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BROUK Welcomes British Parliamentary Debate on Rohingya

BROUK welcomes the Parliamentary debate on Rohingya at Westminster Hall yesterday. About 25 MPs attended the debate. MPs pointed out that this is an issue of human rights, justice and desperate humanitarian need, to which they must respond. They also mentioned that in the violence in Arakan state, security services have also been directly engaged in violence towards the Rohingya, with allegations of mass killings, mass arrests and looting. Days after the violence started, security forces began targeting predominantly Muslim areas and arrested many Rohingya men and boys, who have not been heard of since. 

MPs also mentioned that the horrific violence of the summer has brought the outrageous 1982 citizenship law into sharp focus. Surely now is the time for greater international pressure to be put on the Burmese Government to repeal that law and to replace it with a new law based on human rights, which recognizes and respects the equal rights of all the Burmese people and is in accordance with international standards. 

Jonathan Ashworth MP, who opened the debate, mentioned that historically, the Burmese Government were, perhaps, more sympathetic towards citizenship rights in relation to the Rohingya. The first President of Burma said that the “Muslims of Arakan certainly belong to the indigenous races of Burma. If they do not belong to the indigenous races, we also cannot be taken as indigenous races.” In the past there has been a more understanding attitude towards the Rohingya. It is important that we get that on the record. 

MPs mentioned that instead of seeking peace and reconciliation, the Burmese Government has asked the UN for assistance in trying to remove all Rohingya from Burma and place them in third countries. If they are serious about reform, they should instead eliminate the discriminatory laws that validate that kind of violence. 

MPs also urged the Government of Bangladesh to treat the refugees with much more compassion and to allow the United Nations to intervene in the refugee situation to see precisely what is going on. 

Tun Khin, BROUK President, said, “We are grateful to British MPs concerned about Rohingya suffering people of Burma. It is very encouraging for all the Rohingya people that British MPs learned that the intolerance shown by the Burmese state towards the Rohingya community is completely and utterly unacceptable. The Burmese Government must be held to account for how they are treating the Muslim people. Injustice is being done to the Rohingya people.” 

BROUK President Tun Khin also said, “Even though international pressure is still high, Thein Sein’s government is continuing its policy of ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas. It has been three months since Rohingya have not been able to leave their homes in Kyauktaw, Min Bya, Puaktaw Pone Nar Kyun and Mrauk Oo. Rohingyas are dying day by day as they do not have any food. Many people were arrested, beaten and killed when they went out to buy food. They have become refugees in their homes. Urgent UN monitor teams must be allowed into the area and we need a UN Commission of Inquiry into who perpetrated crimes against humanity to Rohingyas. We call on UK government to withdraw the invitation to President Thein Sein to visit the UK in order to bring home to him the seriousness of the current situation and the fact that proposing ethnic cleansing is completely unacceptable. We also call on British Government to ensure strong wording in the upcoming UN General Assembly Resolution on Burma, including reform of the 1982 Citizenship Law and the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry into what has taken place in Arakan State”. 

For more information, please contact Tun Khin +44 7888 714 866. 
Ahamed Jarmal 
General Secretary 
Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK)

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