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Perdana Global Peace Foundation Press Release: Persecution of the Rohingya

– June 24, 2012 


Persecution of the Rohingya

The recent escalation of events in early June in the Rakhine state of Western Myanmar is a matter of deep concern to the Perdana Global Peace Foundation. It has been widely reported that the Rohingya, a stateless minority, were physically attacked and their homes burnt by the Buddhist majority with some dozens “reported” dead; however it is believed that thousands perished. This has resulted in thousands fleeing their villages and seeking refuge in neighbouring countries, especially Bangladesh.

Reports abound that for decades the Rohingya, who were born and bred in Myanmar have been subject to discrimination and serious human rights violations by the Buddhist majority. It goes well beyond marginalization of a community, which is often experienced by many ethnic minorities worldwide. Most explicit is the denial of citizenship rights which leaves this minority community even more vulnerable to bigotry, intolerance and abuse by the established majority.

That this humanitarian crisis has reached alarming proportions with sufficient prominence in international media, tells us that much needs to be done and that neighbouring countries need to act on their international human rights obligations and reach out to these displaced people in search of a new home. We especially appeal to the people and government of Bangladesh to allow for the fleeing Rohingya to seek temporary refuge. We are fully aware
of the economic and social pressures on the Bangladeshi people who already have had to
accommodate about 200,000 Rohingya refugees with little aid from the international community, but this is a human catastrophe that we cannot ignore.

We also call on the United Nations, in particular the UNHCR to step up and expedite the process of supporting and rehabilitating the stateless refugees who have fled by the thousands to neighbouring countries. Additionally, since the UN itself has acknowledged the Rohingya to be one of the most persecuted minorities in the world, an international panel of observers to monitor the volatile areas could be a deterrent to continued further persecution persecution.

While we applaud recent developments in the democratic progress of Myanmar, we notice that the plight of the Rohingya, has not received the commensurate attention and concern that other ethnic minorities in Myanmar have received.

We are deeply saddened that given the high political stakes in the current democratization cum liberalization process in Myanmar, the issue of the Rohingya wil be relegated to that of a “sacrificial lamb”; an issue that is easily dispensable and of little significance to the overall
political agenda of the major communities there.

Dr Zulaiha Ismail
Executive Director
Perdana Global Peace Foundation

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