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The first "European Rohingya Conference" was held in Esbjerg, Denmark on 27-28 December 2014

Dear Rohingya Brothers and Sisters,

Assalaamu Alaykum Wrt. Wbt. 

We are organising 2nd European Rohingya Conference on 1st and 2nd of August 2015 in Esbjerg, Denmark. It will be the continuation of 1st European Rohingya Conference held in December last year. All the Rohingyas living in Europe are cordially invited to join the conference. Rohingyas living outside Europe are also welcome as guests.

We are aware that there are many Rohingya organisations in Europe today. We are also aware that many of the organisations are doing their best, but individually, in their respective countries. It is not enough, we need to do much. We need to work collectively. Our collective work will make our voice stronger and strengthen our unity.

We hope you will join the conference in the best interest of the suffering Rohingya people. If you decide to join, please confirm to us not later than July 20, 2015. You can confirm either by writing to eurohingyaconference@gmail.com or contacting one of the following persons. 

1. Zakaria Abdur Rahim (Denmark) +45 22556897
2. Monawara Jamil (Denmark) +45 4225 4828
3. Sazzat Ahmad (Netherlands) +31 615033663
4. Tun Khin (UK) +44 7888714866
5. Nay San Lwin (Germany) +49 1796535213
6. Mv. Azizul Hoque (Switzerland) +41 762982367
7. Sayed Hussein (Norway) +47 95795575
8. Mv. Ali Ahmad (Sweden) +46 725722472
9. Bolu Mohammad Siddique (Finland) +35 8442835756

You are requested to provide the following information on confirmation. 

1. Your name 
2. Country of residence 
3. Arrival date, time and place 
4. Contact number and/or email address 

Please be noted that food, accommodation (not hotel) and pick-up service from the nearest airport (Billund) or nearest bus/train station (Esbjerg) will be provided. You are required to make your own travel arrangement. Your travel expenses will not be reimbursed. 

Please forward this invitation to all of your contacts so that no one is left uninvited. 

Hope to see you all in the conference. 

On behalf of conference organisers,

Sayed Hussein
Norway

(Photo: Reuters)

Min Khant
RB Opinion
July 1, 2015

After a decade of Burma's independence in 1948 from The Great Britain, the multi-colored armed insurgencies have erupted in every corner of the country while the unanimous "Panlong agreement" which largely intends the power sharing between the dominant power of Burmese and multi-indigenous ethnic groups were not respected and blatantly neglected by the Burmese. 

The Indigenous Rohingyas, having the awareness of the country's turmoil political situation, they also have had unavoidably to hold an armed insurgency against the central government of Burma for their basic citizenship rights. 

Since that time onwards, the dishonest and immoral Buddhist Burmese people and that of the respective governing regime have adopted the unjust policies to eradicate the Muslims Rohingyas people from their ancestral land. Since 1950 to up 1992, within nearly half a century, there had been more than eighteen operations, and all had been simply to expel the Rohingyas from their land, which resulting the destruction of many more villages, and the continuing extinction of innocent Rohingyas people. 

Since then, because of those 'targeted ethnic cleansing military operations' against the Rohingyas people by regime after regime, the desperate and utterly helpless Rohingyas have been fleeing to wherever they could in disarray. As a result, it is grossly estimated that half an overall Rohingyas population are, right now, residing in nations across the world such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Thailand, Malaysia, China, India, Indonesia, Australia, Japan and a few in Europe as stateless diasporas. 

As per the earliest inner government master plan to outline the Indigenous Rohingyas as recent immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh, the then Ne Win regime had drafted the Citizenship Act, in 1982, which has principally and purposely wished-for Rohingyas people to make aliens and then later on to be disenfranchising on every single citizenship right in their ancestral land, Arakan state.

In 1988, whilst the then Socialist Program Party has been forced to end the ruling mechanism and faced with challenging hardships to run the state affairs, the military has got of the state power and formed cent per cent military regime to govern the state. 

Until 1990-91, Rohingyas people from Rakhine state, more or less, have had opportunities to travel from Rakhine state to Yangon proper in purpose of education, medical treatments and livelihoods by way of lesser restrictions with the regional authorities.

Soon after the start of military ruling, Rakhine state was the prime target of junta to accomplish the preplanned secret tactics of Ne Win's regime to restrict the movement of Rohingyas from one village to another, one township to another; to stop peaceful pursuance of education in colleges, vocational education and training, professional universities; to control livelihoods, servants in state departments, seasonal commerce with in localities in traditional supplies, the access of farmlands, forest-findings, sea water for traditional fishing; to limit medical treatments whereas there are better medical facilities; to thwart traditional marriages and ........ all in all, imposition of overall social devastating hardships over the Rohingyas shoulders, which could have been impossible to bear as human being, have been inhumanely imposed by the cruel military regimes such as SLORC, SPDC and right now quasi-military governments to wipe out the Rohingyas' existence in their ancestral land by the might of determined total militarism.

Rohingyas, after being suffered a prolonging nightmare of military regimes in Rakhine state, they have no other way except to leave and run away in avoid of the oppression and containment of the respective government agents in the regions. 

What we have seen the worst one-sided gust by Rakhine Buddhists on Rohingyas along the history was the 2012 violence, and which has been an all time important successful factor for central and local government to ‘box in' an entire innocent Rohingyas people in Rakhine state. As a matter of fact, the last exterminating massacre, the year 2012, was joyfully condoned by the central government and was intended to total jeopardy of innocent Rohingyas at these very eyes of international community. 

After the birth of the 2012 violence along Rakhine state by the visible state sponsored communal destruction on helpless innocent Rohingyas and gravely imposed restriction by the authorities in sectors such as..." on free flow of edible commodities into IDPs by international donors; inappropriate medical health care in IDP squalid camps; indecent sanitation in IDPs; lack of first-rate education in IDPs; hopeless livelihoods in IDPs; lacks of hygienic existing and clean water supply in IDPs; largely depression in social security where Rohingyas are residing in the rest townships along Rakhine state; no more fruitful and durable hope in harmonious society efforts by the government; procrastination of emerging peaceful co-existence and frequent fragile community trust-building and mutual misunderstanding to live side by side between Rohingyas and Rakhine community etc".... have been the gravely primary sources for the Rohingyas escapees to be on boatloads exodus from their ancestral land to wandering along the sea and land routes towards the wishful destinations of South East Asian countries as well as the west.

