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Swedish Parliament Held Hearing On Rohingya Crisis

RB News
May 9, 2014

Stockholm -- Swedish Parliament held a hearing in parliament on the 8th of May in the afternoon. The hearing was hosted by Mehmet Kaplan of the Green Party. The hearing was organised by the Swedish Rohingya Association, Swedish Burma committee, civil rights defender, Olof Palme International Centre and Swedish Muslim for Peace and Justice. More than 60 people attended at the hearing including Member Parliament Roger Hadad of The Liberal Party, members from NGOs, Journalists and Medias from Sweden and Burmese refugees from Stockholm. 

The speakers were Abul Kalam, (Head of Swedish Rohingya Association), Ms. Brittis Edman, (Programme Director of Civil Rights Defenders), Tun Khin, (President of Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK), Ms Shantana – (Swedish Burma Committee) and Ms Zin Mar Aung (Rangoon based democracy activist). 

Abul Kalam criticized about Myanmar’s census supported by the Swedish government. He pinpointed that the Myanmar census supported by the Swedish government created more anti-Rohingya campaigns in Myanmar. As for Rohingyas, the term “Rohingya” wasn’t allowed to be registered and many have been threatened to be registered as “Bengali”. Kalam said the Myanmar authorities will punish the people who do not agree to be registered as Bengali in many areas where the media is unavailable. He urged to withdraw the support of the Swedish government on the Myanmar government. 

Ms Brittis Edman highlighted current Health aid crisis and recommended the following to the Swedish Government 

• Without the state acting to end the hate speech, violence, state sponsored discrimination, and blockage of humanitarian assistance, the situation will go from very bad to grim. It risks derailing the much-lauded transition that Myanmar has embarked upon. This process is volatile and vulnerable. 

• The government must also expresses that the aim is for the displaced people to be able to return home voluntarily, in safety and with dignity, and following genuine consultations.

• The international community, including Sweden, must protect human rights for all people of Myanmar in its engagement with Myanmar, and in its benchmarks to measure progress. 

Tun Khin addressed EU government’s lack of action and that urgently things need to be done to put effective pressure on Burmese Government with a timeline and benchmarks. He pointed out that lifting up sanctions is encouraging to President Thein Sein Government to kill more Rohingyas. If violations against us are to end, it needs intervention from the international community; it won’t come from within Burma. International community have to remember that legal experts, academics, and NGOs working on Burma identified key elements of genocide which are taking place in Arakan against Rohingya. 

Tun Khin Recommended Swedish Government to put Effective Pressure on President Thein Sein Government;

• To allow aid NGOs in Arakan State 
• To support on international independent investigation in Arakan.
• To amend 1982 citizenship Law in Burma. 
• To provide capacity building and leadership training Rohingya Youth in Exile. 
• To resettle Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia in Sweden. 

Shantana from Swedish Burma Committee showed a short clip of Rohingyas situation in Arakan including IDP camps.

Zin Mar Aung Mentioned that there is no genuine change in Burma and the changes are not a constitutional change. The military backed Thein Sein government is behind on anti-Muslim violence and others. She said all the people in Burma were living side by side for decades. The government is playing a role to keep their power. The international community has to put much pressure to achieve genuine peace in Burma.

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