Monthly Archives: June 2012

12 aid workers detained in Rakhine State


Source from Mizzima news, 29 June 2012

Twelve aid workers representing the United Nations and Doctors Without Borders (DWB) have been detained in Rakhine State during the past few weeks, the U.N. said in Geneva on Thursday. U.N. officials met with Burma’s foreign minister on Tuesday in Naypyitaw, the capital, to discuss the detentions.

On June 16, Reuters news agency reported that police in Buthidaung Township for unknown reasons detained three U.N. staff, two from the U.N. refugee agency and one from the World Food Programme. All are Burmese nationals.

On June 12, Doctors Without Borders announced it had suspended its operations in parts of Rakhine State, saying that its staff members where unsafe in the area.

Official Burmese government figures say 79 people were killed in the sectarian violence that racked the region starting in June, driving tens of thousands of refugees to seek safe shelter. International and domestic aid agencies rushed into the area to offer food, shelter and medicine as the violence continued.

Unconfirmed reports said that one United Nations employee had been released. The U.N. said it is not clear why the workers had been detained.

Mizzima reported last week that the World Food Programme (WFP) had expanded distributions of emergency food supplies to thousands of people displaced by the inter-communal violence.

WFP estimated that there were to 90,000 displaced people in need of assistance and said it is preparing plans for a three-month food assistance operation that will require additional support from donors. In recent days, reports say some refugees have begun returning home, but they have expressed fears for their safety.

On June 18, Doctors Without Borders announced it had been forced to suspend its operations in the area.

In Rakhine (Arakan) State, DWB has provided medical services for 20 years focusing on maternal health and infectious diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. In addition to meeting the immediate needs of the emergency, the return to a safe environment is needed to get MSF programmes back on track for longer-term health and well-being of people from all communities throughout the state, said the non-profit health service.

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Violence continues in Arakan state: “UN’s interventi​on is seemingly not effective”


Source from NDPHR(exile),

“UN’s intervention is seemingly not effective”
The government authorities do not installed Law and Order for Rakhine people who are continuously doing crimes. A few Rakhines those arrested from Sittwe, Kyauktaw and Maungdaw were also released after days. Beside, police authority are arresting Rohingya elders and youths from every village of Sittwe, Maungdaw, Rathedaung and Kyauktaw townships and framing them with false charges.

UN’s intervention is seemingly not effective therefore Rohingya people are continued to face tyrant attacks of Rakhines and arbitrary abuses of local authorities. While there is ongoing heavy raining and flooding, it is more than two weeks now they are confined by military guards without supply of food and medicine.
A relief blog- OCHA’s report states that the WFP has provided 725 metric tons of food commodities (rice, pulses, oil and salt) to over 92,000 affected people in five townships, Sittwe, Pauktaw, Maungdaw, Rahtedaung and Buthidaung. The government report also shows that it has received donation nearly 200 millions Kyat for Arakan crisis.

However, all aid supplies are reached to government designated relief centres where authority places perpetrator Rakhine family members only. Despite the INGOs have well experiences about the nature of government authorities, they have not yet ensured aid delivery for homeless victims of Rohinngya.
Similar complaints received for the past Cyclone Giri in Oct 2010 that hit along the coastal areas of Kyaukfru, Myebon, Myinbya, Pauktaw townships where fishing villages were mostly affected. Muslim victims from fishing villages were barred from receiving aid and assistance by local in-charge staffs who monitored distribution aid.

 

Rakhine people who involved directly in recent riot of Sittwe
We had escalated a number Rakhine people who involved directly in recent riot of Sittwe. Again these people are warmly received gratitude in a Face Book page of a Rakhine.
They are; RNDP psd Dr Aye Maung, Tat Thu Aung- Kuan Yat Society, chairman U Shwe Tun Aung- the Merchant Association of Arakan, Rakhine Rakhita Association, Sayadaw U Pinya Zya Ra.
And the rest who visibly involved are; 1)Shwe Tha Zin Hotel owner Tan Shwe, 2)Kiss Hotel owner Kyaw Thein (led in Nazi and Santoli), 3)Win Maunk umbrella shop owner, 4)Aung Thu Kha photo shop owner, 5)Shwe Nyo Nyo loterry and medicine shop owner, 6)Workers of Sein Video Hall, 7)U Maung Tan Hlaing from ward(2/Kha) of Min-Gan village, 8)Chairman U Tan Win of Aungmingala quarter, 9)RNDP member Balagyi, and 10)Ko Thein Shwe (weight player).
The source confirms that U Maung Tan Hlaing is who began the riot in Sittwe and now taking refuge in Rwa U monastry of Min Gan village.

 

Update: Violence continues in Arakan state
Akyab/Sittwe city, 29 June, Friday
There are total 172 Rohingyans involving under age detained in military camp. The source confirmed all of them were brought from Rathedaung township after tortured in the hands of Rakhines from Ku Taung.
30 of them were reportedly taken to unknown. They were neither sent back to Rathedaung nor transferred to custody. One of them was died yesterday and burried at Thakkay Byin village (Sakki Fara).

