Latest Highlight

Oskar Butcher
RB Article
October 6, 2018

Every night in an unassuming shop space located in Mandalay’s 39thStreet, Lu Maw and Lu Zaw – the remaining members of the Burma’s most famous comedy trio, the Moustache Brothers – present their show: a curious combination of comedy, political satire, and traditional Burmese dance. Par Par Lay, the group’s leader, passed away in 2013.

The Brothers’ history of human rights activism is no less than inspirational. For decades, they have unrelentingly critiqued their country’s despotic military regime through their comedy. The third generation of comedians in their family, they have suffered terribly as a result. 

Following a performance at the home where Aung San Suu Kyi was under house arrest in 1996, Par Par Lay and Lu Zaw were dragged from their beds in the dead of night and thrown into the city jail. The men were locked up for five years, with Lay sent to a distant facility and punished through hard labour, breaking rocks. Six years prior, Lay’s humorous take on the regime’s refusal to honour the National League for Democracy’s landslide election victory had already seen him serve six months behind bars. At no point did Brothers’ cutting satire of the regime relent.

Since Aung San Suu Kyi’s ascent to de facto national leader, the Brothers’ show appears somewhat out of step with the values of human rights and democracy that they have for decades espoused*. Their enduring praise for Aung San Suu Kyi – who is deeply complicit in the atrocities being carried out by the Myanmar state against its Rohingya minority - leaves their shows with an uncomfortable void. The performance seems indicative of the profound tragedy of Burma’s failed democratic transition. 

Today, Myanmar’s military – who remain the butt of most of the show’s jokes – retain control over the country’s most significant levers of power. Their relationship with Suu Kyi, formerly the most prominent thorn in their side, has become increasingly cosy. Nonetheless, it is unsurprising given the extent of the suffering endured by the Moustache Brothers, that they view their country’s failed democratic reforms as something of a triumph. The walls of their modest theatre are covered in photos of Suu Kyi. In many of these, she is pictured alongside the comedians. 

Speaking of Suu Kyi, Lu Maw tells of the Brothers’ great pride in seeing her in a position of power. He speaks of their shared struggle for freedom and democracy, how the Moustache Brothers were right there with her, and emphasising that “she is one of us”. When Lu Maw speaks, there is an unmistakable twinkle in his eye. It seems to say: ‘we made it’. 

The state of the country, including basic civil and political rights, has improved significantly in the last few years for the vast majority of the population – Moustache Brothers included. This, however, can never be the measure of human rights or democracy. 

The atrocities against the Rohingya have killed well over 10,000 people - with up to 43,000 missing, presumed dead. In total, approximately 700,000 have been driven from the country. Neither Suu Kyi’s shocking denials of these atrocities, nor the crimes themselves, are mentioned during the Moustache Brothers’ show. Given the group’s courageous history, it is clearly not fear that has induced their silence. Rather, it is likely something far more human: a need to believe in the purity of the democratic movement of which they have long been a part, and a loyalty to its leader - Aung San Suu Kyi. 

In February 2018, the United Nations recognised Suu Kyi’s complicityin the crimes against the Rohingya; crimes that they six months later have determined amount to genocide. Better late than never, these conclusions echo the findings of research conducted by the International State Crime Initiative at Queen Mary University, three years prior in 2015. As any position that Aung San Suu Kyi once held as a moral or democratic authority has been rendered entirely untenable, many of her international honours have been revoked. Her popularity across Myanmar, however, remains largely intact- as does the country’s rampant islamophobia.

In recent years, the virulent Islamophobic rhetoric of extremist, monk-led hate groups such as the 969 Movement has sparked deadly anti-Muslim riots across the country. According toAmnesty International, their hate speech has become increasingly normalised by the country’s political and military elite, who have encouraged society at large to “hate, scapegoat, and fear” Muslim minorities.

And whilst today much of the population believes the Rohingya to be ‘illegal Bangladeshi immigrants’to Myanmar’s Rakhine state, this myth has no basis in fact. As Professor of Asian and Military History at SOAS, Michael Charney explained, there has been extensive movement amongst both the Rohingya and the Rakhine peoples throughout the state historically, and in actuality, “the [Muslim] Rohingya are no more illegal migrants than the Buddhist Rakhine”. Yet the consequences of vicious anti-Rohingya sentiments could not be more severe. 

Whilst military bases are erected on the ruins of towns and villages where Rohingya lived and prayed only months ago, the Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo languish in jail for exposingmilitary massacres of Rohingya civilians. Reportedly “furious” upon being asked about the journalists’ ongoing incarceration, the Aung San Suu Kyi who said in 2014 that whilst moving towards democracy “we all need to work to point out our country’s faults” is nowhere to be found. 

Nonetheless, a number of international Burmese and Rohingya voices have been active in condemning Burma’s crimes, and bearing witness to their country’s genocidal ‘faults’. Local movements opposing the persecution of Muslims, however, are few and far between. Those who do so publicly belong to a small, brave and dedicated group of human rights activists. 

One grassroots campaign, Panzagar, brings together campaigners in opposition to hate speech, and in particular online and anti-Muslim discourse. With over 200,000 Facebook likes - no mean feat in a country with estimated 2.5% internet access – it would appear that there is greater support for such a movement than first appearances might otherwise suggest. The group has even benefitted from the support of Zarganar, another celebrated Burmese comedian and former political prisoner who is one of the few prominent Burmese figures to have spoken publicly about the plight of the Rohingya. His efforts, however, which have at times been channelled through official governmental commissions, have produced mixed results. 

When the economic, social, and political status of a majority population improves significantly – as has been the case in Burma since 2011 – it surely becomes more challenging than ever for members of that majority to protest the treatment of a small, marginalised, and scapegoated minority. As the past year of genocidal violence against the Rohingya demonstrates, however, it has become far more urgent. 

The Moustache Brothers are an inspiring illustration of Myanmar’s proud tradition of the finest kind of human rights activism. From a human perspective, their dedication to Aung San Suu Kyi is understandable. However, the Suu Kyi of their movement – the democratic icon who insisted on pointing out her country’s faults – is no more. As painful as it may be to renounce their one-time leader, highlighting her hypocrisy and indifference towards the suffering Rohingya would demonstrate an ongoing commitment to the principles for which Burmese human rights activists have long taken a brave stand.

As the gears of the international community slowly grind into action - with the UN now recognising the gravity of the crimes perpetrated and the International Criminal Court launching a preliminary investigation - Myanmar’s military maintains its brazen denials, and Aung San Suu Kyi remains enveloped in a deafening silence. Lasting change in Myanmar will not be achieved through international efforts alone, however, and long-term change will require an internal shift in the country’s attitude towards Islam and the Rohingya. Easier said than done, no doubt, but if the country is ever to overcome its tortured past and genocidal present, the rights of all people must be guaranteed regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion. 

*Author visited a Moustache Brothers’ show in October 2017. 

Oskar Butcher is a human rights activist interested in Myanmar and the politics of conflict, justice, and forced migration. He works at the Death Penalty Project and volunteers as a Speaker with Amnesty International. He was awarded an MSc from SOAS, University of London, in 2017. 

Twitter: @Oskar_Butcher

Richard Potter and U Maung Kyaw Nu

Richard Potter
RB Article
July 20, 2018

Early in the morning on May 31st U Maung Kyaw Nu passed away. Maung was known by most as a political activist and president of the Burmese Rohingya Association of Thailand. He was a political prisoner in Burma for his role in protests in 1974. He was a proud rebel, and spoke fondly and often of his time in the jungle with various insurgencies, and his ability to coordinate between many religious, political and ethnic groups. Maung’s last years were spent in exile in Thailand, where his work continued in various forms. He helped organize student uprisings in Burma from his living room. He worked himself to exhaustion cooking and delivering food for Rohingyas locked away in Bangkok’s immigration detention center. He met with journalists, political leaders and human rights organizations every week. He sheltered Burmese dissidents, including monks, in his home. He stood up to and undermined human traffickers, even to their face. U Maung Kyaw Nu was my friend, and I saw him do all of these things. 

