Free Rohingya Campaign (FRC) Press Release on state-sponsored violence in Arakan, Burma
October 28, 2012
Free Rohingya Campaign strongly requests immediate international security, human rights and humanitarian intervention in Rakhine State in regards to allegations of national military involvement and failure of national military to prevent or protect Rakhine State Muslims from the current surge in violence. Furthermore, 50-100 boats full of Muslims escaping mid-Rakhine State violence remain afloat at sea, some for 4 days and with women and infant passengers that have already died. These boats have been denied awaiting UN and INGO relief and refuge and pushed out to sea by national military and border security, despite President Thein Sein’s assurances otherwise. Other Muslim boats have been attacked with no reported survivors when attempting to come ashore in near Taung bro, Northern Maungdaw Township.
Since October 21, 2012, escalation in ongoing Rakhine State violence has, again, disproportionately targeted large populations of Rohingya and other Muslims with deadly violence, forced eviction by arson, forced displacement and blockade of escape, refuge and relief. This latest surge in anti-Muslim violence has been perpetrated while the Rakhine area has been under a state of emergency and national government control. Muslim survivors of these several new attacks report national military presence at these attacks without intervention. Immediately preceding the surge, Muslim populations in the targeted areas received orders of eviction with threats of violence for disobedience. Also, since September 2012, there has been an escalation in the protests, resolutions and demands for Muslim cleansing, separation, and prohibition of financial, medical or other aid to Muslims with threat of deadly violence and labels of traitor for disobedience.
June 12, 2012, Myanmar President Thein Sein declared a state of emergency in Rakhine State in response to sectarian violence. Since the government took command and control from local authorities, violence has shifted to disproportionately target Rohingya and other Muslims in Rakhine, but remains depicted as sectarian violence. Subsequent to the declared state of emergency, national military plus local authorities and civilians have been implicated in subsequent widespread forced eviction, property destruction, forced relocation, disappearance, arbitrary arrest and violence toward large populations of Muslims.
The Muslims disproportionately displaced in camps and villagers in their homes have been under highly restricted movement by security forces or by perpetration and threat of violence from Rakhine vigilantes, who have roamed freely with weapons.
UN and INGO relief workers have been blocked from entering Muslim camps, treating Muslim victims of violence and setting up field clinics. Few Muslim camp inhabitants and villagers have received the large amount of food and other international relief that has been distributed. Only 30% of Muslim camp residents have access to clean water.
Warnings have been issued to health care personnel prohibiting medical assistance to Muslims with threats of deadly violence. Muslim businesses, property and land have continued to be confiscated and/or destroyed.
President Thein Sein thwarted UN and other Human Rights experts calls for international investigation of June – July violence in which the government national military has been implicated.
Amid the initial disproportionate violence, President Their Sein made a request for Rakhine State Muslims be taken to UNHCR refugee camps or third countries.
The current, recent and past allegations of direct national military involvement in mass anti-Muslim violence, other human rights violations and brutal persecution in Rakhine State necessitate immediate international security, humanitarian and human rights intervention to prevent further mass atrocities to the Muslim population in Rakhine State.
Nora E. Rowley ,MD MPH
Free Rohingya Campaign (FRC)
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