Monthly Archives: February 2009

Unwanted Refugees: Rohingyas in Malaysia , International Agency UNHCR: Part To Practice Illegal Assembly Act


Today, Mr. Habib, a general secretary from MERHROM had sent a serious letter to us, as below;

Dear Colleagues,

Today  morning 10:10 to 10:40 am,  we united , 7 Leaders from all of 7 different  Rohingya Refugees Parties in Malaysia (which representing 20,000 Rohingya refugees), had approached to submit an open letter to UNHCR’s new representative Mr. Paul Allen Vernon.

On our approach, head of a security officer Mr.Ibrahim (local) came out and said, “no officer from UNHCR want to see, you all have to leave, I will passed  to police is what I have to do.”  He also declared that more than 3 persons are considered as illegal assembly in Malaysia, thus he has to pass to police to arrest under illegal assembly act. We, 7 leaders were surprised on international agency UNHCR allowing its officer’s called to practice illegal assembly act, while human rights campaigns are trying to abolish such act.

 

These are considered as misuse of the power and UNHCR does not willing to corporate in proper way through ignoring its right to response on communities’ representations.  We had also asked for any of international staff to receive our letter, either.

 

In fact, according to UNHCR officers’ demand by various ways, therefore,  about 500 Rohingya refugees were gathered on 03 Dec 2008-led by area based representatives, the same numbers again on 21 Jan 2009-led by All Burma Democratic Force, and this is 3rd time by 7 leader of All from different  Rohingya Parties.

 

"7 Leaders of All of Rohingya Refugees Are Watched by Police and Security forces"

"7 Leaders of All of Rohingya Refugees Are Watched by Police and Security forces"

Do you see which way would be better for the next?  We would be welcome yours suggestions for the betterment of refugees. Here is our open letter as follow;

 

                                                                                                                                      

His Excellency Paul Alan Vernon

Representative

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia

 

Re: PLIGHTS OF ROHINGYA REFUGEES IN MALAYSIA

 

Dear Sir,

 

Regarding above, we under signed organizations hereby state that the plight of Rohingya refugees in Malaysia is well-know to the world as it is the only long-standing problems in Malaysia, beside Pilipino refugees in Sabah .

 

Based on the meeting of February 13, 2009, we are very much hopeful that you are going to adopt new policies for the Rohingya refugees in order to find permanent solution to this long-standing problem.

 

We also hope that the treatment of UNHCR to our refugees would be as equal as others in times of registration, refugee status determination, resettlement, protection and other refugee facilities. We believe that you will deal all of our organizations as equal representatives, which will pave a role of peace and harmony. In case of separate dealing, the internal conflicts will take place against humanitarian goals.

 

According to your information, UNHCR Kuala Lumpur registered 17,000 new refugees and resettled 6000 to signatory countries in 2008. Such processes were run in the previous years up to 2007, and thus, the information really made us crazy as no significant figure of Rohingya refugees were included in these numbers in every procedures of UNHCR office.

 

However, the fate of the unfortunate Rohingya refugees in Malaysia could be changed under your kind auspicious; in giving priority to the rest cases of Rohingya as the situation materialize to find solution without further delay.

 

As per our commitment, we would not like to see back that what happened in the past and commitments that given by the various representatives of UNHCR in previous years. As is it year 2009 and the year is dedicated to see real change in solving global crises as early as possible.

 

In these regards, we hope your kind responses in order to step forward for seeing the welfare of Rohingya refugees and the UN Refuge Agency, in finding urgent solution to the plights of Rohingya refugees through relocation to signatory countries, while the Obama Administration confirmed that the United States will consider the referrals of Rohingya refugees.

 

Of the plights of Rohingya refuges in Malaysia, the followings are in need of urgent settlement without any condition and thus we believe that You will look into the matters as soon as possible.

1.      Rohingy refugee detainees both of UNHCR recognized and undocumented are languishing in the most difficult situation in various camps. They are under way to danger of serious prosecution. So, UNHCR intervention is urgently needed for them in order to set free from detention, prosecution, and chance to meet international protection that accorded in ‘non-refoulement’.

 

2.      Refugees are victimized in most times of weekend and between 4 am to 8 am, when office operation remain closed. During this time, hot line provides a little service in getting arrest report only. Thus, refugees have to meet in untold suffering in the circle of arrest, medication and unavoidable human nature like delivery cases, death tools, accidents and etc.. Therefore, your good office should engage special staffs in assisting refugees for such vulnerable cases.

 

3.      As per your recommendation on 13 Feb 2009, there should have a trust building process between UNHCR office and Rohingya refugees towards a safety net of realistic materialization, according to procedure as per progress. So, the Rohingya refugees’ cases for relocation to signatory country will be highly appreciated in term of permanent solution.

 

4.      The current, outflows of Rohingya refugees are well-known to the world bodies whose protection are highly recommended by international community and world leaders. Therefore, the UNHCR office should consider its formal registration for Rohingya refugees like others non-Rohingyas which will be helpful in adjusting with previous years.

 

5.      Due to non-recommendation of UNHCR documents at all quarters of Malaysia, particularly in hospitals and work sectors, refugees are facing numerous difficulties for their medication and survivals. Therefore, the UNHCR should set up free clinic services for Rohingya refugees like others.

 

 

We look forward for hearing from your good office.

