Friday, 21 November 2014

A Birthday Letter Home to Australia from a Prisoner of Thailand

Source Phuketwan, 19 Nov

By Alan Morison

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Father of five and WWII veteran John Morison celebrates his 91st birthday on November 20 at home in Mount Gambier, Australia, but the passport of his son, Alan, is being held in Thailand.

Dear Dad,

Happy Birthday. I wish I could be there to wish you a great one, as I did last year when you turned 90 and the whole family gathered to celebrate.

This year I can't make it. Sadly, I am a prisoner of Thailand. My passport has been seized because I am being accused by the Royal Thai Navy of criminal defamation. I face possibly a long jail term.

The contentious paragraph we published on the Phuketwan news site in July last year was written by two Reuters news agency reporters who won a prestigious Pulitzer award for it and other paragraphs in an excellent series on the Rohingya boatpeople.

Strangely enough, the Royal Thai Navy is suing Phuketwan and not the Reuters authors, probably because we are a very small organisation and Reuters is a large one.

So I have surrendered my Australian passport. An application to have it returned so I could be there for your birthday was rejected. If the case drags on, as seems likely, I could be a prisoner of Thailand for the next few years, with the prospect of jail still to come.

I miss you, and I miss all the family.

I am telling you this in a letter, Dad, because I know your hearing is failing. I also know that my sisters have kept secret from you the fact that I am a prisoner of Thailand. They fear that the news would kill you.

If I'd been there today, I probably would have told you all about it, as gently as possible. So instead, I must write to let you know what a great father you've been all these many years, and that your sacrifices will never be forgotten.

You were one of those worker Dads my four sisters and I saw less often than we would have liked, from a generation where fathers worked and mothers did not, at least not in regular jobs.

You went to war, just like your father did and Mum's father did. Both of them clambered ashore at Gallipoli. One of them was wounded and sent home. The other went on to the Western front where he was gassed in the trenches. He survived, but the gas cut his life short.

Why did Australia go to two world wars? There are times when injustice simply must be confronted, I guess.

My brave Thai colleague, Chutima Sidasathian, who is also being sued by the Royal Thai Navy, has been confronting the unjust treatment of Burma's Rohingya boatpeople in Thailand for years now.

The two of us aim to continue doing that. We've told the Royal Thai Navy that if they want to stop us reporting on what's happening to the boatpeople, they will have to kill us.

We hope the Navy sees sense and instead of using Draconian laws against a small media organisation, turns their attention to the human traffickers, or to the Burmese Government driving the Rohingya into the sea. Sadly, that seems unlikely to happen soon.

I became more hopeful recently when the British government won back the passport of a human rights defender named Andy Hall, simply by asking the Thai courts. Andy has since travelled to Britain and to Burma and could spend Christmas at home with his folks.

For reasons they decline to explain, the Australian Government continues to reject my pleas to do the same in my case, even though officially, my passport is their property.

We've enjoyed enormous support from many sources. The United Nations human rights body, the European Union nations, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Commission of Jurists and many other organisations have spoke up in our defence.

The Australian Government, though, has said nothing.

Over the years, Dad, there were many times when you showed how much you cared. The time I remember most is back in the '60s, when I was conscripted to join the Australian Army.

I was young and not in favor of the Vietnam War, but being a journalist I wanted to go to see for myself what was happening in Asia. I volunteered.

Without telling me, you wrote many letters to the Minister for the Army, mostly pointing out that too many conscripts were being killed by the enemy.

I remember as a gawky 20-something walking into the minister's office in Canberra. He sat me down in front of a huge desk.

You know the first words he said to me? ''Private Morison,'' he said, ''your father obviously loves you a lot.''

The Army Minister was right. Everything you've done for me and the family before and since has proven his judgement to be correct. Your values have become ingrained in all of us.

It took me many years to get to Asia. Now I'm there, fighting a different kind of fight for freedom of the media and for the Rohingya, a group the UN describes as the most persecuted people in the world.

The problem would be solved if Burma could be persuaded not to push them into the sea. The Royal Thai Navy and the Australian Government could do a lot to end their misery, not by turning back the boats but by preventing them from sailing.

I'm still left to wonder, though, if my country will ever be willing to fight for them, and for me.

It may be some time before I see you again.

Love to all,

Alan.

Alan Morison's sisters may decide it's not safe yet for John Morison to be told what's happening to his son. The trial of Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian for criminal defamation does not resume until July next year. If the case is lost, appeals are expected to take several more years.

