Monthly Archives: October 2009

Rohingya forced to build fence

By Nicolas Haque on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border,



On Myanmar’s side of the Naf River that marks border with Bangladesh, labourers are hard at work building a fence that will prevent them fleeing persecution.

They will not be paid for their work. Instead the men, who come from the persecuted Rohingya ethnic group, have been coerced into erecting the 230km long fence by the threat of violence against their families.

The Rohingyas are a distinct ethnic group from Myanmar’s Rakhine State. The authorities in Yangon have refused to recognise them as citizens and they have been persecuted for their cultural difference and practice of Islam.

For many, life in Myanmar has become so difficult that they have fled across the border to Bangladesh. Over the past year 12,000 Rohingyas have been caught crossing the border illegally.

Now they are being forced to build a fence to prevent such escapes.  

“The Myanmar army have forced all of the men living in the villages on the border to work on the fence,” a worker involved in the construction says. “Most of them are Rohingyas. If we don’t do as they say they beat us and our families.”

So far they have fenced off 70km of border in what experts believe is an attempt by Yangon to increase control of the lucrative smuggling trade that flourishes in the area.  

“Illegal trade between Myanmar and Bangladesh has formerly been in favour of Bangladesh, but this will change now,”explains Professor Imtiaz Ahmed, from Dhaka University. “The country that controls the barriers between borders can also assert greater control over the illegal trade.”

Disputed border 

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Bangladesh and Myanmar have never agreed on their borders, and an ongoing dispute over where their maritime frontiers lie has seen tension rise along the Naf river. 

The contested maritime border involves a patch of sea believed to contain valuable oil and gas. Control of these waters could make either country very rich, and experts say that diplomatic relations between the two countries has deteriorated as a result of the dispute.

“The tension was heightened last November when the Myanmar Navy came in to put a rig in what Bangladesh claims, rightly, to be our own territorial water,” says Retired Major General ANM Muniruzzaman, from the Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies.

“Eventually the Bangladeshi diplomatic efforts diffused the situation, and the Myanmar navy rig went back, but the Myanmar government has consistently told Bangladesh that this is their water, and that they will come back. When that happens, perhaps the Myanmar government wants to put a dual pressure on Bangladesh, not only from the sea but also from the land border.”

That process may have already started. Myanmar has deployed 50,000 men to the border with Bangladesh, and in the past month alone, Dhaka has responded by sending an additional 3000 troops to the area in a manoeuvre codenamed “Operation Fortress.”

Officially, the Bangladeshi government denies there is tension along the border. The troops say they are there to monitor and stop the illegal trafficking of goods and people. 

But the soldiers know that relations between the two countries are strained.     

“We have a border through which we can observe the other side of the river. Our troops morale is very high, under any circumstances we are ready to protect the integrity and sovereignty of our country,” says Lieutenant Colonel Mozammel, commanding officer of Border Guards Bangladesh in Teknaf.

Unregistered refugees

Many Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh 

Meanwhile, the horrific conditions faced by the Rohingyas in Myanmar are prompting thousands to flee to Bangladesh. 

Malika is one of those who crossed the Naf river illegally. Her feet are swollen from the three-day walk to escape Yangon’s soldiers.

She says she suffered horrific abuse there and had no choice but to leave.

“I couldn’t stay there, the soldiers raped me over and over again,” she says. “The Myanmar army do not consider us as humans.” 

But once in Bangladesh, the refugees face new problems. Of more than 400,000 Rohingyas believed to have slipped across the border into Bangladesh, just 26,000 have been offically recognised as refugees by the Bangladeshi government and the United Nations. 

The authorities refuse to feed and house the rest.

Even the handful of NGOs working here are not allowed to provide food or medical aid or education facilities to unregistered Rohingyas because the government fears that this would spark tensions between poor local villagers and the new arrivals.

Fadlullah Wilmot, the director of Muslim Aid in Bangladesh, explains: “More than 44 per cent of the population in this area are ultra poor, that means that their daily income only provides their basic food needs. The literacy rate is about 10 per cent. The wage rate is low, so of course there are tensions.”

In limbo

In 1992, the Bangladeshi government, under the supervision of UNHCR, organised the forced repatration of 250,000 Rohingyas on the basis that the refugees would be given citizenship by the Myanmar authorities. That promise was never kept.

Professor Ahmad believes the refugees are trapped between a rock and a hard place.

“Myanmar’s position is they do not recognise them as citizens, they are stateless within Myanmar, and they are also stateless when they come to Bangladesh,” he says.

“No-one wants us. This is humiliating.”

Rohingya refugee in Bangladesh

“If you build the fence now Myanmar will probably say it is ready to take the 26,000 legal refugees from the camp but not the unregistered because they don’t know who they are.”

Trapped in limbo between two countries that don’t want them, the Rohingyas have become a bargaining chip for both Bangladesh and Myanmar as they try to settle their border dispute.

In Bangladesh’s refugee camps, frustration and anger are rife amongst the beleagured minority. 

“We cannot work. Our children can’t go to school. Our wives aren’t allowed to see doctors,” one man says. “We cannot receive any food aid. No one wants us. This is humiliating, we have no arms, but we are ready to fight and to blow ourselves up. People need to know that we exist.”

Economic Crises and Burma

Problems faced by the Burmese people have become magnified in the face of the global economic crisis and continued rule of the evil military junta.


Half the people in the country face oppressions while famines and starvations are existing as the military rulers continue their pursuit for power and Burmanizing of the country as well. Therefore, the number of Burmese people searching alternative livelihood in exile is increasingly as some 400,000 in Thailand, 200,000 in Malaysia, tens of thousands in Singapore, 600,000 in Bangladesh, 200,000 in India, 700,000 in Middle Arabian countries and 200,000 in Pakistan.

Of them, the worst are refugees; have to struggle with doing odd jobs, irregular work, exploitation in terms of unpaid wages and low salary and then bitter experiences of arrest, detention and deportation are being part of their lives.


Instantly in Thailand, according to process of immigration of Thailand, in June 2009, tempo-work permit holders who need extension and new applicant Burmese migrants are handed over to Burma Border authority including Rohingya Burmese. Although non-Muslim Burmeses were released in Myawadi-Burma, about 3,000 Muslims are detained and transferred to Insein Prison. Tension related to Southern Thailand, occurred misbehaviors towards new arrival Rohingya Burmese Muslim boat people refugees and the various raids conduction over Rohingya asylum-seekers in Thailand, tarnishing the country’s image.


