Latest Highlight

International Symposium on Muslim Minorities and Contemporary Challenges

RB News
April 20, 2015

Director General of ARU Spoke on Religious and Ethnic Persecution of Muslim Minority

Taipei, Republic of China -- The International Symposium on Muslim Minorities and Contemporary Challenges was held in Taipei, Taiwan on April 13 and 14, 2015. Muslim Community leaders from numerous countries in Asia, Europe, North America, Middle East, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand participated in the symposium. During the opening session, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of China, His Excellency David Lin, and the Secretary General of Muslim World League, His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Al-Turki addressed the audience. Subsequently, several dignitaries and leaders from the Muslim community from various parts of the world spoke on various issues. Director General of Arakan Rohingya Union, Dr. Wakar Uddin, spoke on Religious and Ethnic Persecution of Muslim Minority in various parts of the world with focus on plights of Rohingya ethnic minority in Myanmar.

In his speech, Dr. Wakar Uddin stated that persecution of Muslim minority population has two components, Religious faith and ethnicity. “When we look around the world there are many countries where the Muslim minorities have been living and co-existing peacefully with other communities; however when one community or the Government becomes hostile against the Muslim minority for any reason such as intolerance, the growth of nationalism, and extremist ideology in the non-Muslim majority population or the Government, then we become the target, simply because we are the minority and we are vulnerable and helpless”.

Dr. Uddin provided some past and present examples of the persecution of Muslim minorities in various parts of the world. He described some of the means of persecution such as: 

- Active or passive discrimination in social, economics, educational, and service areas – in most cases it is done by the Government

- Deprivation of religious freedom – Primarily done by the Government
Closure of mosques
Closure of religious schools
Targeting religious scholars and community leaders with religious/ethnic identity
Restrictions or banning religious or ethnic festivities and gatherings

- Resorting to terror and violence
Incitements of violence by majority population
Terror and violence by Government and majority population

- Gross Human Right violations
Violation of basic human rights
Some violations amounting to crimes against humanity
Some violations are precursor to genocide, hidden genocide, or slow-burning genocide

Dr. Uddin spoke about some of the worst human right violation and persecutions in the world taking place in Arakan state, Myanmar. Dr. Uddin further explained the causes of ethnic cleansing and religious persecution in Arakan, Myanmar that were summarized as:

- Part of a national policy of purity of Burman race and religion–Arakan as a model system
- Elimination of a population - Destruction of Rohingya ethnic identity and elimination of Rohingya from Arakan as they are perceived by the radical elements in Myanmar as an obstacle to implementation of the policy of purity
- Destruction of Islamic identity in Arakan, a foundation of Rohingya cultural and religious attributes
- The divide-and-rule policy of the Government of Myanmar in Arakan

Dr. Uddin went into details of the systematic and systemic approach by the former Myanmar Military junta in human right violations and ethnic cleansing against Rohingya population in Arakan, including:

A systematic stand stepwise process
- Issues simmering for over a century – 1942 riot, reducing Muslims in the Southern Arakan
- 1962 a dramatic turn – Military has devised a long term strategy resulting in what we are seeing today
- Systematic revocation of citizenship from Rohingya over decades
- Conducted Ethnic Cleansing Operations “Nagamin”, “Galon”, and others
- Crafted the 1982 Citizenship Law – the Black Law

Rohingya Ethnic Identity - a Major Target
- Revocation of Class I – Full Citizenship through confiscation of NRCs
- The Government and the Buddhist mobs/monks have invented a new term for Rohingya – Illegal “Bengali” immigrants
- The sole idea is to deprive all the rights of a citizen – leading to naturalized Class III citizen possibly for some Rohingya (in a best case scenario) and sending most Rohingya to internment or concentration camps

Situation on the Ground
- IDP Camps
- Situation in Rohingya villages
- Verification process
- White cards – formerly all NRC holders

International Perspective
- International pressure is the only solution
- UNGA, UN-HRC, OIC, US Government, EU, and several countries in the Middle East are the major players
- Several resolutions have been passed during the last three years

The current needs and the outlook
- Sustaining the international pressure
- All Muslim countries must step up efforts and speak out – use bilateral and multilateral relations as leverage
- Development of a realistic roadmap by Government of Myanmar, in coordination with the International community that must include:

Immediate objectives
· Return of the IDPs
· Permanently cease the verification process
· Void the regional administrative rule in Northern Arakan state that is the instrument of major human right violations such as restrictions on freedom of movement, worship, marriages, denial of basic education and healthcare, confiscation of lands, and numerous other violations.
· Put an end to the impunity of the persecution of Rohingya
· Permanently cease the “Verification” process that labels Rohingya as “Bengali” or “Illegal Bengali Immigrants”
· Remove Border Guard Police (BGP) units from Rohingya villages and localities
· Release all the Rohingya political prisoners, those detained on false accusation of inciting violence, and those arrested arbitrarily

Short term/Intermediate objectives
· Return of the IDPs to their homes without pre-conditions with full security for the IDPs and vulnerable Rohingya villages
· Allow Rohingya to rebuild and renovate mosques, religious schools, homes, and businesses
· Return the confiscated lands to the original Rohingya farmers, and stop leasing their own lands to them
· Remove the settlement units (Natala) of Buddhist Bengali Rakhine from Bangladesh and elsewhere in Arakan
· Make the hospitals and clinic accessible to Rohingya residents from villages and towns, and allow the international health workers to provide healthcare to all in Arakan

Mid-term/long-term objectives 
· Amend the 1982 Citizenship law (in a manner that does not hinder the reinstatement of equal and full Citizenship of Rohingya)
· Allow Rohingya to self-identify themselves, and officially reinstate the ethnicity of the Rohingya
· The Government of Myanmar reposition itself to neutrality and assume the role of true facilitator of peace in Arakan
· Revamp the Rakhine Action Plan, abandon the segregation policy, and develop strategies of integration the Rohingya, Kamen, and Buddhist Rakhine communities in to one community of the citizens of Myanmar
· Repatriation of Rohingya refugees and/or displaced Rohingya persons from Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India, and other countries
· Make economic, social, and educational infrastructure development in Arakan for all the communities of Arakan, a top priority

Write A Comment

Rohingya Exodus