What Others Say


The Australian Government

Former Ambassador to Thailand, James Wise: ''Normally, we take up issues like yours with our host government only after the person affected asks us to do so (especially when the case already has a high profile and we can be confident that the host government is aware of it). We would not want to cut across your own plans for managing the way you want to respond to the allegations against you - because, ultimately, how you manage your affairs is your business, not ours.''

United Nations

''Criminal prosecution for defamation has a chilling effect on freedom of the press,'' said Ravina Shamdasani, the spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. ''International standards are clear that imprisonment is never an appropriate penalty for defamation.''

Human Rights Watch

''The Thai navy's lawsuit is a reckless attempt to curtail journalists' reporting on alleged human trafficking by its officers,'' said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. ''Unless the government withdraws the case, its impact will be felt far beyond those reporting on abuses against the Rohingya - and could have a choking effect on all investigative reporting in Thailand.''

Reporters Without Borders

"It is intolerable that journalists are being prosecuted for just doing their job by relaying information of general interest that had already been made public," Reporters Without Borders said. "Bringing charges under the controversial Computers Crimes Act in a defamation case is indicative of the critical state of freedom of information in Thailand and amounts to an attempt to gag the media. We support these journalists, who are facing a jail term, and we call for the immediate withdrawal of these proceedings."

Committee to Protect Journalists

''Rather than shooting the messenger, the Royal Thai Navy would be better suited launching an internal investigation into the serious allegations of abuse that have been raised,'' said Shawn Crispin, CPJ's senior Southeast Asia representative. ''This type of legal intimidation aims ultimately at discouraging media reporting on allegations of serious human rights abuses.''

Chris Lewa, director of the rights group the Arakan Project

''Thanks to the fair investigative reporting by the Phuketwan journalists, the involvement of various Thai agencies in the massive smuggling and trafficking operations of Rohingya refugees and their related miseries is no more a secret. Rights groups should unite to call on Thailand to quash these defamation charges.''

Phuketwan

''We wish the Royal Thai Navy would clear its reputation by explaining precisely what is happening to the Rohingya in the Andaman Sea and in Thailand,'' Phuketwan said in a statement released in response to the charges. ''By instead using a controversial law against us, the Navy is, we believe, acting out of character.''

Bangkok Post

The action makes the navy look like a bully, and gives the impression the admirals would like to intimidate the media. Instead of defending the navy's honor, the criminal defamation suit holds it to question. Instead of silencing the media about the story - concerning the navy's role in the mistreatment of Rohingya boatpeople - the lawsuit repeats it, to more people and at greater length.

CNN

Morison said: "The navy's action over one paragraph has created a perfect storm. If the navy proceeds with the case, the Rohingya issue is now tied up in their action against media under a controversial law."

TIME

In the meantime, calmer seas mean that even more Rohingya are expected to attempt the treacherous journey in the weeks ahead. Nothing could gladden the traffickers more.

Reuters

Barb Burg, Reuters' (former) global head of communications: ''Our story was fair and balanced and Reuters has not been accused of criminal libel.''

Bill Barnett (The Phuket Insider)

The issues which have drawn Phuketwan into this fray are profound and disturbing. There should be no need to wax over reality and respect needs to be given to those who stand up for the helpless who cannot help themselves.

Andrew Drummond (Investigative Journalist)

We should all support journalists who are doing a difficult job here under laws which best suit a totalitarian state.

Excellence in Human Rights Reporting, Investigative Reporting awards

In 2010 the Phuketwan team shared the Society of Publishers in Asia Award for Excellence in Investigative Reporting and a second Award for Excellence in Human Rights Reporting, both with the South China Morning Post newspaper. Judges said of the Excellence in Investigative Reporting award: ''An excellent series that uncovered serious government abuses and had a material impact in correcting them. Exclusivity. Strong reporting. Hard-hitting piece with international implications.''

Of the Excellence in Human Rights Reporting award, the judges said: ''Excellent investigative work that exposed serious human rights abuses of oppressed people. Intrepid reporting of a hidden subject. This is a high-caliber series buttressed by solid on-the-ground reporting and great pictures. All militaries are challenging subjects for investigative reporters and Thailand's is no exception. The team clearly went to great lengths to get sources, break news, and provide the details that prodded the government into action.''

Other stories


Myanmar Army’s Major Tun Hlaing Zaw Says His Salary Increased After Killing Three Rohingyas

Source RB, 20 Nov

Maungdaw, Arakan – Myanmar Army's Major Tun Hlaing Zaw based in Northern Maungdaw Township in Arakan State, an in-charge of military outpost no. 12 based in Ywat Nyo Taung village and an officer of Battalion 551, said he is enjoying the salary increment after killing three Rohingyas recently.