By Mass L. Usuf
June 30, 2015

When The New York Times, Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof asked a Buddhist boy of around 12 years old, “what would you do if you meet a Rohingya Muslim boy?”. He nonchalantly replied, “I will kill him”. (NYT, The-21st-century-concentration-camp video). Curious about this, I asked a Sri Lankan Buddhist boy (Kavinda), “what would you do if you meet a Muslim boy?” He shyly replied, “I will ask his name”. I then asked him, after that what will you do ? He innocently said, “I will ask him if he will play with me”.

It is not that the Buddhist boy of Burma was a devil and the Sri Lankan boy an angel. What it means is that one is indoctrinated and the other is not. The Burmese boy’s response was not a sudden eruption of religious sentiments but the result of carefully cultivated hatred. Hatred that generates a situation of anger, making one community inflamed against another.



This is exactly what responsible, unbiased, civic minded Sri Lankans should fear against happening to our children, the innocent Sri Lankan masses and, most significantly, to the Samaneras (the novice monks). Hatred and violence should not be seen by these novice monks as the proper way to achieve their goals. Indications are that indoctrination is taking place in Sri Lanka too, in a subtle way, unduly exploiting the honour and respect of the robe.

False Propaganda

The sinister strategy is to alienate or distance a minority people from the majority population. This methodology is adopted by first constructing a negative identity about the targeted minority group. The labeling of Muslims of Sri Lanka as extremists, the bygone halaal issue, symbolization of the Islamic dress code, threat of population increase etc. are good examples of the construction of that identity. This is followed by false, distorted, unfounded, make believe propaganda. The consistent perpetuation of this propaganda creates an unwholesome identity about the Muslims in the minds of the majority. The extent of the bias will be such that whenever a Sinhalese sees a Muslim person, he sees him with the tainted lenses of these carefully fostered lies. This over a period of time cultivates hatredness and alienates one from the other. It is our responsibility to ensure that Kavinda does not become a killer. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen recently speaking at the Harvard Global Equity Initiative describing propaganda against the Rohingyas said, “you can make a people totally beastly by just propaganda and creating a condition in which they feel justified in doing it”.

Misusing the Sivura

The saffron robe (sivura) which is a symbolic homage to a great Teacher is respected by the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim people alike. The Buddhists also accept with reverence and acknowledge with complete trust the physical person who dons the robe. This noble trust can be easily misused or violated by any monk as the average Buddhist cannot think beyond the robe. The monks and the Buddhist laymen running amok in Sri Lanka in the past years is concrete proof of this.

The rogue monk of Burma with his coterie of monks also misused this trust to mislead, misinform and misdirect people towards hatredness. Today, Ahsin Wirathu is infamous as the face of Buddhist terror. His hands are bloodied by the blood of the Rohingya men, women and children. It is a tragedy that he too is a saffron robed Bhikku. A gross insult to the serene, noble, tranquil personage of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha and his teachings. One of the greatest human beings who has walked this earth.

“The Bhikku Sangha was set up by Lord Buddha for Bhikkhus to become inspirational leaders by learning, practising, and developing certain perfections such as Generosity, Morality, Renunciation, Wisdom, Patience, Truthfulness, Determination, and Loving kindness to total completeness and teach the Doctrine (Dhamma) to all human beings, regardless of their status in society.” (Gamini Jayaweera, The Colombo Telegraph, 22/5/2015)

It is disconcerting to note the unabashed desire of a minority of the Sri Lankan “Bhikkus” competing to follow the path of the so called Buddhist terror Wirathu than the enlightened path of the Dhamma.

Slow Genocide

The mass and indiscriminate killing of people by weapons in Rwanda, Khmer Rouge etc. is considered genocide. It is sensational, fast and evidential. Slow genocide is a process of killing people without these characteristics ? The 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Article II (c) states :

“Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(c) “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; …”

The Rohingya people is a reflection of this Article. They are denied the basic needs of food, clean water, health and sanitation. Denial of opportunity to work and feed the family, forced displacement, relocation in squalid camps, restricting movement, torture for violating restrictions, starvation etc. It is beyond belief that the doctor-patient ratio of the Rohingya people is One doctor for every 80,000 patients.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Doctors without Borders, the only organization providing health care, was deeply shocked when they were expelled by the Burmese government last year. This had left the Rohingya people without medicine and without hope for more than a year. It is recorded that many with curable diseases have died because of the lack of medicines and doctors. For the tens of thousands, the decision to deny them basic health care is a death sentence – Slow Genocide.

The Government

Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Laureate of Peace, has not spoken a word about the Rohingyas. Her fear is that she will alienate the majority Buddhists. Aung says to BBC in June 2013, “I want to be President”. It is, therefore, politically risky for Aung San to speak about the reviled Rohingya. Surprised at her silence, even Dalai Lama urged her to come out with a statement on the Rohingya but to no avail.

Is it out of fear that the government of Sri Lankan, like Aung San is also maintaining a stoic silence on the Rohingya issue ? Silence may be interpreted by the international community as an endorsement and misinterpreted by the local “wirathus” as tacit approval for their rampage. Our free media by an “oversight” has missed to cover this institutionalized slow killing of a people in the name of Buddhism. While in false pride, we brag about Sri Lanka being the sanctum sanctorum of Theravada Buddhism. Where are our values ?

The Government, the Noble Maha Sangha and the Buddhist people cannot just be spectators. This is not internal politics or interfering in the sovereignty of another country but protecting the Dhamma, which is Universal. They have a duty to clear the Dhamma from being tarnished. Here genocide / ethnic cleansing / violation of human rights is perpetrated in the name of Buddhism like ISIS is using the name of Islam to massacre people. In principle, it will regarded as a moral and ethical failure not to condemn such acts of violence especially, emanating from a philosophy advocating Ahimsa (non-violence).

Like many other world leaders, Amartya Sen asks, “What are Buddhists, the followers of Buddha a teaching of non-violence doing in this conflict ?”

Let us be cautious, the world is not blind to what is happening.


Western Indonesian community housing Rohingya boat people launches petition demanding president cut all ties.

By Ainur Romah
June 30, 2015

JAKARTA – An Indonesian community deeply affected by the Southeast Asian boat people crisis has petitioned the government to take more action in solving the problems faced by Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya community.

At a press conference to launch its plea Monday, the Coalition for Caring for Rohingya urged the government to act decisively against Myanmar’s government, which it said had played a key role in the humanitarian crisis faced by Muslim ethnic group today.

“This is not a sectarian conflict, and not a horizontal conflict… this happened because of strong support from the Myanmar government on some violent actions such as murder, slaughter, and destruction,” Coalition Chairman Adnin Armas told reporters.

