Monthly Archives: June 2010

Statement on the World Refugee Day 2010


“They took my home but they can’t take my future”

Every year, on June 20, refugees all over the world celebrate the World Refugee Day to

acknowledge the extraordinary challenges facing refugees around the world, who

despite their situation, to look to the future with hope. This day is marked in hundred of

different types of festivities and tributes, whether it is as a school event or a high

ceremony. This is a day to think about the world refugees and extend to them our

encouragement, support and respect.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that millions of refugees and internally

displaced persons are languishing in vulnerable condition in different parts of the

world. Of them, report of Rohingya Burmese refugees in different countries and their

long standing problems are remained unclear and uncertain. Anyhow, situation of the

Rohingya refugees in different places are deteriorating day by day. Now, they are the

victims of multifarious human rights violations both in their home (Arakan State,

Burma) and countries of exile.

Besides, their refugee status is in marginalization known as “

Prima-facie” refugees or
group status. They are not eligible for resettlement, but facilitated to return their

country of origin.

In fact that their basic and fundamental rights to citizenship were denied by the

Burmese military ruler and that rendered them into “

de facto Statelessness”. They
cannot return to their home (Burma) unless the ending of racism and the establishment

of full human rights for all. They need durable solution rather then temporary

settlement as the democracy and human rights are still far cry in Burma. The military

rulers have also turned the country into a silent killing field.

The Rohingyas also do not have hopes to find a long lasting solution, not only in home

(Burma) but also in countries of refuge like Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi

Arabia, Thailand and etc. These people are unfortunate. They are in subhuman

condition. They are also subjected to modern slavery in the 21

st century.

On the other hand, Burmese military regime is developing nuclear program with the

collaboration of North Korea, while increasing pressure over the ethnic minority,

especially the Rohingyas of Arakan. It is also stepping forward to sham election in

October 2010. Burma is a clear threat to the region and thus no hope for the repatriation

of refugees is available at all.

We believe that the United Nations will take a pro-active initiative for the enforcement

of its conventions and additional protocols in order to ensure the rights of stateless

persons and refugees, particularly, the Rohingyas of Burma who are now, de facto

stateless. Of them, over 1.5 million were forcefully expelled out from their homeland

under the ethnic cleansing agenda of the regime.

It is also true that tens of thousands of Rohingya refugee children and youths are

deprived of their rights to education and other facilities that enjoyed by the refugees of

the world. Their futures are totally in uncertainty.

On this occasion of World Refugee Day, we call upon the UNHCR to:

Immediately lift the imposed policies of temporary solution for the Rohingya
Burmese refugees in order to find a durable solution for them under the

resettlement program as they have already spent their lives as refugees for about

two decades;

Initiate pro-active policies for the recognition of the Rohingyas as Persons of
Concerns (POC) to the office and issue necessary documents for their protection

under the UNHCR mandates and International Human Rights standards;

Accede and implement the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol relating to the
Status of refugees and implement the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of

Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness;

Ensure the adequate protection and all of their refugee rights with full refugee
status like other non-Rohingya Burmese refugees until they have a secured

place;

Strengthen the role of the UNHCR in monitoring and implementing refugee
protection and allow them to have access to represent themselves at the forums

of the international community;

We request to the neighboring countries of Burma and member states of
ASEAN to review their policies towards military regime at the causes of

Burmese peoples’ struggle for the restoration of democracy, human rights,

peace, justice, equality and self-determination of all people of the country;

We also appeal to the state parties of Convention of the Rights of Child (CRC)
to take necessary measures to support to the education of the Rohingya in order

to alleviate illiteracy and poverty from the upcoming juvenile community and

also to ensure their basic rights to citizenship in order to reduce their

statelessness.

Endorsed by:

1. Arakan Rohingya Refugee Committee (ARRC), Malaysia

2. Arakan Rohingya Organization-Japan (JARO)

3. Arakan Rohingya Ulama Council, (ARUC), Malaysia

4. Burmese Rohingya Association in UAE (BRA-UAE)

5. Canadian Burmese Rohingya Organization (CBRO), Canada

6. Myanmar Muslim Council (MMC), Saudia Arabia

7. National Council for Rohingya (NCR), Malaysia

8. National Democratic Party for Human Rights (NDPHR) exile, HQ, USA

9. Rohingya Youth Development Forum (RYDF), Arakan-Burma

10. World Rohingya Congress (WRC), USA

For further information, please contact:

Kyaw Soe Aung, Tel: +1-414-736 4273

Mohammad Sadek, Tel: +60- 16309 4599

released by NDPHR (exile-HQ) on June 20, 2010…..

Death Toll from Floods, Landslides Hits 63


Irrawaddy news, 20th June 2010,

RANGOON — The military and humanitarian groups are aiding people in northwestern Burma, where days of flooding and landslides killed more than 60 people and affected 15,000 families, state media and the United Nations reported Monday.

In Arakan [Rakhine] state, the torrential rains triggered floods and mudslides that washed away homes, damaged schools and bridges and caused 63 deaths, according to Monday’s official count.

The death toll could rise because villagers were returning to homes on steep hills that still are vulnerable to landslides, said a UN official, who declined to be named since he was not authorized to speak with the media.

The New Light of Myanmar newspaper said local military commanders in the junta-ruled nation and authorities aided victims and inspected repair and recovery efforts in the state’s seriously hit Buthidaung and Maungdaw regions.

The government, United Nations and other humanitarian organizations have provided clothing, medicine, household utensils, food and cash for the victims, state media and a UN press release said.

Many of the flood victims were housed at schools and temporary shelters since the rains began June 13 and did not end until midweek.

The UN said up to 15,000 families were affected, while state media said only more than 2,000 people suffered from the flooding.