On November 7, 2014 60 years old Shamshu s/o Sayed Alam was arrested by Major Tun Hlaing Zaw without any reason. He was killed and reportedly another two Rohingyas were killed by Major Tun Hlaing Zaw. Shamshu was reportedly an innocent old man who had been serving as chef for 15 years at the previous Na-Sa-Ka and current Border Guard Police (BGP) outpost based in Ywat Nyo Taung village. 

After killing three Rohingyas, Major Tun Hlaing Zaw is openly threatening the local Rohingyas by saying "If I arrest someone, he can be alive for a week only. Now I'm getting 50,000 Kyat salary increment in my monthly salary. I have a plan to kill hundred more." according local Rohingya residents. 

The alcoholic Major has been roaming surrounding villages with his unruly behaviors. On November 17, 2014 at 5 pm, his six soldiers went to Kyar Gaung Taung village and scrutinized passers-by without any reason. While doing so a 19 year old, Nur Mamed s/o Nurul Islam from Yay Khal Gyaung Kwa Sone village was going back to his home on a motor-bike. The soldiers stopped him and pulled him down and beat inhumanely. They said that going by motor-bike in front of them is disrespecting them. Nur Mamed was severely injured and couldn't go back home driving his motor-bike. He had to go back home with the help of a villager and until now he is under medical treatment. 

The soldiers have been reported to have brought three dogs. The dogs have bitten two goats owned by a Rohingya while the soldiers were going to Yay Khal Gyaung Kwa Soe village. The owner of the goats wasn't informed although the goats had injuries. The soldiers took the goats to the village administrator's house and cooked both goats and "ate like ogres", according to an eyewitness. 

As Major Tun Hlaing Zaw has been committing many crimes against humanity. Every night raiding houses. Most of the men are unable to sleep in their houses. They flee to the jungle at night.


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Boatpeople Spotted Between Phuket and Krabi as Riddle of Missing Rohingya Grows

Source Phuketwan, 17 Nov


What appears to be a Rohingya boat off the coast between Krabi and Phuket
What appears to be a Rohingya boat off the coast between Krabi and Phuket Photo by supplied

By Chutima Sidasathian and Alan Morison


PHUKET: A vessel believed to be crammed with up to 100 Rohingya has been sighted off the coast of Krabi, near Phuket in Thailand, as the mystery over the whereabouts of thousands of boatpeople deepens.

The rickety boat was sighted off the mainland, heading for Koh Yao Yai, a small island that is home to several five-star resorts, between Krabi and Phuket. 

Fishing trawlers and a network of small civilian vessels inform local district chiefs of sightings that are usually relayed to Thailand's Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, which oversees safety at sea. 

''We think it was definitely a Rohingya boat,'' an official said. ''But we lost contact with it quickly.''

As many as 12,000 members of the Muslim minority in Burma are reported to have fled to sea to avoid persecution since October 15 but only a few hundred have fetched up along Thailand's Andaman Sea coast, alarming activists who fear something has gone amiss. 

''Where are they?'' Chris Lewa of the Arakan Project, which plots migration across the Bay of Bengal, told Reuters on Saturday. ''We have become very concerned.''

Back in 2009, Phuketwan journalists discovered that boatloads of Rohingya were being towed out to sea by the Thai military and left without engines or sails. Hundreds perished at sea before survivors washed ashore in India and Indonesia. 

Five years on, there is no suggestion of a similar occurrence. But the families of the thousands who are now missing have no clue as to their fate. 

Many could be being kept by traffickers in secret jungle camps in mangrove-covered islands along the shores of the Thai provinces of Phang Nga and Ranong, close to the border with Burma, where more than 500 boatpeople from Burma (Myanmar) and Bangladesh have been apprehended in recent weeks. 

Almost all of those men, women and children have been taken into custody by local officials, working with Buddhist, Christian and Muslim volunteers to halt the flow of human trafficking victims through Thailand. 

With each newly-discovered batch of boatpeople comes an extended debate about whether the unwanted arrivals are human trafficking victims or merely illegal immigrants. 

Police and welfare organisations are reluctant to treat the arrivals as trafficked victims because funds and government accommodation are limited.

By categorising the Rohingya as ''Burmese'' under laws that allow Thailand to deal more easily with unwanted arrivals from neighboring Burma, Laos and Cambodia, officials can quickly truck the apprehended groups back to the border where they are often delivered straight into the arms of human traffickers again. 

The Rohingya, stateless in Burma, are denied all rights and being driven from Rakhine state by hateful Buddhist neighbors. It's ironic that only as unwanted captives in neighboring Thailand can they achieve their aim of being categorised as Burmese citizens.