 

Sincerely yours,

 

        1)          Haji. Mubarak,                                                         

                   President                                                                     

Rohingya Information Center (RIC)         

          

        2)         Haji.Sheikh Ahmed

                     President

 Rohingya Information Center (RIC-ABIM)

 

3)           Mohammad Sadek

                 Coordinator

Arakan Rohingya Refugee Committee (ARRC)

 

4)                      Saida

                    Chairwoman

,Organization of Refugee Rohingya Woman, Malaysia (ORRWM)

 

    5)                   Mamedullah

                Secretary

      Community Rohingya Islam Pro-Democracy Organization (CRIPDO)

 

   6)                            Mohd. Jalal

                                    Chairman

       Organization of Rohingya Stateless in Malaysia (ORSM)

 

7)                  Habiburahman

                         Secretary General

        Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization, Malaysia (MERHROM)

 Contact person ( Habib : +(60) 12 2595185 )

 

 

 

Six Burmese Refugees Arrested In Malaysia


Researcher James,

Six Burmese refugees were arrested by Immigration and Rela raids, from Kajang, on 20 Feb 2009.

They were identified as Rohingya minority from Arakan state, Burma. Reportedly, “one of them was UNHCR card holder refugee and the rest are hopping for UNHCR’s registration as new registration of Rohingya refugees was closed since Dec 2005. Whereas, treatment in UNHCR-Malaysia  policy was a different to Rohingya refugees only. In recent year 2008, UNHCR registered 17,000 of others refugees, but Rohingya refugees were not reflected such opportunity and remaining yet hundreds of boat people refugees in undocumented status.”

The report also added, “the raids started at 1:30 am of midnight. In the raid, immigrations were came from KLIA and Rela from Sepang. The raid used oxy cutter to cut the lock of the door. When refugees seek humanly manner, in-charge of Immigration said that humanly discussions were left in the meeting, we don’t practice and therefore no more allow illegals.”

An activist has called to UNHCR needing to urge to Authority to practice according to its statement submitted in Geneva program of UPR by Malaysian Foreign Minister’s Secretary. That statement cleared that refugees would not be faced any more arrest or detention when they are not committed crime.

Who are the Rohingya?


source from irrawaddy news, 19 Feb 2009,

Burma’s frontier areas are home to many ethnic groups that have historically existed on both sides of the country’s borders with its neighbors. Most are recognized as citizens of the countries where they reside; even military-ruled Burma is willing to accept that many non-Burman minorities have a right to call the country their home.

There are, of course, some notable exceptions. For instance, the Pashu, descendents of Muslim Malays living in Tenasserim Division, in Burma’s far south, are not regarded by the current regime as Burmese citizens, even though they were designated by the country’s post-independence government as one of Burma’s 143 ethnic groups.

Likewise, the Kaman, descendants of 17th-century Muslim mercenaries living on Ramree Island in Arakan State, have been denied the rights of citizenship since the beginning of Burma’s socialist era in 1962. To this day, they are not issued national identity cards or permitted to travel freely to other parts of the country, even when they are in need of emergency medical treatment.
By contrast, the Kokang, an ethnic Han Chinese group who have lived in Shan State since the 18th century, occupy their own “Special Region” and enjoy official status as a recognized ethnic group under the ruling junta, despite their obviously foreign origins.
What are we to make of these disparities? Are we to conclude that the Pashu and the Kaman have no place in Burmese society because of their religion, whereas the non-Muslim Kokang are perfectly acceptable members of a multiethnic Burma?
As a Burmese Muslim, this is more than an academic question for me. But rather than personalize this issue, I would like to examine it objectively, and consider how it applies to the plight of the Rohingya, a group that has become one of the most reviled in Burma.
Before we address the question of whether the Rohingya are truly Burmese or not, perhaps I should first ask if, in the eyes of my readers, they are even human. I would hope that most agree with me that they are, indeed, human beings who deserve to be treated as such. But there are some who seem to disagree. The authors of a well-known anti-Rohingya book, “Influx Virus,” for instance, liken these people to a disease that is infecting Burma. Such extreme views are not, alas, uncommon among those who would deny the Rohingya their basic human rights.

Another issue that has generated much unnecessary controversy is the word “Rohingya” itself. There are many who question the right of the Rohingya to identify themselves as such, preferring to refer to them as Chittagonians, Bengalis or even kala, a derogatory term for people of South Asian origin. But putting aside the question of their status in Burma, shouldn’t we at least be willing to call the Rohingya by the name they have chosen for themselves, just as we do with other peoples around the world?

When we consider the status of the Rohingya in Burma today, it is worth noting that this question is more controversial now than it was six decades ago, when the country first regained its independence.
At that time, a number of Rohingya were democratically elected to Burma’s post-colonial parliament and many held high-level government positions. Sao Shwe Thike, the first president of independent Burma, said that if the Muslims of Arakan State could not be considered a distinct ethnic group, then neither could his own Shan people.
School textbooks matter-of-factly identified the Rohingya as one of the nation’s 143 ethnic groups. And from 1961 to 1965, the Burmese Broadcasting Service even had a Rohingya-language program.
But this state of affairs began to change under the rule of Gen Ne Win, who seized power in a military coup in 1962. It was argued that the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League, the main ruling party during the era of Burma’s parliamentary democracy, recognized the Rohingya as an ethnic group merely in order to get their votes. The Rohingya came to be regarded as economic migrants from Bangladesh; if they were allowed to settle in Arakan State, alarmists asserted, it would only open the floodgates and soon all of Burma would be overwhelmed.
Another consideration for the increasingly xenophobic regime in Rangoon was the rapidly expanding populations of neighboring India and China. This made it imperative to ensure that ethnic groups in borders areas, particularly the Rohingya and the Kokang, were securely under the government’s control. In the case of the Rohingya, suspicions that some harbored an extreme Islamicist agenda made them especially susceptible to pressure from the country’s security apparatus.
Whatever the arguments against recognizing the Rohingya as Burmese citizens, it is clear that the government’s policies towards them are fraught with contradictions.