The group is a made up from several Aceh communities, where 1062 Rohingya have been living in four temporary shelters since the boat people crisis erupted almost two months ago.

On May 1, a people trafficking camp was discovered on Thailand’s border with Malaysia, which lead to authorities clamping down on people smuggling in the country.

Subsequently, many smugglers left their victims on boats at sea, or dumped them on Malaysian or Indonesian shores.

On Monday, Armas claimed that a major factor in the problems faced by Rohingya today is the “Oppression” that has been going on in Myanmar since the 1950s.

“The Myanmar government has pursued a program of systematic genocide, calling the Rohingya illegal migrants, a threat to national security, a virus, [land] grabbers, and a threat to Buddhist culture,” he said.

It’s an oppression that has been going on since the 1950s, he added, sourcing a Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal article titled The Slow-Burning Genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingya by Buddhist academic Maung Zarni as proof.

The Coalition’s petition underlines four demands.

First off, it wants President Joko Widodo to reconsider Indonesia’s relations with Myanmar. Secondly, it demands Indonesian businessmen and state companies suspend investments in the country.

“Thirdly, we demanded Myanmar’s ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] membership be revoked, and then all Myanmar officials who want to visit Indonesia should be blacklisted,” added Armas.

Meanwhile, on the streets of Banda Aceh — where the Rohingya have been embraced — volunteers continued to collected signatures Monday to support the petition.

Many, however, have more local concerns.

“We want President Joko Widodo to accommodate Rohingya in Aceh until all their problems with their country are finished,” said Fajri, a volunteer tasked with collecting signatures, told Anadolu Agency.

Indonesia – along with Malaysia – has said it will shelter the boat people for one year, but then the international community most find homes for them elsewhere.

“And we hope that Myanmar authorities immediately provide the status of their citizenship,” he said.

Myanmar refuses to grant Rohingya citizenship and, as a result, the vast majority of the group’s members have no legal documentation, effectively making them stateless.

Armas said the petition has been distributed to the public, and will be posted to the House of Representatives along with President Jokowi on Tuesday.

The UNHCR says there are more than 150,000 asylum seekers or refugees in Malaysia waiting to be permanently resettled in another country. (Photo: ABC)

By Iskhandar Razak
June 30, 2015

Thousands of asylum seekers and refugees who have survived the life-threatening journey from Myanmar are finding themselves trapped in a new cycle of poverty and ignorance in Malaysia.

In Kuala Lumpur the only way some can make money is by picking up trash that can be recycled or sold.

"We earn about 30 to 35 Ringgit [$1] per pay. It is not enough for our family," said Muhammad Hassan, a Rohingya man who arrived by boat just a few months ago.

Asylum seekers are not allowed to work or go to public school in the South-East Asian nation.

Many refugees and asylum seekers are forced to work in the "informal sector" or "grey market".

In Kuala Lumpur that means groups of Rohingya men scour the streets collecting cans, plastic bottles and other trash.

But $1 per day does not go very far when you need to buy food, clothes and pay for rent.

Muhammad Hassan, a Rohingya asylum seeker from Myanmar, said life in Malaysia was "very difficult".

"We are very unhealthy, and uneducated and poor people," he said.

"If we cannot work here, as refugees, how can we survive?"

The families of the men working together collecting garbage also live together to reduce costs.

At least three families live in a two-bedroom flat the ABC visited, and the family may be forced to stay in these cramped conditions for years.

Refugees say they are persecuted by Buddhist majority

The UNHCR said there were more than 150,000 asylum seekers or refugees in Malaysia waiting to be permanently resettled in another country.

"Our community would like to go to Myanmar again, because this is not our home country," Mr Hassan said.

"If not possible, we would prefer to go to a third country, like Australia, America or Canada."

Most of the refugees and asylum seekers waiting in Malaysia are from Myanmar and are mainly either Rohingya Muslims or Christian Chin.

Both say they are persecuted by the Buddhist majority.

They say that includes violent attacks, restrictions on movement, what work they can do and what kind of education they can get.

Children forced to go to secret schools

In Malaysia, refugees and asylum seekers also cannot go to public school, but some children go to hidden unofficial schools.

One such school in Kuala Lumpur has 46 students, aged between three and 15, according to head teacher Zachunghain.

"We have a poor education there, so they come here to try because their future will be better."

The school is funded through donations and staffed by volunteers, like Australian Mara Whittaker.

"They, [the Chin] live in extreme poverty here and not looked after," Ms Whittaker said.

She said there are about 13,000 school-aged Chin refugees in Malaysia.

"40 per cent of them of them have no formal education," Ms Whittaker said.

"I hope for a great education for them so they can make simple choices in life, like who they can be."

Ms Whittaker said that even when teachers are not available some students come to school to keep studying in the hopes that when they are re-settled somewhere else they can continue their education.

But there are very few teenagers at the school because eventually they need to find what little work they can to help feed and clothe themselves and their family.

"I have one student who left last year, she was 12, to stay home and look after a baby," Ms Whittaker said.

"And my heart breaks for her because I feel that there is no hope for her."

Children in the Thet Kae Pyin camp for displaced Rohingya. Picture: Graham CrouchSource: News Corp Australia

By Amanda Hodge
June 30, 2015

As her delivery time grew near, Zubaida’s fears for her unborn baby began to escalate.

For the duration of her pregnancy, normal but for the baby’s size, the 23-year-old college-educated woman and her teacher husband, Saed, had been lobbying the government for permission to travel from Myanmar’s western Rakhine state to the capital Yan­gon to give birth.

As members of the country’s 1.3 million Rohingya Muslim ­community, they have been confined to vast internally displaced people’s camps on the outskirts of the provincial capital Sittwe, where they lived until June 2012 when long-simmering religious tensions boiled over into mob violence. About 120 people were killed and 140,000, mostly Rohingya, were displaced from the city.

Rohingya students in Sittwe were expelled from schools and colleges (including Zubaida who was in the second year of a history degree), tens of thousands lost jobs and livelihoods, but, most significantly, the entire local population lost its freedom.

There is no line on the road to Sittwe marking the point beyond which Rohingya Muslims may not pass but everyone knows where it is: at a junction marked by a police checkpoint and a power substation.

Zubaida is not Rohingya, but she married one and so is subject to the same gross state discrimination. The city of their birth is closed to this couple as is the right to vote, send any future children to public schools, obtain citizenship or ­government jobs.

The baby she carried for nine months now lies in a cemetery on the Rohingya side of that invisible line.