Along the coast, district authorities and village chiefs have formed networks among fishing boats to alert them to the presence of boatpeople fleeing Burma and Bangladesh. 

Officials from the Department of Special Investigations and the Internal Security Operational Command in Bangkok recently visited the Andaman provinces to assess levels of human trafficking. 

Of a boatload of 259 men, women and children who were apprehended near the town of Kaper, 80 Bangladeshis have been sent for processing through a court in Ranong while the other 219 are to be deported as ''Burmese Muslims.'' 

Burma does not accept the Rohingya as citizens so they cannot return. These people are destined for human traffickers.

Of 86 people being held in the nearby town of Kuraburi, 12 categorised as ''Burmese Muslims'' are being sent to Immigration in Phang Nga while the others, all Bangladeshis, are to appear in Phang Nga court as illegal immigrants. 

As trafficking networks grow along the region's Indian Ocean coastline, growing numbers of men from Bangladesh are also being enticed onto boats in search of better jobs in Malaysia. 

Bangladeshi authorities are holding five Thais who have been accused of human trafficking and other arrests have been made in Thailand. 

Boatpeople Apprehended in Thailand, Sailing Season 2014-2015


September 23 37 boat people at Takaupa, categorised as illegal immigrants. Sentenced to 20 days in jail, now held by Immigration for deportation

October 11 53 boatpeople at Takaupa, categorised as victims of human trafficking, held in shelters at Ranong, Songkhla and Phang Nga

October 13 81 boatpeople at Takaupa, categorised as victims of human trafficking, held in shelters at Ranong, Songkhla and Phang Nga

October 24 boatpeople at Suksamran, categorised as illegal immigrants, sent to Ranong Immigration

October 78 boatpeople at Suksamran, Twelve ''Burmese Muslims'' sent to Ranong Immigration, Bangladeshis passed to court system

November 8 299 (overnight suddenly reduced to 259) boatpeople at Kaper. 80 Bangladeshis sent Ranong court, 179 ''Burmese Muslims'' at Ranong Immigration

November 11 86 boat people at Kuraburi, 12 ''Burmese Muslims'' to Phang Nga Immigration, Bangladeshis to Phang Nga

Queensland Rohingyas appeal world leaders of the G-20 Summit

Source Kaladan Press, 16 Nov

The Queensland Rohingya community gathered in front of King George Square in Brisbane, Australia on November 15, to rise the problem and situation of Rohingyas, facing in Burma to the world leaders who attend the G-20 Summit to solve their status in Burma, said Noor Zaman, the President Queensland Rohingya Community Inc.

QRC--02The Queensland Rohingya community gathered in front of King George Square in Brisbane, Australia

"We – Queensland Rohingya community Inc- gathered here to appeal to the world leaders of the G-20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia about the Rohingyas who are living in northern Arakan with several discriminations of basic Human Rights – education, health, rape, genocide, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrest,  movement, land confiscation, marriage and forced labor," said the Noor Zaman.

The political reforms today in Burma have yielded little for the Rohingya. Under the Burmese Citizenship law Act 1982, our people are not recognised as one of the 135 national races of Burma. We are stateless people in our own country. President Thein Sein openly stated in July 2012 there are two options for the Rohingya people. One option is to resettle them in a third country; and the other option is for the UNHCR to build a refugee camp in the country -our motherland, said Kefayet Ullah, the Secretary, Queensland Rohingya Community Inc.
QRC--01
The Queensland Rohingya community Inc requested to the world leaders and its guest Burmese President Thein Sein to stop its persecution policies of the Rohingya people before accept input from the Burmese government as a model developing country at the G-20 Summit, according to their press statement.

The statement urged the world leaders to save the Rohingya community in northern Arakan, Burma with following demands:- stop the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya community in Burma; to find a permanent solution for the stateless Rohingyas and refugees; to investigate massacres in Burma; to break Ms. Aung San Su Kyi silence on the plight of Rohingya people and stand for true and meaningful democratic reforms and human rights; to call international intervention in Burma; to impose new sanctions against Burma; to stop the ongoing crimes against humanity in Burma; to take necessary action to rebuild the burnt Rohingya villages without any conditions; to take action against the Burmese regime forcing the Rohingya to change their identity and threats to force Rohingya to register as Bengalis; to pressure to include and recognize the Rohingya as citizens under the Burmese Citizenship law 1982 and provide appropriate protection under that legislation; to monitor closely the situation of ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas, according to the statement.