 

Although the regime that currently rules Burma categorically denies that the Rohingya are a Burmese ethnic group, it is often obliged to accept Rohingya migrants who have been deported by neighboring countries. If they did not originally come from Burma, why would the junta allow them to be sent back there?
We might also ask why the regime persists in persecuting the Rohingya and pushing them out of Burma if they are just going to keep taking them back. The answer to this question is twofold.
The first reason for the junta’s seemingly erratic Rohingya policy is that it fits with the regime’s modus operandi throughout the country. That is, it actively seeks to stir up instability in order to justify its iron-fisted rule. Mass migrations under duress create the perfect conditions for a regime that knows its survival depends on keeping the general population in a constant state of anxiety.
The second reason for targeting the Rohingya is more specific to conditions in Arakan State. The Arakanese people are among the most nationalistic in Burma. Although they are closely related to the dominant ethnic Burmans, history and geography have given them a distinct identity. They have no love for the country’s rulers in central Burma, and are often at the forefront of anti-government movements.

At the same time, however, the predominantly Buddhist Arakanese are fiercely proud of their culture and extremely resistant to what they see as incursions by Muslims from neighboring Bangladesh. Their fear of an Islamic invasion surpasses their loathing for the Burmese regime—a fact that the junta is more than happy to exploit.

Such attitudes towards the Rohingya present a significant challenge for Burma’s future, since even in the event of a transition to democracy, tensions are likely to persist.
Everyone who believes that democracy, respect for fundamental human rights and ethnic equality are the foundations for a more stable and prosperous Burma must ask where the Rohingya are supposed to fit into this equation. But sadly, many act as if the best way to deal with the “Rohingya problem” is to let the ruling generals “solve” it in their usual, brutal fashion, so that future generations won’t have to worry about it.
In a recent interview, one Rohingya who survived a terrifying ordeal at sea while attempting to flee the country said, “I can no longer live in Burma. Every day the government gives us trouble. I left there, thinking that it would be better if I died at sea.”
But no matter how many are driven to such desperate conclusions, the Rohingya aren’t simply going to disappear. For the sake of Burma’s future, it would be better to learn to live with them in peace. And the best way to do that is to start treating them with decency and compassion now.

Aung Tin is a Vancouver, Canada-based Burmese activist. This commentary was translated from Burmese.

 

“Thai PM Agreed On Its Officials Abused The Rights Of Rohingya Boat People


source fromirrawaddy news, 13 Feb 2009

The prime minister of Thailand acknowledged the possibility that Thai officials abused the rights of Rohingya boat people who were towed out to sea and set adrift with inadequate food and water, in an interview with CNN on Thursday.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said that he didn’t know who was responsible for the acts but if presented with evidence, he will hold them responsible. Government policy does not condone such practices, he said, and there are “some instances” which are suspect.

Thai officials consistently downplayed the allegations made by human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Refugees International, which claim that the Thai navy abused the human rights of Rohingya boat people, including beatings and other abuse, and towed their boats back out to sea and set them adrift without adequate food and water in boats without engines.

Meanwhile, the Thai government is trying to defend the country’s reputation as a protector of human rights in the face of widespread international attention.

Army Chief General Anupong Paochinda was quoted by the Thai News Agency that in a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) on Wednesday, the Thai foreign ministry and security agencies agreed that the foreign ministry should seek cooperation from regional countries in order to find a solution to the Rohingya boat people issue.

Prime Minister Abhisit urged four countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma and Thailand to work together on a common solution.

Gen Anupong will visit Burma next week to talk with Burmese military leaders about the issue. Burmese officials claim the Rohingya are not citizens of Burma and are not a recognized ethnic group in the country.

Thai Supreme Commander Gen Songkitti Jaggabat visited Burma last month and met with Burma’s No 2 leader, Vice Snr-Gen Maung Aye. He said Maung Aye promised him that the Burmese authorities would try to block Rohingya refugees who try to leave illegally for other countries.

Meanwhile, Burma has deployed more navy patrol boats in order to block Rohingya who take to the sea in rickety boats, desperate to reach other countries.

The Thai government and the the UN commission on refugees met last week to hold talks about how to address the Rohingya boat people issue.

The Rohingya issue is likely to be addressed during a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit on February 27 in Hua Hin in southern Thailand.

 

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“Aspects From UNHCR-Malaysia Meeting With Refugees Representatives”


 UNHCR_Malaysia’s head of representative Mr.Allan Vernan had held a meeting with refugees representatives in Chinese Assembly Hall, Jalan Maha Raja Lela, Kuala Lumur, on 13 Feb 2009. The meeting was started at 2:30 pm and ended at 4:30. There,The Sail researcher Theng’s interview with Mr.Habib, member of Rohingya Human Rights (MERHROM) ,
as follows;

Q    : Are Rohingyas migrants in Burma?
Ans : Arakan was separated region before Burmese emperor.  Even though Burma rulers denied to recognize Rohingyas as its ethnic, they are genuine ethnic from Arakan according to deep rooted in Arakan region since 7th Century AD.

Mostly violation faced by minorities, increased after the state religion recognized as Buddhism in 1960 and changed Rakhine state from Arakan Division in 1974 in order to install Rakhines’ independence.

Rohingyas’ genuine criteria in Burma, made them to host into neighbor foreign lands, where could be denied to practice International Customary Laws, or letting to become international concerns. Unfortunately, humanly confidential approaches is lacked and allegation as illegal migrants, were occurred.

 

Q   : How do you aspect on numbers of global concern refugees? Are you agree with UNHCR’s basic options for refugees as (1)repatriation, (2)local integration and (3)relocation to a few numbers but may take time?
Ans : I agreed with the numbers but the plights of Rohingya refugees is different compare to others. Since one and two options failed, the third option of relocation to signatory country must be met for Rohingya refugees. The time Rohingya refugees have spent more than decade. And require to access equal numbers in how a few, how many.

