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Joint Statement: Calls for International Stance Against Extrajudicial Killing of Rohingya in Northern Arakan

Joint Statement
Date: October 21, 2016

We, the undersigned Rohingya organisations in Australia release the following statement to raise our serious and profound concern for the ongoing extreme human right violations and crackdown on the innocent Rohingya population in Northern Rakhine State, Myanmar.

Since 9 October 2016, under the pretext of looking for attackers on security posts, the Myanmar military and police forces have been indiscriminately killing the innocent Rohingya elders, young adults (men & women) and children. Together with the killing, the military forces have been looting, torching and plundering the houses and villages of Rohingyas. Till today, more than 150 innocent Rohingyas were mercilessly killed and 10,000 have become IDPs (Internal Displaced Persons). Due to curfew order and blockade, there is an acute shortage of food, medicine, and other essentials. According to the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) report published on 20 October 2016, more than 80,000 Rohingyas are in need of urgent humanitarian aid and Myanmar government has blocked the aid reaching to them with the excuse of security. The situation is exponentially worsening. It is a violation of international law and Geneva Convention. Amnesty International also urged Myanmar government yesterday (20/10/2016) to urgently lift restrictions in Rakhine state to have humanitarian aid for the affected Rohingya villages.

Myanmar State counsellor, Daw Aung San Su Kyi initially stated that extra cautious would be taken in handling, however, the reality is far from it. The causalities of innocent Rohingyas have increased day by day. Even yesterday, it has been reported by the residents of Ngakura village that the village elders were invited to military post in the name of cooperation, however, they have been tortured instead there and 2 villager elders were killed by the action of military. The fate of the remaining elders is unknown yet. The military has been entering Rohingya village by village, arresting the men found at house, looting the houses, sexually attacking the women found at home vulnerable. There is also a terrible news reported yesterday (20/10/2016) that 30 teenage girls were forcefully taken from a village called NgasaKyu in PyaungPyaik hamlet by the military and the fate of these girls are unknown yet. Burmese military is infamous for raping and murdering the women in war zones and therefore it is very concerning for those young girls. 

We do not support any terrorised and violent attack or harming on any innocent people. However, we strongly believe that the Myanmar military has different agenda from this attack, which may have been purposely planned. We were always made scapegoats by the Military junta for its propaganda and in this occasion, we found that we are used again as scapegoat to divert the attention of general public from worsening Kachin war and other armed conflicts in Myanmar and to gain popularity with Rohingya’s elimination plan with the majority Buddhists. According to President Office of Myanmar press release on 13 October 2016, the attackers initially used knives and sticks however later they blindly accused non-existence organisation links and support from individuals from Middle East countries. Furthermore, it has been linked to some known terrorist organisations with one sided interrogation and biased reports, which seemed to be based on the fabricated reports supplied by the military. Myanmar military and security agency are well famous for inhumane method of torture on captives and they are known for enforcing the captives to give fabricated statements in the way they like for decades. Therefore, we strongly believe that it is a groundless, purposely fabricated news played by some actors for the benefit of Myanmar military only. Arakan Army (AA) has also released a press release on 20/16/2016 highlighting similar concern as ours.

Further evidence adding to that is the Rohingya victims blamed to be attackers and killed are actually the innocent Rohingya villagers including 70 years old man and women. The two videos posted by those attackers clearly showed that they were young and adult men group; no single women involved in it. However, in the pretext of bringing security in the area, the military and Burma Border Guard Police (BGP) are carrying massacre and fear on Rohingyas so that Rohingya takes rickety boat journey again to leave the country. It is a systematic 2 ways strategies work for the military only. Therefore, an independent international investigation is required to find out the actual culprits behind those attack and play.

We, therefore, gathered today here to send our request to Myanmar government, UN and International Community the followings:

· Request to the Australian government; to strongly raise our concerns and issues with the Myanmar government to provide full protection to Rohingya community in Northern Rakhine State, not only to Rakhine ethnic community.

· To Australian public; as a democratic nation in Australia with the rights to practice freedom of speech, we request the public to raise stateless and vulnerable Rohingya issue with your local politicians, to speak our matters in the Australian parliament.

· To UN to strongly voice Rohingya issue with Myanmar government to provide humanitarian aid to the Rohingyas in dire situation and to intervene the massacre and destruction of Rohingya’s properties by the notorious Myanmar military.

· To International community; to save the remaining Rohingya in Myanmar by raising your concern otherwise Rohingya’s existence in Myanmar will be in the history.

· To Myanmar government; to allow an independent international investigation on the attacks on security posts and the innocent Rohingya civilians being murdered by the military and BGP personnel; to lift the international humanitarian blockade for the Rohingyas who are in dire situation due to continuous security crackdowns and curfew; to investigate the whole extent of the event and bring those responsible to justice. 

Signed by;

1. Burmese Rohingya Community in Australia (BRCA)
2. Burmese Rohingya Association in Queensland-Australia (BRAQA)

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