I met Maung Kyaw Nu for the first time, five years ago outside a cafe in Bangkok. We smoked and had coffee for some time, a habit he hid from cameras but one that would ultimately take his life. He was as passionate then as he was in his last days to make sure anyone who would listen would hear about the plight of his people. In the same week he took me to Bangkok’s Foreign Correspondents Club (FCCT). At the FCCT it was clear Maung had a fondness for speaking and making sure he would be heard. Any time there was an event regarding the Rohingya he positioned himself to ask questions to the panel and before the cameras. There were audible groans from some western journalists, researchers and pundits as Maung’s questions typically turned into speeches, and many would try to cut him off so they could return to demonstrating their expertise on all the things which Maung Kyaw Nu himself had lived through. He was never phased or insulted by this, but understood it as a game he’d have to play to try and make sure his and his people’s concerns were a part of these outsiders’ discussions about them. 

Maung Kyaw Nu was a man who existed in layers, but each of them was sincere. To those who spent enough time to get close with him, he would reward them with incredible stories from his life and work. His journey from political prisoner, to freedom fighter, to exiled political leader is complicated, to say the least, but consistently his goal was a free Burma where none would be oppressed. Maung Kyaw Nu was unique not only because he held concern for various ethnic and religious groups in Burma that often were at odds with each other, but that he was able to mediate and break bread between them. 

The small insurgencies in Rakhine State are a subject often omitted by activists, squeamish of the optics and implications, but Maung Kyaw Nu never let this deter him from speaking openly. Maung had a saying for the public, a call to unity among the Burmese civilians downtrodden by the state and the ethnic minorities who faced even worse oppression, “We fight, we win.” It was simple, hopeful, and direct, like Maung himself. In private he was even more blunt, “Fuck the Bamar army,” he said to me many times with a smile and a seriousness of work undone and ongoing. 

Insurgency in Burma is as old as the country itself, and to Maung this was simply a matter of fact and political reality which was useless to pretend didn’t exist. And while vast speculation still persists about the Rohingya insurgency in previous decades, there is a rarely noted militia called the National United Party of Arakan (NUPA) where Muslim Rohingya and Buddhist Rakhine belonged together, fighting the same battle. No group has managed to reconcile these two ethnicities so closely before or since, and Maung Kyaw Nu was their Vice President. As an achievement this can’t be overstated, but in the collected histories composed by foreign writers it is seldomly even a footnote. 

In his work in exile, Maung utilized every connection he had to further a future he hoped would come. In an instance that resulted in controversy, Maung managed to arrange a meeting with members of the Kachin Independence Army(KIA), one of Burma’s largest militias which is composed of the largely Christian Kachin ethnic minority. A video of the meeting was posted online and clips of Maung suggesting that the KIA train and cooperate with Rohingya caused rage and panic inside of Burma. Maung played this controversy two ways simultaneously, downplaying the meeting as an informal get together through a mutual western intermediary, which was true, but also as something worth aspiring for. He understood the public, especially the Burmese public, wasn’t ready to be inclusive to his Muslim minority as a political ally, but also that work with those who believed it was possible could be done behind closed doors. It was a line few but Maung could manage to walk, and one perhaps tragically left lingering with his passing. 

Maung’s final years saw him in deteriorating health, facing economic hardship and troubled deeply by the uncertainty of the Rohingyas’ future. He worked himself to exhaustion frequently and had difficulty sleeping. His situation, like that of the Rohingyas, worsened as time passed, but he was relentless in his aspirations. He suffered a stroke, then saw his health further decline. His black hair peppered as he was less able to keep it dyed before finally going white. He avoided the hospital for lack of funds, until he finally had no other option. Finally, cancer took him on the last day of May, 2018. He left behind a world of friends and family who loved him dearly, and now scramble to fill the gaps left in his absence. 

From his youth to his final days, Maung was a fighter, living through extraordinary events I’ve sworn to keep secret even in his passing. He loved his country and hated the corrupt Military regime which controlled it. He loved every ethnic and religious group of his countrymen, even when they rejected him for his own religion and ethnicity. He understood what many still are long to realize; that there would be no freedom for anyone until there was freedom for all. And there wasn’t a day i talked to Maung that he wasn’t striving with these believes deep in his heart to ensure a future where that freedom was a reality.

A survivor from Monu Fara (Photo: Ro Mayyu Ali)

Ro Mayyu Ali
RB Article
February 2, 2018

Curtly, shabby, and always redly in eyes but very tactful to pick up the collections for extortion purposes. Grabbing any Rohingya's motor-bike, a soul-ruffling terrifying entry into the village blends the oxygen, dust and fueled smoke for Rohingya villagers in Chin Tha Ma, Northern Buthidaung. 

Ba Kyaw, born to a Thet ethnic parents in Nga Chint Taut, a mixed ethnic village in Northern Buthidaung. He was brought up in rural area and quickly learned the Rohingya dialect. He can speak Rohingya fluently, however he can't read and write the official Burmese well, say the villagers. He didn't even complete primary classes in school.

The extremism shines on his face to eliminate the neighboring Muslim Rohingya. That matters much to him as it could bestow the rational incentives and praiseworthy recognition for a rascal Buddhist man in Myanmar's radical evolving times against Islam, particularly in Northern Rakhine State. 

In the early 2000's, he was recruited with the armed forces for Military Battalion (564), one of the Buthidaung's largest units based in Pa Lai Taung, Chin Tha Ma village, Northern Buthidaung. His proficiency of Rohingya dialect is the main tool to help for their extortion and illegal accusation to innocent Rohingya villagers. The more he extorts from the Rohingya, the closer he becomes with Major Than Zaw Oo, the in-charge of the battalion (564). Not long after, he was promoted as a Quartermaster Sergeant. He, thus increases the frequency of persecution and extortion in Rohingya villages. 

After the violence on 9 October, 2016, he drafted a list inputting dozens of senior and educated Rohingya villagers accusing them as ARSA. Since then, he and Than Zaw Oo have been arresting villagers and release those who could manage to pay their demand of large sums of money.

At predawn, 25 August, 2017, there was attack against some check posts in Northern Rakhine State killing 9 security forces that ARSA admitted responsibility for. In the early morning on 27 August, 2017, dozens of military forces from (564) Battalion besieged Monu Fara (Maung Nu), a hamlet in Chin Tha Ma village. Villagers were scattered, running to and fro. Then the forces started shooting heavily at them. Villagers ran out to the top part of the village and hid inside of some big houses there. 

"In Rohingya dialect, Ba Kyaw threatened to them that they would shoot us if we didn't open the door. So, a woman opened it in fear" said the 59-years-old Halima. "Some forces took away my three sons grabbing from my hands. And some others including Ba Kyaw collected money and gold grasping from women's bodies" she added. Ba Kyaw often came to our neighbor says Halima when I asked how she knows him. 

"My hands are tied up. I was taken to the gunpoint where many people were fastened and gathered on top. Soon, the mobile set in Ba Kyaw's pocket is ringing up" recalled the 19-years-old Mohammadul Hassan, a survivor who had been hit in the body with three bullets. "He had a talk on phone for a while" he paused wiping out the tears by hands. "No sooner he uttered "Kay, Salaimay (Okay, start now!) hanging down the call than all forces started shooting people on a close range and slaughtering with swords" he, the grade-9 student added.

"In my eyes (I saw), Ba Kyaw stab Zahid Hussein with knife and the belly was out and (he was) killed" said Nasair, another survivor. 

"I dialed the number of my husband missing since the day, someone holds up the call" said the 28-years-old Ajeda. "It is Ba Kyaw on phone, not my husband." Ajeda is one of hundreds of those Rohingya women who lost husband in hands of Myanmar's military and fled to Bangladesh with kids. She often tries to dial the number from the world's largest refugee camp whenever she misses her husband. "Once, Ba Kyaw asked me to recharge his mobile so he would let me know about my husband. And I managed to recharge 1000 kyats. But he cheated me." she added. "Then, I decided my husband was killed" she mourned out suddenly. 