 

Q    : How many refugees in Malaysia had been resettled and registered with UNHCR in 2008?
Ans  : According to the thesis of our head of representative Mr. Allan Vernan, about 6,000 were resettled and about 17,000 were registered in 2008. But, the numbers of Rohingyas, is less than 100 in each process.

 

Q    : Is it true that you are holding another demonstration to UNHCR on 25th Feb 2009?
Ans  : Let me clarify that I am not holding that and it is by the supports of area based community heads. And it is a submission of memorandum due to lack of effective response and initiative reaction, but not demonstration.
But now, we have received a positive initiative by Mr. Allan. Therefore, needs more perspective dialogues in holding of trust building, but require to have initiative practices on daily or monthly basis.
 

Q    : How do you aspect on the release of UNHCR card holder refugees in the recent raid by Rela in Selayang?

 
Ans  : I had been experienced in ten years basis, therefore, I would like to say that it is the best practice in respecting refugees’ plight. But, installation of a proper legislation for refugees’ protection is important rather than releasing, arrests, detentions, deportation. As how long the country can allow by hosting illegals when there is no legislation for protection of refugees. The release of refugee detainees from the various detention centers and to stop deportation act, are more important in proactive.
Relating to this, the statement made by Secretary of Foreign Minister of Malaysia in Geneva UPR, was more close to have prosecution of refugees by adding crime act.

 

Q    : How do you think if Malaysia is going to sign in Refugees Conventions?
Ans  : It is depend by host government. Whereas, the reflection of benefits from CRC and CEDAW which signed in 1995 would be practiced first in deed.

 

Q    : Is it true that the rights of foreign workers is equal as local ?
Ans  : Pl, it is not concern to me.

 

Q    : Can you explain about medication and the goal of education for refugee children?
Ans  : UNHCR has well steps for medical treatment and basic education. Generally, refugee receives UNHCR’s letter to access medication, but refugee patient faces to settled medical fees, and delay to complete the course for demanding balance bill first.
For education of refugee children, running formal classes or sectors by UNHCR itself would be gained more benefits for both.

 

“Memorandum To Burmese, Thai and Bagladesh Embassies, In Malaysia”


researcher James,
 
 
Yesterday on 12 Feb 2009,  All Burma democratic Forces including different groups based in Malaysia, had submitted memorandum to Myanmar Embassy , Thailand Embassy and Bangladesh Embassy. The group about 50 representatives, were started gathering about 10:00 am (Malaysian Local time), and successfully held.  Malaysian authority had welcomed and allowed under peaceful motivation. And  each of memorandum was allowed within 15 minutes, but meorandum to Burmese embassy was put into the post box when no one was came-out.
 
 
They had also shown 3 pictures of abuses photos in Thailand, to reveal the truth due to its PM and authority denying.
 
the memo are as follow;
while gathering and start reading

while gathering and start reading

  
 
 
 
 
 
1.STATEMENT ON ATROCITIES OF BURMESE MILITARY REGIME
 
On behalf of all Burmese people regardless of race, religion, color and sex, we, at the All Burma Democratic Force (ABDF), based in Malaysia strongly condemn the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), the ruling military of Burma for its brutal behaviors against it own people and humanity.
It is the 62nd anniversary of Burma’s Union Solidarity Day that was inked by the Burma’s Independent hero Bo Kyoke Aung San in the spirits of Pinglong Agreement on February 1947 but the people of Burma never got change to enjoy fruits of this historical instrument, since the coup of Dictator Ne Win in 1962.
It is the military that they have turned the fate of Burmese people into hardship and dangerous living within the state or forced them to leave ancestral homeland.
In period of 47 years, almost, entire Burmese people have gone into dire situation as military never considered the wills of people’s freedom of their mind, thoughts, and every other interests.
Since the eve of military coup, Burmese military has been changing their names as like Burma Revolutionary Council, Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP), State law & Order Restoration Council (SLORC) and the State Peace & Development Council (SPDC) but never thought to change its objectives of atrocities against people. It also did not leave respected Buddhist clergies September 2007 in times of saffron revolution.
Ignoring the calls of international community, the regime held sham constitutional referendum on May 10, 2008, when the country’s important delta was devastated by Cyclone Nargis on May 5, 2008. The regime is also stepping towards for holding another sham election in 2010 in order to legitimate it power and to indulge the wills of people that proved in 1990s Multi-Party Election.
Indeed, the SPDC is an illegitimate gang of military that is bringing unexpected economic hardship in the country and pushing the people into the endless tyranny of military. Following these, tens of thousands of Burmese people were victimized as internal displacement and refugee outflows.
The gang of military must review their policies towards reality, if they need to do a sustainable development of country, even for their families.. Otherwise, country’s economy may reach to the worst proportion of crises.
Currently, the country is facing food crises, as military does not have well-management of food and commodities. The SPDC only know the things of price hike-up rather adopting international standard mechanism to alleviate poverty and to have changes in the country throughout the sustainable economy.
The military is also wasting country’s vast natural resources to buy sophisticated weapons by which they kill its own people without any hesitation that only to control power. The military also has nuclear ambition in order to fight against world bodies, particularly against those who are assisting country pro –democracy movements and human rights activists.
Besides, the regime is extremely involved in gross human rights violations through various circles and tactics including ethnic cleansing, rape, torture, extortion, extrajudicial killings and inhuman pogroms. In all walks of the regime, ethnic minorities like Rohingya, Karen, Karenni, Kachin, Shan Mon, Chin, Pa-o, Palong, Kuki, Naga and etc. are the worst victims of such human rights violations.
On the recent statement of SPDC against ethnic Rohingyas of Arakan State, Burma, made us shocked that how the illegitimate authority can justify others concerns and how can it hide the reality of history of Rohingyas existence in Burma, staying in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)? In fact, the Rohingyas are indigenous people of Arakan, as per their deep rooted history.
Anyway, the ABDF express our firm stands that we will continue our peaceful and legitimate struggle for the restoration of democracy in Burma and to reveal the truth about real history up to our last breath. It is also our firm deed that we must end the military dictatorship in Burma in order to let a chance for the entire people to enjoy their birth and democratic human rights that accorded in various international instruments.
In these regards, we call upon SPDC:
1. To unconditionally set free Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners including prominent students Min Ko Naing and ethnic leaders like U Kyaw Min, U Kun  Htun Oo and etc;
2. To immediately take step towards for urgent democratization in Burma, respecting 1990s election result;
3. To cease all kinds of human rights abuses against the people of Burma, particularly against ethnic minorities like Rohingya, Karen, Karenni, Kachin, Shan Mon, Chin, Pa-o, Palong, Kuki, Naga and etc.;
4. To stop misuse of country’s natural resources, especially, Arakan Natural Gas, Yadana and Yetagong Piple line of Mon State; and etc. for the benefits of people and country and to reduce the hardship of the people;
5. To abolish fascist, and brutal leading of the regime in order to ensure peace, justice and freedom for all regardless of race, religion and etc.
 