In what appears to have been a cruel joke played by local authorities, permission to travel to Yan­gon was finally granted to Saed but not to Zubaida.

So when her time came four weeks ago she spent 10 hours in ­labour on the bamboo floor of her family’s hut before her frantic husband rushed her to the camp health clinic, which spent another futile four hours trying to speed the delivery.

By the time emergency permission was finally granted to transport Zubaida, her own life now in peril, to Sittwe General Hospital (where many Rohingya fear to go because of stories of mistreatment) her baby was dead in her womb.

That same night another Rohingya woman rushed to Sittwe hospital died in childbirth. Within days a third woman lost her baby.

Doctors allowed Zubaida one look at her stillborn son and then sent him for burial. Saed never saw his baby boy, their first child. He was not allowed to go to the hospital.

“The people who buried my baby came to me the next day,” the 29-year-old geography graduate tells The Australian. “He told me he didn’t know it was my baby. He said, ‘If I knew it was your baby I would have come to you and shown you.’ ”

Both Saed and Zubaida are ­adamant their baby would have survived had they been permitted to have it in Yangon.

Directly behind the young couple’s dwelling, in one of a series of rickety bamboo huts, lives Kyaw Hla Aung, an august Rohingya lawyer and human rights activist.

He was released last November from his most recent imprisonment on charges of inciting violence against the state, after he called a meeting in the IDP camp mosque to arrange a polio vaccination drive.

The former state law ministry clerk, who can trace his family heritage back more than a century through official documents saved from his home before it was burned to the ground by a Buddhist mob in 2012, has been in and out of prison since he contested the 1990 elections.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won those polls in a stunning victory which the military government overturned, before placing Suu Kyi under house arrest and imprisoning thousands of other political and student activists.

The 75-year-old Hla Aung pre-dates the Myanmar government’s 1982 decision to disenfranchise the Rohingya population, and so still has a passport and a National Registration Card — for all the good that does him, given he’s entitled to travel anywhere in the world but cannot leave the camp area.

Hla Aung was invited to last month’s Oslo conference to discuss the Rohingya crisis where Archbishop Desmond Tutu appealed to Myanmar’s donors to make their funding “conditional on the restoration of citizenship, nationality and basic human rights to the Rohingya”.

Of course he could not go.

“Before 1990 we could travel anywhere we like,” he tells The Australian. “After 1993 they began restricting our travel. It’s religious discrimination.

“I am a citizen, I am a former government employee, I receive a pension. Why would the government give a pension to a non-­citizen?”

The Myanmar government, and most Myanmarese people, say Rohingya are ethnic Bengalis who crossed the border from East Bengal to Rakhine State back when India was a British colony, and should return to Bangladesh.

Bangladesh reluctantly hosts a refugee population of more than 200,000, most in unregistered and desperately impoverished camps around Cox’s Bazaar, but will take no more.

The Myanmar government refuses even to recognise the word Rohingya, insisting it is a modern political affectation, and attended last month’s 29-nation meeting in Bangkok to discuss the Rohingya crisis only after assurances that no delegate would use the term.

From a sheath of rescued documents, Hla Aung produces photocopied pages from a 1799 edition of the Asiatic Researches journal, obtained from a Kolkata library, which talks of “three dialects spoken in the Burma Empire”.

“The first is that spoken by the Mohammedans who have long been settled in Arakan (Rakhine) and who call themselves Rooinga, or natives of Arakan,” reads an underlined passage.

He pulls out a greying photograph of his uncle posing with fellow members of the Rohingya Muslim Association of 1960.

“They did not call us Bengali before Bangladesh independence (in 1971),” says Hla Aung. “They called us Rohingya, or Rakhine Muslim.

“Back then we could apply for government jobs, we could study medicine, engineering. Now no one can. My family does not want to live like this. Most of our relatives live in Yangon.”

Earlier this year Hla Aung was given permission to go to Yangon for treatment. But after two months authorities came to his door and drove him back to the Rakhine camp.

The government is now reviewing the citizenship status of all Rohingya in Rakhine state. Applicants for citizenship must first agree to identify as Bengali and produce the citizenship cards of their grandparents or parents — an impossibility for thousands of displaced people.

The situation for Rakhine-based Rohingya is intolerable, which is why tens of thousands have fled the country in search of a better life in Southeast Asia.

Since last month’s refugee crisis, precipitated by a Thai crackdown on refugee trafficking camps that saw 4500 starving Rohingya and Bangladeshi boatpeople bounced across Southeast Asia, no new boats have left the weather-beaten natural harbour that punctuates a long, miserable ­avenue of huts.

Early this month, after years of ignoring the trade, the Myanmar navy seized two boats of 900 migrants off its coast. Authorities insisted most on board were Bangladeshi and sent them over the border, but dark rumours circulated in Sittwe’s IDP camps about the fate of 208 Rohingya.

Last week authorities reported they had returned 195 Rohingya migrants to their homes around Rakhine state.

“We verified each of the migrants and contacted the respective township authorities to check whether these people actually lived in these places,” said immigration official Khin Soe.

There are others, however, who quietly returned to Sittwe’s refugee camps before the government could even note their absence.

Their release from boats moored off the Sittwe coast was secured, as the Rohingya refugee crisis was unfolding in April, for 200,000 Myanmar kyat ($230) per person by a local Rohingya businessman who spent $15,000 in the space of a month buying the freedom of 75 Rohingya from trafficking agents.

Kyaw Hla, a startling-looking man who made his money building and annually repairing the refugee shelters to which his countrymen are now confined, says he was first approached by a mother seeking a loan for her son’s release from a trafficking boat.

“I told her to go home and I would arrange for her son to come back to her,” he says from the half-finished brick home he is building for his second wife and baby girl.

“It was good luck for me and for the people in the boat that one of the (traffickers’) agents turned out to be a friend of mine. He said there were about 1000 people on the boat and I asked him to help me get back this boy.”

The traffickers, out of pocket now the trade had been halted and they could no longer recoup costs through the usual ransom demands or fishing industry slave trade, agreed to release the boy if Kyaw Hla would also take 11 others on board from local camps.

“I asked to speak with all of them on the boat and then agreed. People were dying on those boats. I was trying to save their lives.”

Sensing a new income stream, within days the agents contacted Kyaw Hla with a proposal to free another 26, and later 34 more. Seven children were thrown in free of charge.

Kyaw Hla has faced some scrutiny of his motivations but says he “learned something about the value of human life” working for international aid agencies.