More than 340 Rohingya men and boys including Mohammed Salim, a Rohingya private teacher of Ba Kyaw's daughter from Chin Tha Ma are believed have been killed and slaughtered by military during that day. Some mass graves were discovered nearby the gunpoint where people were slaughtered on the top part of Maung Nu hamlet. Around 15 more villagers are missing still. 

Currently, the in-charge of the battalion is Major Than Zaw Oo. Kyaw Htay Aung is another pair military gunman with Ba Kyaw in Maung Nu massacre. Aung Zaw Myo, Thar Hla and Aung Myint are the other three military forces among dozens from (564) Battalion who actively participated killing Rohingya villagers in Maung Nu.

Haikal Mansor
RB Article
January 29, 2018

Widely considered as the architect of “State-counsellor” position created for Aung San Suu Kyi after Myanmar’s Constitution barred her the presidency.

Born in Katha, Sagaing Division on February 11, 1953, Abdul Gani, better known as U Ko Ni was the only child of father Sultan Mohammed and mother Halima Khin Hla.

U Ko Ni has read law at University of Yangon and founded Laurel Law Firm. He has served as the brainstem of “Central Committee for Constitutional Amendments”, and also as the legal advisor to Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD (National League for Democracy) party.

Being the only person who truly understood the military-drafted Constitution inside out, which assures the military 25% of parliamentary seats and three important ministries – Defense, Border Affairs and Home Affairs, U Ko Ni was the critical of the 2008 Constitution.

On DVB Debate, U Ko Ni explained the constitution, “[We] will change. [We] can change [the Constitution]. Since we will change under Charter No. 12, the charter was in the first place drafted with the grate mind. “One day, people will attempt to amend this constitution, we must block [all loopholes] amending it from now.” It was drafted with that goal. Because it is clear. 76% must approve [to amend it]. There is only 75% public [elected MPs] in the Parliament.”

“To receive 76% support the Commander-in-Chief must agree. It cannot be done without the agreement of the Commander-in-Chief. So, there’s no other constitution in the world like Myanmar’s Constitution which can be amended by an individual’s agreement.”

“If we follow the book in amending it, it is called the drafted amendment protocol. When the written procedure is too rigid [in order to] prevent amendment, we can change it through another way for the country. This is not illegal way. It is called informal way.”

He has reportedly drafted a new charter to amend the military-backed constitution.

On January 29, 2017, the nation lost its most illustrious constitutional technician in an assassination at Yangon International Airport when waited for a taxi with his grandchild in his arms after he was back from Indonesia to study democracy and conflict resolution.

Police arrested the gunman Kyi Lin, who also killed Taxi Driver U Nay Win while apprehending the assassin.

Four suspects - Aung Win Tu, Aung Win Zaw, Kyi Lin and Zayar Phyo, of the assassination are on trial for several months without the main suspect ex-army Lt-colonel Aung Win Khaing who is still at large.

Someone in the high military hierarchy has ordered to kill the fiercely intelligent mind to stop his fearless drive to change the constitution.

“He was probably one of the most important people in the opposition movement. The opposition of the constitution. He was obviously very incredible legal mind. He always said, “please don’t describe me as Aung San Suu Kyi’s legal advisor.” But in fact he was. He was also the advisor to the National League for Democracy on Constitutional Reforms.

“Over 12 months ago, when I spoke to military sources of mine, they told me [that] U Ko Ni is the greatest enemy of the country. He is someone we fear, not because he was a Muslim, but of course, that coloured their values, because he was the one strongly pushing for constitutional charge,” described Larry Jagan, an expert on Myanmar.

U Ko Ni was also drafting to change MaBaTha-proposed Four “Race and Religion Protection” laws which were adopted under the Thein Sein’s government. He was attempting to amend the 1982 Citizenship Law which stripped Rohingya of citizenship.

It took nearly a month for Aung San Suu Kyi to speak to U Ko Ni’s family and publicly speak about the assassination of the Muslim lawyer.

U Ko Ni’s speech on the constitution:

At the time of [military] coupe in 1962, the richest country in South East Asian, and the country which possessed the best in Asia, became the world’s poorest country in 25 years later.

Why? The regime governed indisciplinarily removed the parliamentary Democratic government and replaced with the [military] dictatorship.

[For that reason] our extremely prosperous country went down to the world’s poorest life.

Like when there’s no life, there’s no value in a person. A country’s life is in its constitution. When there’s no constitution, the country is dead and useless.

Let’s imagine. At the time of Independence in 1948, our country had life, soul and constitution. 13 years later on March 2, 1962, the military forcibly removed the constitution – the country’s soul and heart from its body. Then, the dictator regime rule [the country].

Since that day, slowly and slowly, we reached the bottom of poverty. To what stage we have reached is that we hit the final bottom 10 of 211 countries of the world. We are on the 7th [poorest country].

As soon as the constitution was removed, we have witnessed [the consequences], until we have collapsed into poverty and until the death of the country.

Our people’s lives have been murdered. We were not treated as humans. We have suffered the repression of the military dictatorship. We all were forced to fear [the dictatorship].

We had no security of our lives and our properties. Our savings were confiscated in a blink of an eye. Our 5, 10, 75 kyats savings were demonetised. There is no security of our lives and our properties.

We had to live in these lives of despair as well as reached to the poorest country. The public was impaired in every aspect, and the country was torn apart.

It is the sign of country’s death after removal of the constitution. Therefore, the constitution is extremely important. How important it is that like life is important to human, [constitution’s] importance is that of country’s life and soul.

So for our Myanmar’s future, when we quickly redraft a new Democratic Constitution, we can carry on our life. We must try our future and our generations to reach the heights of our forefathers’ golden age and silver age.

I want to make you understand that the first job we have to do is to quickly redraw our country’s basic foundation – a genuine constitution.

U Ko Ni leaves behind his wife Daw Tin Tin Aye (aka Halima Banu), daughters – Yin New Khaing and Aye Thi Khaing, and son Thant Zin Oo.

U Ko Ni also leaves a void to fill the mountains of knowledge that he was gifted on the amendment of constitution.

And Myanmar Military continues to silence soul, heart, brain and body of people who attempt to change the military’s fraudulent constitution.

U Ko Ni will forever be remembered!

Dedicated by Haikal Mansor

Mohammed Ayub (TU), UAE
RB Article
October 22, 2017

Myanmar Military was never sincere in handling ethnics’ affairs, especially, in Rohingyas’ whose permanent home is northern Arakan. Throughout the history, military uses the Muslims population of the country for political diversion and benefits. After 9/11, 2001 attack in US, the perception of non-Muslims world towards the Muslims has changed in unbelievable way. This opportunity, though hidden anti-Muslims campaign has long been rooted in Myanmar, was best used by the power monger groups like Myanmar Military to de-attach the Muslims from mass public, and divert the attention of all-problems-bundle of the country towards Muslims by exposing post 2001 sentiments of Islam. As a result, majority Buddhists public of Myanmar, who has been caged more than five decades,turned away from the actual democratic movement of the country to join anti-Muslim movement and hence emerging a strong legal public anti-Muslim forces within Myanmar. 

Publically motivated anti-Muslim operations have gained momentum after the alleged murder of Rakhine woman by Muslim in mid-2012. The campaign has got fierce intensity throughout the years as groups like MaBaTha, 969 has been publically propagating anti-Muslim hate speeches with the Military sponsorship. ARSA’s attack on security posts of Arakan on 25th of august, 2017 met the Rohingyas with deadliest clearance operations that almost 600 thousands of Rohingya Muslims has poured into Bangladesh to escape historic brutalities of Myanmar Military and local Buddhists mobs.