Afternoon: Bsc Hla Maung’s house in the Ambala area (down town) was attacked by a group of Rakhines and looted all goods and cash when Police and Paramilitary forces are surrounding from out side.

Six international and local staffs of INGOs, were arrested. The source said they are aid workers from UN organization, AZG and WHO. Thier arrest could be suspect of whether they have any recording devices.

Morning: A Hindu woman came out from Aungmingala area, was beaten by four Rakhines in the present of police. Her live was spared after they knew she is not really a muslim.

 

Kyauktaw Township, 29 June, Friday
11:50am:
The 700 years old ancient mosque (Myoatma Jarmae Mosque) situated between the market and Manaegya Fara, was destructed by a group of Rakhines. At the time of military forces arrived there after informed by a Khami (tribe people), its walls and veranda have been destroyed.

28 June, Thursday
4 homeless Rohingyans of Sangadaung village (near Sugar Mill) were died from starvation and lack of shelter. The Rohingya own lands in this village were also replaced by Rakhine people themselves.

Rohingya people own shops in the market of Kyauktaw were seized by municipal authority. The valuable things were taken away by Rakhines and proudly saying that all resources and belongings in the territory of Rakhine state are their own.

Two homeless villagers from Khaungdok Alay Kyuan (Barua Fara) were died in the flood of Kaladan River. One of them is identified as a brother of Mv.Habi who live in Denmark.

……………………….
The first chart is re-prepared list of causalities in Sittwe. As, latest escalation from Sentoli village says number of houses burnt in second attack was added to total about 180 and death tools added to 50 total. The remaining half-destroyed mosque was also demolished by authority in the past four days.

NDPHR(exile) report date 30 June 2012:– Causalities in Sittwe/Akyab city (8-22 June) / (Rohingya population about 150,000, Rakhine population- 200,000)
Name of Village Native Destructions Death tool Attack day
Zay Haung Maw Leik (Rohingya Fara) Rohingya&Kaman burn &destroyed all 50 houses 1 Mosque at least 7 9,10
           
Shwe Bya village, Myoathugyi quarter Rohingya&Kaman burn &destroyed all 33 houses 1 Mosque About 35 10, 15
Paik Tay village, Myoathugyi quarter Rohingya&Kaman burn &destroyed all 100 houses 3 Mosque About 150 10, 15
Mi Zan quarter, near Baluma Bridge Rohingya&Kaman burn &destroyed all 38 houses 1 Mosque About 30 10
           
Aungmingla/ Ambarlar Area:          
the edge of Thaban Street and street-side Rohingya Burn 20 houses   unknown 12
Chin Byan street (Hundhikhawla), Rohingya Burn 50 houses 1 Mosque unknown 12
Minbargyi Road and street beside College Rohingya & Kaman destroyed and burn 2+3 houses   unknown 20
Kyaung Tat Lan (behind BEHS-1) Hindhu (a few) authority destruct to prevent fire-transmitting
none 12
Kyaung Gyi Lan (behinf BEHS-1) Rakhine (a few) fire transmitted 3 houses and a brewery store
none 12
Kartih village Rohingya & Kaman burn all about 100 houses 1 Mmosque unknown 12
Ye New Su quarter (Derum Fara)   burn all around 100 2 Mosques from unknown 10,16
Ma Kyi Myine ( Buhar Fara) Rohingya houses from these these areas including About 15 10,16
Palot Taung (Holton)   3 areas 1 ancient mosque About 22 10,16
           
Bu May group: (Furun Fara)   burn all around   more than  
Wayalis (Walsih Fara), Latama (Misiri-dil)   400 houses from 7 mosques from 100 9,10
Nadikya Fara, Arzimya Fara Rohingya These 6 areas these 7 areas from these  
Don Byan (Dua Mraung), U Yin Tha area       6 areas  
           
Min Gan (Model village of 1978 and 1991 Rakhine burn about 50 houses 1 Monastry (tempo) none 10
Takkay Byin (Sakki Fara) Rohingya none (resisted)   at least 6 9,10
           
West Sanpya (Barsara) near Sittwe Point Rohingya burn all 18 houses 3 Mosque in 85 10, 11
East Sanpya (Barsara) near Golf mart Rohingya burn all about 200 houses these two areas 150 10,11
           
Nazi village area (consisting 12 wards): Rohingya burn all about estimated 12,000 to 20,000 at least 7 mosques All  
Nazi, Set Yon Su, Foktoli, Shunduri, houses in this area Including 2 about 8500 11
Kondan, Waa-dan (Baish fara), Neya fara Rohingya&Kaman Destroy & burn ancient mosques    
           
Santoli , behind Sittwe Lake Rohingya burn some 180 houses 1 Mosque 25 + 25 10,11
Shabok Rohingya little damage   unknown 11
Myu-Kul, (opposite of Sittwe, Sandama side) Rohingya burn some houses   unknown 18
Sittwe Central Market and Pozu Bazzar Rohingya breaking 100s of shops   none 11

The second chart, is list of causalities in Kyauktaw, Rathedaung and Rambre.