Example in Middle East, the latest king of Saudi Arabia expresses its attest of declination in sharing humanity over its hosted displaced Burmese Muslim population are rendered by deportation to Bangladesh and another 3,000 families are also awaiting for similar process, regardless of situation improvement in Burma and non-refoulement role. The country is also denying their right to seek international protection from concern quarter and committing human rights abuses.


Pattern in Malaysia, refugees live sandwiched between skyscrapers and an overcrowded room in fear of arrests as the nation is not a party to Refugees Conventions.

The Burmese migrants who are caught by immigration officers or the voluntary enforcement unit, RELA, are detained in various detention centers around Malaysia under inhumane conditions. Reports of deaths due to unhygienic living conditions and poor food in these detention centers have been highlighted in international media, although they are largely glossed over by the Malaysian newspapers and television stations.


Malaysian employers have substituted local workers with Burmese refugees for they are known to work in harsh and dangerous situations. The refugees, who are lumped together with economic migrants and stamped as illegals provide cheap labor and in some cases as bonded slaves.

The meagre wages and complacent attitude of employers force the Burmese refugees to eat unhealthy meals. Most of them eat only once a day. This causes 30% of them to suffer from malnutrition, dysphoria, dyspepsia, flatulence, gastritis and depression.

The employers also care two hoots about providing proper living quarters for the Burmese workers. Minimum standards are often ignored and 17 to 30 people stay in rented flats. Lack of fresh air and lack of basic sanitation and proper toilets is common.


But the common notion of comparing this situation with the political persecution faced in Burma forces them to shed silent tears as they feel the world does not want to hear their stories.


While a very few of few numbers of documented refugees are unavoidably offered short-term assistance from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), most Burmese refugees live without proper documentation or the right to livelihood.

Amongst them, the Rohingya Burmese are caught in a vicious circle because as Muslims they are not welcomed by other countries for permanent re-settlement. But hundreds continue to flee Burma into neighboring countries everyday. The immigration detention centers are bursting at their seams and this has lead to an even more crucial problem.


Malaysian immigration and RELA officers sell these refugees to middle-men and agents for quick cash. The agents demand payment up to USD600 from the poor refugees to secure their release. Those who cannot find the cash from friends and non-governmental organizations are sold off to the fishing boats, brothels and as bonded slaves.

The Malaysian police has detained immigration officers from the southernmost state of Johor on 17th July, 2009. But the government has been quick to deny the involvement of immigration officers. The US State Department has confirmed reports on the sale of refugees and blacklisted Malaysia for not making enough effort to tackle human trafficking. Malaysia is, in fact, a transit point for human traffickers and people smugglers.


At the movement, about 3,000 Burmeses are detained in Malaysian detention camps and about 1,000 are identified as illegal migrants or undocumented refugees and the rest are legal migrant workers. Of them, about 700 Burmese were transferred from Semenyith detention camp to KLIA detention camp in July 2009 (Star, 24/7/2009), over concerns of health issues in Semenyith and death due to unknown illnesses.

Although Immigration of KLIA expressed sincerity about their languishing about 8 months for documentation problems, they are still failure to be recognized by their concern quarters. If they are in option of back home, they need free ticket as they have not accessed to collect their wages or right to seek help from concern quarter. Some of them who are identified as undocumented refugees can’t be deported and they need interference of concern actor.


About ten Burmese detainees, suspected to be infected with a contagious disease, were separated to Block-B at the KLIA detention camp. Of them, Mr.Soe Thein,37 and Mr.Sang Chung Lian, 26 are dead, under suspicious circumstances.

Six more detainees were taken to Putrajaya Hospital and another 2 to Selak Tinggi Clinic for the same symptoms but they have died too, as reported by the local newspaper and media (Straits Times, 25/9/2009, Migrants die in detention/ Associated Press, 24/9/2009), quoting immigration officials. But no media is allowed to visit the victims directly. They are also no serious efforts by NGOs or human rights groups. At the same time, UNHCR has asked to interview refugees in detention centers in order to avoid criticism but their request is yet to be entertained by the Malaysian government.


The worst is that most developing and developed countries have strong commitment on its economic dealings and latest technological approaches in Burma, making economic sanctions redundant. Recent reports on close business ties between China and Burma and possible nuclear deals with North Korea would only help line the pockets of the repressive military junta and further empower a ruthless regime.

For example:

Bangladesh imports rice, timbers, shrimp and goods from Arakan

India imports rice and gas under Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) and DAEWOO, from Arakan Shawe Gas pipeline

China absorbs natural gas, oil, timbers and exports deadly weapons.

Thailand is receiving cheap labor resource, goods, fisheries and enjoys gas facilities of the Yadana & Yetagone pipeline of Mon state.

Malaysia enjoys labor resource from Burma and shares developed military strategy with the junta.

Singapore makes lucrative profits from financial investment and the supply of telecommunications technology.

USA is buying gem stones from Shan and Kachin states

Russia exploits national economy by providing nuclear power plants which could grow into a potential threat to the world.


In summary, global strategic plan to support indirectly or outsourcing of natural resources by developed countries and neighbor countries must benefit the Burmese people in an equal, just and fair manner.


Central Executive Committee

All Burma Democratic Force (ABDF)


contact:  or/


Bangladesh Expels Rohingyas

Irrawaddy news, 16th Oct 2009

Bangladeshi authorities have increasingly cracked down on Rohingya refugees living illegally in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazaar District in Bangladesh and pushed them back across the Burmese border, according to border sources. 

Chris Lewa, coordinator of the Arakan Project, said, “At least 1,200 people have been deported to Burma since January, according to our research, and 190 people were deported in two weeks alone this month.”

Speaking to The Irrawaddy, Tin Soe, editor for the Bangladesh-based Kaladan Press Network, said: “I am not sure what the authorities are doing now. They have been arresting and deporting people almost every day this month.” 

About 400,000 unregistered Rohingya refugees are living in two camps near Cox’s Bazaar, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

Lewa believes Bangladesh authorities will push back all Rohingya refugees who are not registered with the UNHCR before Burma finishes erecting the wire fence on its border.

