OIC and US-European delegation visit Northern Arakan; Rakhine Community leader lashes out at the ARU-DG and the Rohingya people
|Incoming Secretary General of OIC Mr. Iyad bin Amin Madani, Secretary General Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, and ARU Director General Dr. Wakar Uddin|
November 16, 2013
Maungdaw, Arakan - A US-European delegation and the seven-member Ministerial delegation of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) visited Northern Rakhine State. The US-European delegation was led by US Ambassador Derek Mitchell along with the ambassadors of Switzerland and Austria to Myanmar, accompanied by Immigration Minister U Khin Yi and the Border Affairs Minister Lt. Gen. Thet Naing Win. They visited Maungdaw on November 12th and met with Rohingya and Rakhine community representatives, where 24 persons from each community were invited. The delegation assured both communities that the objective of the international community and OIC is to help bring the peace and communal harmony in Arakan, and the world is very keen to help develop Arakan state at various educational, social, and economic infrastructures. In response to an unfounded allegation made by a Rakhine representative that the international community favors Rohingya, the US-European delegation emphatically described its principle of helping both communities without preference to any particular ethnic group. In the meeting, a Rohingya representative, Hussain Ahmed of Ward-6 from Maungdaw, who is a Burmese army veteran, told the delegation that he served his country of Myanmar in the defense service; however the Myanmar officials disregarded his loyalty and sacrifice for the country, and yet described him as Bengali in his White Card. After the delegation left the town, he was investigated by the authorities and examined all his defense service documents in the Myanmar Army.
The OIC delegation, along with Immigration Minister U Khin Yi and the Border Affairs Minister Lt. Gen. Thet Naing Win, reportedly arrived at Maungdaw on November 15, 2013, and met with Rohingya and Rakhine community representatives from each community, where 20 persons from each community were invited. OIC Secretary General Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu addressed the community representatives where he stressed the importance of peaceful co-existence between the two communities. He also assured both the communities that OIC is working with the Government of Myanmar to help the people of all faiths, ethnicity, and race for the development of Arakan state and other parts Myanmar. The Rohingya representatives were all the village administrators and they were reportedly coached by the Township Administration Office to make only positive statements about the local government officials.
During the course of the meeting, a Rakhine representative, Aung Kyaw Nyunt, spoke against Rohingya people and the Director General of Arakan Rohingya Union, Dr. Wakar Uddin. “I know Dr. Wakar Uddin. I grew up with him and he was my classmate. I knew his parents very well, and his family lives in our neighborhood. They are all Bengalis. Dr. Wakar Uddin left for overseas several years ago, and now he is in the US, claiming to be Rohingya after taking the leadership. He further expressed his extreme point of view alleging that Rohingya is an unacceptable name, and that they are all Bengalis. These explosive comments by Aung Kyaw Nyunt has reportedly led to stepping up of campaign against Dr. Wakar Uddin by a number of his Rakhine classmates in Maungdaw for his ties with OIC, UN, US Government, and NGOs. “All these senseless background noises and statements of no substance from the radical Rakhines are only counter-productive. It is undermining the efforts by international community working with the Government of Myanmar to bring peace, stability, and potentially extensive development of infrastructure in Arakan and elsewhere in Myanmar” Dr. Wakar Uddin responded to the statements made by Aung Kyaw Nyunt.