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BRAJ condemns the Myanmar government decision not to let MSF operation in Arakan

BRAJ condemns the Myanmar government decision not to let MSF operation in Arakan

March 2, 2014

Since 1992 Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been working in Myanmar, it is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare. MSF has been offering medical assistance to people around the world based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation. In June 2012, the deadly inter-communal clashes in Rakhine state, Myanmar, triggered an official state of emergency. An estimated 14,0000 people were displaced and many houses were burned down. Those IDPs ended up living in makeshift camps without sufficient shelter, sanitation, food or healthcare.

MSF has long experience – nearly 20 years – of working in remote and neglected Rakhine state, offering basic, maternal healthcare and medical treatment for the innocent victims of extremists. The teams have treated hundreds of thousands of people from all ethnic groups, including the Rakhine community and the Rohingya Muslim minority population. But insecurity, delayed authorization and repeated threats and intimidation by a small and vocal group of the Rakhine community have been hindering MSF’s works. Still many thousands of people are suffering without being able to obtain the treatment they urgently needed.

The Burmese government concerned officials would like to expel international relief group Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) that they will not be allowed to extend its contract for operations in the country because they are accused of misinforming the international community over incidents in Arakan State’s Duchira Dan last month. The government ministry level meeting it is decided and informed the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Home Affairs not to extend the MoU with MSF. Some leaders and organizations of Rakhine community have recently sent an appeal letter to the President U Thein Sein raising their voices in protest of dismissing MSF works in the region. An estimated 5000 Rakhine staged a protest demonstration against MSF in Sittwe and warned them to leave the country within seven days. 

In the last month Duchira Dan massacre the available eye-witnesses and UN source stated that 48 Rohingyas are mercilessly killed and their homes are burned to ash and several Rohingyas victims are injured with gunshot and slash wounds but the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission had concluded an inquiry into an alleged massacre of Rohingya Muslims in Maungdaw’s Duchira Dan-West village, saying it has found no solid evidence of any massacre or incident taking place. 

The Rohingyas are an ethnic minority group of Burma which is under constant tyranny of Burmese military regime. So far half of Rohingyas population were expelled from the country or have to leave their homeland to save their lives since Burma's independence. They are denied citizenship rights effectively rendered stateless, facing institutionalized persecution while living in miserable poverty. In 1982, Ne Win passed the notorious Citizenship Law which is placing them in the relative legal limbo that is statelessness. The Rohingya population of Arakan has been suffered from the various kinds of persecution politically, socially, racially and religiously under the government sponsor ethnic cleansing pre-planned program. Rohingyas in Arakan are regarded as illegal immigrants and their access to government hospital or other medical institutions is not allowed while Rakhine people have free access to obtain treatment as the Thein Sein’s government guarantee his citizen’s health care but not Rohingyas. MSF has been only source for innocent Rohingya victims of Rakhine extremist for medical treatment, the central government, local government authority and local Rakhine community do not want MSF offer medical care to Rohingya in order to expel or eliminate Rohingya from Arakan soil.

We would like to urge the government of Myanmar and appeal to the international community UN, US, European Union, ASEAN and Japan that:

  1. To permit MSF extension of its contract for operations as it has been operating in the country, HIV/AIDS, TB clinics in Rakhine, Shan and Kachin states, as well as Yangon division. 
  2. To protest the government decision to dismiss/cease MSF operation in the region and their medical relief operation must be in Myanmar otherwise thousands of HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria patients will be lack of medical treatments.
  3. To support or endorse international independent enquiry commission monitored by UN rights group to unveil the real facts of massacre or ethnic cleansing the democratically elected government has committed on Rohingyas.
  4. To send UN peace-keeping force in Arakan to protect ethnic Rohingya community from mercilessly arbitrary killing and gross human rights violations.
  5. To bring all the perpetrators guilty of killing, raping and devastating Rohingya property to justice and take appropriate legal action in accordance with the laws.

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