Fortunately, Burmese Military has succeeded in filtering out Muslims from the anti-Military dictatorship forces with the injection of racially motivated propagandas to themajority xenophobic Buddhists public. The resultant achievement is both the Buddhist public, Military and government, have come under the same roof of de-rooting Rohingya Muslims from Arakan. Recent years have been the years of rigorous anti-Muslims campaign through different means; social media, mass public religious gatherings, that being a Muslim in Myanmar has become the greatest crime. And majority Buddhist perceives Muslims as a menace to their religion, race, culture and the country, so much so that they want Rohingya constitutionally disable if not completely eradicated from the soil of Arakan.

Actually, Rohingyas problem is based on well-founded fear created from the psychological disorder, dementia and xenophobe of Myanmar Buddhists. Logically speaking, the Myanmar have no problem with the word ‘Rohingya’ nor with the Muslim inhabitants that have long been residing in Arakan side by side. The problem with them is the religion, which Rohingyas believe in. Keep aside the volumes of history of pre-independent Burma; in post-independent Burma, there are mountains of historical evidences of Rohingya starting from the office of the then military war-fair to Myanmar’s Broadcasting Program, from Myanmar’s school, university textbooks to encyclopedia, from village chairman to MPs and Ministers. Xenophobic Buddhists are blatantly denying the Rohingya just because of superstitious belief that, if Muslims were given equal rights, whole Burma will be Islamized, were made conceived in the hearts of Buddhists in the successive military regimes. 

As said earlier, the Buddhists want Rohingya Muslims of Arakan to constitutionally disable by forcing them to accept National Verification Card (NVC) that in turn will make them foreigners.

From the legal perspective, NVC is not the product of any law or constitution of Myanmar, which is in force now. Even according to the clause 65 of notorious 1982 citizenship law, no NVC is required to issue citizenship card. It is a product of mere cowardice nationalist propagandists' imaginary islamophobic assumptions.

It is point-out-worthy that all the citizenship cards holder of Myanmar need not have to have NVC prior to citizenship cards. If the government of Myanmar sincerely wants to help solve the Rohingya crisis, there are many post-independent era’s records and evidences that it can depend on without imposing unconstitutional NVC card. The Government’s ulterior motive behind this NVC is making believe the world that the Rohingyas are foreigners who are recent immigrants to Arakan from Bangladesh.

The following points are some of many historical evidences that Rohingyas are not British era settler and hence no required to go for NVC cards. 

1. Rohingya holds the same citizenship NRC cards with 6 digits (where as foreigners hold FRC with 5 digits), which were issued after 1952-53 Mayu operations, as other ethnics of Myanmar and, were provoked in 1989 at the promise of issuing pink color citizenship cards. Unfortunately, 1990-91 exodus took place and what Rohingyas in return were gifted was White cards in 1995. If Myanmar sincerely wants to solve Rohingya crisis, it can base on those records and details collected in 1989. In 1993, NaSaKa aliases Border Immigrations Head Quarters (BIHQ) were deployed in Arakan with special decree and power solely aimed at Rohingyas. And every year onwards were scrutiny and records of Rohingyas with group family photo but found none of illegal entry. 

2. After Burma independence, all ethnics groups including Rohingyas took rebellion against Burmese government for autonomy. And the Rohingya Mujahids were the first to surrender to the central government for the sake of peace, tranquility and betterment of the sate and, were recognized as Rohingya indigenous ethnic as Rakhine.

3. In 1872, per square mile population of Arakan was 33 and that of Bengal was about 450. Even at that time, having unrestricted movement within British India, and greener pastures in British-Burma, dense-populatedly living Bengali had not seen flooding into British Arakan for good. Whoever, came was for seasonal work and went back after pocketful of money. And still Myanmar Buddhists say over populated Bangladesh pours Bengali to Arakan, a modern day killing field for Muslims.

4. On many occasions, Government imported Bengali Buddhists from Bangladesh with A to Z support. They could not survive in the golden Arakan having seen no future and returned Bangladesh. And still Myanmarsays Muslims are entering Myanmar while their fellow Bengali Buddhists did not survive because of zero opportunity and dead future.

5. No Muslim's "official family list" is left intact, except for dead or any other reasons, that member entry is stroked with red pen with remark that reads, " fled to Bangladesh". And still Myanmar accuses Rohingya of illegally coming in to Arakan.

6. In 2012, ex-president U Thein Sein and ex-immigration Minister U Khin Yee confessed in a VOA interview that there were no illegal Muslims residing in Arakan. And still Myanmar label Rohingya as "Khoewin" (ခိုးဝင္) meaning illegal immigrants.

7. And also under different rules of British, Arakan was under British-Burma, British-India and British-Bengal, where in all cases British censured the indigenous Muslim populations of Arakan as either Mahomadensor Mussulmans or Arakanese Mahomadens or Arakanese Mussulmans.

8. What Myanmar propagandist portrayed the Rohingya history is that there were no Muslim (Rohingya) inhabitants in the soil of Arakan before 1823 and they came into existence in Arakan only after British annexation when the Britishers brought many Muslimsfrom Bengal as laborers, ignoring piles of historical evidences as early as 1000 years before British conquest.

9. It was recorded in 1872 British-Burma census that there were 100,000 souls (of whom 30,000 were Muslims Rohingya) in Arakan when British annexed Arakan in 1826 and, many Muslims who escaped the brutal Burmese killings in 1784 returned to their original home Arakan when situation became peaceful in Arakan. And still there were uncertainty in Arakan and some Rohingyas who fled to Bangladesh in 1874 prefer to work as “seasonal laborers” in Arakan than settling back there in Arakan.

10. 1942 Muslim-Buddhist riot forced refuge the Buddhist populations of Northern to the southern part of Arakan and Muslim population of Southern into Northern part of Arakan and that is the reason why Muslims are densely populated in Northern Arakan. 

From the above points one can comprehend and ponder that the Rohingyas are the core people of the soil of Arakan and requires no NVC process, as they have been under tight surveillance and scrutiny in the successive governments.What Myanmar’s perception about Rohingya was that Myanmar is sandwiched between two over populated countries; Bangladesh and China, and it needs verification process in place to deter illegal entry from Bangladesh and China. When China is concerned, Myanmar ignores even national sovereignty concerns, at the same time welcoming the Chinese with all its race, religion, culture and scarce resources. The Chinese from the eastern gate penetrated into Myanmar and gradually has absorbed and distortedMyanmar’s race, culture and resources and passed through the western gate (Arakan). Astonishingly, whole Myanmarremains silent on the matter and unwise, foolish discriminatory agendas are put in practice against Rohingya Muslims. 

Through out the Military regimes to date, no single illegal entry residing in Arakan can be brought forward by Myanmar to International surface, and contrary to that, the international bodies are witnessing Rohingyas fleeing due to the heinous crimes committed to them by the Military and local mobs. Annan Commission left dubious state regarding citizenship status of Rohingya in his final reportenforcing NVC process even to be allowed with uncles’ or aunts’ documents when one’s own documents are not available. On the other hand, the report also emphasizes to amendment of the 1982 citizenship law. So, no clear cut strategy was advised in the report for the citizenship of Rohingya, whose the same was stripped off by the enforcement of 1982 citizenship law after 1978 refugees take-back. 

In the most years of tyrant rule of Military, Rohingya Muslims were suffered from all aspects of life and also Arakan has never been a safe place for Rohingya Muslims, which 1784, 1978,1991 and 2017 exoduses testified. Rohingyas are dying to live in Arakan because it is their ancestral land. Economically, Bangladesh is in relatively better position than Myanmar and it is a nasty ideology to accuse of Rohingyas of recent immigrants from Bangladesh and enforcing them for NVCs. In conclusion, It would be wise choice for Myanmar to restrain using the word “Bengali” when referring Muslim minority Rohingya and, to stop enforcing NVC cards to Rohingyas. And last but not the least, all Rohingyas should be called back with assurance of recognition, safety, security, and many other civil rights.