NDPHR(exile) report on 30 June 2012:– Causalities in Kyauktaw township (8-22 June) / 36 Rohingya villages, ( …….)Rakhine villages
Name of village Native Destructions Death Tool Attack day
Apoukwa (Aa-fok) Rohingya Burn 21+25 houses   unknown 15
Sangadaung Rohingya Burn 94 houses   About 75 16
Khaungdok Alay Kyuan (Barua Fara) Rohingya Burn 19 houses, 50 haystacks, 30 huts 1 mosque unknown 16, 18
Fa Laung Rwa (Falom fara) Rohingya Destroyed some houses   unknown 16
Tan Taung Rwa (Tanon Fara) Rohingya Burn haystacks, crops   1 17
Paike-tay Yat (Zaila fara) Rohingya Burn bans, huts, haystacks, crops   1 15
Manaegya Fara (near market) Rohingya Burn 2 houses, seized about 80 houses 1 mosque unknown 15
           
Causalities in Rathedaung township (8-22 June) / (22 Rohingya villages, 126 Rakhine villages)
Name of village Native Destructions Death Tool Attack day
Kondan (Kutti Chaung) Rohingya Burn 50 houses 1 mosque unknown 13-night
Saw Farang Fara Rohingya Burn 200 houses 2 mosques About 200 14-early
Anauk Pran (Anakpran) Rohingya Burn 51 houses   at least 8 19
Nyaung Pin Gyi Rwa (Muzadiya ) Rohingya Burn about 200 houses 1 mosque at least 2 19
Kararo Kondan (Sara-parang) Rohingya 120 houses 1 mosque About 35 19
Tabretaw Rwa (Zufrang) Rohingya none (resisted)   1 19
           
           
Causalities in Rambre township/Island (8-22 June) / Only one Rohingya villages
Name of village Native Destructions Death Tool Attack day
Tan Rwa Rahingya&Kaman Burn 25 houses 2 mosques unknown 10
           

Update Arakan and RNDP’s open letter


By NDPHR (exile),

Sittwe township
Yesterday morning on 28 June, 5 Rohingya women from Aungmingala quarter who went to the market of Sittwe to buy foods after starved for two weeks, were brutally beaten by a group of Rakhine people and handed over to No(1) Police station by giving false statement. After police saw they were seriously injured, all five women were sent to hospital. One of them, sister of Soe Raza was died a hour later and the condition of the rest are still unknown.
It is also confirmed that the hospital staffs who are also Rakhines did treat them roughly because of muslim.

We are getting reports from Sittwe that the relief aids are delivering to Rakhine alone and homeless Rohingya people still face stavation and lack of medicine. Some Rohingyans were loaded to trucks and shifting to unknown locations. the source also confirmed that some water tanks in Rohingya areas were found poisoned.

Rambre Township
29 June: A villager, Mr Hashim living in Australia confirmed the villagers are not yet returned to thier houses since some of their 21 houses in Tan Rwa village were burnt down and they dispersed into hiding from 10 June.

………………………….

This is a translation of-

“Rakhine National Democratic Party-RNDP’s declaration after conflict relating to relocation”
04/2012, on 26 June 2012. (Read original letter in Burmese version-

RNDP’s open letter on Rohingya

1) The riot occurred from 8 June causes to face intensive difficulty for national affairs.
2) This difficulties are in need to solve by the gov and corporately with public.
3) While Bengali immigrants had been settled into Rakhine state in continuity periods through various ways, present population of Bengali causes threat for the whole Rakhine people and other ethnic people based on current occasion.
4) The historic remark of riot between Myanmar national and Bengali in 1942 later, there were several riots recurred in Rakhine state. We get known that this occasion in 2012 is much affected Rakhine people and the whole Myanmar economy rather than occasions in 1988, 1996, 2000.
5) Illegally settled Bengali are creating new name ‘Rohingya’ with fabricating history that propaganda of terrorising, are damaging the Rakhine people and national sovereignty. Our party view that it is require to solve by taking out of complete solution for Rakhine people’ safety and security for lives and property.

 

 

To solve like it, our party announce the following declaration;
1) To corporately manage security measures by the gov and public Rakhine in order to secure safety for the whole Rakhine people,
2) To temporarily relocate Bengali people to suitable places, in order not to reside mixxedly and closely the Rakhine and Bengali in Rakhine state territorial towns and villages.
3) All union of ethnic people to corporate to prevent the Bengali people’ trespassing and entering in various ways into the whole Myanmar including Rakhine state.
4) To transferred to relocate the non-Myanmar national Bengali to the third countries, by getting negotiation from UN and international.

RNDP’s open letter on Rohingya

……………………………..

Aung San Suu Kyi and the Rule of Law


Source from Asia Sentinel, 26 June 2012

What if the Rohingya problem is ‘legally produced’?

