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Rohingya Plight Highlighted At Film Festival In Geneva By BROUK

RB News
March 14, 2014

Geneva, Switzerland -- International film festival and forum on human rights held in Geneva, Switzerland. BROUK President Tun Khin was one of the speakers of debate among UN Special Rapporteur Mr. Tomas Ojea Quintana, The Arakan Project Director Ms. Chris Lewa and Mr. Matthew Walton, Aung San Suu Kyi Senior Research Fellow in Modern Burmese Studies in University of Oxford. The debate was moderated by the co-founder of Rue89 Pierre Haski. 

In June 2012, Rahkine State, Myanmar, erupted in communal violence. Violence by Buddhists against Rohingya Muslims left 250 dead. The world had its eyes opened regarding the decades of controversy and persecution against Rohingya, who are regarded by Myanmar’s Buddhists as illegal immigrants. This Muslim population has been deprived of its basic rights. Approximately 800,000 Rohingyas are today confined to northwestern Myanmar. Often considered stateless even if they are born in the country, they are subject to multiple restrictions on marriage, work and freedom of movement. Hundreds of thousands of them are also victims of forced displacement. 

More seriously, influential fundamentalist Buddhist monks target Muslims in speeches. The Myanmar population is generally hostile - even Nobel laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi (1991) has been accused of indifference to their suffering. Beyond the human tragedy, the Rohingya question must be seen in the context of the current transition in Myanmar: democratization, following the establishment of civilian rule in 2011, power struggles, nation building and the need to transcend ethnic diversity. More broadly, the hostility against Rohingyas echoes a fear of Islam throughout the region. Beyond this complexity, it is important to denounce the intolerable abuses perpetrated in the face of international silence regarding this Muslim minority. 

Quintana mentioned that while in Burma there are some reforms, but the Rohingya situation is going the totally opposite direction. He mentioned that "The pattern of widespread and systematic human rights violations in Rakhine State may constitute crimes against humanity as defined under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court." 

BROUK President Tun Khin said that “It is a great honour to speak at the film festival in a big crowd where more than 300 people attended including government policy makers, academics. It is also very encouraging many people in Geneva are supporting our cause. Rohingya situation was even highlighted in Geneva Newspaper”. He spoke about the current plight, updates on the situation and the international community’s failure to act. He also pinpointed at the debate that international intervention is the only way to save the Rohingyasm and that the soft approach by the International community to President Thein Sein is encouraging the killing of more Rohingyas. It is also important EU members of states and others to support international independent investigation what happened to Rohingyas in Arakan State since June 2012 and October. 

Chris Lewa talked about her recent trip to Arakan and particularly highlighted that humanitarian aid and healthcare is urgently needed in IDP camps. She addressed the international community to take this as an urgent matter, and to press Myanmar to stop expelling MSF from Arakan. She showed the pictures with PowerPoint to the audience. 

Matthew Walton spoke about Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and said she is in dilemma in regard to to speaking about the violence. He stated that Buddhism is peace and lack of justice accountability comes from President Thein Sein’s Government.

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