2.A MEMORANDUM TO THE ROYAL THAI GOVERNMENT
 
 
On behalf of all Burmese people, we at the All Burma Democratic Force (ABDF, an umbrella organization of different political, ethnic, socio-cultural and religious organizations of Burma based in Malaysia express our dissatisfaction over the role of Thailand towards Burma and Burmese people.
Currently, Thailand is carrying out the responsibilities of ASEAN chairmanship but not thoroughly going into ASEAN human rights charters.
Despite respecting ASEAN and other international human rights charters, Thailand is involved in violation of human rights in various means including spoiling of neighboring Burma and Burmese people.
We believe that it is the time to take step to review the policy of both ASEAN and Thailand towards Burma in order to let Burmese people chance to enjoy their democratic rights in their country.
Thailand should see back to the history of Burma which is historically dictator or occupier. Once, the Burmese ruler occupied Ayudaya (SIAM) of Thailand for its own benefits but now the regime has occupied the people’s rights and power, wasting the country’s natural resources.
We believe that Thailand is taking revenge against Burma, to enjoy the facilities of Burmese natural resources, especially Gas Pipeline of Yandana and Yetaggon of Mon State, timbers from Karen, Karenni and Shan States respectively, while it allows Burmese regime to set up missiles factory along Thai border line which is not far than 15 kilometer from Maela refugee camp of Thailand. Thailand is also using Burmese people in its labor sectors for its interest but never thought to have changes in Burma as Thailand may fail to enjoy certain benefits.
It is well known to the world that Thailand has reached to uphold oppressive policy towards Burmese refugees and migrant workers in the recent dates, especially against Rohingya Burmese boat people who were sent back to the sea without engine.
These are the life evidence of genocidal killings and thus we propose to bring this case to international Court of Justice.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is still denying the abuses of Thai authorities over the Rohingya Burmese boat people who would be considered as genuine refugees. Instead of allowing the independent screening into the matter, the Thai officials are stepping forward for ignoring the real issue.
In spite of calls to international community, Thailand took decision against humanity. Therefore, we call upon the Royal Thai Government that:-
1. To boycott support to Burmese military in order to meet ASEAN human rights charter;
2. To stop using of Burmese natural resources and give up it for the benefits of Burma and Burmese people;
3. To extend effective supports towards Burmese pro-democracy movement in order to bring an end military dictatorship in Burma and to ensure the rights of all people regardless of race, religion and etc.;
4. To protect Burmese refugees and migrants workers, particularly the Rohingya boat people and to ensure their refugee status for the betterment of ASEAN region;
We encourage for hosting international agencies to help boat people and to screen their cases in order to extend international protection and to help to achieve the goal of democratization in Burma from the field of Thailand.
 
3.A MEMORANDUM TO THE GOVERNMENT OF BANGLADESH
 
 
On behalf of all Burmese people, we at the All Burma Democratic Force (ABDF, an umbrella organization of different political, ethnic, socio-cultural and religious organizations of Burma based in Malaysia express our sincere gratitude towards the authorities and people of Bangladesh for hosting tens of thousands Burmese people in the country.
 
We also express our dissatisfaction for some sorts of brutal and inhuman policies of Bangladeshi Government in detaining hundreds of Rohingya and other Burmese undocumented refugees in different prisons of Bangladesh without any reasons.
Despite being a member state of Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) and vast majority Muslim country, Bangladesh is reluctant to comply Islamic obligations for the causes of Muhajereen (refugees) that accorded in the universal Law Book of The God “The Holly Quran” and the best guideline of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) “The Hadiths”.
As a Muslim state, it would not neglect Quranic and Hadith orders without any hesitation to set free of refugees from their uncertain detention prisons, while the Bangladesh should not deny the actual plights of Rohingya Burmese people who were compelled to take refuge in their over populated and poor country.
It is true that Bangladesh is a close effected country from the desperated Rohingya and experiencing on their ongoing plights in their country of origin (Burma) through various kinds of human rights abuses, including denial of citizenship rights, severe restrictions on freedom of movement, education, marriage and religion, forced labor, rape, land confiscation, arbitrary arrests, torture, extra judicial killings, settlement of model villages and extortion on daily basis.
For all these reasons, we call upon the Government of Bangladesh:-
1. To immediately review the policies towards persecuted Muslim Rohingya refugees and to give full respect to the Islamic obligations that accorded in the Quran and Sunnah;
2. To unconditionally set free all Rohingya and other Burmese refugees from your prisions and handover them to United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) or other refugee concerned quarters;
3. To allow international agencies to observe the situation of Rohingya in Bangladesh and along the border in order to work with international standard mechanism that may bring an end of their miserable plights;
4.To immediately bring the Rohingya issue before the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) resolution in order to bring it to the United Nations General Assembly;
5. To adopt a frame work of international campaign to advocate the plights of Rohingya to the world and to find permanent solution to their long-standing problems.
 These  memorandum are endorsed by:
 