In August, five people were charged with crossing the border illegally under the Immigration Act and were sentenced to five years in prison at Buthidaung Township in Arakan State after they were arrested by Nasaka, the Burmese border security force, Lewa said.

Quoting a source in Bandarban’s district police on Friday, The Dhaka-based newspaper The Daily Star said the border police and authorities have been pushing the Rohingyas back across the border “following directives from high-ups in the government.”

Bangladeshi border authorities are sending the Rohingyas back to Burma instead of filing cases against them to avoid the problems in jails created by their continued infiltration into Bangladesh.
The report said 550 accused and convicts, most of them Rohingyas, are staying in the Bandarban district jail, which has a capacity of 114.

“Push-ins and push-backs are going on across the border with Myanmar” amid tensions following mobilization of a large number of Burmese junta troops along the border for erecting a barbed wire fence, the report said.

More Rohingyas from Arakan State are fleeing the country to escape human rights abuses including forced labor by the Burmese’s junta troops, according to Lewa. New arrivals come to stay at Rohingya refugees camps in Cox’s Bazaar. 

The Bangladeshi government has asked Burma to improve living conditions for Rohingyas to stop the flow of refugees. The Rohingya are a stateless Muslim minority who face severe discrimination in Burma.

Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said Rohingya refugees are a heavy burden economically, socially, environmentally on Bangladesh. The Bangladesh government wants to finalize the repatriation of refugees as soon as possible.

In June, the Burmese regime agreed to allow the Bangladeshi government to repatriate Rohingya refugees. However, Dhaka fears the Rohingyas will return if there is no improvement in the human rights situation in Burma.

The Burmese regime maintains the Rohingya are not Burmese citizens. The new fence is intended to stop human trafficking along the border, the authorities say, but it is uncertain when it will be completed.

Burmese Migrants Beaten, Arrested in China

Irrawaddy news, 14th Oct 2009

Chinese police have been cracking down recently on illegal Burmese migrant workers with beatings commonplace and about 50 migrants arrested every day, according to sources on the Sino-Burmese border.

The crackdown started around Sept. 25. Several detained migrants have alleged they were badly beaten and were charged 300 yuan (US $44) for their release. Immediately after their release, the Burmese migrants were forcibly repatriated, said the sources.

Ma Grang, a merchant in the Chinese border town of Ruili, said he met with a factory worker named Myo Win and his friend who claimed they were badly beaten by the Chinese police, and have since returned to Burma.   

“They were beaten with batons on their back, legs and chest. I saw the bruises,” said Ma Grang.  “Myo Win was not able to work for a few days.”

He said that Chinese police did not systematically beat up illegal Burmese migrant workers in the past.

“However, this time, they are treating the migrants brutally,” he said.

He added that Burmese migrant workers in Ruili—a border town in southwestern Yunnan Province which lies opposite the Burmese town of Muse—are currently living in fear and dare not go outside their living quarters.

Awng Wa, a source on the Sino-Burmese border, confirmed that the Chinese authorities had increased restrictions on migrating or visiting Burmese people. 

In the past, Burmese people could cross the border and stay in Ruili for more than a week at a time. With the current crackdown, Burmese are only allowed to stay on Chinese soil for seven days. Anyone violating the rule is fined 600 yuan ($88), he said.

Sources in Ruili speculated that the police crackdown had been initiated to prevent the flow of illegal Burmese migrant workers into China. Others, however, claimed the Chinese were responding to attacks by Burmese government troops against ethnic Kokang and Han Chinese migrants in Burma in August.

During the Burmese government attacks, about 37,000 ethnic Kokang—who are widely considered to be ethnic Han Chinese—and first-generation Chinese migrants had to flee from Laogai in Burma across the Chinese border. Many Chinese reported that they had lost their businesses as a consequence.
An estimated 90 percent of businesses in Laogai are—or were—owned by Chinese businesspeople.  

Ma Grang said many businessmen in Ruili have suggested that the crackdown against Burmese migrants is a reciprocal gesture because of what happened to Chinese people in Burma recently.

Awng Wa told The Irrawaddy he believed both motives were in play—the Chinese police were cracking down on Burmese in revenge for the Laogai seizure, and to curtail the number of migrants crossing into Yunnan Province, he said.

Sanctions Undermined by Burma’s Neighbors: US

Irrawaddy news, 15th Oct 2009

BANGKOK — As Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi reviews Western sanctions against her country and a debate opens up about their affect on the military regime, a Washington agency has admitted that efforts to keep Burmese gems out of the US are failing.

Gemstones such as jade and rubies are among the core targets of economic sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union against the military junta running Burma.

Giant stones are displayed at the gem market in Tachilek, Burma. The city of Tachilek sits on the Thai-Burmese border in Shan State and is known to be one of the crossing points for Burmese gems into Thailand. (Photo: Getty Images)

But the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) says: “US agencies have not shown that they are effectively targeting imports of Burmese-origin rubies, jadeite and related jewelry.”

GAO is a policing agency of the US Congress charged with assessing whether laws are being effectively enforced.

“Impediments remain to restricting trade in Burmese rubies and jadeite,” concludes a 49-page report assessing the 2008 JADE (Junta’s Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act.

The report also admits that the US has been unsuccessful in winning the support of other countries linked to the gems industry in curbing Burmese trade.

“Strong support and the cooperation of China and Thailand are important to restrict trade in these items, but highly unlikely,” the report said.

It said the US government has failed to put forward any United Nations resolution on gems sanctions because “a number of countries would likely oppose a resolution.”

Burma’s neighbor Thailand remains a major source of finished ruby and jade jewelry for the US and Europe but insists that its products—although often sourced to Burma for raw materials—are substantially finished in Thailand and therefore not sanctionable.

Thai jewelry exports to the United States in 2008 were valued at US $8 billion, said the GAO.

The US admissions come as the new Barack Obama presidency signals changes in Washington policy toward the Burmese junta, including more constructive contacts and Suu Kyi’s meeting in Rangoon recently with leading Western country ambassadors to discuss the effects of sanctions.

Many campaigners for democratic change in Burma strongly support sanctions as a means of penalizing the junta, but others argue that they are merely hurting ordinary Burmese.

