Latest Highlight

Announcement of New Website: Rohingya Today (RohingyaToday.Com)

Dear Readers,

From 1st January 2019 onward, the Rohingya News Portal 'Rohingya Blogger' will be renamed and upgraded as 'Rohingya Today'. Due to this transition to a new name, our website will be available at and our primary e-mail address will remain as

Happy New Year to everyone!

Thank you.

Rohingya Today (formerly Rohingya Blogger)

Rohingya Today - English Edition -

Rohingya Today - Burmese Edition -

Rohingya Today | December 26, 2018

Cox's Bazaar – A Rohingya refugee working as a day labourer in a road construction project was killed in fighting between Bangladesh's army and Chakma separatist rebels in Bangladesh on Sunday (Dec 23), sources report.

A clash broke out between the Bangladesh army and the Chakma rebels in the forest in Khagrachari area, Bandarban district, around on Dec 23 morning and the labourers working in a private road construction project in the area got stuck in the fighting.

One shot of bullet pierced through the shoulder of a Rohingya refugee working there and killed him soon after that. He was then taken to Chittagong Medical College Hospital for postmortem and handed over to his relatives for funerals on Tuesday (Dec 25).

He was identified as Mohammed Zubair, 23, (son of) Abdu Rahim from Held Shed No: 69, Room No: 01, Kutupalang registered refugee camp, Bangladesh.

"The Bangladesh authorities identified him using a phone number written on a paper found in his pocket. They called the number and handed his body over to his relatives," said Mohammed Amin, a registered Refugee in the camps.

He was given funeral at a football field nearby the Kutupalong registeted refugee camps about 11pm on the same day (i.e. Tuesday).

Also known as Shanti Bahini is a Chakma Buddhist rebel group, the armed-wing of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (United People's Party of the Chittagong Hill Tracts), fighting for an autonomous/ independent region in Chittagong hilltracts. Chakma is a Buddhist minority group living both in Myanmar and in Bangladesh. They consider themselves distinct from other Buddhist groups (including Rakhine) in Bangladesh, and in Myanmar, are known as 'Dinet' considered as a sub-group of wider Rakhine Buddhist groups.

[Reported by Ahmed Karim; Edited by M.S. Anwar]

Please email to: to send your reports and feedback.

Rohingya Refugee Camps in Bangladesh

Rohingya Today | December 19, 2018

Cox's Bazaar — Bangladesh policemen beat up a teenage woman in Rohingya refugee camps in Cox's Bazaar and subsequently, obstructed justice being served to her.

Eighteen-year-old Salima Khatun was severely beaten up and injured by a sub-inspector of police and other five subordinates of his at 'Teng Hali' refugee camp 13 (block C, sub-block at C5) at around 11pm on December 12. The policemen broke into her hut in search of Jamil Ahmed (her father) who was absent, leading them to beat and abuse her instead.

As a result of that, her marriage fixed with a fellow refugee man in the camp also broke up as the relatives of the man engaged with her feared of repercussions by the Bangladesh authorities.

As such, the victim went to the Army Officer in charge of the security of the camps and lodged a complaint of the physical abuses. The army, subsequently, gave her a hearing date.

It has been reported that, as the abuser policeman came to know about the complaint, he sent Mujammil, the Head (Maazhi) of the camps who is also known as a sycophant to the police, to threaten and intimidate her. Then, she was taken to the police station and forced to sign on a paper/letter written in Bangala. The paper was not read out to her.

"On the day of Complaint Hearing by the Army Officer in charge, the policeman sent the letter to him (the Army Officer) through Mujammil, the Head (Maazhi) and sycophant. Only then, Salima Khatun, the victim, came to know that it was a letter of Settlement (Placation/Pacification) between her and the Policemen. Therefore, she returned to her camp crying, without getting justice," said Mohammed Karim (not real name), one of her fellow refugees in nearby camps.

She is now said to be severely suffering physically due to heavy injuries and psychologically due to her broken marriage.

About one million Rohingyas have fled Myanmar and been living in concentrated refugee camps in Bangladesh since the Myanmar military carried out Genocide in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

[Repored by Aadil Ahmed; Edited by M.S. Anwar]

Please email to: to send your report and feedback.

(Photo: Reuters)

Joint Statement: Rohingya Groups Call on U.S. Government to Ensure International Accountability for Myanmar Military-Planned Genocide

December 17, 2018 

We, the undersigned Rohingya organizations worldwide, call for accountability for genocide and crimes against humanity in Myanmar and for the United States government to take urgent action. We urge the U.S. government to urgently act to hold Myanmar military official’s accountable for genocide. 

The U.S. government has referred to what happened to our people as "ethnic cleansing,” which is partially accurate; however, the U.S. should make a clear legal determination of the facts which amount to the crime of genocide. The Myanmar military and authorities made systematic preparations to commit mass atrocity crimes against our Rohingya community - with the intent to destroy us. 

United States House passed Resolution 1091 stating that atrocities against the Rohingya as crimes against humanity and genocide. The Resolution is calling for “all those responsible for these crimes against humanity and genocide should be tracked, sanctioned, arrested, prosecuted, and punished under applicable international criminal statutes and conventions.” 

On December 3, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum came to the conclusion that there is compelling evidence that the Myanmar military committed crimes against humanity and genocide against the Rohingya of Rakhine State, Myanmar. On the same day, the international law firm Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG) hired by the United States State Department to investigate the august 25, 2017 military “clearance operations” on the Rohingya in Myanmar, said it found evidence of genocide based on interviews with over 1,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. 

Many of the undersigned organizations have documented how Myanmar authorities are responsible for human rights violations in Rakhine State including killings, rape, destruction of property, and burning of villages. The Government of Myanmar denies Rohingya citizenship and denies the very existence of our ethnicity. 

On September 24, the U.S. Department of State released its report documenting mass human rights violations against our Rohingya people. The report shows that the campaign was "well-planned and coordinated." However, the report makes no determination that the violence amounts to genocide or crimes against humanity. 

We, the undersigned Rohingya organizations worldwide, are deeply concerned by international inaction, including from the U.S. government. We urge the U.S. government to make a clear genocide determination and to pursue other policies and responses. 

On September 18, the United Nations independent international Fact-Finding-Mission on the situation in Myanmar released its final report concluding that Myanmar’s top military generals should be prosecuted for genocide against Rohingya in Rakhine State as well as for crimes against humanity. 

In July, human rights group Fortify Rights published an extensive report exposing how the Myanmar authorities made “extensive and systematic preparations” for attacks against Rohingya civilians during the weeks and months before Rohingya militants attacked police on August 25, 2017. 