Kyaw Zwar Minn, Myanmar's Ambassador to UK, France, Scandinavia and Ireland, acknowledged the long-persecuted Muslim minority Rohingya "are people" on November 13, in an exclusive interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour. But, we [do] not accept the title… the 'Rohingya'. While Amanpour highlighted that even the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon urged Myanmar to let the ethnic group be called whatever they want, the Ambassador said, "Of course", it will take time to accept the term "Rohingya" by Myanmar government and its people.

A Historic Moment with President Obama and Team: ethnic Rohingya are not illegal immigrants

By Rohingya MP, 14 Nov

US President Barack Obama said that ethnic Rohingya are not illegal immigrants, they are from here (Myanmar), they have been living her...e for a long long time ago and they need to be accepted as citizens of Myanmar.

President Obama had a roundtable meeting with fifteen representatives, including me, from civil society and community at US Embassy in Yangon on Friday, 14-11-14. The Representatives
discussed from different perspectives.

For the sake of peace and development of Rakhine State and Myanmar as a whole, I discussed about 140,000 IDPs of Rakhine State (caused by 2012 violences), human rights violations because of different faith and race including Rohingya. Myanmar citizenship cards contain race and religion name although there is no specific description about it in Myanmar citizenship law. Thus, citizenship card becomes not only an ID but also a license to be discriminated against race & religion. Therefore, citizenship card without race & religion and with national identity will be better for all people of Myanmar specially ethnic minorities. I explained that we Rohingya people are not illegal immigrants but indigenous people of Arakan. We have been living peacefully with Rakhine, Kaman and other ethnics for several centuries. Therefore, we enjoyed with full citizenship rights since we got independence in 1948. According to 1982 Citizenship Law of Myanmar, we are already in Myanmar before 1823, which is a reference year of eligibility for bona-fide citizenship and we have strong evidences for that. But our people are denied for citizens' fundamental rights. The worst is Rohingya are accused as illegal immigrants and a threat to the Union. As a community representative, I highlighted a number of key messages on behalf of Rohingya community. Rohingya want to enjoy with full-fledged citizenship rights, be good citizens of the Union and work for peace and development of Rakhine State and Myanmar. I requested President Obama to help to restore our rights in cooperation with our Myanmar President H.E U Thein Sein.

In response to a discussion of a participant, President Obama said that ethnic Rohingya are not illegal immigrants, they are from here (Myanmar), they have been living here for a long long time ago and they need to be accepted as citizens of Myanmar.

During the discussion, President Obama urged all people of Myanmar to work under National Identity "Myanmar" for development of Myanmar. There should be no violence and discrimination because of different faith and race. Everyone must be able to enjoy with their faith and culture. President explained diversity of New York lifestyle. President also explained that H.E urged to Myanmar President H.E U Thein Sein all ethnic groups treated equally in democracy, only one ethnic group should not be protected and all must be accepted as citizens of Myanmar. There are many more discussions by other representatives. 

President Obama & Team includes Amb. Susan Rice (National Security Advisor), Ben Rhodes (Assistant to President and Deputy National Security Advisor) and Derek Mitchell (US Ambassador to Myanmar). Our Team includes U Aung Myo Min (Equality Myanmar), U Kyaw Min Swe (Interim Press Council), U Reverend Samson (Kachin Baptist Network), Daw Saw Khin Tint (Rakhine Literature and Culture Association), Daw Nwe Zin Win (Pyi Gyi Khin), U Bo Bo Aung (Dawei Development Association), Daw Nge Nge Aye Maung (Association of Myanmar Disabled Women Affairs), Daw Khin Lay (Triangle Women Support Group), U Thein Aung (Action Labor Rights), U Nay Phone Latt (Myanmar ICT for Development), U Lian H. Sakhong, Burma Center for Ethnic Studies), U win Nyi Nyi Zaw (People's Alliance for Credible Elections Group), Dr. Kyaw Thu (Paung Ku), Daw Wai Wai Lwin (BadeiDha Moe)

The moment with President Obama and Team on Friday, 2:15 PM to 3:15 PM, 14-11-14, Yangon, Myanmar, is wonderful and historic for all of us.

