had three-fold cards also called NRC (National Registration Card). The government has begun confiscating them from us since 1992 which has now made us a people without any ID Cards."

And the delegation asked "and so, why don't you accept NV Cards?" The youth replied "because our forefathers had NRC like any other ethnic people in Myanmar and we are their grand-children. We'll only accept Citizenship Card."

And "how about your movement (travelling around)" asked the delegation. The youth replied "there is a BGP Check-post at the Entry Point of every village. They harass and beat us. So, it's difficult to even go to the downtown now."

The delegation spoke to Rohingya women in the village and left afterwards.

"While the children and the youth were interacting with the UNSC delegation, SaRaPha (Myanmar’s Military Intelligence Service) shot video of them. After the delegation had left the village, SaRaPha scolded the village administrator and began to chase the youth that spoke to the delegation. They are now hiding and could be arrested by the SaRaPha anytime," said a village man on the condition of anonymity.

[Edited by M.S. Anwar]

Please email to: editor@rohingyablogger.com to send your reports and feedback.



Media Release from Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK

For Immediate Release 
2nd May 2018

BROUK welcomes Liechtenstein Support for Burma ICC Referral


Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK welcomes the support of Liechtenstein for the UN Security Council referring Burma to the International Criminal Court. 

Liechtenstein UN Twitter account, @LiechtensteinUN tweeted on 30th April:

Amb. Wenaweser at #UN event with @BenFerencz today coveys his hope that #UNSC members will return from their #Myanmar visit with renewed sense of duty to take action including #ICC referral #ACTcodeofconduct.


Despite overwhelming evidence of large scale violations of international law against the Rohingya, including evidence from several of the United Nations’ own agencies, members of the United Nations Security Council have refused to support referring Burma to the International Criminal Court. The United Nations has stated that these violations of international law are so serious that they could constitute genocide. 

Rohingya organisations worldwide have been calling for years for the UN Security Council to refer Burma to the International Criminal Court. Had they done so, the current crisis might never have happened. 

Kachin civil society organisations, also suffering from large scale violations of international law, have also called on the United Nations Security Council to ‘do their job’ and refer Burma to the International Criminal Court.


“We would like to thank the government of Lichtenstein for supporting a UNSC referral of Burma to the International Criminal Court,” said Tun Khin President of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK. “Lichtenstein is showing principled leadership. We need to build a global consensus, not just of Security Council Membership, but all UN members, to overcome potential opposition by some Security Council members. The UK can’t claim leadership on this issue when it is dragging its feet and refusing to support an ICC referral. It is time Boris Johnson stopped blocking Foreign Office backing for an ICC referral.”

For more information please contact, Tun Khin +44 7888714866.

RB News
May 1, 2018

Buthidaung -- Ethnic Rohingya villagers are being subjected to forced labor by Buthidaung-based Myanmar military regiment (551) and LID (15).

According to the villagers of 'Ah Thwin Nget Thae', 25-30 Rohingyas from the village are forced by the military at the regiment (551) to clean the camps, wash their clothes, cook for them, feed their pigs and more.

Before they (Rohingya) return home in the evening after working for the whole day, they are forced to sign on a blank page. Sometimes, their village administrator is forced to sign an acknowledgement that these forced labors are paid.

"(The military) force (us) to do the work the whole day. They pay us not a single penny, rather we are forced to sign a blank page. Village administration is also forced to acknowledge that they (the forced labours) are paid. The forced labours are demanded through the village administration," said a villager asking not to be named.

If the villagers do not go for forced-laboring as per the order, then the Military personnel would go on rampage in the village and; catch and hold the cattle belonging to Rohingya on ransom. And the villagers have to pay Kyat 400,000-500,000 to get these cattle back, say the villagers.

Besides, every week, 10 Rohingya villagers from 'U Hla Phay' are forced to work for the military without pay.

Likewise, 10 Rohingya villagers each from 'Ah Thwin Nget Thae,' and 'Tappyo Chaung' are summoned by the military at LID (15) to work as forced labors, sources added.

[Translated by Sabit Hamid]

Please email to: editor@rohingyablogger.com to send your reports and feedback.



U Mohammed Hanif, 48, was apparently killed today [Photo: Saeed Arakani/RB News]


RB News
May 1, 2018

Sittwe (Akyab) -- An internally displaced Rohingya man was found dead in Sittwe (Akyab) Township this (May 1) evening.