We, the undersigned Rohingya organizations call on the administration of President Trump and all people of conscience within the U.S. government to ensure the United Nations Security Council imposes an arms embargo on Myanmar and refers the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC should investigate and prosecute the military’s crimes against our Rohingya people as well as the Kachin, Shan, and others. 


1. Arakan Rohingya Development Association – Australia (ARDA)

2. Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO)

3. British Rohingya Community in UK

4. Burmese Rohingya Association in Queensland-Australia (BRAQA)

5. Burmese Rohingya Association Japan (BRAJ)

6. Burmese Rohingya Community Australia (BRCA)

7. Burmese Rohingya Community in Denmark

8. Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK)

9. Canadian Burmese Rohingya Organisation

10. Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative

11. Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organisation in Malaysia (MERHROM)

12. Rohingya Advocacy Network in Japan

13. Rohingya American Society

14. Rohingya Arakanese Refugee Committee

15. Rohingya Association of Canada

16. Rohingya Community in Finland

17. Rohingya Community in Germany

18. Rohingya Community in Sweden

19. Rohingya Community in Switzerland

20. Rohingya Organisation Norway

21. Rohingya Society Malaysia (RSM)

22. Rohingya Society Netherlands

23. Rohingya Women Development Network (RDWN)

For more information, please contact: 

Tun Khin (Mobile): +44 7888714866 
Nay San Lwin (Mobile): +49 176 62139138

By Maung Zarni | Published by Anadolu Agency on December 15, 2018

US will not intercede, and Myanmar's neighbors see it through economic lens, so international coalition for Rohingya needed

LONDON -- The U.S. House of Representatives Thursday overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling the crimes committed by Myanmar security forces against Rohingya Muslims a genocide. This was the right thing to do.

The U.S. lawmakers deserve to be applauded for trying to turn “Never again!” into a concrete U.S. governmental policy, following the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s declaration that Myanmar is indeed committing a genocide and crimes against humanity.

The House resolution states that “every government and multilateral body (in the world) should call such atrocities (against Rohingya people) by their rightful names of ‘crimes against humanity,’ ‘war crimes,’ and ‘genocide’.”

It contains a call that will resonate very well with many in the rank-and-file of the Armed Forces of Myanmar unhappy with the Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing: it adds the commander-in-chief to the list of military commanders deemed responsible for these crimes.

Despite the much-reported decline of U.S. power globally, the United States still retains unparalleled influence and reach, militarily, institutionally, economically, and ideologically, vis-à-vis Russia and China. Against this background, the unequivocal stance that U.S. lawmakers have taken against the Myanmar genocide has enormous potential to really end the unimaginable misery which 1.5 million Rohingya experience, both in refugee camps in Bangladesh and in their own places of origin within the western Myanmar state of Rakhine.

However, the calls for the UN Security Council to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court or an ad hoc International Criminal Tribunal on Myanmar, or even economic sanctions alone, will have no appreciable impact on either the Myanmar military, which has institutionalized the intentional destruction of Rohingya as a target population since the 1970s, nor on the majority of the Myanmar public, who have been brainwashed to believe UN or external allegations of atrocities as “fake news” concocted by the liberal West and a Muslim conspiracy financed and coordinated by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

That is, unless the United States is prepared to take forward the idea of military intervention in Myanmar – like the U.S. Pacific Fleet launching surgical missile-strikes from the international waters of the Bay of Bengal on the military headquarters and residences of the senior military commanders in Naypyidaw. The uses of military actions on grounds of humanitarian intervention are not unprecedented. The NATO bombing of Slobodan Milosevic’s palace and the “accidental” strike on the Embassy of China in Belgrade spring to mind.

In fact, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad openly suggested “going in” to end the atrocities, in a public talk at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York a few months ago.

Unrealistic option

However, this may not be a realistic option for a number of reasons: U.S. President Donald Trump has demonstrated absolutely no concern about the news of Myanmar troops burning Rohingya infants and elderly people alive. In fact, Trump has not even once tweeted the word “Rohingya,” let alone drawn attention to the hellish conditions they are living in. Additionally, sandwiched between India and China, which are vying for influence in Myanmar through strategic, military, and economic collaboration, Myanmar may not be an ideal place for U.S. drone or missile strikes, lest such acts draw these two Asian rivals into the military action.

With respect to the impact of full and biting economic sanctions, in the unlikely event that the United States eventually imposes such severe sanctions, the four largest investors in Myanmar are China, Thailand, Singapore, and Hong Kong, followed by the U.K. The targeted pinch on the generals and the national economy will be significantly mitigated by these countries.

None of these governments are likely to follow the U.S.’ lead in the current circumstances. China considers Myanmar, a country in its backyard, an integral piece of its One Belt, One Road grand project whereby it is striving to recreate the New World Order with Beijing as its imperial center. Any talk of persuading China, or Russia, with deep military-to-military ties with Myanmar, to support any punitive measures within the existing global justice and governance mechanisms, including the UN Security Council, is nothing short of delusional.

The rest of Myanmar’s neighbors, including even India, base their Myanmar policies on commercial interests. India is no match for China, how desperately it may try, to curb China’s sway over the Myanmar military and civilian leaderships.

Desperate to find bilateral trade deals outside the EU amid Brexit, Britain is single-mindedly pursuing British commercial interests while serving as the “penholder” on Myanmar resolutions in multilateral bodies by virtue of the historical fact that it was the country’s former colonial master.

In a lengthy Dec. 12 interview with the local Mizzima News Group, British Ambassador Daniel Chugg pussyfooted around the genocide and stressed his ambassadorial goal. In Chugg’s own words, “we are the fifth-largest investor ever in Myanmar, our total stock of investment here is more than $4 billion, and our trade last year was about $500 million, which was up 20 per cent from the year before. So, it's growing but it's still relatively small in global terms and so I hope those figures will improve while I am here.”

No matter how powerful it may still remain, U.S. measures will come short of what is needed to end the genocide in Myanmar.

Steps to follow

Whether the Trump administration makes the legal determination – as the U.S. House Resolution urges – that Myanmar is in fact committing crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes not only against Rohingya but also against other ethnic and religious communities such as the Kachin, Shan, and Ta’ang, is less consequential than what it will concretely do if the determination is made.

The painful truth typically overlooked is that no genocide has ever been committed by the perpetrating state alone, from the Nazi genocide to Bosnia to Rwanda. There are always collaborating and “bystanding” states. The real first-step towards ending the genocide in Myanmar will have to be an international conference of states which have expressed their official concerns about the nature of grave crimes that Myanmar is committing.