Aung San Suu Kyi’s 17-day European trip, which started on 13 June, could be called the “Rule of Law Tour.” She has been promoting the concept of the rule of law as a problem-solving tool in every single talk and press conference in Europe.
Aung San Suu Kyi doesn't know what to do about them either
Aung San Suu Kyi doesn’t know what to do about them either

Yet her account runs the risk of being an empty promise if she continues to leave the content of the laws unchallenged.

Rule of law particularly is Aung San Suu Kyi’s default answer to the questions regarding the oppressed Rohingya minority group from western Burma who have been denied citizenship by the state, and are unwanted and openly demonized by the public at large.

The tremendous public opposition against the Rohingyas, most significantly reflected during the conflict in Arakan state early this month, demonstrates that any political leader supporting them can be accused of being a traitor.

This puts Aung San Suu Kyi in a risky position. On the one hand, any implicit or explicit support for the Rohingya is likely to entail a backlash from her Burmese supporters who are in a state of political hangover regarding the Arakan conflict. The conflict has resulted in numerous deaths and displaced many hundreds from both ethnic Rakhine and Rohingya sides. Her supporters are also in a state of denial for equal rights and citizenship to ethnic Rohingyas.

Conversely, saying anything to comfort her supporters’ anxiety regarding the loss of sovereignty to the Rohingyas endangers her international reputation as an icon of freedom and democracy. In short, expressing a sentiment beyond the reassurance of rule of law’s significance is her political suicide.

Aung San Suu Kyi, of course, is smart enough to avoid this dilemma by sticking to the ideals of rule of law. However, her strategy appears to be problematic because she only takes the laws for granted and implies that rule of law means implementing the laws properly.

For instance, when a participant at the Oslo Forum asked whether or not Rohingyas are citizens of Burma, she responded that, “We are not certain exactly what the requirements of citizenship law are…, If we were very clear as to who are the citizens of the country under the citizenship law and who qualify, then there wouldn’t be this problem… We have to have rule of law, and we have to know what the law is. We have to make sure that it is properly implemented”.

However, implementing the laws alone is not adequate. Unjust laws and their contents need to be challenged so that the laws and their ‘proper implementation ensures justice, which Aung San Suu Kyi has not seriously addressed so far.

The Rohingya case provides a very clear example why the law itself can be a source of problems. Statelessness, ill treatment, and discrimination against the Rohingyas are not simply the results of a lack of the rule of law. Quite contrary, they are legally produced. In particular, they are the results of the 1982 Citizenship Act that effectively deprived the Rohingyas of citizenship status.

Whether one agrees with the controversial ethnic label ‘Rohingya’ or not, this Muslim population has lived in the Burma-Bangladesh borderland, known today as Arakan state on the Burma side, for centuries. As in every other borderland, the inhabitants move about in the territory. They are connected by people on both sides of the border through cross-border networks of family ties, labor processes, trade relations, etc., just like ethnic Rakhines in Arakan state.

Throughout the dictator Ne Win era, deadly military operations and arbitrary categorizations of ‘national races’ undermined the Rohingyas’ historical existence in that borderland. By the late 1970s and early 1980s, they lost their indigenous status to that very specific borderland.

When the 1982 Citizenship Act was introduced, they were effectively disqualified for citizenship since the new act recognizes only the decedents of the so-called national races who had lived in the state territory prior to 1824. Rendered a non-indigenous or non-national race unlike other groups such as the Karan, Kachin, Shan etc., the Muslim population from that borderland, who called themselves Rohingyas, ‘became’ non-nationals and non-citizens, and worse, illegal immigrants.

Today’s ill treatment and discrimination against Rohingyas, as well as the popular mis-perception about their status as ‘illegal’ are all predicated on the 1982 Citizenship Act. As such, their statelessness and illegal status are not natural and automatic, but a man-made phenomenon, facilitated and fortified by the 1982 act.

To borrow a phrase from Professor Nicholas de Genova from Columbia University, the Rohingyas’ situation should be understood as the legal production of Rohingya illegality. It is the law that places this Muslim population outside the national citizenship regime; it is the law that institutionalizes their exclusion and renders them ‘illegal.’ As such, talking about the rule of law without being serious about the need to challenge unjust laws and their contents will only perpetuate the problems. Aung San Suu Kyi’s choice not to go further into challenging the laws might be her strategic choice for now, but she will have to address it sooner or later.

(Sai Latt is a Burmese PhD candidate at Simon Fraser University in Canada.)

Update (26-27 June): Ongoing Situation in Arakan


By NDPHR(exile)

Despite the government says that the situation has been under controlled, there are more harassment, sexual abuses, arbitrary arrest, looting, extortion, brutal abuses are going on, particularly in northern Arakan.

According to reliable sources attained by NDPHR(exile), we would like to double confirm that recent and ongoing violence in Arakan is a well planned pogrom of ethnic cleansing by directly involvement of current Rakhine political party-RNDP’s president Dr Aye Maung, Tak Thu Aung of Kuan Yat Rakhine National Society, chairman U Shwe Tun Aung of the Merchant Association of Arakan, Rakhine Rakhita Association, (monk) Sayadaw U Pinya Zya Ra who entered from Bangladesh and created similar riot in Sittwe during early 2001 and along side with former Gen.Khine Nyunt, U Khin Shwe, U Khin Yin.