The man identified as U Mohammed Hanif s/o U Goni Miya, 48, was apparently killed around 6pm today. He was found dead with blood spilling all over his head and body at 'Cyclone Center' nearby 'Manzi' Police Station.

"He is an IDP living at 'Ohn Taw Gyi' camp. He was found dead at around 6pm and the Cyclone Center where he was found dead is an abandoned place where people go and rest nearby 'Manzi' police station.

“And the Police from the Police-Post often carelessly and brutally beat Rohingya passers-by," said an eyewitness to RB News.


After Police has sealed the place of the crime [Photo: Saeed Arakani/RB News]

It looks like a murder and the possible murderers could be the police personnel from the ‘Mansi’ Police Post, according to our initial investigations.

The police have currently blocked all public access to the crime scene and took the dead-body for post-mortem to Sittwe General Hospital at 7:30pm.

[Reported by Saeed Arakani; Edited by M.S. Anwar]

Please email to: editor@rohingyablogger.com to send your reports and feedback.

United Nations Security Council envoys pose for a photograph with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after their meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh, April 30, 2018. REUTERS/Michelle Nichols

By Michelle Nichols
April 30, 2018

DHAKA -- Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked the U.N. Security Council on Monday to press Myanmar to take back hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled a military crackdown to take refuge in her country.

Security Council envoys visited Hasina in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, before traveling to Myanmar for meetings with its government leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and military Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing later on Monday. 

“They should put more pressure on the Myanmar government so that they take their citizens back to their country. That’s what we want,” Hasina told reporters. 

The visit by the Security Council envoys, to see the aftermath of a military operation in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State, puts a global spotlight on the crisis which the United Nations and others have denounced as ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims. 

Myanmar denies the accusation, saying the military was engaged in a legitimate counter-insurgency operation. 

Rohingya insurgent attacks on security posts in Rakhine State in August last year sparked the crackdown that, according to the U.N. and rights groups, sent nearly 700,000 Rohingya fleeing to camps in neighboring Bangladesh. 

Hasina said the refugees should return “under U.N. supervision where security and safety should be ensured”. 

“They want to go back to their own country. So the Security Council can play a very pivotal role,” she added. 

When asked if U.N. supervision meant the deployment of peacekeepers, Hasina said: “Not exactly, well, that the U.N. will decide”. 

Myanmar government spokesman Zaw Htay did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Social Welfare Minister Win Myat Aye, who is leading rehabilitation efforts in Rakhine, declined to comment. 

Kuwait’s U.N. Ambassador Mansour al-Otaibi, one of the envoys, told Hasina the Security Council wanted to “send a clear strong message ... that we’re determined to end this humanitarian crisis”. 

The envoys visited camps on Sunday, where distraught refugees pleaded for help ahead of the coming monsoon season. Many live in bamboo-and-plastic structures perched on hills in the southeast Bangladesh district of Cox’s Bazar.

‘DIFFICULTIES’ 

Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed in January to complete the voluntary repatriation of the refugees within two years but differences between the two sides remain and implementation of the plan has been slow. 

“We know there are difficulties in the talks between Bangladesh and Myanmar on the return of the refugees but it is important ... to create the appropriate conditions for the refugees to go back freely and voluntarily to their home of origin,” said al-Otaibi. 

The envoys are due to travel to Rakhine State on Tuesday. 

The Security Council asked Myanmar in November to ensure no “further excessive use of military force” and to allow “freedom of movement, equal access to basic services, and equal access to full citizenship for all”. 

They will seek to push the Myanmar government to implement those requests, diplomats said. 

Hasina also called on Myanmar to implement the recommendations of a commission headed by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which was appointed by Suu Kyi in 2016 to investigate how to solve Rakhine’s long-standing tensions.Among the commission’s recommendations was a review of a Myanmar law that links citizenship and ethnicity and leaves most Rohingya stateless. 

Buddhist-majority Myanmar has for years denied Rohingya citizenship, freedom of movement and access to basic services such as healthcare. Many in Myanmar regard Rohingya as illegal immigrants from mostly Muslim Bangladesh. 

Additional Reporting by Thu Thu Aung and Yimou Lee in YANGON; Editing by Darren Schuettler

Rohingya Exodus