There are 47 member states which voted on the UN Human Rights Council Resolution this fall calling for accountability for the Myanmar perpetrators of international state crimes. Although the U.S. is no longer a member of the council, considering the overwhelming concern about the genocide in Myanmar as evidenced in yesterday’s vote at the House of Representatives, the U.S. government is best placed to host such a conference in Washington.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which has done extraordinary work in genocide monitoring and research on the situation for Rohingya, would be an ideal civil society partner to facilitate such a conference.

One primary conference objective should be to forge a coalition of governments that are prepared to pool their resources, strategic influences, and even military assets to put sufficient pressure on both the Myanmar military and Aung San Suu Kyi’s impotent leadership. Without sufficient pressure, Myanmar -- that is, the civilian government and the military -- will not accept the Rohingya as full and equal citizens, nor will they provide any guarantee for the safety of the survivor communities.

As a matter of fact, the Myanmar genocide resolution rightly states that “Myanmar’s civilian government, led by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, has not yet taken the necessary steps to address the violence directed against the Rohingya and has failed to create the necessary conditions for returns, including by actively impeding access to northern Rakhine for UNHCR, UNDP, humanitarian organizations, and journalists.” Having aligned the government with Beijing, Aung San Suu Kyi has shown absolutely no sign that she will relent.
Against this scenario, only such a counter-alliance of states broadly supported by civil society and human rights movements consisting of Rohingya survivors can put enough concrete pressure on the perpetrating regime and the genocidally racist society to allow Rohingya to live in peace on their own ancestral land of Northern Rakhine.

[Maung Zarni is co-author of the “The Slow-Burning Genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingya” (Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal, 2014) and coordinator of the Free Rohingya Coalition.]


13th December 2018 

A whole generation of Rohingya children are being denied the opportunity to shape their own future as they face extremely limited access to education in both Myanmar and in refugee camps in Bangladesh, the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK) said today in a new report based on field research among Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

“If You Want to Harm a Community, Just Don’t Let Them Study”details how a system of segregation building up to genocide in Myanmar, and onerous restrictions imposed by Bangladeshi authorities, mean that quality schooling is off limits to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya children on both sides of the border.

“The Rohingya are suffering from an ongoing genocide, with Myanmar authorities intent on wiping us out as a people. Now more than ever, we need educated Rohingya who can act as leaders for the community, but as long as educations remains severely restricted this will be impossible. We are facing the prospect of a lost generation,” said Tun Khin, President of BROUK.

“Schooling is vital to allowing people to lift themselves and their families out of poverty and to improve their lives. This human right, however, is denied to Rohingya children – this situation must not be allowed to continue.”

Genocide in Myanmar

In Rakhine State, Rohingya have faced serious restrictions on their access to education since 2012, when Myanmar authorities imposed a system of segregation following a campaign of state-organized violence against the Rohingya.

Rohingya children are often unable to attend mixed Rakhine-Rohingya schools but are instead kept in separate education facilities where the quality of teaching is extremely poor. Government teachers often refuse to work in Rohingya schools, or when they do subject students to humiliation and neglect. More than 73% of Rohingya in RakhineState self-identify as illiterate today.

Mohammad, a Rohingya refugee in Bangladesh, described how conditions in Rakhine State changed for him in 2012: “After that, the teacher kept us in separate classes. One for Rohingya, one for Rakhine. They gave them all the attention - all the resources. The teacher would call us ‘Kalar’ [a pejorative term for Rohingya] and would no longer want to teach us.”

There are also reports that since 2017, Myanmar authorities have been targeting teachers and other educated Rohingya - further aggravating the collective capacity for education.

Restrictions in Bangladeshi refugee camps

In August 2017, the Myanmar security forces launched a “clearance operation” in Rakhine State, killing thousands of Rohingya, torching hundreds of villages and committing acts of sexual violence. More than 700,000 Rohingya fled into neighbouring Bangladesh to escape the military’s crimes against humanity, joining hundreds of thousands of other longer-term Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar.

These close to one million Rohingya refugees are now largely housed in dozens of refugee camps in Bangladesh, including the so-called “megacamp” of Kutupalong, one of the largest refugee camps in the world.

The Bangladeshi authorities have imposed restrictions on the type of education that can be provided to refugees, including by banning education in Bangla as well as any formal education that can lead to accreditation. This is apparently because Bangladeshi authorities do not want to create a “pull factor” or incentives for refugees to remain in the country longer term – although it is having a harmful effect on the ability of Rohingya children to access quality education.

Instead, education in the camps is being provided by a range of international and Bangladeshi NGOs as well as community-based organisations. Rohingya are often taught in informal “temporary learning centres” where the quality of education and curriculum can vary significantly depending on the NGO involved.

“The Bangladeshi government has generously opened its borders and allowed hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fleeing for their lives to enter the country. We now urge Dhaka to lift restrictions in the refugee camps – on both residents and aid groups – so that Rohingya children can access schooling unhindered,” said Tun Khin.

“Conditions are nowhere safe enough for Rohingya to return to Myanmar, and refugees are likely to remain in Bangladesh for the long-term. Only by being able to access education and the job market can Rohingya build a future for themselves and contribute to Bangladeshi society.”

Through interviews with Rohingya refugees, international and national aid workers, and other stakeholders, BROUK identified a number of pressing issues around education delivery in the camps.

Classrooms are often severely overcrowded and badly resourced, and recruiting teachers – in particular women – remains a serious challenge. While aid groups have performed heroic efforts in responding to the crisis, there is a lack of long-term planning around education. There’s a shortage of education opportunities for 15-18-year olds, since the emergency context of the refugee response means that primary education has been prioritised over secondary. Some 150,000 children in the camps are still without access to any learning centres altogether.

What must be done

In Bangladesh, BROUK calls on the government to remove all barriers imposed on the Rohingya refugees’ access to education. Furthermore, it is crucial that aid groups and authorities work together to ensure that Rohingya community leaders are involved in decision making around aid and development, and that the provision of education is treated as a long-term issue.

BROUK stresses, however, that the only long-term and viable solution to the crisis lies inside Myanmar. The Myanmar authorities must immediately remove all restrictions on the human rights of Rohingya (including on access to education and freedom of movement), and grant Rohingya citizenship under national law.

“At the heart of the Rohingyas’ lack of access to education are the Myanmar authorities’ genocidal policies. Only when this ends will our community be able to live fulfilled life in peace where we can enjoy our human rights. It is no exaggeration to say that the Rohingya face the real prospect of extinction in Myanmar – the international community must ensure that this does not happen,” said Tun Khin.