There were a large number of Rakhine authority personally involved in recent violences. But we able to identify a few are;
Police officer Aung Kyaw Khant and Paramilitary officer Than Htin from Maungdaw township;
Chairman U Tan Win of Aungmingala village, RNDP member Balagyi and a former weight player Ko Thein Shwe from Sittwe township; and
Chief inspector U Tin Oo from Rathedaung township.

Update (26-27 June): Ongoing Situation in Arakan

……….. In Akyab/Sittwe city ………….
26-27 June
Authority led by Township Municipal asked Rohingya shop owners to remove the remaining tolls from the shops and informed that all muslim shops will be seized from today.

Authority demolished all the remnant parts of houses, half destroyed houses and remaining a few houses belong to Rohingyans in Zayhaung Mawleik (Rohingya Fara), Paiktay Yat (Zaila Fara) and Mizan, and Palot Taung villages.

……………..Buthidaung township……………….
26 June, Tuesday
Kaladan Press- 27 June: During night, 4 Rohingya men were arrested by army personnel of Military Operation Command (MOC) No.15 of Buthidaung Township over the allegation of involvement in political matter. The arrestees are: two sons of Master Abu Tayub, Imam Hussain, and Abin Chay. They all belong to Ward No.7 of Buthidaung Town. This is the first time arresting occurred in Buthidaung Township.

……. In Rathedaung township (4th largest Rohingya population, 124 Rakhine villages and 22 Rohingya villages.)
26 June, Tuesday
About 42 Rohingya kids Anauk Pran village who were locked up in the school were released after tortured but the authority informed that they all would be expelled from school for disqualifying immigration status.
The villagers said that authority started searching on their bodies and took golds, cash and some women faced brutal abuses for refusing to surrender.

URGENT : UPDATES FROM RAKHINE STATE OF BURMA. JUNTA CONTINUE ITS ETHNIC CLEANSING TOWARDS ROHINGYAS.


MERHROM press release, 27 JUNE 2012
Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM) is deeply concerns over the Meeting between General Thein Sein and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

We fear the meeting will cause more harm to Rohingyas as the Bangladesh government never be in favour towards Rohingya. We do not know what will happen to us after their meeting. During the Nagamin Checking in 1978, more than 300 000 ethnic Rohingya fled to Bangladesh however thousands of them deported back to Burma by the Bangladesh government. Thousands of them faced prosecution by the military junta. Though Bangladesh is a Muslim country but they never treat us as Muslim brother and sisters. Thousands of Rohingyas fled to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and India.

Thousands of Rohingyas currently were arrested in the Bangladesh Prisons for many decades until they died. The condition in the prison is very bad. Thousands of Rohingyas currently staying in the UNHCR Refugee camp in Bangladesh in a very very bad conditions for many decades. There is lack of food, water, medicine and hygiene in the camps. Many people fall sick and died.

We the Rohingyas are not looking for the temporary solution. We look for the permanent solution which is recognition as the citizen of Myanmar. We are the origin people of the Arakan State @ Rakhine State. We are not belong to Bangladesh. We did not speak Bangladesh language and our culture is different. How come the junta claims that we belongs to Bangladesh. On top of this the Bangladesh government itself denied that we belongs to them. We are the origin people of the Arakan State @ Rakhine State of Burma.

The military junta, police and the security force are mainly Buddhist. They continue their plan for ethnic cleansing towards Rohingyas. Until now they continue killing Rohingya, arresting and demanding money, raping of women, burning our houses and Mosque. Recently the military, police and security force go to Rohingya’s houses and confiscated our document (family book). This is very serious as thousands of us left without document. We fear what will happen to us and our generations.

The military claims the situation in ARakan State @ RaKhine State are back to normal but the information we received from back home is still the same. Currently the military, police and security force killing Rohingya underground.

We cannot hope Aung San Suu Kyi to change our future as she cannot make her own decision as far as Rohingyas are concerns.

Who else we can hope for? The United Nations and the world leaders seems not to have power to stop it.

We hope Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to strongly condemn the brutal act of military junta towards Rohingyas. She must urge the military junta to stop persecution and prosecution towards Rohingyas and Recognize Rohingya as a citizen of Myanmar. If the problem is not resolve, Bangladesh will continue to be affected by our problem.

Junta has committed an international crimes towards its own people. The gross human rights violations such as arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, forced labour, killing of ordinary people, discrimination of ethnics, denial of freedom of movement, etc continues.

Below are some Updates from our Arakan State:
There are five Rohingya villages that were not burned down yet. Rohingya people from other villages those homes were burned down into ashes or destroyed have been taking shelter in the said villages. So far, a group of Rakhine racist mobs have been surrounding the villages with lethal weapons such as— knives, sticks, swords— though the armies were deployed in Akyab. Few Rohingyas were sneaking out in fear of death and the rest are staying to face whatever happens to them at night, according to an elder from Akyab.