Shwe Maung (a.k.a Abdul Razak)
Pyithu Hluttaw Representative
Buthidaung Constituency
Myanmar
Date: November 18, 2014 See More
Photo: A Historic Moment with President Obama and Team  (Friday, 2:15 PM to 3:15 PM, 14-11-14, Yangon, Myanmar)    US President Barack Obama said that ethnic Rohingya are not illegal immigrants, they are from here (Myanmar), they have been living here for a long long time ago and they need to be accepted as citizens of Myanmar.    President Obama had a roundtable meeting with fifteen representatives, including me, from civil society and community at US Embassy in Yangon on Friday, 14-11-14. The Representatives  discussed from different perspectives.    For the sake of peace and development of Rakhine State and Myanmar as a whole, I discussed about 140,000 IDPs of Rakhine State (caused by 2012 violences), human rights violations because of different faith and race including Rohingya. Myanmar citizenship cards contain race and religion name although there is no specific description about it in Myanmar citizenship law. Thus, citizenship card becomes not only an ID but also a license to be discriminated against race & religion. Therefore, citizenship card without race & religion and with national identity will be better for all people of Myanmar specially ethnic minorities. I explained that we Rohingya people are not illegal immigrants but indigenous people of Arakan. We have been living peacefully with Rakhine, Kaman and other ethnics for several centuries. Therefore, we enjoyed with full citizenship rights since we got independence in 1948. According to 1982 Citizenship Law of Myanmar, we are already in Myanmar before 1823, which is a reference year of eligibility for bona-fide citizenship and we have strong evidences for that. But our people are denied for citizens' fundamental rights. The worst is Rohingya are accused as illegal immigrants and a threat to the Union. As a community representative, I highlighted a number of key messages on behalf of Rohingya community. Rohingya want to enjoy with full-fledged citizenship rights, be good citizens of the Union and work for peace and development of Rakhine State and Myanmar. I requested President Obama to help to restore our rights in cooperation with our Myanmar President H.E U Thein Sein.    In response to a discussion of a participant, President Obama said that ethnic Rohingya are not illegal immigrants, they are from here (Myanmar), they have been living here for a long long time ago and they need to be accepted as citizens of Myanmar.    During the discussion, President Obama urged all people of Myanmar to work under National Identity

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Obama Says 'Rohingya,' Displeasing Myanmar Hosts

Source abcnews, 14 Nov

Barack Obama, Than Myint-U

Myanmar's minority Rohingya Muslims are among the most persecuted people on earth, and advocates of their cause were hoping President Barack Obama would not only press the issue during his visit this week — they were hoping he would simply say their name.

On Friday, the last day of his trip, he finally did — uttering the word publicly for the first time on his three-day visit at a news conference with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

"Discrimination against the Rohingya or any other religious minority does not express the kind of country that Burma over the long term wants to be," Obama said, in response to a reporter's question about the status of reforms in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

Myanmar's government views the estimated 1.3 million Rohingya — living in dire, segregated conditions in western Rakhine state — not as citizens, but as illegal migrants from Bangladesh encroaching on scarce land. For that reason, they say the Rohingya ethnicity does not exist.

In a bid to draw attention to the issue, the U.S. advocacy group United to End Genocide launched a social media campaign titled #JustSayTheirName, and thousands of people have signed an online petition and tweeted photos of themselves holding placards with the slogan on social media.

During a private meeting with President Thein Sein on Thursday which focused largely on the Rohingya's plight and a need for constitutional reforms ahead of 2015 elections, Obama used the word "Rohingya" multiple times and did so purposefully, according to a senior U.S. official who spoke only on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to comment by name.

But in his public opening statement, Obama did not specifically mention the Rohingya, referring only to the "terrible violence in Rakhine state."

During his last trip in 2012, Obama employed the word in a speech at the University of Yangon as he pressed Myanmar's leaders to end violence and consider granting them citizenship. Supporters applauded the move. Myanmar's government bristled.

The United Nations describes the Rohingya as one of the world's most persecuted minorities, and human rights groups say they comprise one of the world's largest stateless groups. Over the past two years, their plight has deteriorated markedly, with 140,000 trapped in crowded, unsanitary camps and more than 100,000 more fleeing as refugees in flimsy boats. Hundreds have been killed in mob attacks, and an unknown number have died at sea.

Although many Rohingya arrived in Myanmar generations ago, the government and most residents of Rakhine state insist they are ethnic Bengalis from Bangladesh — which also denies them citizenship. In Myanmar, neither 'Rohingya' nor 'Bengali' are counted as one of the 135 officially recognized ethnic groups.

Since the start of this year, Myanmar's government has stepped up pressure on foreign officials not to use the word "Rohingya."