By TRT World

Rohingya activists accuse ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of failing to protect the Rohingya because it hasn't condemned Myanmar’s violence against the ethnic minority as genocide. Is ASEAN protecting Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar's generals from international criminal prosecution? 


Maung Zarni 
Coordinator of the Free Rohingya Coalition 

Tom Villarin 
Member of Philippines’ Congress and ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights

Aung San Suu Kyi in 2013. Photo by Shawn Landersz on Flickr.

By Khin Mai Aung | Published by Lion's Roar on December 6, 2018

Last week, a prominent Buddhist teacher defended Aung San Suu Kyi, the Buddhist Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Myanmar civilian leader, against criticism that she is party to genocide. Khin Mai Aung explains why that defense doesn’t hold up.

Recently, respected Bhutanese lama Dzongzar Khyentse Rinpoche posted an open letter on Facebook downplaying Myanmar’s brutal Rohingya genocide and expressing support for the country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The politician has come under fire in recent years for her tacit support of the ongoing genocide in her country. In his letter, Rinpoche dismisses these criticisms as Western colonialism. By letting Aung San Suu Kyi off the hook for her complicity in Myanmar’s genocide and largely turning a blind eye to the Rohingya’s suffering, Rinpoche implicitly endorses the anti-Rohingya mindset rampant in Myanmar and the Burmese diaspora. Rinpoche’s stunning failure to exhibit the core Buddhist tenet of compassion for the Rohingya’s suffering at the hands of Myanmar’s military is deeply disappointing.

In his letter, Rinpoche makes valid and resonant points about Western double standards, hypocrisy, and paternalism. Vestiges of colonialism endure for both colonizers and their former subjects, even today. As I’ve written before, colonialism is indeed to blame for much of Myanmar’s contemporary troubles. British colonial authorities intentionally stoked tensions between its Bamar Buddhist majority and ethnic minorities through a strategy of “divide and rule,” sowing seeds of resentment between the Bamar and minorities like the Rohingya. Rinpoche further reminds us that atrocities committed by Western powers — before, during, and after colonialism — are frequently downplayed and conveniently forgotten. He’s right that abuses committed by Western powers, like the United States pummelling Laos with an unprecedented number of bombs during the Vietnam war, are not as widely remembered as they should be. On a more mundane level, he is also correct that Westerners sometimes co-opt, decontextualize, and exoticize Eastern traditions and practices (like yoga and meditation) — robbing them of their core meaning and essence.

But his defense of Aung San Suu Kyi’s heartbreaking complicity in the Rohingya genocide based on these legitimate concerns is where Rinpoche swerves off track. Rinpoche says that criticism of Suu Kyi is “a sign of the insidious colonialism that continues to strangle Asia and the world.” He’s wrong. The global outcry over Rohingya persecution — and Aung San Suu Kyi’s failure to denounce it — is not the paternalism of the West imposing its values on Myanmar. Rather, it is a valid response to the Burmese military’s bloody subjugation of a profoundly disempowered minority (using tactics the military has also deployed against other ethnic and religious minorities for decades), and the unwillingness of the country’s elected civilian leadership to even question this brutality.

Rinpoche sets up an East-versus-West dichotomy and cloaks his defense of Aung San Suu Kyi in the righteous language of anti-colonialism, writing “we are expected to kowtow to western morality” and “it’s time to restore the dignity of our own great eastern wisdom traditions and legacies.” In doing so, Rinpoche unwittingly lends support for Myanmar’s alternative narrative of its mistreatment of the Rohingya. This framing opens the door for Burmese apologists — including but not limited to political leaders like Aung San Suu Kyi — to cast abuse of the Rohingya as part of Myanmar’s noble effort to preserve its ethnic and religious identity in the face of Western oppression. In this narrative, Myanmar is merely casting off the yoke of colonial rule by purging the country of “Bengali” foreigners brought into the country by British overseers — not exterminating and expelling a vulnerable and powerless minority group. The contention that the Rohingya are not native to Myanmar is unfortunately reinforced by Rinpoche’s allegation that the British brought “most” Rohingya to Burma during the colonial period as cheap labor to work in rice paddies. It’s true that many people of South Asian descent were imported from the Indian subcontinent into Myanmar by British colonial authorities. But as others have pointed out in response to Rinpoche’s letter, both the Muslim Rohingya and my own ancestors, the Buddhist Rakhine (another ethnic minority in Myanmar), coexisted peacefully for centuries on both sides of the Naf River, which now marks the Myanmar–Bangladesh border. Rinpoche overlooks this important fact, capitulating to and reinforcing the Burmese belief that all or most Rohingya are foreigners from Bangladesh.

It is also not accurate to suggest that Aung San Suu Kyi is being judged according to Western morality, when she herself has spent most of her life campaigning for democracy and free speech. In 2010, she said, “The basis of democratic freedom is freedom of speech.” If that is her belief, why did her political party bar Muslims from seeking office in Myanmar’s 2015 elections? And why does she remain silent while journalists are thrown in jail for reporting on the Rohingya genocide? Is it colonialist to call on Aung San Suu Kyi to uphold the very principles which she has spent her life promoting?

Despite his lengthy excoriation of the West, Rinpoche regretfully omits an obvious and relevant example of Western influence negatively impacting Myanmar. He passionately decries the unfortunate influence of Western society, contending that “We Asians have been taught to disparage our own noble traditions and instead to treasure western values, literature and music, to chew gum and wear faded jeans, to embrace Facebook and Amazon, and to ape western manners and institutions.” Rinpoche misses the fact that the Burmese military has actively used Facebook to spread its propaganda and encourage religious violence. If Rinpoche truly wants Aung San Suu Kyi to cast off the yoke of western colonialism, he should question why she condones the Burmese military’s use of western technology to implement its own version of “divide and rule” by inflaming ethnic and religious tensions in Myanmar.

The profound irony of Rinpoche’s statement that “our own holocausts are conveniently forgotten and buried in the dustbin of history” haunts me. Blinded by anger over Western double standards, Rinpoche doesn’t see how his words may help Myanmar bury its own genocide in the “dustbin of history.” His willingness to let Aung San Suu Kyi (and, by extension, the rest of Myanmar’s civilian government) off the hook for failing to advocate for the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities in Myanmar is dismaying. What the international Buddhist community needs is moral and ethical leadership from prominent religious leaders like Rinpoche, and not excuses for politicians unable or unwilling to stand up for the vulnerable. Rinpoche is absolutely right that the Western world can be self-righteous and judgmental toward non-Westerners, and that non-Westerners, in turn, are sometimes unduly deferential to the West. But by viewing foreign criticism of Aung San Suu Kyi only through this prism, he obscures the larger truth of human rights abuses in Myanmar. And, tragically, he overlooks the fact that Myanmar’s civilian leadership has abandoned the core Buddhist belief in each person’s innate human dignity — including that of the Rohingya.