“The only perceptible effect of sanctions is that they have generally debilitated the Burmese economy, and this stagnation has been felt by the population at large,” said the former British ambassador to Thailand, Derek Tonkin, this week.

Tonkin heads up Network Myanmar, a Britain-based campaign for human rights and democracy in Burma.

“The regime and its cronies have, however, been able to avoid any significant or even measurable impact on themselves because of the total absence of sanctions applied in the region, notably by China, India and Russia,” Tonkin said.

However, Sean Turnell, another Burma expert who tracks and assesses junta business activities, argues that the Burmese regime itself is responsible for trashing the country’s economy and believes sanctions are a way of curbing the generals’ self enrichment.

“For the moment at least there is little substantive change in US policy towards Burma,” Turnell told The Irrawaddy.

“It’s clear that some movement towards the release of political prisoners and certain other steps that demonstrate a genuine commitment to reform will be necessary before it does. In a sense, the bluff is now called on Burma’s generals to put their cards on the table.”

Turnell is a professor at Australia’s Macquarie University and co-produces Burma Economic Watch.

The way in which the junta leaders sidestep sanctions was highlighted in a report last month by EarthRights International (ERI).

The junta leadership has siphoned off as much US $4.83 billion from the national budget in revenues from industrial giants Chevron and Total’s operation of the Yadana gas field, said ERI.

And that enrichment has primarily been financed by Thailand which is the sole buyer of the Yadana gas and as a member of Asean does not apply or support any sanctions.

US Sen. Richard Lugar this week announced plans to introduce legislation to promote a free-trade agreement between the US and Asean.

He said he believed current US sanctions against Asean member Burma would not be affected by such a development.

ERI also reported that the gas income theft by the junta was sitting in two Singapore banks—despite US sanctions supposedly in place to curb the international financial activities of junta generals and their proxies.

However, an economist with a Western embassy in Bangkok takes the view that Washington’s GAO appears to have been “too ready to accept some of the submissions put to it by gem dealers and traders in Thailand, all with a vested interest to talk up the difficulties of establishing place of origin for Burma’s gems and the damage done to small traders rather than SPDC [junta]-connected entities.”

That Burma watcher, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive diplomatic circumstances of the issue, also noted: “The GAO report significantly underplays the role of large established entities in the Burmese gems trade, especially the SPDC-controlled Myanmar Gems Enterprise which conducts periodic high profile gem auctions.

“Such auctions raise significant funds for the regime. To the extent that entities such as the MGE are impacted, then US sanctions on Burma’s gem exports are well targeted.
S Sen. Richard Lugar Lugar Lugar this week ann..ounced plans to introduce legislation to promote a free-trade agreement between the US and Asean.

11 Political Activists Sentenced at Insein Prison

14th Oct 2009,

Eleven political activists, including one Buddhist monk, were sentenced to between five and 10 years on Tuesday at Rangoon Northern District Court in Insein Prison.

The court also passed down a sentence in absentia on two monks, Ashin Pyinnya Jota and Ashin Sandardika, from the All Burma Monks’ Alliance, who have fled abroad.

Sources close to prison authorities in Insein told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that Ashin Sandimar (aka Tun Naung), Kyaw Zin Min (aka Zaw Moe), Wunna Nwe and Zin Min Shein were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for violating the Explosives Law (Section 3) and the Unlawful Association Law (Section 6).

Meanwhile, Saw Maung, Aung Moe Lwin, Moe Htet Nay, Tun Lin Aung, Zaw Latt, Naing Win and Tun Lin Oo were sentenced to five years for violating Section 6.

In 2008, Ashin Sandimar, Wunna Nwe and Saw Maung were sentenced to eight years imprisonment for violating the Immigration Act (13/1) and the Illegal Organization Act (17/1), while Zin Min Shein and Tun Lwin Aung are already serving 13-year sentences for other offences related to political activities.

Therefore, Ashin Sandimar, Wunna Nwe and Tun Lwin Aung have now been convicted and sentenced to 18 years each, while Saw Maung has received 13 years, and Zin Min Shein a total of 23 years.

Bo Kyi, the joint-secretary of the Thailand-based rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), said, “We can say with certainty there was no free and fair verdict. They [the activists] were tortured during interrogation and were forced to admit violating these acts.”

Sources have said that some of the activists—perhaps even some of those already behind bars—tried to organize demonstrations on the second anniversary of the Saffron Revolution in September, but the authorities caught them and accused them of belonging to illegal organizations, of being terrorists, and of planning to create unrest.

Meanwhile, Burmese-American activist Nyi Nyi Aung (aka Kyaw Zaw Lwin), who was arrested in early September at Rangoon Airport, appeared in court for the first time on Wednesday.

“He has been accused of violating the Cheating Offence – Section 420, and forgery,” said his lawyer, Nyan Win.

Shortly after the arrest of Nyi Nyi Aung, 16 ethnic Arakan youths were arrested—seven in Rangoon and the others in Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State. They were accused of maintaining links with the Thailand-based All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress.

According to Assistance Association for Political Prisoner (Burma), 2,119 political prisoners are being held in prisons across the country.


Many Burmese Monks Arrested

15th Oct 2009,

At least 30 monks were arrested in Burma in September and October, the two-year anniversary of the Saffron Revolution, sources said.

Sources familiar with the Sangha, the institution of monks nationwide, said 13 monks from Meiktila and 10 monks from Kyaukpadaung townships in Mandalay Division were arrested in late September, in an effort by the military junta to discourage or break up potential demonstrations by monks.

A Burmese Buddhist Monk makes a protest to ‘Free Burma’ during the 62nd Cannes Film Festival in May in Cannes, France. (Photo: Getty Images)

An official in Meiktila who requested anonymity said monks from the Nagar Yone Monastery in the township were among those arrested.

A Burmese human rights group in exile, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma (AAPP), confirmed that dozens of monks were arrested in the past two months.

“More than 20 monks were detained throughout September,” Bo Kyi, the joint-secretary of the AAPP, told The Irrawaddy on Thursday. “We’ve gotten reports of seven monks arrested recently.”

The AAPP said the recent arrests took place in Arakan State, and Rangoon, Mandalay and Magwe divisions.