1.All Burma Democratic Force (ABDF)
2.All Burma Muslim Organization (ABMO)
3.Arakan Rohingya Refugee Committee (ARRC), Malaysia
4.Burma Muslim Community (BMC)
5.Burma Youth Liberation Front (BYLF)
6.Christian Community Clinic Center (CCCC)
7.Chin People’s Organization (CPO)
8.Community Rohingya Islam Pro-Democracy Organization (CRIPDO)
9.Democratic Federation of Burma (DFB)
10.Karenni Future Generation (KFG)
11.Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization in Malaysia (MERHROM)
12.National Democratic Party for Human Rights (exile)
13.National League for Democracy (NLD-LA)
14.Rohingya Information Center (RIC)
15.Rakhaing Patriotic Forum (RPF)
16.Rohingya Youth Development Forum (RYDF), Arakan
 
Thank you,
 
Executive Committee
All Burma Democratic Force (ABDF)
Union of Burma
For further information, please contact:
Mohammad Sadek,  Tel: 016-3094599
Nyi Nyi (Habib),       Tel: 012-2595185

United States Says United Nations Should Screen Rohingya Migrants


03 February 2009,  source from http://www.america.gov

United States Says United Nations Should Screen Rohingya Migrants

United States has resettled some Rohingya referred by U.N. agency

 

Enlarge Photo

People gathered around tent (AP Images)

Burmese Rohingya who were rescued in Indonesian waters claim the Thai military forced them out to sea without adequate food and water.

Washington — The Obama administration says countries to which Burmese Rohingya migrants have fled should carefully screen them — with the involvement of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) — to determine if they need protection.

The United States considers the Muslim Rohingya people, who live mainly in the Burmese state of Northern Rakhine, to be a religious and ethnic minority that is being persecuted by the country’s military regime.

Burma does not recognize them as citizens, despite their centuries-long presence in the country. The junta also has placed severe economic, travel and other restrictions on the community and forcibly converted some to Buddhism. (See “Burma’s Muslims Are Long-standing Victims of Military Regime.”)

Man looking through wire fence (AP Images)

The Burmese junta does not recognize the Muslim Rohingya as citizens and places severe restrictions on the community.

Agence France Presse (AFP) reported February 3 that Indonesian fishermen had found a group of nearly 200 Rohingya men adrift off the northern tip of Sumatra weeks after the men attempted to flee to Thailand in makeshift boats. The survivors told AFP they had been detained and beaten by Thai military personnel before being sent back to sea on boats without motors or adequate food and water supplies.

An additional 650 Rohingya were found in Indonesian and Indian territorial waters in January, AFP said, and nearly 1,000 Rohingya attempted to flee by sea to Thailand in 2008.

Laura Tischler, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, told America.gov February 3 that a small number of Rohingya who had been referred by UNHCR had been accepted by the United States for resettlement. The Obama administration also will “consider additional referrals … on a case-by-case basis,” she said.

Along with urging countries to work with UNHCR to determine who needs protection, the United States called on Burma’s neighbors to “press the government of Burma to end its persecution of Rohingya,” so that “those who have already fled can return home safely,” Tischler said.

She added that the Obama administration welcomes efforts by other concerned governments to work together on a common approach for protecting Rohingya people.

Burmese Refugees Arrested In Malaysia


Researcher Theng,

Burmese refugees were arrested by Rela raid from Meru-Bazzer, Klang, on 10 Jan 2009.

Reportedly, they were identified as Rohingya minority from Burma.  Five of them are recognized UNHCR card holders and others were undocumented Rohingya refugees.

Following to community from Klang, “the raid started about 4:00 am morning, about 20 refugees were arrested. But we received only ten. We had also informed to UNHCR through UNHCR’s hotline, but in vain. And no reply or commitment was done. Now they were lifted and detained in Langcap camp, Perak state. Arrested on the Last 4thFeb 2009, were remaining yet in KLIA detention camp. These are new system to clarify refugees. And unbelievable that how Director of Immigration and UNHCR’s deputy chief play and promised the released of refugee detainees. Is it necessary to learn as double standard role?”

“Currently, about 1,000 of Burmese refugees are remaining in various detention centers. But, UNHCR –Malaysia made a show on the 5th Feb 2009, by getting release of a very few numbers of 28 recognized refugees, it was also occasionally. But, Agency had excused by saying sorry to refugees’ languishing between slavery and horrific condition since  decades. Thus, its policy must be faired and all refugee detainees should  be treated in equal status.” Said Mr. Habib, secretary general for  Rohingya Human Rights (MERHROM).

He also added, “ Protection Officer must maintain from its shame-able records in protecting refugees. We condemn on such officer’s asking majority support against refugees’ protection, denying to pave equal treatment and equal process amongst the refugees, and creating misunderstanding by instigation amongst the refugee groups. Such kind of resistant should be removed urgently from humanitarian field.”

Human Rights Office in Southern Thailand Raided


source from Irrawaddy news, 09 Feb 2009,

BANGKOK — Soldiers and police staged a dawn raid Sunday on an office of a human rights group in southern Thailand, inspecting computer files and documents, the organization announced.

The raid came just two days after the military warned that militants might infiltrate non-governmental organizations to stir up trouble in the south, the scene of a bloody Muslim insurgency since early 2004.