He has refused to hire any of those whose release he secured to avoid accusations of exploitation, and is resigned to the fact he can never recover money from families who can barely afford to eat.

But he will not do it again.

“If I do, then it will be a kind of habit for migrant people and traffickers. Instead I will inform the international community and media,” he says. He admits he also worries about the repercussions of having brought unwanted ­Rohingya back to Myanmar.

The government says it has caught 93 human traffickers since the beginning of the year, but none of those arrests was in Rakhine state.

Both Kyaw Hla and Kyaw Hla Aung say that is because the human traffickers are protected by the government and that “by not taking action, the government is encouraging this activity”.

Those who can afford it are still leaving the camps, but they are travelling by road to Yangon and then leaving the country by air.

Says Kyaw Hla Aung: “The sea is rough now and the international community is watching. But in a few months the boats will start again.”

Liz Mys
RB Article
June 30, 2015

"There are other islands nearby, habitable for humans." But the one potentially to be inundated with 3-4 feet of tide water and at risk of pirate attacks and cyclones has been singled out to be mentioned in the latest "plan", suggesting that the government is looking to relocate the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. 

This latest statement was made by the forest department official following the recent big news of the plight of the Rohingya, as well as poor Bangladeshi, trying to flee and crossing the seas into Thailand and Indonesia. The news also uncovered the even more massive scale of human trafficking ring and horrendous stories of extortion and torture in the cruel treatment of the people fleeing on the boats. 

In their native country Myanmar the government has been accused of implementing the crime against humanity of persecution against the Rohingya.

Burma's post-colonial government, elected in 1948, officially recognized the Rohingya as an indigenous community. In 1982 their status became"Illegal Immigrants" with the new Citizenship Law of dictator General Ne Win. 

The direct involvement of the local, state, and national government in the violence. Government officials have enforced explicitly racist policies for decades, and have failed to intervene and even participated in violent attacks against Rohingya. 

The UN General Assembly Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide [1], which defined - any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of a group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.[1]

The question of are the Rohingya being pushed into this category? Yes and most appalling that over the past decade alone, from the 1990s to now, many has fled and hundreds thousands more have been targeted and killed. Top international law order and countries have not acted firmly enough against the Myanmar government to put a stop to this. 

UNHCR estimates since the outbreak of violence in 2012, that 130,000 Rohingya have fled Bangladesh and western Arakan state.

Those who have fled remain stateless, suspended and with no fundamental rights and limited access to health care, education and livelihood opportunities. The largely Muslim state in Arakan face persecution in civic, economic and political rights by the Myanmar military junta, in apartheid like system and been complicit with nationalist and religious extremist groups, who have numerously called on crack down on the Rohingya Muslims. 

Local media have reported that the Bangladeshi government, in this latest meeting, was considering on moving the 2 registered camps of Nayapara and Kutupalong to Hatiya Island, several hours journey away by bus and boat. There are 31,000 people in the 2 camps alone, not counting the 200,000 to 400,000*[2] people in makeshift unregistered camps.

There have been several different reports over the years about the government of Bangladesh plans on repatriation, another to reduce International organizations aid and latest to relocate the thousands of Refugees from Myanmar.

In the 2491kmsq area of Cox's Bazar District to Teknaf, with 920 per sq km density, one wonders what and how much really of an impact does the 200,000 to 400,000 numbers of unregistered Refugees have on the government's claim with regards told the development of the area, if any. 

The report on the ground about the illegal homes being torn down last week in Ukia by the forest department specifically targeting Rohingya homes has been found to be exaggerated, as most of the actual houses were by majority, owned by local Bangladeshi families and that only a few houses belonging to Rohingya family were affected.

The UN and the Bangladeshi government is responsible for the 2 registered camps of Kutupalong and Nayapara. The World Food Program handles the ration card food distribution for the camps.

The conditions of the camps are quite terrible. It may look proper and acceptable from the entrance of the camp where the main strip of road runs from entrance to the in camp shops. As you travel down from the main entrance, you can see the food ration center, the several International organizations offices, with the CIC office, a woman's sewing center, a woman's clinic and a small soap making factory, a "self-sufficiency" program implemented so that some of the women Refugees get to work. It paints a picture of a good camp set up, fit for a UNHCR sponsored camp. 

Even with the skills taught, on a rotational basis, without access in both financial and for materials and equipment stock needed, many of the skills fade without materializing in a long term benefit for the people. 

It is when you go beyond that main strip of road you will see the real living conditions of the camp. Leaking roofs, taps without running water, choked and foul smelling drains, dark and cramped living quarters with 8 members of the family living in poorly ventilated shacks. 

The water shortage problem of Nayapara[4] and the conditions of its Camp clinics, to the unrepaired huts in which the families live, raises the question of how much is really being done above whatever foreign aid the local communities in the surrounding areas receive. The IPD clinic in the camp is also in a very poor state of the facility and the reported constant lack of supplies.[5]

The Refugees in and outside of the camps are restricted to be able to find work to sustain and support themselves although some of them living in local villages do take low paying jobs as fishermen and laborers. Usually working in the informal sector as illegal, low-paid laborers, on a hand-to-mouth existence, they are also extremely vulnerable to harassment by local people and police. 

Anti Rohingya sentiment is high among Bangladeshi communities living near the camps, sometimes stoked by jealousy that Rohingyas receive food and other aid. The locals claims it's more difficult for Bangladeshis to get jobs because Rohingyas could be hired at such low costs. 

The literacy level for the area is 21.9%. There has not been a real effort in trying to get data or formally register the influx of refugees besides that of the 2 camps, making them even more vulnerable in peril, being stateless and illegal people. 

A few hundred Rohingyas, most of them residing illegally, are currently detained. Some arrested for petty criminal offences, but more often because of being ‘illegal’ or criminalizes by false accusations made by the local police. 

The situation with the Refugees brings up the concern that Bangladesh, Thailand and India, have not been signatures to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (1951 Refugee Convention), which is the most important refugee law and has been ratified by 142 nations[3]. This reflects not only the unwillingness of these countries to submit to international scrutiny on their refugee policies. A consistent legal framework is vital to refugee protection.

New repatriation report broke out in September of 2014, suggesting that a plan was in the works and mentions of Affidavits signed by 2500 people back in 1993 and that the police, was going to call on them to repatriate them back to Myanmar. 

These affidavits set up then, was a second phase after the 1991-1992 influx of refugees, where the UNHCR helped to broker between the 2 countries on the repatriation program. 