There are 224 monks among the 2,119 political prisoners in Burma, said the AAPP, not including the recent arrests.  

In September, the Burmese regime announced an amnesty for prisoners. The number of political prisoners released totaled 127, including four monks, of the 7,114 prisoners who received amnesty.

The All Burma Monks’ Alliance, which led the 2007 demonstrations, has renewed its call for the regime to apologize for the beating and arrests of monks in Pakokku two years ago and to release all monks who were imprisoned during the subsequent crackdown.

The monks set an Oct. 3 deadline for the regime to respond, saying that if there is no apology, monks will start another boycott of alms offered by all military and government personnel, known in Buddhism as “patta ni kozana kan.”

Burmese authorities responded to the monks’ call by increasing security in Rangoon early this month.

Burmese Trafficking Victims Freed in Raid

Irrawaddy news, 13th Oct 2009

BANGKOK — Eighteen human trafficking victims were freed from captivity this week when Thai police and human rights activists raided two boats and broker houses in Samaesan, a fishing town in Sattahip Province, southeast of Bangkok.

In a joint operation by the Labour Rights Promotion Network (LPN), Seafarers’ Union of Burma (SUB) and the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), two major brokers in the region and a Thai boat captain were arrested. 

Fishing boats on the pier after returning with the day’s catch. (Photo: Alex Ellgee)

The victims, all Burmese nationals, had been assured jobs in Thai factories by job brokers inside Burma, but instead were sold as fishermen to two Thai boat captains.

Having passed through the hands of three different brokers, the victims were told they would have to work without pay for seven months in order to pay off the trafficking costs, which equaled 22,000 baht (US $650).

Following a tip off from two of the fishermen working on one of the boats, 20 DSI police waited at a pier for the boat to return from its day at sea. When the boat arrived, the police interrogated the captain while Ko Ko Aung of the SUB, which is affiliated with the International Transport Workers Federation, informed the fishermen they could leave the boat if they wished.

Meanwhile, another vessel had returned to the pier and police boarded it, but they missed the captain who they believe had been alerted to their presence and fled. Six fishermen on the boat asked to be freed, leaving three who had finished their seven months indenture.

The scrawny victims, mostly barefooted, looking exhausted, trudged ashore with small bags carrying their belongings and sat on the pier. Their expressions soon changed to happiness, as they realized that their ordeal was over.

“I can’t believe it. I thought I was going to be working like a slave on that boat for ever. I can’t believe we have been rescued,” said one 24-year-old victim from Pegu.

The fishermen were taken to Sattahip Marine Police Station and interviewed by staff from the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, and later sent to a government safe house for sheltering trafficking victims.

Sitting around outside the police station, smiling at their new freedom, the men told The Irrawaddy how they had been regularly beaten by the captain with an iron rod. They worked even when they were sick, and without medicine.

The captain didn’t speak Burmese, and he couldn’t understand if one of the fishermen had a problem, said one of the fishermen.  Instead, would just get angry and violent. Several times they asked the captain to let them leave, but he told them that he had bought them, and they belonged to him.

Ko Ko Aung of the SUB, right, explains to captive Burmese fishermen that they are free and can leave the boat. (Photo: Alex Ellgee)

One of the victims said he was so desperate to escape that one night, in spite of dangerous waters, he joined two others and attempted to swim to shore. He lost the others on the way, he said, and when he arrived on land he was quickly rounded up by brokers because of his shaved head, which all trafficking victims share so that they can be identified by brokers. He never saw his two friends again.

As a result of his attempted escape, and to make an example, every night for two months the broker tied his hands together.

“It didn’t matter if my hands were tied together, we were all in prison.” he said. 

Every evening after they had unloaded the day’s catch, the brokers would pick them up and return them to their room and then padlock the door from the outside. The room consisted of a few rugs and one small fan. The windows were boarded up to prevent escape.

When the victims had been interviewed, it was decided they would lead police to the fishing village to rescue other trafficking victims.

A few of the fishermen led a four-car convoy through winding streets. 

Arriving at one location, the police and activists entered the broker’s home and ordered her to open a padlock on an upstairs room. Inside the room were four young men. They were led to cars and two more fishermen were collected from another room on the opposite side of the road.

One of the boys, 15, was asked what he missed most while in captivity.

He told The Irrawaddy: “I couldn’t miss anything. I had so much pain and suffering that I could only think about how to deal with the next thing.”

Two other minors were found aboard a ship, one 15, and the other 16.

Activists and police outside a room with four human trafficking victims locked inside. (Photo: Alex Ellgee)

The oldest man in captivity on one boat was 51. He had completed a prestigious engineering course in Burma and had worked for the government but didn’t have enough money to survive.

“Even though I worked for my government, I didn’t have enough to take care of my son so we came to Thailand, but we ended up like this,” he said.

The broker who was arrested was known by SUB and LPN as a major human trafficker in the region. She called her “leader” to put up bail. The man handed over 100,000 baht ($3,000), gold jewelry and his car. They will both face trial. Human trafficking can lead to a sentence of up to 20 years in prison in Thailand.

As the police interviewed the male broker, one of the victims looked through a window from outside and told The Irrawaddy he was happy.

”He was the one who brought us to the town in the beginning,” he said. “Now if this man is caught many people will get freedom like we have.”

Human rights worker Ko Ko Aung agreed. 

“These two are leading brokers,” he said.  “Their arrest will have a big impact on the region. Many brokers will be scared because of this and run away and more fishermen will come forward and help us in our attempt to stop it.

“One of the problems we need to overcome,” he said, “is the complicity of local police. I’m happy that we can rely on the good work of the DSI.”

He said he believed 99 percent of the fishermen in the area were victims of human trafficking.

A lot of the information in this case came from an ex-fisherman, he added.

“I suffered like those fishermen, but I was lucky and I escaped,” he said.  “I can’t stop thinking about how they suffer, so I will stop at nothing to help others get freedom.”

The human trafficking problem has led to an estimated 1,000 fishermen jumping ship and living on islands in Indonesia to escape the ill treatment of boat captains, according to activists. 

The situation is so bad, said President of SUB Aung Thu Ya, that,  “Thai skippers value the fish more than they do the Burmese fishermen.”