(Photo: EPA)

Habib Siddiqui
RB Article
September 17, 2017

Myanmar, formerly Burma, is a resource rich country in south-east Asia, bordering Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand. The old men of the military that ran the country for more than half a century have been displaced by a popular, elected, civilian government of National League for Democracy (NLD). Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of the founding father Aung San, is the de facto leader of the government with the title of the State Counsellor. 

The transition to democracy did not come that easy. Its path was stained with blood and sacrifice since 1962 when General Ne Win came to power through a military coup. Fifteen student protesters of the capital’s Rangoon University were killed. The country was ruled by a revolutionary council headed by the general. Almost all aspects of society (business, media, production) were nationalized or brought under government control under the Burmese Way to Socialism. Thus, the Rohingya people of Arakan state and the prosperous Indian Hindu-Muslim-Sikh business community of Rangoon became the worst sufferers in this experiment; many non-Buddhists were forced out of Burma. A new constitution of the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma was adopted in 1974. Under the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) Burma became one of the world's most impoverished countries.

There were sporadic protest marches against the military rule during the Ne Win years (1962-1988) and these were almost always brutally suppressed. In 1988, unrest over economic mismanagement and political oppression by the government led to widespread pro-democracy demonstrations throughout the country known as the 8888 Uprising. Security forces killed thousands of demonstrators, and General Saw Maung staged a coup d'état and formed the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). In 1989, SLORC declared martial law after widespread protests and changed the country's official English name from the "Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma" to the "Union of Myanmar". 

In May 1990, the SLORC government held free elections for the first time in almost 30 years and the NLD, the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, won nearly 80% of the seats. However, the military junta refused to cede power and continued to rule the nation as SLORC until 1997, and then as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) until its dissolution in March 2011. It was an attempt to rebrand the old order; the power remained with the junta. The 2007 Saffron Revolution, a non-violent, national movement, led by Buddhist monks, was violently suppressed by the ruling junta. An international condemnation of this peaceful revolution led to further isolation of the government.

A fraudulent election was held in 2010 in which the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, declared victory winning nearly 80% seats. The military junta was replaced on 30 March 2011 by a quasi-military government, led by former General Thein Sein, with the goal of putting the country back to the path of democracy. Suu Kyi was released from house arrest and her party allowed to participate in the by-elections in 2012 in which it won 43 of the contested 45 seats.

Then came the general election of 8 November 2015 in which the NLD won an absolute majority of the seats in both the houses. Suu Kyi became the de facto leader of her country in April 2016 and soon thereafter visited the USA and some European countries seeking lifting of sanctions on her pariah state, and re-entry into the good graces of those countries. She also gave speech at the UN General Assembly session and was awarded the Humanitarian of the Year award from Harvard University last year. She was rewarded heftily and sanctions were lifted, rather prematurely. 

On September 14, 2016, after meeting with Suu Kyi in the Oval Office, President Obama announced, "In part because of the progress we've seen over the last several months, I indicated after consulting with Daw Suu that the United States is now prepared to lift sanctions we've imposed upon Burma for quite some time. It is the right thing to do in order to ensure the people of Burma see the rewards from a new way of doing business and a new government." 

Fast forward to 2017, Suu Kyi’s Myanmar is not a “good news” any more. Nearly 400,000 Rohingya Muslims and Hindus have been uprooted from their ancestral homes and forced to take shelter in Bangladesh due to the latest genocidal pogroms that started in October 2016, soon after easing of the trade sanctions. Is this a coincidence? The victims – racially and religiously different – have lost everything in this Buddhist majority country that remains the last apartheid state of the 21st century. At least 3,000 Rohingyas have also been extra-judicially killed by government forces and their partners in crime, the Rakhine fascists; hundreds of villages and townships have also been ethnically cleansed. 

On Tuesday, September 12, 2017 numerous reports of widespread extrajudicial killings and other atrocities, including rape, carried out by Myanmar security forces (long known as the Rapist military) led the U.N. human rights chief to describe what's happening as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” In my numerous articles, I have been calling such crimes as a genocide, which has become a national project in this Buddhist country to wipe out the Muslim minority.

Suu Kyi is still in denial, as she always has been as an immoral and sly politician and representative of the majority Bamar ethnic group that governs the multi-ethnic country and dominates the military. Her defenders, though, insist that she is in an awfully tight spot, having to manage her relationship with the bruising Burmese military at a time when public opinion amongst the Buddhist majority largely supports its crackdown on the Rohingyas who are Muslims. Lately, former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd wrote in the BuzzFeed, “While there is plenty of blame to place on the military for the current situation in Rakhine state, Suu Kyi is the only one seeking to walk a tightrope, between providing a positive way forward for the Rohingya on the one hand, while not providing the military the pretext for ending Myanmar’s fledgling democracy on the other.” 

But facts are crystal clear and concerned global citizens, including the UN Chief, are calling the situation for the Rohingya refugees "catastrophic" and "completely unacceptable." Following a closed-door meeting, the 15-member UN Security Council (UNSC) including China, a supporter of Myanmar's former ruling junta, expressed concern about excessive force during security operations in Rakhine state and called for "immediate steps" to end the violence. "I call on the Myanmar authorities to suspend military action, end the violence, uphold the rule of law and recognize the right of return of all those who have had to leave the country," Antonio Guterres said on September 13 at a press conference in the UN Headquarters. Asked if he agreed the Rohingya population was being ethnically cleansed, he replied: "When one-third of the Rohingya population has got to flee the country, can you find a better word to describe it?"

Guterres said the Myanmar government should either grant the Rohingya nationality or legal status that would allow them to live a normal life. Condemning the violence, the UNSC also called for humanitarian aid workers to be able to reach those in need in Rakhine state.

Some half a million people have already signed a petition demanding that the Nobel Committee rescind the peace prize wrongly awarded to Suu Kyi. 

Suu Kyi has been accused, and justifiably so, of being a racist and an anti-Muslim bigot, and so are her predecessors - the military generals - that ruled Burma for more than 50 years. In their neo-religio-fascist vision, i.e., (new) Myanmarism, sadly, the Bamar supremacy dominates, and there is no place for the minority Muslims, esp. the Rohingyas, in Myanmar. The status of a non-Bamar (ethnic) Buddhist minority is that of a second-class citizen. Thus, although the generals may have been replaced by civilians in Suu Kyi’s Myanmar, nothing truly has improved for millions of minorities, especially its Rohingya people. 

The question that begs an answer is: how was it possible for the military to rule this multi-ethnic, - racial, and –religious country for so many decades? What ideology boosted its credibility to rule almost unopposed for all those years? Has Suu Kyi learned and embraced that secret trade to hold onto power?

The answer is provided by Dr. Shwe Lu Maung (Shahnawaz Khan) in his latest book - The prima materia of Myanmar Buddhist Culture: Laukathara of Rakhine Thu Mrat, published in the USA by Shahnawaz Khan (2016). The author, a diaspora Burmese from Arakan (Rakhine), has been living in the USA for decades. He is an acclaimed author of six books (including, Is Suu Kyi a Racist?) on his native country that have helped us immensely in our understanding of the complex political landscape of modern Myanmar. This book – a translated work - is an excellent source to understand the very treasure trove from which the ex-generals reportedly drew their inspiration to ruling the country. After all, in 1990, Sr. General Saw Maung, the military ruler of the country at the time (who reportedly believed himself to be the reincarnation of an 11th-century warrior-king), famously said that he would rule the country according to Laukathara

As Dr. Maung shows, Laukathara – a popular literary work - provides the cultural fabrics of Myanmarism – an ideology in which religion and race mingle to define how Buddhists in Myanmar should behave and conduct their affairs from a layman to the ruler. Literally, the phrase Laukathara means the essence of the world. Written originally on palm leaves with the Rakhine phonetics, it was taught by a Rakhine monk by the name of Thu Mrat of Theravada Buddhism in the early 14th century. He was the teacher of King Mun Hti (Laung Krut dynasty) who had entrusted him with the education of three princes of the Thet (or Chakma) king Lyin Saw. The latter had lost his kingdom (Thayet or Thet Yet) – located near central/lower Burma – in 1333 CE to the Rakhine King Mun Hti. 