It was declared that these refugees are being repatriated based on their own will and set out personal details. Once the affidavits are cleared by the UNHCR officials, the refugees are taken across the Naf river on boats to Burma accompanied by officials from UNHCR. The first set of repatriation was abandoned as concerns over security of the situation in Myanmar for the Refugees to return and live safely. 

The story however was different from the refugees themselves, as it was reported that they were being repatriated against their will and forced and made to sign the affidavits through pressures including verbal and physical harassment and ill-treatment. 

This kind of treatment is in violation of the United Nations Convention on Refugees (1951).

A statement was made once again in November 2014 on a possible move issued by the government to move the 2 camps to "a better location". 

In one of the government meetings, it was brought up that "the camps were hindering tourism" in nearby Cox's Bazar, which boasts the world's longest unbroken beach. In February 2015, 3500 homes were torn down to clear the area for the development of the Marine Drive Road.

One can say, the entire Cox's Bazar district has yet to become a major international tourist destination, and has no international hotel chains, due to lack of publicity and transportation. 

Removing tens of thousands of people onto a remote island which is unsafe because of tide patterns and threats of pirates sounds like an action of Epic disasters in terms of set up, logistics and short of another political nightmare. A UNHCR country representative on a previous comment said, any relocation would entail "substantial financial commitments which may be hard to secure during a time when UNHCR (UN High Commission for Refugees) is facing multiple crises and more displaced people than ever, all over the world”.

International agency cooperation or offers of funding have not, historically, solved the problem. 

Existing Reality:

With the latest 2015 UN Global appeal budget of close to $14MILLION, a significant increase from the $5Million in 2009[4] it would be a heavy undertaking in a relocation of that magnitude.




The living conditions in the registered camps alone, with repair and maintenance of existing huts have not been consistent, let alone managed with care and the meager food rations for the Registered refugees -who sometimes share with their more struggling families in the unregistered camps, causing widespread malnutrition most seen in the young children- has been heavy costs on the organizations budget.

If the government goes through with this latest plan and shifts the camps, they will shift only 2 registered camps. Where will they go the 200,000 to 400,000* unregistered people go then? What is the future for them?

The continued and collective failure in providing protection and upholding international humanitarian and human rights principles, from the IDP camps in Sittwe to the camps in Bangladesh, Thailand only exacerbates and does not really solve the main root cause, that is the slow genocide that has been going on, with direct involvement of the local, state, and national government of Myanmar that is resulting in massive influx of refugees in the span of the several decades since Rohingya have been fleeing from persecution. 

Members of the world governments should only seek bilateral and regional economic relations with Myanmar with the conditions on the ethical and humanitarian treatment enforced to put a stop to the genocide and inhumane treatment of the Rohingya.

Liz MYS

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History on the Rohingya

· The Rohingyas, constitute the largest minority group in the state of Arakan and have been subjected to severe discriminatory policies by the government of Burma. They have endured large-scale human rights violations such as forced labor, denial of education, rights to property, freedom of movement, religion, etc;

· Today, there are about 21,000 documented Rohingya refugees from the state of Arakan in Burma, in the two camps of Kutapalong and Nayapara in Teknaf, Bangladesh;

· In addition, more than 200,000 ( and perhaps as much as 350,000) Rohingyas live outside the refugee camps in Bangladesh alone with no formal documentation as refugees;

· Thousands of undocumented Rakhine Buddhists have also fled to Bangladesh and live outside of formal encampments;

· The government of Bangladesh with assistance from UNHCR has recently begun a program of rapid repatriation of the refugees to Burma, with the latter emphasizing its need to cut down its program in Teknaf and the former eager to address the ‘problem once and for all.







Photos by Andrew Day Photography 

----

[1] UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
*Adopted by Resolution 260 (III) A of the U.N. General Assembly on 9 December 1948. 
Entry into force: 12 January 1951. 

[2] Rohingya Refugees figure in Bangladesh 


[4] 2009 UN Global Appeal for Bangladesh 


Further Reading

• Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Burma’s Arakan State http://m.hrw.org/node/114882


• Universal Declaration of Human Rights http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml


Conditions of Refugee Camps:

Ref: Access to Water and Sanitation in Refugee Settings: Success and Setbacks in Bangladesh Abu Hena Mustafa Kamal Sikder 2010 http://benjapan.org/iceab10/39.pdf

[6] Substandard Medical Care Claims Another Life At A Bangladesh Rohingya Refugee Camp http://www.rohingyablogger.com/2014/09/substandard-medical-care-claims-another.html?m=1

By Choong Boon Siew
June 29, 2015

PETALING JAYA: In the spirit of Ramadan and the upcoming Hari Raya celebrations, the Mydin Wholesale Supermarket in USJ1 played host to Rohingya refugee children who were treated to a shopping spree.

Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (UNIRAZAK) Student Community Involvement Unit manager Nik Joanita Nik Hashim said RM32,000 was raised to initiate the shopping spree for the children.

"Noah Foundation chairman Datin Dr. Faridah Abdullah made efforts to raise approximately RM25,000, with the rest coming from private donors," she said today.

The 170 children from Madrasah Hashimi Tafiz Al Quran Anak-anak Yatim were accompanied by student volunteers from UNIRAZAK who took them around the supermarket for their shopping spree.

Each child was given RM200 to spend and were escorted by the student volunteers who helped them select new clothing, toiletries and other necessities.

The head of UNIRAZAK's Student Welfare and Counselling Unit Norbasheera Amir Hamzah said the objective of involving the university's students was to cultivate a sense of responsibility in them.

Ustad Rafi Ismail who heads the madrasah told theSun that he looked after some 200 children, mostly orphans and the hardcore poor.

“We started up in 1996 to address the plight of Rohingya and Myanmar Muslim refugee children living in and around Selayang.

"Aside from being taken care of, the children also receive education in subjects such as Science and Mathematics and Islamic religious education," he said.




Photos: Ahmad Safwan/The Sun Daily

Aman Ullah
RB Article 
June 29, 2015

“The Rohingya have been subject to stigmatisation, harassment, isolation, and systematic weakening. The Rohingya are faced with only two options: stay and face annihilation, or flee”

Professor Penny Green of Queen Mary University of London

The plight of Rohingya and Bangladeshi has recently made international headlines as boats packed with thousands of the migrants have attempted to reach Thai, Indonesian and Malaysian shores, while many more remain at sea in desperate conditions.