The insurgents often target civilians in their brutal attacks, while the army has been accused of using heavy-handed tactics on local residents in an effort to catch them.

The Working Group on Justice for Peace said its office in Pattani province had been raided at 5 a.m. by about 20 soldiers and policemen who inspected documents and computer files but did not take anything away.

Lt-Col Prawet Suthiprapa, who led the raid, said the authorities had not specifically targeted the office but had been searching the entire area after getting a report that insurgents were hiding there.

“The search was conducted according to the law and we left after a few hours when we did not find anything,” he said. That areas affected by the insurgency are under martial law, so the authorities do not need court warrants to search private property.

The rights group on Saturday had responded to the military’s warning to government agencies of alleged infiltration of NGOs by challenging the army to produce evidence and charge wrongdoers.

In a statement, it called on the army “to stop threatening the work of activists who are helping people in the region whose rights are violated or abused.”

The Islamic separatist insurgency in the three southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat has led to the deaths of more than 3,300 people since early 2004.

The attacks—which include drive-by shootings and bombings—are believed intended to frighten Buddhist residents into leaving the only predominantly Muslim areas of Thailand, which is 90 percent Buddhist. Many southern Muslims feel like they are treated like second-class citizens.

 

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Statement on the Treatment of Rohingya and Bangladeshi ‘Boat People’ in Asia


Statement on the Treatment of Rohingya and Bangladeshi ‘Boat People’ in Asia, 06 February 2009

We, the undersigned organizations, are extremely concerned about the treatment of over a thousand Rohingyas from Burma and migrants from Bangladesh who have been forcibly expelled and abandoned in international waters by the Thai security forces since December 2008.

Over the past few weeks, several boats have been rescued off the coasts of Indonesia and the Andaman Islands of India. Survivors tell of having been detained in Thailand, beaten, and towed out to sea on boats without engines or sufficient food and water. Several hundred remain missing and are feared dead.

We are also concerned about the fate, including possible refoulement, of the Rohingya who remain in detention in Thailand, Indonesia and India. If Rohingyas are returned to Burma they could face widespread human rights violations, including forced labour, forced eviction, land confiscation and severe restrictions on freedom of movement. Refoulement of such individuals is prohibited under customary international law.

Background

Over the past two years, the number of people leaving Bangladesh and Burma by boat for Southeast Asia has grown. They have fled in search of protection, safety and/or work. Most are Rohingyas, a Muslim minority from western Burma.

The Rohingya have been rendered stateless in Burma and have experienced systematic discrimination, exclusion, and human rights violations in Burma for decades, prompting hundreds of thousands to seek refuge in neighbouring countries, most notably Bangladesh, Malaysia and Thailand.  Most are without legal status and are vulnerable to arrest, imprisonment, detention and deportation.

Aside from the Rohingya, millions of ethnic minorities and political activists have fled Burma, fearing persecution, violence and human rights abuses.

Specific Concerns

We are concerned by the following reports about the Rohingya:

  • The ill-treatment and failure to provide adequate assistance to hundreds who were arrested and detained in Thailand. Since December 2008, those captured at sea by the Thai Navy were directly transferred to the custody of the Thai Army at Koh Sai Daeng. Despite their weak condition, they were not provided with adequate food, were forced to sleep outside under armed guard, and were subject to ill-treatment such as kicking and beatings with a stick. They were then forced to board boats that were not seaworthy, were given inadequate provisions, and then towed out to sea and abandoned.
  • Those who initially refused to board the vessel were threatened at gunpoint. Four men were thrown overboard with their hands tied.
  • Hundreds, perhaps thousands, remain missing, including children.
  • Thailand and Indonesia have announced their intention to deport the Rohingya in their custody.

We recognize that:

·         The Indonesian and Indian Governments have conducted rescue at sea operations, providing relief and medical attention to rescued Rohingyas and Bangladeshis.

·         On 26 January 2009, the Thai Government transferred 78 new arrivals to Police and Immigration authorities rather than the Army.

·         The Thai Government has indicated that it will postpone the deportation of the 78 Rohingya arrivals until further investigation of their injuries. The Thai Government has also called for a regional solution to the plight of Rohingya.

Recommendations

Given the gravity of situation, we recommend that:

The Burmese Government:

  • End the systematic persecution of the Rohingya ethnic minority and recognise them as citizens with full rights and protection.

The Thai Government:

  • Cease forcibly expelling the Rohingyas, which is in violation of international law. Investigate serious allegations of mistreatment by the Thai security forces which may be in serious violation of Thailand’s obligations under the 1984 the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and bring to justice those responsible.   
  • Ensure that detainees have access to humanitarian assistance, protection and independent legal counsel by relevant international and local agencies. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees) should have access to all detainees to ensure fair determination of their status. 
  • Facilitate an open and independent inquiry by the Thai National Human Rights Commission and/or an international body into the allegations of human rights violations, providing them with full access to survivors and detainees, relevant government and army officials, and records related to the events.

The Indonesian and Indian Governments:

  • Respect the principle of non-refoulement in relation to those rescued at sea and currently being detained.
  • Ensure that detainees have access to humanitarian assistance, protection and independent legal counsel by relevant international and local agencies. UNHCR should have access to all detainees to ensure fair determination of their status.

The Bangladeshi Government:

  • Uphold its international obligations as a country of first asylum to ensure the protection and assistance of Rohingya with the support of the international community.

The members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Bay of Bengal Multi-Sectoral Initiative for Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC):

  • Launch immediate search and rescue operations for the remaining boats pushed back into international waters, as well as other boats of migrants reported to have left Bangladesh.
  • Work with the UNHCR, the international community and civil society groups to find equitable regional solutions that meet the protection needs of those forced to leave Burma, with responsibility-sharing arrangements regionally and internationally.
  • Urge the Burmese Government to stop the systematic persecution of the Rohingya minority, which is the root cause of their flight to neighbouring countries.
  • Meet their obligations as state parties to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 1974 International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the 1979 International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR).
  • Urge all members to ratify the 1951 Convention Related to the Status of Refugees, its 1967 Protocol, the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, and  the 1990 International Convention for the Protection of the Right of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families .