So far, there is no international representative to monitor the situation. The UN representative sent to Burma last week was taken to the military’s selected places, not to original places of Rohingya villages where people have been locked in the homes, where food is quickly running out in that areas and no international journalists are able to cover the situation, he more add.

Burma: Regime behind Rohingya ethnic cleansing


Source from Greenleft, 26 June 2012

By Tony Iltis

Rohingya refugees trying to make it to Bangladesh.

There are wildly divergent estimates of the death toll from ethnic and religious violence in the Burmese state of Arakan.

Mainstream media reports and the Burmese government are claiming that fewer than 100 people have been killed in violence they describe as clashes between the Buddhist Rakhine majority and Muslim Rohingya minority communities.

However, Rohingya sources estimate thousands of deaths from a planned campaign of violent ethnic cleansing by Burmese government forces. Rohingya sources say the regime has been instigating Rakhine mob violence as part of their campaign.

France 24 said on June 22: “More than 80 people have been killed and thousands displaced in a wave of violence between Muslims and Buddhists in west Burma.”

On June 21, the Burmese government put the death toll at 62, Associated Press reported.

But the National Democratic Party for Human Rights (NDPHR), a Rohingya political party that won four seats in the democratic 1990 Burmese elections, said on June 19: “The information from Arakan confirmed that the death toll of Rohingya has exceeded 10,000 from Sittwe city alone, and a few thousand from Maungdaw, Rathedaung and Kyauktaw townships.

“Most of them were shot dead, brutally beaten to death, burnt alive and the rest were those taken away by security forces into hidden areas.”

Reports on social media from Rohingya sources inside Arakan, such as the NDPHR, have been published in English on Malaysian-based website The Sail and the site of the Ethnic Rohingya Committee of Arakan in Malaysia.

These reports make a grim catalogue: along with mass killings, alleged atrocities include burning of villages, mass rape, mass arrests, torture, looting and extortion.

Rakhine mobs and armed Rakhine elements have been responsible for much of the violence, but the main perpetrators have been the military and paramilitary forces of the Burmese government: the police, the army, the navy and in particular the Nasaka border security forces.

There are also reports of clashes between Rohingya and Rakhine rioters and clashes between government forces and armed Rakhine groups.

The violence started on June 3 in Taungup township when 10 Rohingya bus passengers were beaten to death by a 300-strong lynch mob. For the preceding week, Buddhist extremist hate groups ― assisted by the local media in Arakan ― had been blaming Muslims for the May 28 rape and murder of a Rakhine woman in the village of Thabyaychaung.

This was used as a pretext to whip up violent anti-Rohingya sentiment.

The NDPHR said activists from the Wanthanu Rakheta Association were distributing anti-Muslim leaflets in Taungup on the morning of June 3 immediately before the lynching.

On June 18, three Rohingya men were sentenced to death for the May 28 rape and murder, Democratic Voice of Burma reported. One of the three, “accused of masterminding” the crime, had already died in custody (officially suicide), but death sentences can be given retrospectively under Burmese law.

Phil Robertson, head of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch (FRW), told DVB: “We condemn the imposition of the death penalty in all cases as cruel and inhumane treatment. But we’ve also had no access to information about this case, so there is no way to say whether the three men on trial are in fact guilty.”

Chris Lewa, Director of the Arakan Project, told DVB: “My concern would be whether there was any kind of proper judicial system. This was quite quick.”

More than a third of Burma’s population belongs to oppressed nationalities and dozens of national liberation struggles have been ongoing since Burma won independence in 1948. In the past, both Rakhine and Rohinhya armed groups have fought the Burmese government in Arakan, and sometimes each other.

No Rohingya groups have been involved in armed struggle for 10 years. The main Rakhine rebel group, the Arakan Liberation Party, entered peace talks with the government this year.

Successive US governments have had a strained relationship with Burma’s military rulers. The US even provides not-so-covert support to some of the insurgent groups.

However, a confidential October 10, 2002, cable from the US embassy in Rangoon ― published by WikiLeaks on August 30 last year ― repeats in good faith spurious allegations by Burmese military intelligence linking the Rohingya national movement with Osama bin Laden.

The same cable expresses scepticism at Burmese government charges of terrorism against other armed national movements.

The Burmese government has used the anti-Islam bias in the “war on terror” narrative, which the West now uses to justify its wars, to delegitimise Rohingya self-determination to Western policy makers.

Reporting the current violence in Arakan, the Western media have generally repeated claims by the Burmese regime and Rakhine chauvinists that the Rohingya are not indigenous to Arakan, but are immigrants from Bangladesh or their descendants.

In reality, the Rohingya can trace their existence in Arakan as far back as the Rakhine can. There are records of Islamic political entities in Arakan more than a millennium ago.

Antipathy between different ethnic and religious groups was fostered by the British during the colonial period. In World War II, just before Burma won independence, Arakan was the site of some of the biggest clashes between the British and Japanese empires.

Intersecting with this conflict was Burma’s struggle for independence and many local conflicts. This resulted in large-scale violence between Japanese-armed Rakhine and British-armed Rohingya militias.