December 5, 2018


This past week members of Protect the Rohingya (PTR) collaborated with members of the Rohingya Community Development Campaign (RCDC) to organise a winter school for 100 Rohingya adults, men and women, based in Balukhali 10, Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. 

The Winter School project curriculum was compiled specifically for adult learners. The project sought to recreate a campus environment as well as impart social media, interviewing and reporting skills to participants. The 5 day classes included poetry from the global south, oral history and comparative genocide studies.

PTR would like to take this opportunity to thank Nay San Lwin, Fatima Zahra Mayet, RCDC, Adil Sakhawat, Tasneem Fredericks and all those who donated Kindly to make this project a reality. 

Protect the Rohingya is a South African based advocacy organisation that began in 2012 to raise awareness about the plight of the Rohingya. 

For more information:
Tasneem Fredericks - 082 612 1657
Shabnam Mayet - 0721786102

By Sena Güler | Published by Anadolu Agency on December 1, 2018

Maung Zarni says he will boycott Beijing-sponsored events until the country reverses its 'troubling path'

ANKARA -- A human rights activist and intellectual said he withdrew from a Beijing-sponsored forum in London to protest the detention of a million Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang.

“As a human rights activist, a Buddhist educator and a politically engaged scholar of genocide, racism and violence, I cannot, in clear conscience, participate in the three-day forum which is officially endorsed by the Government of China,” wrote Maung Zarni in his withdrawal letter on Friday.

Zarni was scheduled to deliver a speech on his country Myanmar’s genocide on Dec. 7 at the 5th Global China Dialogue on Governance for Global Justice.

“[…] the ruling Communist Party of China today stands credibly accused of commissioning a systematic and racially motivated persecution of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang Province,” he went onto say.

Recalling an event, he attended in Geneva in September, Zarni said a Muslim Uyghur man delivered a speech which said his mother had died two weeks ago in one of the concentration camps and the man had not seen his mother for the last 20 years.

“I was moved by this Uyghur exile – born and raised in what he and his fellow people call East Turkistan vis-à-vis China’s official name for his homeland, Xinjiang,” he said, sympathizing with the man as he also saw his mother for very brief times in the last 30 years before her death in February, “as a Burmese exile from military-controlled Burma, or Myanmar”.

He also said he saw at the same event some evidence of “a vast complex of concentration camps” – as a German investigative journalist put it.

“I saw photographic evidence of one complex encircled by a tall concrete wall, with watch towers, CCTV surveillance cameras and machine-gun-holding guards,” he noted.

Zarni recalled a statement of Gay McDougall, a member of the UN Committee, saying she was concerned about a UN report, which said China had "turned the Uighur autonomous region into something that resembles a massive internment camp".

He also called on “China’s intellectuals and China-friendly global academics” to work towards reversing the “deeply troubling path” of the country.

“Until then I have decided to boycott any public or private educational or cultural event that is officially backed by the Government of China.”

Xinjiang region is home to around 10 million Uyghurs. The Turkic Muslims have long accused China’s authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination.

China stepped up its restrictions on the region in the past two years, banning men from growing beards and women from wearing veils, and introducing what many experts regard as the world’s most extensive electronic surveillance program, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Up to 1 million people, or about 7 percent of the Muslim population in China’s Xinjiang region, have now been incarcerated in an expanding network of “political re-education” camps, according to U.S. officials and United Nations experts.

A poster of Aung San Suu Kyi | Photo by theodore liasi / Alamy

By Maung Zarni and Matthew Gindin | Published by Tricycle on November 28, 2018

A former ally of Aung San Suu Kyi responds to the Tibetan Buddhist teacher’s support for Myanmar’s controversial leader.

Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, a well-known teacher of Vajrayana Buddhism, surprised some in the Buddhist world recently when he penned an open letter of support to Aung San Suu Kyi, the head of Myanmar’s civil government accused of complicity in the military’s persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority. The letter praises her sacrifice, courage, and principled political actions in pursuit of the rights of her people, while attacking her critics as hypocrites and arrogant colonialists pushing Western interests and values.

Dzongsar Khyentse is a major figure in contemporary Buddhism. A tulku (reincarnated master) in the Khyentse lineage, he is the son of the revered Thinley Norbu Rinpoche and grandson of the influential Dudjom Rinpoche. An embodiment of the Rime (nonsectarian) movement, he is the guardian of the teachings of the Dzogchen master Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, as well as an accomplished filmmaker and author of popular English language expositions of Buddhism. 

His support for Suu Kyi comes on the heels of a September report by the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar that said the violent campaign against the Rohingya amounts to genocide, a claim supported by several human rights research and documentation bodies around the world. The report, released at a UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, stated that Suu Kyi and her civilian government had “contributed to the commission of atrocity crimes” through their “acts and omissions.” As a result of mounting allegations of culpability, Suu Kyi, who was once lauded for her activism on behalf of democracy in Myanmar, has been stripped of multiple awards, including the US Holocaust Museum’s Elie Wiesel Award, her honorary Canadian citizenship, and Amnesty International’s human rights award.

In response to Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche’s letter, Maung Zarni, a Burmese Buddhist, pro-democracy activist, and former ally of Suu Kyi, and I have co-authored an open letter challenging what we view as faulty narratives, misinformation, and questionable reasoning in Dzongsar Khyentse’s letter. 

—Matthew Gindin

Dear Rinpoche,

In a November 16 letter, you expressed your “deep respect and appreciation” for all Suu Kyi has done “to fight for your people’s freedoms.” You call her a “true heroine of this age, more than worthy of the Nobel Prize and other honours” and say you are “appalled by the removal of awards” she received. You argue that this is a “blatant double standard,” citing the reception of a Nobel Prize by former US President Barack Obama despite his use of drone warfare against Middle Eastern civilians.

You see this double standard as part of “insidious colonialism strangling Asia and the world,” which you say teaches Asians to “disparage our own noble traditions and instead to treasure Western values and music, to chew gum and wear faded jeans, to embrace Facebook and Amazon, and to ape Western manners and institutions.” 