Later Laukathara reached Myanmar from Arakan and became a royal handbook of administrative philosophy – very much like what The Prince of Niccolo Machiavelli (16th century Italian) had become in Europe to guide its rulers. It has been a guiding source of law and order, rules and regulations, ethics and philosophy, and traditions and culture in Myanmar society. It essentially constitutes the prima materia of Myanmar’s Buddhist culture, or perhaps, more correctly, the Buddhist political theology - based on the Buddha, the Dhamma (religion) and the Sangha (community). It is a very popular literary work with many Buddhists in the country growing up with it. 

The SLORC chairman Sr. General Saw Maung, a devout Buddhist, promoted Laukathara in Myanmar administration, a trend that was to continue by his successors. Essentially it defined Myanmarism. 

The traditional Myanmarism has been Buddhism and militarism since the days of King Anawrahta (ca. 1044-1077 C.E.). In the hands of military rulers of our time, the new Myanmarism became a toxic cocktail of ultra-nationalism and religious fanaticism (or religio-racial ultra-nationalism, as coined by Dr. Shahnawaz Khan) making the Buddhist country an apartheid state - the den of intolerance for non-Buddhists. 

If the old one regressed from the teachings of Buddha - being often violent and ugly, the new Myanmarism has revealed itself to be brutal, genocidal and uglier. In this, the ends justify the means; lies and deceptions become all too natural and acceptable strategies to divide and rule the country. It has turned out to be a feudal recipe for disaster, which shuns pluralism, diversity and multi-culture – the very trend-setters for progress in our time. 

Mixing of religion in politics in our time has often seen the devastating consequences of how even good religious teachings can become weapons in the hands of ‘cherry-picking zealots’ to ethnically cleanse the ‘others’ who are different. The 1982 Citizenship Law, thus, provided the very justification for the Myanmar regime towards elimination of the minority races like the Rohingya. As I have noted elsewhere, the actual eliminationist process really started much earlier. The Naga Min Operation of 1978-79 saw the exodus of nearly 300,000 Rohingyas to Bangladesh. The Pyi Thaya Operation of 1991-92 saw the forced exodus of some 268,000 Rohingyas to Bangladesh. Due to the decades-long ‘slow-burning’ genocide, more Rohingyas now live as refugees outside their ancestral home of Arakan. They have been marginalized and deprived of every right in Apartheid Myanmar and continue to remain the most persecuted people in our time. 

True to its fascist character, the new Myanmarism sees no place for non-Buddhists. It was in that vein that when President Thein Sein proposed to expel all the Rohingyas from Myanmar in 2012 the xenophobic declaration was welcomed by the monks and the Buddhist people, in spite of the fact that the ancestors of today’s Rohingyas lived in Arakan for centuries, if not millennia. 

It was no accident that Myanmar had witnessed, since 2012, a series of genocidal pogroms, mostly directed against the minority Rohingya and other Muslims. The terrorist monk Wirathu, who heads the fascist organization Ma Ba Tha, became the Buddhist face of terrorism, xenophobia, intolerance and hatred. In the name of protecting Buddhism nearly a quarter million of Muslims were violently displaced in 2012 from their homes across Myanmar; many were killed, and others forced out of the country. Some 140,000 Muslims became permanent IDPs, caged in concentration-like camps. The eliminationist policy – endorsed from the top and preached and justified by Buddhist monks – became THE national project inside Myanmar, enjoying moral and material support at every level of the Buddhist society. So powerful was the influence of Wirathu and Ma Ba Tha that four controversial race and religion bills were signed into law by the then President Thein Sein to further heighten the racial and religious tensions! 

The peculiar, non-inclusive influence of Laukathara has been so strong that Suu Kyi’s NLD did not field a single Muslim to contest the general election, even in Muslim majority territories of northern Arakan state. Forget that the citizen Suu Kyi denied the very existence of the Rohingya people and was silent on the genocidal crimes against the Muslim minorities in the past, her denial of the gross crimes of the Tatmadaw and Rakhine fascists since she has become the de facto leader is simply inexcusable. Equally problematic has been her dogged persistence to stonewalling international inquiry into the serious charges of rape, arson and killings against the security forces.

Succinctly put, under Bamar supremacist leaders, the teachings of Laukathara has become the eliminationist policy – once adopted by the military governments and now cherished by Suu Kyi’s civilian government. Thanks to Suu Kyi, what a joke Nobel Peace Prize has become! 

For a multi-racial and -religious Myanmar to avoid being a failed state, Myanmarism must go making way for inclusion, diversity and respect for life and aspirations of ‘others’. And there is no other prudent way. The sooner the ethno-religio-fascists within Myanmar, esp. its government, military, monks, politicians and intellectuals, understand it and implement measures to change the current paradigm the better it is for all and the entire region.

M.S. Anwar 
RB Article
September 6, 2017

(The Myanmar) Army commander Sr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing’s remarks on Friday (Sept 1) suggest it won’t ease off its campaign (against Rohingya), describing it as “unfinished business” dating back to World War II. -- Wall Street Journal

Yes, you read it right. That is straight from the horse's mouth. This is what the Commander In-Chief  of the Myanmar army said in regard to the ongoing ethnic cleansing (many call it Genocide) against the Rohingya population in Arakan, the western-most state of Myanmar. Before looking into what could be his intention behind the statement, let me point out an unintentional but positive aspect of it.
Saying that the (Rohingya) issue is an unfinished business dating back to WWII, he has indirectly admitted that the Rohingya existence in Arakan state dates back to 'at least' to the British colonial time in Burma (now Myanmar). It further negates the infamous label against the 'Rohingya people' (by some Bama officials; racist sections of Bama and Rakhine Buddhist societies) that they (i.e. Rohingya) are some modern-day illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. [Note: Bama = Burmese]

But that's not all. The Myanmar state counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi claimed, during her visit to Brussels on May 2, that the (Rohingya) problem dated back to 18th Century and couldn't be solved overnight. She, thereby, had admitted that ‘the Rohingya existence’ dates even further back to an era what Snr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing later claimed.


There are tons of historical evidences that prove that the Rohingyas are sons of soils of Arakan. In fact, the ancient Arakan kingdoms and populations were Indo-Aryan (or Indian Vedic people), who are forefathers of the today's Rohingya people, unlike the Rakhine people who are descendants of the Mongoloid Tibeto-Burmans who invaded and settled in Arakan in 10th Century. [Note: Islam was introduced to these ancient Indo-Aryan people in 8th Century even before the arrivals of the forefathers of today’s Rakhines.]

Even disregarding all these historical evidences, the statements by Snr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the two most powerful people in Myanmar, should be sufficient evidences to the racist naysayers to understand that the Rohingya are indeed a native people of Arakan.

Coming back to the point, what could Snr. Gen Min Aung Hlaing mean by 'the Unfinished Business from WWII?'

What happened in Arakan during WWII?

In 1942, the Rakhine Buddhist extremists backed by Bama ultranationalists slaughtered, executed and massacred over 100,000 Rohingya people in Arakan state, a violence considered to have taken place on a much bigger scale than what you are witnessing today. [Some eyewitnesses that could have passed away by now have personally narrated many such horror accounts to me.]

Before 1942, both Rohingya and Rakhine populations are more or less evenly distributed in all over 17 townships of Arakan state. During the 1942 violence, most of the Rohingya population in the South were pushed towards the North and thereby, making the Rohingya population a majority in the region especially Mayu (Maungdaw) district; and a minority in the south or all other 15 townships in the state. There are 5 Townships -- Taung Gote, Ann, Man Aung, Rambre and Gwa -- in Arakan that have now become entirely Rohingya-free zones. 