Burmese Pro-Democracy Group Demonstrate at Burmese Embassy in Malaysia

Researcher James,

Today about 10:30 am (Malaysian local time), about 35 Burmese Rohingyas led by pro-democracy group, National Democratic Party for Human Rights (NDPHR-South Asia Regional Office in Malaysia), headed to submit a memorandum to Burmese embassy in Ampang Hilir, Kuala Lumpur, under police watch.

The group were allowed to gather at 300 meters  far from the embassy and show their play-cards, but not allowed to follow more than 3 persons according to the requirement of Malaysian Royal Police (Bukit Aman). The memorandum letter was put into the post-box of the embassy after read by Mr.Sadek (General Secretary of NDPHR-SEA) followed by Mr.Habib (President of NDPHR) and a representative of MERHROM.


photo of during they gathered at 300 meters far from the embassy

photo of during they gathered at 300 meters far from the embassy

An activist from the group said that Royal Malaysian authority shown their unfair interference upon our matter which neglects the ASEAN’s current initiatives and developed strategy calls of democratization in Burma.

The memorandum is as follow;

Ref: NDPHR (SEA-R) 1990/2009/003

Date: Oct 16, 2009

A Memorandum


The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC)

Union of Burma

We, on behalf of the entire Rohingya Burmese people of Arakan State, strongly condemn the SPDC for its brutal behaviors and inhumane treatment towards innocent people of the country.

It is undeniable that your ruling authorities are pushing the country to the worst proportion, installing inhuman pogrom against ethnic minorities, particularly of the Rohingya in western border who are bona-fide ethnic citizen of Arakan and present Burma who have been rooted there before Burma Era.


We are extremely feeling upset on the exercises of SPDC against Rohingya through out forced labor, forced eviction, forced extortion, forced relocation, forced extermination, torture, extra judicial killings, rapes, model village settlement, arbitrary arrest, restriction on their freedom of movement even from one village to another, restriction on freedom of worship, thought, education, marriage, family and economic development and etc.

However, the regime cannot hide reality and it shall never be gone dim forever. Circumstance is alarming that regime must face the judgment over its inhumanity and injustice in relating to the noble objectives of economic sustainability, political stability, educational development, socio-cultural recognition, humanitarian progress and etc.


In the recent month of August and September 2009, the SPDC continued to perpetrate crimes against humanity and war crimes with total impunity, highlighting the urgent need for UN Security Council-mandated Commission of Inquiry into crimes against humanity and war crimes in Burma.

In the two-month period, the followings were documented by general information. They are: over 50 victims of extrajudicial killings by SPDC Army soldiers; at least 42 people subjected to forced labor; an additional 10,000 people forcibly displaced in attacks targeting civilians; at least 109 people subjected to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment; widespread use of torture against 100 civilians in Shan state, three in Northern Arakan State and a foreign citizen in Rangoon; at least seven cases of rape and sexual violence; systematic and widespread persecution of ethnic and religious communities; at least 13 children were recruited as child soldiers, and the use of widespread force labor in border fence constructions at 70 yards from the border demarcation line and deployment of 9 battalions along the borders with India and Bangladesh.


Of the above crimes, we are seriously concern over the unlawful order that was recently released by Township Peace and Development Council (TPDC) authority, U Aung Kyaw Oo followed by departments of Immigration, Police, Municipal and Local groups of Kyauktaw Township-Arakan for urgent relocation of the largest ancestral Rohingya village known as Paitay village (Zailla Fara), consisting of over 800 homes, without any compensation, for the result of their refusal to accept Temporary Registration Card or Foreigner Censorship Card (TRC, identity for alien residents). The first refused groups of 30 Rohingya villagers are detained in Police custody of Kyauktaw Township. Frequently, electric supplies for the village and telecommunications of the town are cut-off. The government authority also ordered to submit the lists of breaded cattle, goads, ducks and chicken. In case of failure to comply, serious action will be taken against them including imprisonment and fine on their consumption of own animals.


In a last decade, at least over 100 villages and historical statues in Kyauktaw, Mrauk-U, Minbya, Ponajuann, Akyab, Maungdaw, Buthidaung, were destroyed and/or removed from their origin including Sandikhan Mosque (1433 AD) in Mrauk-U, Badr Maquaam (A.D 7 Century) in Akyab and coins from Arakan State Museum.

Moreover, mass arrest of Rohingyas in Maungdaw on their way back from praying, continuous attacks on innocent Rohingya villagers by new settlers in Northern Arakan, seizer list preparation of house holds, birds, animals and belongings of the Rohingyas in Arakan State is a total tyranny. In last month, about 70 villagers from Kyauknimaw Village of Rambre Township, were detained and fined by Government authority collaboration with local Rakhaings.


At the same time, the SPDC is keeping negligence to the victims of natural disaster and triggering burden to poor civilians by various means of extortions to support military families and to buy sophisticated weapons, while reportedly misusing international aids and monetary funds in recent year.


The SPDC is also ignoring the calls of international community to set free of all political prisoners and to have immediate democratic changes, while initiating to another Sham election in 2010 without the wills of people and that is forcefully exterminating the members of ethnic minorities with a view to increasing refugee outflows in neighboring countries. This act is a clear regional threat. Based on the refugee phenomena, Middle East and neighboring countries’ economic priority decline the protection of hosting refugees.  It effects in where the largest refugees numbers are hosting therefore, Saudi Arabia renders against their plight and about 3,000 refugees who are nab from Mecca and Jeddah areas are way to deportation without any human rights improvement but the rest of over 300,000 Rohingya refugees occur no where to go. For all these, the SPDC is fully responsible and committing crimes against humanity as well.


It is the time to take urgent step to end brutalities of SPDC and promotion of state terrorism.

In these regards, we urge upon the SPDC:

  1. To unconditionally free Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners including ethnic minority leaders like U Kyaw Min (a) Shamsul Anwarul Hoque, MP of NDPHR and member of CRPP;
  2. To unconditionally cease all kinds of brutalities and human rights abuses in Arakan, particularly relocation of villages, model village settlement, forced labors, restriction of movement and etc.
  3. To unconditionally respect the rights of Rohingyas as indigenous people of Arakan and present Burma like other ethnic minorities of different states and issue equal identity card like others;
  4. To stop all kinds of initiatives towards Sham election in 2010 unless comprehensive dialogue with ethnic minorities and other pro-democratic forces both in home and exile;
  5. To urgently allow international agencies in all ethnic minority area, particularly in Rohingya dominated areas of Arakan State with a view to ensure human rights, dignity and economic development;
  6. To reconstruct the relief building for victims of cyclone Nargis in Irrawaddy delta and other effected areas of all over the country;
  7. To urgently return the possessing of Rohingyas and reload their lands as actual owner, removing all new setters.