I (Zarni) am a child of a Burmese Buddhist family with close ties to the military. I grew up with intense pride and deep reverence for the Buddhist tradition and spiritual culture of Burma. After coming to the US to study, I founded the Free Burma Coalition to support the struggle for democracy in Burma and became a hardworking supporter of Suu Kyi, inspired by her personal courage and the mixed discourse of Buddhist loving-kindness and human rights. But early on I began to suspect that she was an ethnic nationalist and a Buddhist chauvinist, more concerned for her own legacy and the interests of the Bamar majority than she was for human rights and a true democracy for all the peoples of Myanmar. In April 2016, Suu Kyi assumed the position of State Counselor. She quickly morphed into a key actor in the longstanding oppression of Myanmar’s Rohingya people. Since then I have been a fierce critic of my fellow Buddhist dissident, who now acts in a joint partnership with our former common oppressor, Myanmar’s murderous military, the Tatmadaw.

According to statistics from the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM) earlier this year, 898,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled violence in Myanmar currently live in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. Of them, 686,000 have arrived since August 2017, when the government launched a coordinated military-led campaign of arson, murder, and sexual violence against their communities in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. This assault, according to human rights organization Fortify Rights, was deliberately prepared for months in advance by the Tatmadaw. Many Rohingya, faced with proposals over the last year to repatriate them to the country where for decades they faced systemic discrimination and the deliberate deprivation of basic human rights, have said that they would sooner die in Bangladesh.

Genocide is not simply incidents of mass killings; it is a long process of systematic, intentional destruction of a target group. Suu Kyi, as the leader of the ruling NLD party, controls several government ministries involved in such efforts against the Rohingya, but she has done nothing to protest or attempt to stop her country’s abuse of them. Meanwhile, she has repeatedly and publicly dismissed well-documented reports of the genocidal violence of the Tatmadaw—in one instance referring to systemic sexual violence against Rohingya women and girls as “fake rape.”

Rinpoche, you cite atrocities committed by Western governments past and present and accuse the modern West of hypocrisy for criticizing Suu Kyi. First, the criticisms of Suu Kyi do not only come from the West but also from people all over the world who oppose the kind of brutal oppression the Myanmar state has subjected the Rohingya to. Second, you erase the distinction between Western non-governmental bodies and activists on the one hand and Western governments on the other. By your logic, the Swedish Nobel committee, local bodies like the Oxford City Council, or Suu Kyi’s own alma mater (St. Hugh’s College, Oxford) cannot criticize human rights abuses if the governments of Britain or Sweden have ever committed atrocities (which of course they have). You lump together governments, private bodies, and activists under the simplistic rubric of “the West.” These kinds of generalizations can become fodder for muddled thinking and racism. After all, many of the Western activists and human rights organizations who have criticized Suu Kyi have also spoken out against the violations of Western countries, and continue to do so. They have also confronted the Chinese state for its persecution of Buddhists and embraced efforts to preserve traditional Asian culture and values, such as the Gross National Happiness initiative in Bhutan. 

A more sober assessment of global politics would recognize that all cultures have committed atrocities and that many have fallen into the temptations of militarism, racism, and colonialism. You present the “noble tradition” of the East as opposed to the ignoble tradition of the West despite the fact that “our East” has as many murderous and colonizing legacies as “their West.” This way of framing the Rohingya crisis and criticism of Suu Kyi does more to obscure the matters at stake than to clarify them. In setting off West against East, your letter focuses on a clash of civilizations instead of the real problem: a clash of values. The true battle is between those who embrace values of nonviolence, compassion, and justice—which the best traditions of both West and East argue for—and those who put first their race, the defense of their traditions, the accumulation of capital, or other divisive values.

While we sympathize with your criticisms of the hypocrisy, arrogance, and colonial legacy of many Western countries and share your concern for the way that the “capitalist system” is swallowing diverse global cultures, we balk at your emphasis on the Western nature of what is destructive in the world today. The problems we face—growing fascism, violent racism, nationalism, tremendous gaps of wealth between the rich and the poor, the destruction of our shared ecosystem and the destruction of both ethnic and zoological diversity—are now global problems exacerbated by the worldwide embrace of misguided policies that are often championed by those who hold power and wish to cling to it. The current conflict in Myanmar embodies this adoption of destructive policies, in which the fires of ethnic disputes have been stoked in order to consolidate power for the military and business elite.

Toward the end of your letter you say that “nothing I write here denies the suffering of the Rohingya people,” but you argue that instead of blaming Suu Kyi, the British “should be taking responsibility for bringing the Rohingyas from Bengal in the 19th and 20th centuries as cheap labour” and suggest that the UK should take in the Rohingya refugees themselves. 

Here you are referencing a false narrative, popular in Myanmar, that claims that the Rohingya are not a native ethnicity but rather Muslim Bengali laborers who never went home and who now want to undermine the Burmese Buddhist state. This ahistorical propaganda is used to justify discrimination and violence against them. Suu Kyi has signaled that she accepts this narrative with her refusal to use the name “Rohingya,” a title by which they refer to themselves and that reflects their centuries-old history in the country.

In fact, the Rohingyas’ presence in the region long predates both the arrival of British colonial rule in 1824 and the emergence of Myanmar as a nation-state in 1948; thousands of Rohingya have been living in the western Arakan Kingdom, now Rakhine state, since the 15th century. Aside from the fact that there were no national boundaries as such in the 18th and 19th centuries, in the pre-colonial societies of the time, demographic and geographic fluidity was the norm. Arakan, or Rakhine, the fertile coastal region of the Bay of Bengal, was a multi-ethnic, multi-faith society until Bamar invaders arrived. Their forces destroyed the nearby kingdom in Mrauk-U and then expanded, annexing Arakan in 1785.

Although international attention has focused on the plight of the Rohingya, their persecution is only the most egregious symptom of the interethnic conflict that afflicts Burma, a violence fueled by the Bamar supremacism of the ruling government and the oppression it directs at the Shan, Kachin, Karen, Mon, and other historic peoples of Myanmar. Arguably, the idea of an ethnically pure nation-state is a product of the very colonialism you claim to decry. 

“For me,” you write to Suu Kyi toward the end of your letter, “you remain the heroine you truly are. And for many who dare not speak up but who secretly agree, you personify our own #MeToo movement.” 

The #MeToo movement arose because powerful persons used their positions to sexually harass and assault women (as well as some men) and then manipulated or threatened them into keeping quiet about it. If anyone in Myanmar personifies the #MeToo movement, it is the Rohingya women and girls whom the Tatmadaw has gang-raped and murdered. 