The United Nations and the International Community:

  • Continue to support the governments of Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand and its neighbours to find a durable solution to the protection needs of Burmese refugees throughout the region, ensuring consultation with civil society.
  • Engage the Burmese Government to solve the ongoing human rights crisis there, including amending the 1982 Citizenship Law which renders the Rohingya stateless.
  • Ensure that urgent humanitarian assistance is provided to Rohingyas and Bangladeshis who have fled on boats.
  • Ensure that human rights complaints related to the treatment of these people are thoroughly investigated and reported to the Human Rights Council

 

 This statement was written by members of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN)[1], and has been endorsed by the following organizations and individuals:

 Australia

1.     A Just Australia

2.     Act for Peace, National Council of Churches Australia (NCCA)

3.     Austcare

4.     Burmese Rohingya Community in Australia (BRCA)

5.     Children Out of Detention (ChilOut)

6.     Dr Savitri Taylor, School of Law, La Trobe University

7.     Rosie Scott, International Detention Coalition

8.     The Association of Survivors of Torture and Trauma ( ASeTTS)

9.     The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

10.  The Ethnic Communities Council of WA and the Multicultural Services Centre of WA

11.  The Refugee Council of Australia

12.  The South Australian Refugee Health Network

13.  The Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture

14.  Union Aid Abroad APHEDA

15.  West Coast Refugee Sanctuary Group Inc.

16.  Westgate Baptist Community


Bangladesh

17.  Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK)

18.  Empowerment through Law of the Common People (ELCOP)

19.  IMA Research Foundation

20.  Odhikar

Burma

21.  Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO)

22.  Shan Women’s Action Network

Egypt

23.  The Egyptian Foundation for Refugee Rights

Hong Kong

24.  Hong Kong Refugee Advice Centre

India

25.  Centre for Development and Human Rights

Indonesia

26.  Human Rights Working Group

27.  Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI)

 

Kenya

28.  David Dickson, Solidarity House International

Korea

29.  Korea Women’s Hotline

30.  Korean Public Interest Lawyers Group (GONGGAM)

31.  The Refugee Pnan

 

Lebanon

32.  Frontiers Ruwad Association

Malaysia

33.  All Women’s Action Society

34.  Amnesty International Malaysia

35.  Borneo Child Aid Society/Humana

36.  Building and Wood Workers International (BWI)

37.  Center for Orang Asli Concerns

38.  Civil Rights Committee of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall

39.  Coalition of Burma Ethnic Groups in Malaysia (COBEM)

40.  Community Residents Association of Selangor and Federal Territory (PERMAS)

41.  Council of Churches of Malaysia

42.  Health Equity Initiatives (HEI)

43.  Empower (Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor)

44.  Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)

45.  Justice, Peace and Solidarity In Mission, The Good Shepherd Sisters

46.  Kumpulan ACTS

47.  Malaysia Youth and Student Democratic Movement (DEMA)

48.  Organization of Karenni Development (OKD)

49.  Pusat Jagaan Kanak Kanak NurSalam, Chow Kit

50.  Pusat Komas (Community Communication Centre)

51.  Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

52.  Tenaganita (Women’s Force)

53.  The National Human Rights Society (HAKAM)

54.  Women’s Aid Organisation

55.  Workers Organisation 

Mongolia

56.  National Center Against Violence 

Nepal

57.  All Nepal Women’s Association

58.  INHURED International

 

Pakistan

59.  ESCR-Asia

60.  Pakistan International Human Rights Organization (PIHRO)

 

Philippines

61.  Center for Migrant Advocacy

62.  Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA)

63.  The Pax _Romana-International Movement of Catholic Students

64.  Virgilio “Boy” Hernandez 

Singapore

65.  Singapore Working Group for Asean Human Rights Mechanism (MARUAH)

66.  UNI Apro

 

South Africa

67.  Lawyers for Human Rights

Sri Lanka

68.  Andrew Samuel, Community Development Services, Colombo

69.  Commission for Justice and Peace (CJP) of the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka

70.  South Asian Network for Refugees, IDPs & Migrants (SANRIM)

 

Thailand

71.  Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma

72.  Arakan Project

73.  Mekong Ecumenical Partnership Program, Christian Conference of Asia

74.  Serge Auguste, Maryknoll

75.  Shining Som Mekong Alumni Network

76.  U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)

United Kingdom

77.  Forest Peoples Programme

78.  The Equal Rights Trust

United States

79.  Asylum Access (US/Thailand)

80.  Church World Service, Immigration and Refugee Program

81.  Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center

82.  Refugees International

83.  U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) 

Zambia

84.  Africa Internally Displaced Persons Voice (Africa IDP Voice)

 

Regional/ International

85.  Asia Pacific Forum on Women Law and Development (APWLD)

86.  Asian Solidarity for Peoples’ Advocacy (SAPA)

87.  Christian Conference of Asia

88.  Coordination of Action Research on AIDS and Mobility (CARAM Asia)

89.  Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW)

90.  International Detention Coalition

91.  Nonviolence International Southeast Asia (NISEA)

92.  The Asian Center for the Progress of Peoples

93.  The Asian Human Rights Commission


[1] The Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) is a civil society network committed to advancing the rights of refugees in the Asia Pacific Region. The network includes members who work directly with the Rohingya population in Asia.
Warm regards,

Wong Chai Yi
Suaram Outreach and Events Coordinator
+603-77843525 / +6012-7771152
suaramfos@gmail.com

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