Executive Committee

National Democratic Party for Human Rights (NDPHR) exile

South East Asia Regional Office

Endorsed by:

  1. Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization, Malaysia (MERHROM)
  2. Rohingya Youth Development Forum (RYDF), Arakan-Burma
  3. Arakan Rohingya Refugee Committee (ARRC), Malaysia
  4. Arakan Rohingya Ulama Council (ARUC), Malaysia
  5. Rohingya Women Team

For more information, please contact:

  1. Habibur Rahman        + (60) 12-2595185 
  2. Mohammad Sadek     + (60) 16-3094599 
  3. Mr. Zafar Ahmed      + (60) 16-6827287 

For Detail Information;

The Paitay village (Zailla Fara) is targeted to be demolished but failed for several times as it is the largest village in Kyauktaw Township and residents of 800 homes. The following listed villages were uprooted in last a decade from Southern Arakan;

Kyaktaw Township                  : Tangadawnn, Khogduk-Falung, kanpaw villages 

Akyab (Sittwe) Township   : Takaybyin, Santole, Bodomuhan, Bohorfara villages

Mrauk Oo Township              : Nyaungpinzay, Aungdine, Pongnamraung, Shawegudaung, Mandarapyin

                                                                @ Kwanlon and Sandikhan Mosque-1433

Minbya Township                     : Nala, Sangyi villages 

Ponnajuan Township           : Sishudaine village, were demolished and substituted by new settlers and Rohingya villagers were driven into the jungles, and uncountable devastations in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung Townships.

Saudi Arabia mistreats Rohingyas

Monday, 12 October 2009 19:22

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Guardian, relating site

About 3,000 Rohingya families are awaiting deportation in Saudi prisons, but like the rest of their people, they have nowhere to go

Syed Neaz Ahmad

They have been described as some of the world’s most persecuted refugees, and among the most forgotten, too. During my imprisonment in Jeddah I saw and met hundreds of inmates from Burma.

Thousands of Burmese Muslims from Arakan – often called Rohingyas – were offered a safe haven in Saudi Arabia by the late King Faisal, but with the change in monarch the rules changed too. What was to have been a permanent abode of peace for these uprooted people has now turned into a chamber of horrors.


There are about 3,000 families of Burmese Muslims in Mecca and Jeddah prisons awaiting deportation. Women and children are held in separate prisons nearby. The only contact the men have with their wives and children is through mobile phones.

But the interesting question is: where will they be sent when they are eventually deported? Burma doesn’t want them. Bangladesh, with a large population and poor economy, doesn’t have the inclination or the ability to handle a refugee population of this size. The Rohingyan refugees in Bangladesh are having a rough time as it is. Other Muslim countries play silent spectators.

Pakistan’s offer to accept some of the Rohingyas – those awaiting deportation in Saudi prisons – is seen as a mere diplomatic exercise. Against the background of Islamabad’s shabby treatment of some 300,000 stranded Pakistanis living in camps in Bangladesh, Rohingya inmates look at the Pakistani overture with suspicion.

The people who call themselves Rohingyas are Muslims from what is known as the Mayu frontier area, the Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships of Arakan (Rakhine) state, a province isolated in the western part of the country across the Naaf river which forms the boundary between Burma and Bangladesh. After Burma gained independence from the UK in 1948, the ethnic and religious group first favoured joining Pakistan but later called for an autonomous region instead.

The Burmese government, however, has consistently refused to recognise the Rohingyas as citizens. According to Amnesty International, in 1978 more than 200,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh, following the Burmese army’s Operation Nagamin. Most – it is claimed – were eventually repatriated, but about 15,000 refused to return. In 1991, a second wave of about a quarter of a million Rohingyas fled Burma to Bangladesh.

In Bangladesh, it is estimated that there are more than 200,000 Rohingyas, 28,000 of them in overcrowded camps. There are a further 13,600 registered with the UNHCR in Malaysia (although there are thousands yet unregistered), an estimated 3,000 in Thailand and unknown numbers in India and Japan.

Some Rohingyas have resided in Malaysia since the early 1990s, but continue to be rounded up in immigration operations and handed over to human traffickers at the Thai-Malaysia border. About 730,000 remain in Burma, most of whom live in Arakan state.

Conditions in Arakan state continue to deteriorate, increasing the likelihood of further outflows into neighbouring countries. It’s an irony that countries in Asia and elsewhere – particularly Muslim countries – have shown little or no desire to help ease the situation.

The UNHCR spokeswoman in Asia, Kitty Mckinsey says: “No country has really taken up their cause. Look at the Palestinians, for example, they have a lot of countries on their side. The Rohingyans do not have any friends in the world.”

The late King Faisal’s decision to offer them a permanent abode in Saudi Arabia was a noble gesture. However, later Saudi rulers have found the Burmese Muslims a thorn in their side. With strict regulation on their employment and movement within the kingdom, they are easy targets for extortion and torture.

There are said to be about 250,000 Burmese Muslims in Saudi Arabia – the majority living in Mecca’s slums (Naqqasha and Kudai). They sell vegetables, sweep streets and work as porters, carpenters and unskilled labour. The fortunate ones rise to become drivers.

In Saudi Arabia it is not uncommon for poor Rohingyas to marry off their young (sometimes underage) daughters to old and sick Saudis in the hope of getting “official favours”. But this hasn’t worked for many. Rohingyan wives of Saudi men, who have to survive as second class human beings on the periphery of society.

Those whom I met in Jeddah prisons seem to have accepted the situation as a fait accompli. But it is unfortunate that they are being made to suffer in a country considered to be the citadel of Islam.

30 Arakanese Activists Arrested In Kyautaw Township

By researcher James,

30 Arakanese activists from Kyautaw Township were arrested by Immigration forces on Oct 07, 2009.


They were identified as Arakanese Rohingya Muslims from Paitay Village, Kyautaw Township, Arakan state.