Suu Kyi has publicly stated that these rapes did not occur, making her an enabler of the kind of violence that the #MeToo movement arose to stop, not a victim of it. In this situation, it is Suu Kyi herself who is a powerful abuser aiding other powerful abusers. Moreover, we find your attempt to co-opt the #MeToo movement to be acutely disrespectful of both the Rohingya victims of sexual violence and of all the courageous women who stood up to say “me too” to call sexual abusers to account around the world.

After this quick reference to #MeToo, you then suggest it may be time to seek out “the Westerner’s weak spot” in that “they don’t dare criticize Muslims or Jews for fear of being called Islamophobic or anti-Semitic,” so “perhaps we need to coin new words for anti-Buddhist or anti-Asian bias to evoke their guilt.” Western countries are particularly sensitive to the Holocaust because so many of us were complicit in the deliberate, state-sponsored murder of six million Jews only 70-odd years ago. We are sensitive to Islamophobia both because of the recent warfare between Western governments and historically Islamic ones, and also because of real problems with violent Islamophobia in western countries, such as the mosque shooting in Canada in 2017. There is a great irony in your writing this at a time when the United States government has tried to impose a ban on Muslims entering the country and when heated anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish rhetoric has been normalized.

To close, we would like to call attention to one voice that is almost totally silent in your letter: the Rohingya themselves. Though your letter is really aimed at “Western” critics of Suu Kyi, the chief resistance to the genocide, and the primary critics of Suu Kyi and the Myanmar state, are not Westerners; they are Rohingya activists like Nural Islam, Razia Sultana, Tun Khin, and Nay San Lwin, to name a few, as well as groups like The Free Rohingya Coalition and Arakan Rohingya National Organization. Many of these Rohingya have been fighting for the last four decades against their impoverishment and oppression at the hands of the Myanmar state, and no one was more pleased by the revocation of Suu Kyi’s awards for human rights activism than they.

While there is always room for criticizing specific policies of a specific Western country or institution, when you paint matters with as broad as a brush as your letter does, opportunities for grappling with injustices in the real world are replaced by harmful meta-narratives that, to our mind, simply stoke the fires of conflict and division. It would be more fruitful for those opposed to colonialism, racism, violence, and injustice around the world to work together rather than to close ranks against each other. Your claim that Western institutions are guilty of colonial violence, both gross and subtle, is true. So is the claim that the Myanmar state and Aung San Suu Kyi are guilty of genocidal violence. Instead of putting these truths in opposition to each other, why not join hands to fight against injustice everywhere? Why not recognize greed, hatred, and delusion wherever they rear their ugly heads and create an international coalition of generosity, love, and clarity? 

With goodwill,

Maung Zarni and Matthew Gindin

Maung Zarni is a Burmese activist and scholar. He is a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics and the founder of the Free Burma Coalition.
Matthew Gindin is a journalist and meditation teacher in Vancouver, British Columbia. A former monk in the Thai Forest tradition, he is the author of Everyone in Love: The Beautiful Theology of Rav Yehuda Ashlag.

By Nasir Uddin | Published by South Asia Journal on November 17, 2018

The world witnessed a massive refugee situation in the borderland of Bangladesh and Myanmar in 2017, where an extreme form of brutality perpetrated by the Myanmar security forces forced hundreds of thousands Rohingya people, known as the world’s most persecuted ethnic minority, fled to Bangladesh. Myanmar security forces, Burmese (Bamar) ethnic extremists and Rakhine Buddhist fundamentalists combinedly formed an alliance to perpetrate a deadly operation, called clearance operation, started from August 25, 2017, which, a recent report prepared by a three-member-panel appointed by the United Nations shows, compelled more than 725,000 Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh, about 10,000 Rohingyas were killed in the first two months, hundreds of women and girls were raped, and around 392 villages were partially or totally destroyed.Combined with previous and new arrivals, now Bangladesh hosts about 1.3 million Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, its South-eastern part, which is considered as the world’s largest refugee camp. The newly arrived Rohingyas in Bangladesh explained their horrible experience and the degree of atrocities was so intense that the UN Human Rights council time and again termed it as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”whilst many others called it genocide. Even before the massive campaign in 2017, some credible research like the ones published by Yale Law School and the research team of Queen Marry at the University of Londonfound that the way Myanmar security forces were dealing with the Rohingya people is undoubtedly a genocide. The campaign in 2017 seemingly superseded all previous records. Even after such a massive Rohingya influx and despite all out criticisms across the world, the remaining Rohingyas in Arakan still face an acute sense of vulnerability and are consigned to a life of fear. Notwithstanding the prevailing contested situation, Bangladesh and Myanmar made an attempt to start off repatriation process from mid-November, but expectedly failed. Many international actors, rights bodies and even many local people have “doubt” whether the start of repatriation process means really a “start”or an “end”! Will it really bring any lasting solution without addressing the strong Muslim-Buddhist divide, Rakhine-Rohingya ethnic cleavage, state’s exclusionary policy, and the question of legality of the Rohingya people in Myanmar’s state structure? Many policy analysts, political scientists, academic researchers, and career diplomats might come up with an imagined or intelligent prescription suggesting many potential bilateral and multi-lateral engagements and actions, but I intend to unfold here the ways how the Rohingya refugees, the center-point of the entire discussions, want the solution of their problems in which ways. 

On September 12, 2018, I was interviewing a group of Rohingya refugees together, which is academically called Focused Group Discussion or FGD, in Balukhali refugee camp in Ukhia, Cox’s Bazar where three majhi (block-chief), two aged murubbi (superior), three middle-aged Rohingyas were present and took part in the discussion. Everyone wants to go back to Borma [Burma] but everyone echoes the same narratives: joboner nirapotta (life-safety), nagorikottto (citizenship) and maan-ijjat (dignity) should be insured first. I recorded hundreds of similar stories from many Rohingya men and women living in Ukhia and Teknaf refugee camps. Some, of course, demand an active involvement of the UN bodies like UNHCR in the repatriation process. If we deeply look into the contents of the Rohingya narratives, we can find the solutions to the Rohingya crisis by confirming three demands: legal recognition, life-safety, and human dignity. 

The Rohingya people, whose ancestors were living in the Arakan state centuries ago, were deprived of citizenship in the process of adopting Myanmar Citizenship Law in 1982 which legally rendered them stateless people. Since citizenship is the gateway to all sorts of rights, conferring citizenships to the Rohingya people could be the best possible way forward towards resolving the crisis. My fieldwork experience reveals that the Rohingya people believe if they get legal recognition with the citizenship, they can enjoy all kinds of social, political and civil rights like other citizens of Myanmar. That is what they desperately want as they believe legal recognition could bring a positive change to alter their position in Myanmar.