Police find second group of Rohingya refugees north of Phuket

Source Phuketgazette, 15 Nov

1 / 3 Kuraburi police detained 86 Rohingya refugees believed to have been smuggled to Thailand from Myanmar by a human-trafficking ring. Photo: Kritsada Mueanhawong


2 / 3   All 86 refugees taken into custody on Wednesday were taken to Kuraburi Community Hall for further questioning and health checkups. Photo: Kritsada Mueanhawong

3 / 3 All 86 refugees taken into custody on Wednesday were taken to Kuraburi Community Hall for further questioning and health checkups. Photo: Kritsada Mueanhawong

  • Kuraburi police detained 86 Rohingya refugees believed to have been smuggled to Thailand from Myanmar by a human-trafficking ring. Photo: Kritsada Mueanhawong  All 86 refugees taken into custody on Wednesday were taken to Kuraburi Community Hall for further questioning and health checkups. Photo: Kritsada Mueanhawong  All 86 refugees taken into custody on Wednesday were taken to Kuraburi Community Hall for further questioning and health checkups. Photo: Kritsada Mueanhawong
  • PHUKET: A second group of 86 Rohingya refugees believed to have been smuggled to Thailand from Myanmar were taken into to custody by police north of Phuket on Wednesday.

    The refugees were detained in a rubber plantation in Kuraburi, Phang Nga province, after police were informed by local residents that a large group of Rohingya were hiding in the plantation.

    "We believe this second group of refugees was brought here by human traffickers in a large fishing boat and were ordered to wait in the plantation until a third party took them to Malaysia," said Kuraburi Police Acting Superintendent Winai Kongkaew.

    Last Saturday police took into custody 80 Bangladeshi and 219 Rohingya, smuggled into Thailand in a modified trawling vessel.

    It is thought this second group of refugees could be from another bogus trawler – one of three that was spotted off the Ranong coast earlier this week flying Thai flags (story here).

    After questioning the 86 refugees, police discovered that a Thai human-trafficking gang had been involved in smuggling them into the country.

    "From questioning the refugees, it appears that the traffickers ran away after being tipped off that we were coming to arrest them," Lt Col Winai said.

    An informed source said on Wednesday that more than 10 big Thai-based agents were involved in smuggling Rohingya from Myanmar to third countries (storyhere).

    "We know that in addition to collecting 30,000 baht from each refugee, the human-trafficking gangs also get another 60,000 baht per person from potential employers in the third country," Col Winai explained.

    All 86 refugees taken into custody on Wednesday were taken to Kuraburi Community Hall for further questioning and health checkups.

    "We will expand our investigations to try and track down and arrest the human trafficking gangs still operating in this area," Lt Col Winai said.

    - See more at: http://www.phuketgazette.net/phuket-news/Police-find-second-group-Rohingya-refugees-north/39478#ad-image-0

Friday, 14 November 2014

Ban Ki-Moon flip-flops on Rohingya identity

Source DVB, 
A photo posted by government spokesman Zaw Htay (Hmuu Zaw) on 13 November 2014, accompanying an exchange between a Burmese reporter and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon at the 25th ASEAN Summit, highlights a conversation between Thein Sein and a Dutch MP in September, in which the president says that A photo posted by government spokesman Zaw Htay (Hmuu Zaw) on 13 November 2014, accompanying an exchange between a Burmese reporter and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon at the 25th ASEAN Summit, highlights a conversation between Thein Sein and a Dutch MP in September, in which the president says that "no ethnic nationality in Burma can accept these people being recognised as an ethnic group," urging "not [to] refer to them as the Rohingya." (Photo: Hmuu Zaw Facebook)
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  •  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon met with a select group of local reporters today at the 25th ASEAN Summit in Naypyidaw, where he toned down earlier statements supporting the UN's recognition of the term "Rohingya," a move that appears to have been calculated to avoid a backlash from the Burmese government and media.

Addressing the government's "Action Plan" for Arakan State, he said he was confident that the government "can be successful in addressing the complex problems in Rakhine [Arakan] so that all communities can look forward to a safe, dignified and hopeful future," adding that  "The UN stands ready to help in these efforts."

A leaked draft of the controversial Rakhine Action Plan, which was seen by the media at the end of September, contained clauses that, if implemented, could potentially see hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas and other Muslims face indefinite detention and eventual expulsion from Burma if they fail to meet stringent requirements qualifying them for Burmese citizenship.

On Wednesday, the Secretary-General unambiguously declared that "the United Nations uses that word [Rohingya] based on the rights of minorities," implicitly criticising government policy forcing them to identify as "Bengalis" if they desire citizenship rights currently denied to them under Burma's 1982 citizenship law.

But in an apparent about-face on Thursday, Ban said that "focusing on the issue of terminology will not solve the problem," claiming that "these problems can only be solved through political solutions and both humanitarian and development assistance to those who are suffering and in need."