According to reliable source, they were picked up by immigration forces at around 3pm and detained in police lock-up, Kyautaw Township.


For the causes of Kyautaw Township immigration forced the villager Rohingyas to accept Temporary Registration Card (TRC, identity for Bengali or migrant), 7 Rohingya villagers who refused firstly were detained in immigration lock-up and another followers about 23 were also picked-up from the village. After that the group followed by chairman of Town Peace and Development Council, president of Township Immigration, president of Township Municipal, police chief, noticed the villager Rohingyas to accept Bengali identity, if not the military troops would launch to obey. Tyrannically, the villagers had been ordered to submit the lists of breaded own cattle, goats, chicken, ducks and others, as well as, selling or consumption of it unless permission will be punished to six months imprisonment.

That results, hundred of Rohingyas flee from village and hundred of Rohingya women and children are hiding in Paitay village Mosque. At the moment, electric supply for the village and tele communication in Kyautaw are cut-off.


An activist from the village clarified that they had not claimed ‘Rohingya’ and their detention is not for it, they have no problem to become Burmese but they are not Bengali. They are ethnic citizen from Arakan and they must be treated equally.


The spokesperson for National Democratic Party for Human Rights (NDPHR- exile) in Malaysia has also highlighted that the result of conflicts between immigration and locals in Kyaut Fru Township in last month, the immigration office was burn down. But, it was turn to only Muslims of Kyat Fru and about 70 local Muslims were arrested by Police with corporation of local Rakhines.

The Rohingya Refugees: Victims Of Exploitation

By Kyaw Soe Aung (alias) MSK Jilani*
Nowadays, the Rohingya refugees are not free from exploitation in every moment of their step in countries of their first or second asylum before reaching to a meaningful solution.
It is easy to catch the circumstances in most countries of OIC (Organization of Islamic Conference) as they do not have any mechanism to deal with refugee phenomena, while these are like denying their Islamic obligation. In one word, everyone can realize a thing that was eradicated by the Great Human; the Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) is reappearing in modern form of salvation.
In deed, Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) was the greatest peace maker throughout various agreement including the world first written and 7 Point Agreement known as “Hudaibiah Agreement” signed by both parties of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and Non believers of Mecca .
It is also true that Islam was conquered by character and civilization, not by extremism and egoism. Meanwhile, the actual Islamic believers are modern and thus they never crossed limitation to violate human rights by any means and give dignity towards human beings and every alive.
At the moment, Rohingya refugees are being accused of their connection with extremist group which is undeniably away of exploitation in their marginalized situation. As of truth and authenticity, the Rohingyas are modern from their birth in country of Buddhism and grow in multi-cultural and multi-religious societies but sometimes, extremist groups have been trying to take advantage, initiating to a perfect exploitation with Islamic exploitation and thus they are deserved of international assistances to track out from the circle.
In most option, the Rohingya seek assistances from western government, rather than Islamic world as they have lost their confidence over their brethren with a view to liberating themselves from modern salvation but they don’t deny the temporary shelter and sympathy of both states and general publics of the aforesaid Muslim world. Therefore, they have to burn in cool fire of exploitation into ashes.
In Malaysia, the Rohingyas were underway to whip with rattan for their illegal stay in the country which was exempted by the helps of their Muslim brethren, after getting touch with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which is not necessarily should count in services of Muslim world as many Rohingya refugees had to serve such prosecution of whipping, detention, deportation with UNHCR documentation.
Similarly, no Rohingya got chance to enjoy education facilities for long from their brethren as their government did not allow any NGO to work for the benefit of the unfortunate Rohingya refugees but likely encouraged to engage in odd jobs by means of half payment which has a better example like Harvest Centre Sdn. Bhd, a Christian Church has started a pilot project for the marginalized and refugee children in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur from the year 2004 and mostly achieved it goals to set a clear program to educate such type of children and even to make alive Rohingya child’s name with a popular ‘Fisal Cup” which has been held in every year in Kuala Lumpur.
After this program, a new NGO called Taiwan Buddhist Tzu-Chi Foundation gained supports from the Government of the United States of America (USA) as an implementation partner of UNHCR and that has been running 5 different informal schools from the beginning of 2007 in Selangor Darul Ehsan and Wilayah Persekutuan like Tasik Permai, Tasik Tambahan, Taman Terati, Kampung Pandang, Ampang and Selayang, Kuala Lumpur respectively.
Once, the NGO developed children into read and writeable, new stranger groups are jumping into the honey pots of Rohingya’s future generation to get advantage and to exploit them to stop their hopes. It has already taken over two schools of Taiwan Buddhist Tzu-Chi Foundation from Taman Teratia, Ampang and Kampung Pandan, Ampang with a view to expelling to the supports of USA and to build up strong Muslim group to use in anti-Malay movement in coming decade.
These new stranger NGOs are very busy in mobilizing the Rohingya refugees in Malaysia through their fundamentalist hand like Rohingya Information Center (RIC) to deny resettlement to third country and to boycott working together with non-Muslim Burmese oppositions and others with a full commitment of Islamist which is totally not acceptable to this marginalized Rohingya society; thus they, Rohingya refugees are struggling to liberate themselves from the circle of exploitation and wooing to be resettled in western countries as modern Muslim in order to regain their human rights and justice in multi-cultural and multi-religious societies.
Therefore, the Rohingya refugees in Malaysia appeal to the international community, particularly to the Government of United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Sweden, Canada, Norway, New Zealand, Denmark, German, Italy, Finland and all other European countries to urgently rethink the matter of Rohingya refugees in Malaysia with a view to accepting their resettlement which may be helpful to stop world threat exploitation. The almost 80% of the Rohingya refugees in Malaysia were found active for resettlement to the west by the Arakan Rohingya Refugee Committee (ARRC), Malaysia and National Democratic Party for Human Rights (exile) South East Asia Regional office and thus the extension of real and practical sympathy for these victims of exploitation would be highly appreciated.
* By Kyaw Soe Aung is the General Secretary of NDPHR (exile) Headquarters based in Milwaukee City , Wisconsin State ( USA ), Advisor for the ARRC, Malaysia and Rohingya rights and youth activist.
– Asian Tribune –
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