Many Rohingya refugees whom I met explained that besides conferring citizenship, ensuring life-safety is also important. “If we have citizenship, but no life-safely, what the hell we will do with the legal recognition”—is the sentiment among many Rohingya refugees in the camp. When security forces, and local Buddhist extremists visit Rohingya houses in the village in search of “militants”, they badly behave with the Rohingya people. If they see any form of protest, they physically assault and sometime just shoot on the spot. Even in the market place, on the street, in the public transport, and even in the mosque, the security forces and local Rakhine extremist youths without any reason harass the Rohingya people. If anyone argues and challenges their acts, they start beating publicly, attack with knives & sticks, and sometime shoot on the spot. Their behavior for decades has created a culture of fear in every sphere of Rohingya life in Rakhine state. Therefore, along with the legal recognition, Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar think, social and life safety must be ensured. 

Many Rohingya refugees during my fieldwork in 2017 and 2018 time and again told me that “the Borma military and kichu moiggar fua [some Rakhine youths] quite often harass us at home and outside without any reasons. Their behavior has made us understand that we can’t live there and we are illegal in Myanmar. Sometime, it hurts us deeply as it heats to our self-respect. They behave with us like a januar [animals] not like a manush [human]. We want to lead a human life.” I found the similar sensitivity among many Rohingya refugees who crossed the border following the August campaign. According to their narratives, security forces often raid their houses and not only to harass them but also, they snatch their belongings, saved money, and gold. Sometime they forcibly rape girls and women putting males at home on gun-point. The movement of Rohingya people is still restricted, their freedom of choice is completely absent and there is no liberty to lead a human life. Rohingya people cannot move beyond three kilometers without permission and hence they live in a confinement situation. They need permission to do everything and even to do marriage. Therefore, they think, along with the legal recognition, and life-safety, their human dignity is equally important because they want to lead a normal human life. 

Many politicians and diplomates, local and global media, UN bodies, Human Rights Organizations, global political actors, NGOs, academics, and civil society forums talk too much about Rohingya crisis and give various forms of prescription. What actually the Rohingya refugees want and what their views of the solutions to the Rohingya crisis remain unheard. Based on my field-level experience and long-year engagement with them, I have picked up “three points” as an abridged version of what the Rohingya people think of getting rid of their miseries. Now, the question is: Who will rail the derailed train? 

Nasir Uddin is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the Refugee Studies Centre (RSC), University of Oxford & a Research Consultant at SOAS, University of London. He is a Cultural Anthropologist based in Bangladesh and a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chittagong. He is the author of a forthcoming book The Rohingya: A Case of “Subhuman”(Oxford University Press, 2019). 

Press Release 
20, November 2018

Myanmar, not Bangladesh, is responsible for failed repatriation

On behalf of the Rohingya people, we would like to express regret and disgust at Myanmar's policy of continuously blaming Bangladesh for the failure of repatriation of Rohingya refugees. As we all know, the ground reality in Arakan (Rakhine) State makes repatriation of Rohingya refugees impossible as the brutal state machinery continues their genocide of the defenceless Muslim community, a policy in place for more than half a century. The sad truth is that Myanmar government has no intention of creating condition for sustainable repatriation and is responsible for failed repatriation and deserving of blame. We strongly condemn it. 

On the contrary, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to the government and people of Bangladesh who are hosting more than a million people in their country. Refugees are a burden for every country in the world, including developed nations, as has been seen in Europe over the past few years. Despite being the most overpopulated and a resource constrained nation Bangladesh has shown extraordinary generosity in letting the Rohingya refugees stay, with humanity the only motive. Myanmar's suggestion that Bangladesh does not want the Rohingya refugees is ridiculous. 

The genocide of Rohingyas is still ongoing, and the remaining Rohingyas in Arakan State continue to be persecuted, and preparations are underway to shift them away from their ancestral villages to IDP camps. State sponsored Buddhist nationalists are protesting against the repatriation of the Rohingyas. The situation of those who have been confined to ghettos and IDP camps following 2012 deadly violence shows no improvement. 

The issue of restoring citizenship to the Rohingya and recognition of their ethnic name “Rohingya” are not even being discussed. There is no change of attitude of the Myanmar authorities towards Rohingyas and other Muslim communities in the country. It is this reality that has terrified the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh every time the word repatriation is mentioned. In truth Rohingyas want sustainable return to their ancestral homeland in Arakan in safety, in dignity and with justice, not to killing field, where bloodshed and violence awaits them. 

It is disgusting to notice that the country responsible for the ongoing genocide continues to shift blame on its neighbour Bangladesh, a country which has tried to offer sustainable solutions for this ongoing crisis, including a serious effort to start repatriation on November 15. But because of Myanmar’s unchanged policy, such an effort was bound to be fruitless. 

On behalf of all Rohingya refugees, we maintain that we want to return to our homeland as long as it is protected from the forces that are complicit in the genocide of the Muslims in Arakan. That would require the demilitarization of the zone as it is absurd to suggest that Rohingyas can return to a zone where the Myanmar military retains the ultimate authority. It would also require the Government of Myanmar to legally recognise the Rohingyas as an ethnic minority as well as full citizens of Myanmar, consistent to other ethnic minorities of the country, as opposed to illegal immigrants, and rehabilitate and reintegrate IDPs in Akyab (Sittwe), Kyauktaw, Mrauk U and other townships affected by the 2012 deadly violence in their original habitats and make peace with all ethnic and religious minorities who are being persecuted since the 1960s. 

Instead of doing that, we notice that Myanmar's leaders including State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi has persistently laid the blame on the Government of Bangladesh. We would like to reiterate that such a policy is doomed to failure. On the other hand, we would once again like to thank the Government of Bangladesh led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and of course the generous people of Bangladesh who have been persistent in their help for our community especially at a time when we needed it the most. We request Bangladesh to ignore Myanmar's blame game policy and pursue a sustainable solution to the Rohingya crisis. 

Last but not the least, we are grateful for Bangladesh's decision not to force the Rohingya refugees out as it would have led them to the killing fields of Arakan. 

For more details, please contact:

Australia: Dr. Hla Myint +61-423381904
Bangladesh: Ko Ko Linn: +880-1726068413
Canada: Nur Hasim +1-5195725359
Japan: Zaw Min Htut +81-8030835327
U.K. Ronnie: +44-7783118354
U.S.A: Dr. Habibullah: +1-4438158609

Rohingya Exodus