Flooding is common in Asia during the monsoon season that typically starts in late May.
Cyclone Nargis struck Burma in May 2008, leaving more than 140,000 people dead or missing.

Drowned Tamils ‘desperate for safety’


source from :

Two Sri Lankan asylum seekers believed drowned last week on a perilous sea trip from Indonesia to Australia were "desperate to find safety", says a friend.

Thileepkumar Luxman and Bahirathan were among 12 Tamil and Afghani asylum seekers believed to have drowned when their small fishing boat capsized in rough Indonesian waters as they tried to rendezvous with a larger Australia-bound boat.

The pair had made the attempt a second time because their original bid was thwarted by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in October last year.

They were among the 254 Tamils on a boat bound for Australia when Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had his Indonesian counterpart stop them in Indonesian waters, sparking a six-month stand-off at the Javan port of Merak.

A fellow Tamil asylum seeker and close friend of the pair on Monday said they had tried the doomed journey, feeling they had to take the risk.

"Malaysia and Indonesia had instilled in them fears of deportation that led to taking such huge risks," the friend, who did not want to be named, told AAP.

"That is mostly the case with all asylum seekers who remain in middle countries seeking resettlement."

Bahirathan – a "hard-working steelbender" nicknamed Paandi – had been recognised as a genuine refugee by the UNHCR, the friend said. Thileepkumar was still awaiting the UNHCR’s assessment.

News of their deaths came via two other Sri Lankans – also involved in the Merak stand-off – who survived the capsizing and later made contact with other refugees.

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor on Monday said Australian authorities had no information about the incident and would check with Indonesian authorities.

But Indonesian immigration and foreign ministry officials told AAP they, too, had no information on the incident.

Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the tragedy showed that desperate people would continue to jump on people smuggling boats, regardless of the dangers.

"When people who have already been assessed as refugees are left languishing for years in Indonesian detention, they are going to look for a way to find a country to resettle them, regardless of how dangerous that choice may be," she said.

Australian Tamil activist Sara Nathan said the federal government must take responsibility for the deaths.

"These people were 45 nautical miles (83km) from Australia when Kevin Rudd’s phone call put them in a situation where they have to get on leaky boats to come here."

Unforgotten Yangon


By Habib,

Yangon (Rangoon) is in Burma @ Myanmar and a former capital of the country and the capital of Yangon Division. Its oldest name was Dagon founded in the 6th century AD by the Mon.Yangon means ‘End of Strife’ in Burmese and it was named by Burmese King Alaungpaya in 1755. Although the military junta has officially relocated the capital to Naypyidaw since March 2006, Yangon continues to be the country’s largest city and the most important commercial centre.

The city was grand and clear geographically during 1960s. The city is divided into four districts is combined have a total of 33 townships and it has the largest number of colonial buildings in South-east Asia today and overcrowded population over 4 million religion by Buddhism, Islam, Christian and Hinduism. The inhabitants enjoy multi-culture, multi-tradition and high modesty rather than religious perspectives.

The city has a tropical monsoon climate and often meets natural disasters as it located in Lower Myanmar at the convergence of the Yangon and Bago Rivers about 19 miles (30km) away from the Gulf of Martaban (known as Mottama in Burmese), an arm of the Andaman Sea. The city also hosts international NGOs and foreign embassies but their activities is strongly restricted.

The city is the heart of the country however and it has legendary marches and riots of political and social occasions. The government shot down the unarmed protesters during the major anti-government protests in 1974, 1988 and 2007. The head office of the government and regional hub offices were situated in the city. The results of nefarious political dimensions, ignorance of democratic changes and people rights, arbitrary oppression and restrictions over movement of minorities, the city had become interested politically. In order to avoid such interest, the dictator moved its offices to Naypyidaw and called this the new capital city of Burma.

The country is naturally rich with diamond, ruby, jade and other valuable gems and teak, timber, gas, oil, hydro-electricity and etc.. The country is the worst that it failed to empower as an industrial nation and lack of production of its energies and reflection of benefits nothing to the people. Thus, the city today does not seen like a wealthy or developed city at all.

Yangon is the country’s main centre for trading for all kind of merchandise, industry, real estate, media, entertainment and tourism. It has local and international jetties, airways, railways and bus- lines. The railways systems is heavily utilized and shipping system to farer regions and airways to major cities. But most goods come from across China, Thailand, rather than Singapore and Malaysia. A few building in the city are lower than 35 stories and no more construction of buildings or roads or alternative highway to the city. The city remains physically unchanged and back-warded in tele-communications, net- communications and amenity supplies. Some inner city residents were forcibly relocated to new satellite towns and many colonial-period buildings were demolished for the constructions of modernity to the city’s infrastructure during Gen. Ne Win’s isolationist rule in 1962–88.

Occasionally, the government deployed the military guards in the city and charged to unknown for gathering of more than 3 persons. The city has also several economic class supermarkets for shopping and famous hotels, parks, views and the excellent examples of the bygone era of the former High Court, the former Secretariat complex, the former St. Paul’s English High School, the Strand Hotel are for tourism interest. Then, religious building, statues, pagodas, monuments are for religious interest.

The city receives a few foreign visitors since restrictions introduced. Furthermore, the minorities who coming to the city were charged up to 7 years imprisonment in unknown condition and faced arbitrary tortures. Although the city is connected to more than forty others townships, travelling permission is required no matter who you are or come from. Particularly, travelling to the Arakan (Rakhine state) is not allowed.

Based on the world’s awake, present Secretary General of UN visited the city but his aid-workers were restricted to assist in Irrawaddy Delta after he left.

Yet, no mission nor restriction can force the Burmese junta to abide by international norms. However, I wish my city to be a latest electronic city with centre of business district if there are any changes.

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