[Note: Both Rohingya and Rakhine accuse each other for the violence and killings. But going by the demography and distributions of populations of Rohingya and Rakhine before and after 1942 violence, the ratio of number of deaths between Rohingya and Rakhine could highly likely be 70:30 (70 Rohingyas dead & 30 Rakhines dead). Rohingyas were deceived, massacred and heavily defeated by Bama and Rakhines in Southern Arakan, whereas the Rohingyas got an upper-hand in the Mayu district in the later phase of the violence as they became a huge majority by merging with those who fled from the Southern Arakan. Exact figures of deaths could be available at British and Japanese history archives and libraries.]

So, what triggered the violence against Rohingya?

In 1942, the fascist Japanese forces invaded Burma upon the invitations by Thakin Aung San and his comrades fighting for the liberation of the country from the British colonial empire. Hence, Bamas and their next kins, Rakhines, took side with the Japanese forces, whereas the Rohingyas took the side of the British. That estranged Rohingyas from Rakhines and drew a clear communal line separating the two communities. 

Eventually, the Japanese forces took over Burma from the British. During the process, there was an administrative vacuum created in Arakan state after the British forces had left and before Japanese could establish their administrative bodies. By taking advantage of the situation, the Bama Buddhist ultranationalists incited their Rakhine kins to turn against the Rohingya Muslims; and backed them to commit massacres against Rohingyas and expel them from their homes/lands. That should well be the first step towards Rohingya genocide which you are witnessing today. The large-scale massacres of Rohingya people eventually died down but silently continued on small-scales throughout the Japanese administrations in Burma till 1945.

The British Responsibility

The Rohingyas remained supportive and loyal towards British and their forces and helped them in re-occupying Burma from the Japanese forces. The British promised to give the Rohingya people an autonomous region in northern Arakan in return to their loyalty and supports. Nevertheless, the British has never fulfilled the promise given to the Rohingya. Rather, the British deserted them; and handed their destiny and future over into the hands of the very racist and ultranationalist Bamas and Rakhines. 

For leaving behind the Rohingya people in a socio-political mess, avoidance to reveal the history of the Rohingya and Burma at this very critical point today; for their immoral and insensitive stand in the crisis for geopolitical and economic gains in the country, the British will, if not wholly, partially be held responsible for the genocide against the Rohingya. The British will go down in the history for their complicity in the Rohingya genocide.

Burma Independence and Rohingya

Burma got independence from the British in 1948. Since then, the different Burmese governments carried out an operation after an operation with intentions of destroying the Rohingya community; and grab their ancestral lands and resources until this very day.

Credit: Dr. Maung Zarni
Credit: Dr. Maung Zarni

Therefore, the intention that the Sept 1 statement by Snr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing (reported in the Wall Street Journal) highly indicates is: Continuation of Ethnic Cleansing/ Genocide! This is an unfinished business for the Bama and Rakhine ultranationalists dating back to WWII. Thus, Rohingya is an unfinished people that need to be eradicated at any cost.

Snr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing could have said it intentionally or unintentionally but revealed that they were the Bama ultranationalists (like him) who implemented and sowed the plans of ethnic cleansing/genocide against the minority Rohingya right the from the time of WWII. Because this is an unfinished business (project) for the Bama ultranationalists and the Rakhine extremists that demands to be finished, they will be committing atrocity crimes and crimes of genocide against the minority, under this pretext or the other, until and unless they are forced to stop by the international powers and authoritative bodies through effective interferences.

The statement by Snr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing as alarming and dangerous in reality as it sounds.

M.S. Anwar is an activist and journalist born and brought up in Arakan, Burma. He’s currently News Editor at Rohingya Blogger. He can be reached at:
By Haikal Mansor
RB Article
August 26, 2017

The clashes between Rohingya insurgents at a number of Burmese police posts in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung townships on August 25, 2017, are followed by month-long provocations from Burmese Military and Rakhine Extremists.

These offensive and provocative acts are believed to be strategic moves towards militarisation by the military intelligence, with an aim to create further fears and chaos among the communities living in the northern Rakhine State.

These provocations–expanded upon below– are a calculated attempt to undermine the recommendations made by Kofi Annan’s Advisory Commission, which officially submitted the final report to Aung San Suu Kyi led National League for Democracy NLD government on Friday, August 25.

The recommendations of the commission: providing Rohingya with citizenship, healthcare, education, freedom of movement, access to justice, media, humanitarian aid, and avoidance of excessive forces, are incompatible to the long-term policies of Tatmadaw (Burma’s Armed Forces) in the region which is seen as one of the frontiers of its survival or strength against the influential NLD government in Rakhine. When the creation of commission was announced, Tatmadaw, Tatmadaw-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), now-rebranded Ma Ba Tha Islamophobic monk organization and Rakhine nationalists jointly rejected the commission which was seen as “foreigners’ intervention”,

Rakhine nationalists protest against “Kofi-led commission” he arrived in Sittwe - EPA 

It is no coincidence that the attacks took place on the same day the government welcomed the commission’s recommendations, which the military finds “factual flaws and deficiencies”.


Arakan National Party Chairman Aye Maung, standing, and other ANP officials meet Commander-in-Chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing and other Tatmadaw leaders in Naypyidaw on Wednesday. (Photo: Office of the Commander-in-Chief)

Commander-in-chief of Tatmadaw Senior-general Min Aung Hlaing finds the Rakhine nationalist Arakan National Party (ANP) as the best suitable partner to affiliate with in order to influence their respective presence in the region. Min Aung Hlaing received ANP leader Aye Maung and party lawmakers in Naypyidaw on August 9, where ANP suggested arming and training Rakhine and Buddhist settlers, and to form a ‘people’s militia’ against Rohingya Muslim civilians.

Both Tatmadaw and ANP share the same ideology – finding a scapegoat in Rohingya community for their failures and fulfilment of their ultimate goal in getting rid of Rohingya from Rakhine State.

Thursday, August 10 – BUILD-UP OF ARMED FORCES

Tatmadaw troops arrive in Sittwe on August 10 [Myanmar Press Photo Agency]

A day after the high-level meeting between Tatmadaw and Rakhine lawmakers, Min Aung Hlaing deployed a fully equipped battalion to Maungdaw township at the request of the lawmakers for the security and training of Rakhine and Buddhist settlers­– who are resettled on land that was confiscated from Rohingyas in strategic locations in Rohingya-majority townships such as Maungdaw and Buthidaung.

U Pe Than, an ANP lawmaker from Myebon Township in the Lower House said the following on August 10. “We’ve officially asked for further deployment of Tatmadaw forces for the security of Rakhine State. We pointed out that existing security forces are too small to protect ethnic villages.” The army chief said the Tatmadaw has large forces and that he would increase the troops if necessary. The plan was executed today.

The military has been expanding the security posts in the region. “We have been building 30 more security posts [in Maungdaw], so there will be 126 posts. We started building them yesterday [October 20, 2016]. We will deploy more security police as well,” said Chan Thar, Rakhine State’s Social Welfare Minister.


Rakhine and monks rally against INGOs, creation of People’s militia and armament of Buddhist villagers [Rakhine Media]
Rakhine hardliners and fanatic monks staged mass protests in 15 out of 17 townships in Rakhine State, calling the central government and the military to “implement 1982 Citizenship Law precisely”; “wipe out” Rohingya; “form [people’s] militia for security of ethnic people”; “expel all International NGOs including UNHCR and WFP [from] Rakhine State as soon as possible”.

In a statement released on August 9, Sittwe Administration Committee ordered Rohingya IDP [internally displaced persons] camps management across the State, to ban U.N. and International NGOs from conducting Data Assessment and Survey Activities. The organizations are falsely accused of being bias towards Rakhine, and of supporting Rohingya insurgents.

On November 7, 2016, more than 100 recruits between the age of 18 and 35, were provided a 16-week training in Sittwe

“They [people’s militia] will be given weapons and other equipment, like police,” claimed Lin Lin Oo, an assistant to the commander of Border Guard Police in Maungdaw.