Both sides committed massacres of civilians, but the Rohingya bore the brunt of them. There was a large flow of Rohingya refugees to the nearest British territory: what is today Bangladesh.

Since independence in 1948, there have been anti-Rohingya pogroms in 1949, 1967-8, 1978 and 1991, sending more refugees to Bangladesh.

Encouraging Buddhist chauvinism and anti-Rohingya prejudice is the Burmese state’s political response to Rakhine nationalism. For its part, Bangladesh sees the Rohingya as illegal immigrants from Burma.

A group of 130 Rohingya refugees those fled sectarian attacks were arrested in an island of Gwa township


Note: A group of 130 Rohingya refugees those fled sectarian attacks were arrested in an island of Gwa township bordering with Irrawaddy Delta. But the report views them as suspected Bengali immigrants.

Over 100 suspected immigrants arrested on Gwa Island
Source from BNI, 26 June 2012

Over 100 men who are believed to be Bengali immigrants were recently arrested on Gwa Island that is situated seven miles away from Gwa Town in Arakan State.

Gwa-Arakan-bridge

A local resident said the authorities still have not publicized any information about how they arrived on the island and why they were arrested.

“The responsible authorities have not publicized anything about them yet. So, the people here are worrying why they have come to our island. So, we have written to the Gwa Township Peace and Stability Committee and demanded it publicize the matter immediately”, said the resident.

The Gwa Township Peace and Stability Committee is said to be formed with 28 members both civilians and government officials for preventing any unrest in their township after the violent unrests that have occurred in some townships in Arakan State. The local residents are said to have written to the committee demanding it publicize the information about the arrival and arrest of those Bengali immigrants on Gwa Island on 24th of June.

“We have learnt that they have entered into Shweyachai Village on the island dividing themselves into small groups—four of them on 22nd of June, another five on 23rd of June and group after group so on. They all were arrested, but the people in our township are now worrying why they have come to our island.

Another resident in Gwa also confirmed that 130 boat-wreck Bengali immigrants were arrested on the island.

“We heard that there were 130 men in total. They came to the island on 20th of this month after their boat sailing from Bangladesh to Malaysia was wrecked near the island. They were arrested and said to still be being kept on the island by the authorities”, said the resident.

A police officer from Gwa also confirmed the arrest of the immigrants on the island, but declined to tell any further details.

When we contacted the township administration office in Gwa over phone, a female official on duty said, her office still has not received any information about the arrest of the immigrants.

“Earnest Call to Save the Remaining Rohingyans in Arakan”


Dear All,

Many Rohingya people in exile including myself have struggle for democratization and the release of Political Prisoners in Burma. All of us hope that a day there will be Peace and Freedom. That day has come likely and Hope has come back for all.

But soon, ethnic cleansing against defenceless unarmed Rohingya is recurred in Arakan and there is a huge misinformation on the situation.. It is very horror and well organized from the beginning that Curfew and Order are imposed on only Rohingya while Rakhine people are freely allowed to carry out various attacks, looting goods and cash even harden woods and pillars and torching fire at last after security forces opening fires into Rohingya houses and Rohingyans. In this manner, many of our family members and relatives were killed including my cousins and my mum and sister are still missing..

Because of we are dark, or muslim or just Rohingya. I don’t know exactly. Despite politics, nationalities are not as important as the emergency. Nowadays in many local journal and online news, Rakhine- politicians, monks, historians and teachers are openly declaring that they could not share their lands, waters, foods and any resource for Rohingya, not anymore. Now, authority are replacing Rakhine people in Rohingya lands which were burnt down. High ranking authorities said that they don’t want to see any Kala in the town and Rohingya or Bengali or Kala could not be owner of anything in Burma.

Now, day by day Rohingyas are dying and disappearing by hundred from continuous arbitrary arrest, brutal abuses, starvation and lack of medication. Their cattle and goats, farming lands and crops were already taken away by Rakhines while all Rohingya in Arakan are confined within their houses. They can’t escape, they are trapped between the bullets of the authority and the knives of Rakhines. Rakhines are still chanting all over the town to cleans the remaining Rohingyans.

Pl do anything to stop all the abuses and crimes made on the remaining Rohingyas people before we go all extinguished. 100,000 Rohingyas are homeless today while there is raining season in Burma. Burmese authority do not provide any aid nor assistance for homeless Rohingyans. Soon our ethnicity will be disappeared and similar form will be utilized for other minorities. Only your voice can change something for us. We need your voice just to at least save our people. Save the remaining Rohingyas on an humanitarian ground. Let them have food and water and medication and shelter.

Please find a way to save our remaining relatives, our Rohingya people on Your Highness. We need international communities’ assistance, the authority will only be felt pressure by international communities. It is the moment given the racism in Arakan, so international help is the only situation for Rohingyas. Please help us.

Thankfully,
Habib
NDPHR(exile)

No way home for Myanmar’s Rohingya


Source rom Asia Time, 27 June

By Jacob Zenn

The recent inter-ethnic riots between Rakhine and Rohingya communities in Myanmar highlight some of the major human security issues the country must face as it embarks on democratization and peace-building processes.