According to Dr Habib Siddiqui, “the Rohingyas have been fleeing Buddhist Burma for quite some time, largely since the 1970s as a result of a plethora of state policies that are brutal, savage and an anathema to everything we consider moral, noble, right, fair and decent in our time. Not a single of the Articles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is honored by the Buddhist government in its treatment of the Rohingya people. The Burmese government had effectively made them stateless in their own country with no rights and made them the most persecuted people on earth. As a result of such unfathomable violations of human rights, a majority of the Rohingya have ended up living as refugees or unwanted people in many parts of our world, especially, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the Gulf States.” 

“In utter desperation, the Rohingya have become the stranded boat people of our time. Aptly put, they are forced to brave death at sea to escape 'open-air concentration camps' in genocidal Burma.” 

Over the past three years, Muslim communities across Burma have suffered horrific violence, whipped up by hate speech preached by extremist Buddhist nationalists. Every aspect of their lives, including marriage, childbirth and ability to work, is severely restricted. Their right to identity and citizenship is officially denied. They have been systematically uprooted, with 200,000 held in internal displacement camps and unknown thousands have taken to sea as refugees. The UNHCR estimates that more than 120,000 people have left the area by boat from the Bay of Bengal since June 2012. The government even denies humanitarian agencies unfettered access in their internal displacement camps. Their homes, businesses, and mosques have been destroyed. Amid the destruction, many Rohingyas have been unfairly imprisoned, with some tortured to death while behind bars. 

Since then, the Rohingya have been backed into a corner, their lives made so intolerable that tens of thousands have fled by sea, seeking safety and a sense of dignity elsewhere. Surviving the perilous journey to Bangladesh, Thailand or Malaysia is, too often, seen as the only way to finally be free from persecution.

In order to protect the Rohingya, the principle of R2P is the most appropriate international norm to apply to resolve the human rights violations in Myanmar because it obligates states to safeguard their populations from crimes such as ethnic cleansing and genocide. The Myanmar government is responsible under R2P to protect the Rohingya since, despite their stateless status, “they are human beings living within the territory of Myanmar.” An international response under this framework is necessary because the Myanmar government is unwilling and unable to protect the Rohingya. Moreover, the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are adversely affecting at least four ASEAN member nations and Bangladesh. Without some intervention from of the international community, the gross human rights violations against the Rohingya will continue.

The R2P norm grew out of events in the 1990s, such as the Rwandan genocide and the atrocities in the former Yugoslavia. In both of these cases, the international community did not effectively prevent or respond to the gross human rights violations perpetrated against populations within the two sovereign states. These unfortunate events made it apparent that state sovereignty alone should not prevent the international community from responding to humanitarian crises. The norm focuses on the “victims’ point of view and interests, rather than questionable [state-centered] motivations.”

Since the 1990s, a collection of international humanitarian law has come to legitimize the involvement of external states in the affairs of states that “massively oppress and persecute their own people violently” to protect populations, like the Rohingya, from further crimes.

This norm was expounded by the International Commission on Intervention and State Responsibility in 2001, and the RtoP principle was unanimously endorsed at the United Nations General Assembly on October 24, 2005, when world leaders committed themselves to “‘take collective action . . . should peaceful means be inadequate and national authorities are manifestly failing to protect their populations.’” The R2P principle entails four pledges.

First, all states have the “responsibility to protect their own citizens from genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Second, the international community must help states with this responsibility, including capacity building and assistance.

Third, the international community has the obligation to pursue peaceful means, such as diplomatic and humanitarian channels, to protect people from genocide, ethnic cleansing, and mass atrocities. Fourth, the UN Security Council will implement its powers under Chapter VII of the UN Charter should all peaceful means fail to protect the afflicted population from the mass atrocities.

Moreover, the obligation for international intervention is also enshrined in the Genocide Convention of 1948, which states that “‘genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which [states] undertake to prevent and to punish.’” Violation of this Genocide Convention was cited as the legal authority in the international criminal tribunals for the atrocities committed in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Essentially, both the 2005 UN R2P document and the long-standing 1948 Genocide Convention stipulate that the duty to protect individuals against gross human rights violations is a function of sovereignty and should be fulfilled by the state wherein the violence is occurring. Without the ability or willingness of that state to fulfill such obligations, as is the case in Myanmar, the burden of responsibility falls on external states. The international community is called to help, compel, or even coerce the offending state to provide protection.

In the meantime, Myanmar’s government under President Thein Sein is failing to meet its obligations to protect the Rohingya from continued ethnic cleansing and genocide under the R2P principle and the 1948 Genocide Convention. While the Myanmar government has pursued policies of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya since at least the 1978 Nagamin pogrom, this analysis will focus on the country’s inadequate response to the recent crisis in Rakhine state. The state’s failure to protect the Rohingya from atrocities is evident through the active participation of state security forces in the 2012 massacres, the Myanmar government’s inadequate response and investigation into the events, and its refusal or inability to protect the Rohingya from further crimes against humanity.

The ethnic riots of 2012 triggered the initiation of genocide against the Rohingya in Myanmar. The complicity of state security forces during the attacks demonstrates that the ethnic violence was not isolated from government involvement. Rather, representatives of the Myanmar state, through Rakhine state’s security forces, were participants in the destruction and murder that occurred in the Rohingya villages. The Myanmar government’s involvement in the crimes was both indirect and direct. While the violence was perpetrated primarily by mobs, the state security forces stood by and did nothing to protect the Muslim communities. In other instances, the state security forces participated directly in the violence. Reports of the violence in June and October reveal that the state security forces killed many Muslims attempting to protect their homes from fire and other damage. Human Rights Watch assessed that this action “suggests that the authorities were willing to use lethal force against Rohingya . . . who were trying to prevent a forced population transfer.”

Human Rights Watch evidence indicates that political and religious leaders in Rakhine state organized and provoked attacks against the Muslim populations to drive them from the communities which they shared with the larger Buddhist population.

First, Rakhinese political and community groups issued educational pamphlets and speeches leading up to the violence, which vilified the Rohingya ethnicity and called for their removal from the community. 

Second, the Rakhinese political and religious leaders held conferences and meetings leading up to the violence during which they called for the Rohingya to leave the area. 

Third, in the months leading to the October violence, local authorities thwarted the ability of the Rohingya to conduct day-to-day business in an attempt to force them to leave the area by restricting their freedom of movement, opportunities to work, and access to aid. 

Thus, it is confirmed that the genocide against the Rohingya was planned, organized, and executed by the elements of Myanmar’s government that should have protected the Rohingya under the RtoP principle and Genocide Convention.