Rohingya farmers in Chut Pyin tortured by the armed forces [Ground Photo]

While Rohingya farmers in Chut Pyin (Fringdaung) were removing grasses and sedges from their paddy fields, a group of armed forces and Buddhist settlers stormed the village and tortured the farmers.

Eight Rohingya identified as the victims of the raid were Adulatif (50, s/o Nur Ahmed), Abdullah (43, s/o Abul Hakim), Habiroon (39, s/o Baru), Rohim Ullah (39, s/o Abdul Salam), Younus (20, s/o Rohim Ullah), Ramzan (25, s/o Hafez Ahmed), Younus (21, s/o Siddique) and Mohammed Alam (13, Abdul Hamid).

On the following day, two teenage brothers Sayedul Rahman (20) and Abdul Rahman (15), sons of Roshan Ali were also inhumanely beaten by the armed forces.

Another two Rohingya – MD Kasim (55, s/o Abdu Boshir) and Kadir Huson (50, s/o Sultan Ahmed), were beaten with military boots and rifle butts in Thin Ga Net village leaving one of them in critical condition.

The villagers also claimed that a herd of their cattle were forcefully taken away by the settlers who were supported by the armed forces in the looting.


A Rohingya fisherman was decapitated in a river near Tha Pyay Taw (also known as Saw Prang), Hpet Leik village tract, Rathedaung Township on August 19.

The victim was identified as Sharif Hossain, son of Siddque Ahmed who went fishing to the river at around 4:30pm (GMT +6:30). He was reportedly attacked by some Rakhine extremist settlers, brutally decapitated before throwing the body into the river.

After receiving a distress call from another Rohingya fisherman who saw what believed to be a part of Mr. Sharif body in the river, the villagers went to the site where the murder took place. They found the presence of blood, but no body.


A Rohingya Than Gan Net village of Thein Taung tortured [Ground photo]

On Friday, 18 August, Mohammed Tayoub (33, son of Nur Mohammed) and his two young daughters were harassed and tortured by the armed forces and Rakhine extremists while fishing in a river. The family belonged to, Rathedaung, where the attack took place.

Mohammed Tayoub was a firewood seller in profession, however he is unable to go to forests to collect firewood due to the increase violence and the restriction of movement against Rohingya. As a result, he, along with his daughters went to a nearby river to catch some fish in order to support his family.

When they were caught fishing, the forces took them to nearby Than Zin Myaing Rakhine village where they were harassed and tortured by Rakhine extremists and military personnel. The family is then released leaving behind severe marks sustained from the torture, and unable to afford or get medical treatment.


The armed forces and Rakhine extremists suddenly raided Auk Nan Yar (Razar Bil), Rathedaung leaving behind five Rohingya injured and several arrested. 

The villagers were fired gunshots when they attempted to stop arresting a community leader and harassing Rohingya women.

The Rohingya who injured were identified as Abdu Subhan (17, s/o Abul Kassim), Sayed Ullah (14, s/o Karimullah), Bashir Ahmed (20, s/o Mohammed Hassan), Younus (24, s/o Noor Alam) and Mv. Abdu Shukur (40, s/o Motiur Rahman).

Meanwhile, five more men were arrested and detained by the police including a father and a son. They were Rahmatullah (30, s/o Amir Hamza), Amir Hussain (41, s/o Rahmatullah), Naser Ullah (20, s/o Noor Mohammed), Hir Hussain and Khari Rahmat.


Rohingya from Koe Tan Kauk, Rathedaung were warned to stop shopping in southern Maungdaw by the office of Border Guard Police (BGP) Outpost No. 8 Kyaung Taung, after a group of Rohingya villagers were trying to buy household goods and essentials such rice, oil, dried fish and fertilizer.

One Rohingya villager said, “For daily shopping, we used to go to Chein Khar Li (Rakhine) village and Rakhine came to our village. However, we are not allowed to go to their village or any other markets since the 2012-violence against Rohingya.

So many of internally displaced Rohingya in Rathedaung were dependent on ration of WFP (World Food Programme) for survival. Having the ration cut off by WFP, Rohingya from IDP camps and ghettos are forced to seek long and dangerous journey to buy household products from southern Maungdaw across many security posts, Rakhine villages and rivers.”

The villagers were ordered not to travel for shopping in the future, and threatened with heavy fine and imprisonment if they travelled again.

Another Rohingya villager from Koe Tan Kauk which is one of the villages faced severe human rights abuses during “Clearance Operations” including mass killings, rape, torture, arrest and destruction of houses and properties, said “Last year, we were killed with guns, our women were raped by the army and our houses were burnt down. Now the army wants to kill us all with mass starvation.”


Zay Di Pyin, a small Rohingya village in Rathedaung Township, 65km from Sittwe, has been under blockade by Rakhine extremists preventing working, fishing, fetching water since July 28, 2017.

The situation of Rohingya villagers remained uncertain and critical as they have been barred and imposed restricted movement between villages for food, water, healthcare and other basic necessities for livings.

Besides the restriction of movement, the villagers are the frequent target of Rakhine extremists armed with weapons such as machetes, swords and sticks accompanying the police forces, who frequently harass the persecuted Rohingya villagers on daily basis.

The groups are also stealing Rohingya livestock and personal belongings such as boats as well as destruction of houses and properties with the help of police, while Rohingya face with extremely limited supply of food.

A 20-strong Police force came to arrest injured Rohingya men on August 5, when unable to find them, they took Village Administrator Ameen and 65-year old Ahmed (s/o Kulla Mia) to the police outpost.

On August 6, a secret meeting was held in Zay Di Pyin between Border Guard Police captain Thura San Lwin and Rakhine villagers. The villagers remain in fear of further violence and abuses.

Wednesday-Thursday, August 23-24, MASS-ARREST, RATHEDAUNG 

leaked video of Rohingya women and children crying showed the alarming situation of Rohingya who are provoked in Rohingya villages of Rathedaung.

Between August 23 and 24, almost all the Rohingya men were taken away from Auk Nan Yar village by the armed forces. This village has been subjected to recent human rights abuses such as indiscriminate shooting, arbitrary arrest, torture and harassment.

The village was also under siege leaving the vulnerable women, children and elderly in mass-starvation. The villagers requested the international community to help resolve their sufferings through the leaked video, however, there was no response for either Aung San Suu Kyi’s government or international governmental or non-governmental organizations.


The security forces escort in a demolished Rohingya hut [AFP]

In the early morning of Friday, Rohingya insurgents who vowed to protect both Rohingya and Rakhine civilians from the atrocities of Burmese armed forces, clashed at about 20 police posts in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung, where the crimes against humanity taking place for many decades, worsen during ‘clearance operations’.

According to the office of State-counsellor, the clashes left 12 armed forces and 16 Rohingya insurgents dead.

Soon after the clashes, the Tatmadaw used excessively disproportional force to punished the entire Rohingya community, announcing curfew and locking-down the region as the campaign of atrocities is undertaken, as witnessed during the ‘clearance operations’ following October 2016 clashes.

As the campaign enters the second day evidence of human rights violations is coming out of the region, reportedly machine-gunned civilians and fired rocket-launchers from helicopters on at least 25 Rohingya villages.

The villagers are on the move to cross the Burma-Bangladesh border where Bangladesh ramps up security on August 17, 2017. At least 400 Rohingya civilians were pushed back by the Bangladesh navy and thousands are reportedly stranded at the border in Maungdaw.

Many Rohingya are also temporary taking shelters in forests as their villages were set on fire by the armed forces.

Reports from the ground suggest that the civilian casualties now exceed 200. With hundreds of civilians injured and without medical treatment or aid.

These clashes on August 25 were the result of calculated provocations to intensify the campaign of extermination against Rohingya in order to accomplish anti-Rohingya agendas of both the armed forces and Rakhine nationalists who are reportedly taking part in the ongoing campaign along with Ming Aung Hlaing’s army.

Rohingya Exodus