While there are no questions asked about the citizenship of 135 officially recognized ethnic groups across Myanmar, the majority of which straddle the country’s borderlands with India, Bangladesh, China and Thailand, the Rohingya are viewed by the state as outsiders.

The Rohingya have lived in the border region between Bangladesh and Myanmar for generations, but as the aftermath of the riots shows, Myanmar citizens – elites and commoners alike – hold little sympathy for their stateless plight.

A typical post-colonial "indigene-settler" dispute exists in Rakhine state. The Buddhist Rakhines consider themselves as the original inhabitants of the land and perceive the Muslim Rohingya as "Bengali settlers". The Rohingya make conflicting historical claims to their rights as Myanmar citizens.

The recent tensions between the two communities escalated after the horrific rape and killing of a Rakhine girl in Kyat Ni Maw on May 28. Photos of her brutalized corpse were disseminated on the Internet, shortly after which news stations reported that three Rohingya were detained as suspects in her murder.

This prompted hundreds of Rakhines to rally against the crime in front of a police station and the local administrative agency of Rakhine state. Days later, on June 3, a group of Rakhines turned to vigilante justice when they reportedly killed nine Rohingya in a revenge attack on bus passengers in Taung Kote, Rakhine state.

Angered by the local media’s slanted reporting of the murder and its provocative references to the Rohingya as kala, Rohingya in Yangon staged their own protests.

Although the word kala derives from the Pali word meaning "noble", it also means "black" in the Hindi language.The term is associated with racist connotations in the Burmese language, and is often used to refer to outsiders from the subcontinent, including Bangladeshis, Indians, Nepalis, Sri Lankans and Pakistanis.

To Rohingya, being called kala is to deny their historical connection to Rakhine state. The word "Rohingya" derives from the word "Rakhine", evidence of their connection to the land, Rohingya claim.

The Rohingya’s protest over kala references also reflects their frustration over their official exclusion from Myanmar society. As the country’s democratic reforms move ahead, many disfranchised Rohingya hope to gain citizenship rights, but so far there are no indications this is in the cards.

Myanmar’s 1982 Citizenship Law established that the Rohingya, along with several other communities such as the Gurkhas (an ethnic community with historical links to Nepal), were not among the 135 officially recognized ethnic groups in Myanmar entitled to citizenship.

Myanmar’s next census is scheduled for 2013, but no changes in the Rohingya’s status are likely given that even the country’s most respected leaders are approaching the issue with caution in the wake of the recent riots. Pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi said recently that "the problem should be tackled by fair application of the law", presumably the already standing Citizenship Law.

Ko Ko Gyi, an icon from the 1988 pro-democracy protests brutally suppressed by the military and until recently a prominent political prisoner, has openly opposed the Rohingya gaining citizenship. He also implied that sympathetic foreigners should stay out of the issue, in line with the military’s long-held view on the matter.

"Now it is time that we announce our view on the Rohingya clearly. The Rohingya are not one of the ethnic groups of Myanmar at all. We see that the riots happening currently in Buthedaung and Maungdaw of [Rakhine] state are because of the illegal immigrants from Bangladesh called Rohingya and the mischievous provocations of some international communities," Ko Ko Gyi said.

"Therefore, such interfering efforts by some powerful nations on this issue without fully understanding the ethnic groups and other situations of Burma will be viewed as offending the sovereignty of our nation."

Empowered by Myanmar’s recent lifting of restrictions on the Internet, citizens now freely communicate on social-media networks such as Facebook. Many have used racially charged language about the Rohingya that previously would have been banned or censored.

Their online postings have highlighted grassroots perceptions among Burmans that the Rohingya should not be considered citizens of Myanmar. Not only are the Rohingya referred to as kala on these posts, but they are also being viewed as "terrorists".

One representative post, for example, read: "We have a right of self-defense. I hope DASSK [Daw Aung San Suu Kyi] would understand that this is not bullying the minority. They are not a minority anyway. This is a sovereignty issue and this is just terrorism and they are evil enemies of freedom."

By mid-June, the government had declared martial law and imposed a curfew in several districts of Rakhine state. More than 80 have been killed and thousands of homes torched since the clashes first erupted. Sporadic violence has continued since the imposition of emergency rule over the area.

More than 800,000 Rohingya reside in Myanmar, but the violence is pushing a new wave of refugees into Bangladesh. The United Nations estimated there were already 300,000 Rohingya living in refugee camps in Bangladesh, many of whom fled earlier rounds of state suppression against their communities in Myanmar.

Myanmar and Bangladesh will hold talks about the Rohingya situation in early July – Myanmar’s President Thein Sein is due to start a three-day visit to Bangladesh on July 15. Some hope the persecuted minority will be granted some sort of quasi-citizenship after the talks. If this should fail, then the Rohingya will remain in a legal and physical limbo hoping for refugee status somewhere abroad.

Jacob Zenn is an international-affairs analyst based in Washington, DC, who formerly worked at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Malaysia. He can be reached at zopensource123.

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