President Thein Sein’s government has not held the perpetrators of the massacres responsible for their actions and has failed to achieve a solution that will protect the Rohingya from future violence. Human Rights Watch has found no evidence that the Myanmar government is taking any legal action against the perpetrators of the atrocities.

Instead, the government exacerbated the situation as state security forces impeded justice by overseeing and ordering the digging of mass graves and dumping Rohingya bodies near Rohingya internally displaced camps. Following the June 2012 violence, President Thein Sein announced in July 2012 that the solution to the crisis was to send the Rohingya to any country that would accept them or to UNHCR refugee camps in other countries. At the time, public opinion supported his call for expatriation of the Rohingya population as an acceptable political solution. President Thein Sen also sent a commission, led by an ethnic Rakhinese man, to Rakhine state to assess the conflict from June to July 2012. Unsurprisingly, the biased commission responded that there had been no government abuses and that the humanitarian needs were being met. The central government also denied that the conflict was severe and blamed foreign media and organizations for fabricating the nature and extent of the violence.

Following the second outbreak of violence, Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release on December 6, 2012, which denied any government responsibility for the mass violence. The press release also referenced the Rohingya as “Bengalis,” which reflects the government’s continued refusal to provide Myanmar citizenship or state protection for the Rohingya. In response to a non-binding resolution issued by the UN General Assembly on November 26, 2012, which urged the Myanmar government to improve the living situation for the Rohingya and to protect their human rights, the Myanmar delegation accepted the resolution in principle but rejected the existence of the Rohingya as an ethnic group in Myanmar. The government strongly denied that there was any form of ethnic cleansing occurring in Rakhine state.

Government officials blamed the violence on communal conflict between the Rakhine ethnic group and the Rohingya “as a result of underdevelopment in the region and [a] lack of international assistance.”

In response to continued international condemnation of Thein Sein’s handling of the conflict, the Myanmar government introduced several programs to advance social relations in the region, which included initiatives geared towards improving law enforcement, infrastructure, and labor intensive industries in Rakhine state.

Unfortunately, the programs were half-hearted and did not improve conditions for the Rohingya. Moreover, these steps fell far short of addressing the core issue of citizenship rights for them. As a result, the government’s response was unsuccessful in preventing continued violence against the Rohingya.

Hence, in January 2014, ethnic tensions once again exploded between the Rohingya Muslims and the Rakhine Buddhists in the village of Du Char Yar Tan in Rakhine state. According to The Washington Post, “at least 48 people were killed in two separate incidents when Buddhist mobs went on a rampage against Rohingya Muslims.” Furthermore, the Myanmar government ordered Doctors Without Borders, which led an extensive program providing medical services to approximately 700,000 people in Rakhine state, to cease all operations in the state in response to the organization’s announcement that it had treated 22 victims of the January violence. By the result there, in Rakhine state, the severe health crisis were occurred that exemplifying the Myanmar government’s unwillingness to protect the Rohingya.

After the violence in 2012, nearly 140,000 Muslims (primarily Rohingya) remain displaced in Rakhine state. The Myanmar government has not equipped the Rohingya IDP camps with basic human needs, such as sufficient food, water, shelter, and latrines. In contrast, the Myanmar government has supplied Rakhine IDP camps with sufficient resources and is actively working to return Rakhine IDPs to their villages. This disproportional response to the needs of the Rohingya and of the Rakhine communities indicates that the Myanmar government is unwilling to protect the Rohingya from continued human rights abuses.

Meanwhile, Myanmar’s national elections, scheduled for 2015, make it politically difficult for the nation’s leaders to address the Rohingya issue because fears of “Islamization” are rampant among the majority Buddhist population in central Myanmar. The Myanmar government understands that the Rohingya conflict threatens positive relations with the West, but the pursuit of democratic votes prevents the government from properly addressing the conflict. The small step of government allowance for Myanmar’s minority Muslim population to identify themselves as Rohingya in the country’s first national census in March 2014 caused a mob of Rakhine Buddhists to attack the offices and the homes of foreign aid workers. In that month alone, nearly 700 aid workers were evacuated due to the violence. Constitutional reform, which is necessary to resolve the core issue of Rohingya statelessness, does not appear to be feasible in Myanmar’s current political climate.

Even opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been widely criticized for her restrained response to the violence. On November 8, 2012, Myanmar’s parliament Rule of Law committee, headed by Suu Kyi, issued a statement that called for respect for human rights, but also identified the root causes of the communal strife as illegal migration and border security. These statements appear to be calculated political responses so as to not alienate her party, the NLD, from the majority Buddhist population. Moreover, she has presidential aspirations and needs the support of the Buddhist leaders. Suu Kyi’s actions reflect the political reality in Myanmar that the government is unwilling and unable to fulfill its responsibility to protect the Rohingya.

Since Myanmar has failed to prevent continuing human rights violations against the Rohingya, the international community has the responsibility under the R2P to pursue all peaceful means to resolve the plight of the Rohingya and to provide Myanmar with sufficient capacity building and assistance to end the ethnic and religious conflict.

RB News 
June 29, 2015 

Sittwe, Arakan – The Myanmar Military battalion 376 is located between TheChaung Rakhine and Marmagyi villages and there is a check point there for security purpose. A new Major was appointed last month and who has proven to be very cruel to Rohingya people, according to local sources. As soon as the Major’s duty was assigned with battalion 376, he has been accused of indiscriminately beating Rohingyas who crossed the check point. This point is also frequented by some rickshaw drivers carrying passengers from one place to another. 

On Sunday – 28th June 2015 at 8:30pm a rickshaw along with the driver was taken into the check point. Two Rohingya men saw that four soldiers were beating the rickshaw driver and two other Rohingya men who were waiting from some distance were able to observe the beatings as well. They didn’t know the victim’s name. 

Later at about 9pm, the soldiers called the camp committee member of TheChaung IDP camp, U Maung Maung Sein (aka) Nurul Islam and they asked U Maung Maung Sein to take the victim and to drop him off at home. As the victim was severely wounded U Maung Maung Sein was afraid and he refused to accept. Then the soldiers gave the medical treatment to the victim and finally U Maung Maung Sein and a villager of TheChaung named Salim took the victim and dropped him off at his home. 

In these days, the soldiers from battalion 376 are beating innocent Rohingya passers-by and robbing them of money and mobile phones without any reason. As the military is the more powerful than the government in Myanmar, there is no one to take action against the tortures and robbing committed by Myanmar military. 

Aung Aung and Saed Arkani contributed in reporting.

The victim's photos:



Rohingya Exodus