Arakan Rohingya Union Participates at the 26th Session of the UN Human Right Council in Geneva
June 14, 2014
Geneva, Switzerland -- The Director General of Arakan Rohingya Union, Prof. Dr. Wakar Uddin, attended the 26th Session of the United Nation’s Human Right Council from June 10 through June 13, 2014 at Palais des Nations in Geneva. Dr. Uddin participated in the main session of the Human Rights Council where delegations from the member countries and numerous non-governmental organizations, including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, had convened. In additional to the main event of the 26th Session, Dr. Uddin also attended side events such as Right to Freedom of Expression, Peaceful Assembly and Association, Extrajudicial Execution, and Internally Displaced Persons. Rohingya issues were discussed in some of the side events. Several NGOs have also briefed on the human right violations faced by Rohingya ethnic minority in Arakan. UNHCR conducted a detailed press briefing on violence in Arakan state where thousands of people continue to sail to Southeast Asian countries due to abuse and exploitation as people are increasingly seeking safety and stability elsewhere. The briefing also covered the situation on over 140,000 people, primarily Rohingya and Kamen Muslims, and the resumption of humanitarian assistance at small scale, following the attacks on UN and NGO premises in Sittwe.
During the 26th session OIC Independent Human Right Commission and the Permanent Mission of OIC at UN-Geneva also held meetings and events. At the meeting with Human Right Commission, Dr. Uddin discussed a number of strategies and possible options for further engagement with international groups to initiate a dialogue with the relevant state and public sectors in Myanmar. In the events organized by the OIC Permanent Mission, Dr. Uddin briefed the Ambassadors on the current situation, highlighting the recent bill of banning white card holders from forming or participating in political parties, the draft on religious conversion and marriage bills, the return of NASAKA under the new name “Border Guard Police” or BGP for continuation of NASAKA’s old dirty jobs, volatile situation at the Myanmar-Bangladesh border, and resumption of arrests of Rohingya on false charges of arson. Additionally, the return of some NGOs to work under the supervision of Government-appointed Emergency Coordination Council, the stalled census process in Rohingya areas, the verification scheme, and other violations such as closure of places of worship, travel restrictions, marriage restrictions, human smuggling and trafficking, education and a range of issues were highlighted. Dr. Uddin has stressed that the most troubling is the “reverse process” that is tactfully devised by the Government to sideline the most urgent issues such as restatement of citizenship and basic human rights, as it continues to create new humanitarian crises in IDP camps through removal of NGOs. “Now the fundamental issues of citizenship and human rights are at the back burner – this is a slippery slope and part of the delay tactic” Dr. Uddin concluded.
Dr. Uddin also met with the officials of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR), and Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD). Strategies for alleviation of the plights of Rohingya through diplomatic channels were discussed with officials at OCHA. Dr. Uddin briefed the OHCHR officials the recent developments in human right issues and possible priorities for addressing the issues. Identifying avenues for peace and ethnic reconciliation in Arakan was the main topic of discussions at the HD Centre. Dr. Uddin expressed his great appreciation to OCHA and OHCHR officials for their noble mission on humanity and human rights in Arakan, and the HD officials for their relentless efforts in conflict mediation to bring peace and communal harmony.