His statement on Thursday took ethnic Arakanese grievances into account, observing that "both communities [in Arakan State] have suffered violations of their rights," clarifying that "the UN is concerned about the well being of all peoples."

"It is time to alleviate the fears of the two communities: by that I mean both the Rakhine community and what you call the Rohingyas or Bengalis, and to address their grievances and uphold their human rights," he said. "Failure to do so, as we have seen in other parts of the world, can magnify inter-communal tensions and sow the seeds for future instability."

His earlier show of support for Rohingya rights to self-identification was met by vociferous questioning from Burmese reporters at the conference, who dedicated the majority of a question-and-answer session following his address to the subject.

On Thursday, Presidential spokesman Zaw Htay posted an exchange on his Facebook page between a Burmese reporter and the Secretary-General at the Wednesday conference, in which he was asked for his opinion on a proposal to "DNA test" Rohingyas to determine if the name "Bengali" was "scientific."

Maung Maung Ohn, the Chief Minister of Arakan State, penned Ban a refutation letter on Thursday asserting that "lending the stature of your office to this highly volatile debate…  can have a lasting detrimental impact on our ability to do the work needed on the ground to bring the communities together."

Although Ban's wavering on the question of Rohingya identity sets a questionable precedent for the UN's acceptance of the erosion of basic rights in Burma, the organisation does not accept the Rakhine Action Plan's more worrying components.

"The UN is aware of the draft plan which includes some controversial elements and challenges," Stephane Dujarric, the Secretary-General's spokesman, told DVB. "Concerns have been raised and the UN will continue making efforts to have the authorities ensure that any framework for Rakhine will abide by international norms and standards."

Flood and landslides in Cameron Highlands of Malaysia claimed five lives

MERHROM press released, 12 Nov

Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM) is deeply sad over the muddy flood and landslides in Cameron Highlands that claimed five lives and caused over 90 victims from 28 families to be evacuated.

 

We strongly support the act of the Malaysian government to take action against those responsible for the incident. In regards to the 4000 Rohingya in Cameron Highlands, we do not have any information that they are working there. If yes, maybe the number is very small. We hope the government will thoroughly investigate the identity of the person who claimed themselves as Rohingya because they can be a Bangladeshi or other ethnic from Myanmar itself.  We can help the government at any time in the identification process of Rohingya refugees and Asylum Seekers in Cameron Highlands or other places in Malaysia.

 

We also hope the UNHCR will be very careful in their identification process as there are cases where other ethnic from Myanmar were identified as Rohingya in their UNHCR cards. This has a serious impact on the Rohingya community in Malaysia when this non-Rohingya who carried UNHCR card that identify them as Rohingya involved in crime activities. This will bring bad reputation for the Stateless Rohingya refugees. Therefore we really hope the UNHCR will review their identification process. We also hope the UNHCR to be equal in the registration of refugees and asylum seekers as very little number of Stateless Rohingya get registered with UNHCR and resettled in the third country compared to other ethnic who are citizen of Myanmar. Due to the failure of registration with UNHCR, many Rohingya asylum seekers are forced to use fake UNCHR cards in order to survive.

 

The Rohingya faces various kinds of prosecutions from the Myanmar government. The Rohingya became the victims of Genocide and have to flee from or homeland to save our lives. In this situation we will always obey the national laws and regulations of the country who give us protection. Currently lots of Rohingya have been arrested, tortured and killed due to allegation by the Myanmar government that they were involve with Al-Qaeda and ISIS.

 

We hope the Prime Minister of Malaysia YAB Dato' Sri Najib Tun Razak, Asean Leaders and the World Leaders will raise the Rohingya's plight during the 25th ASEAN SUMMIT in Myanmar that take place today and tomorrow. As the theme for the 2014 ASEAN Chairmanship is "Moving Forward in Unity to a Peaceful and Prosperous Community", Myanmar government must stop its continuous prosecutions and Genocide towards ethnic minority Rohingya in order to achieve a Peaceful and Prosperous Community. If not, Myanmar will continuously giving problem to its neighboring countries and to the world at large.

 

We hope the President Barack Obama and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon will raise the Rohingya's plight during the two days meeting. We hope both President Barack Obama and Ban Ki Moon will conduct a special meeting with Myanmar government to end prosecutions and Genocide towards minority Rohingya.  

 

We hope for the continuous support from the Malaysian government, Asean countries, United Nations and the International Communities at large to save the remaining Rohingya.

 

 

Sincerely,

Zafar Ahmad Bin Abdul Ghani

President

Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM)

Tel No: +6016-6827287

Blog: www.merhrom.wordpress.com

Sunday, 9 November 2014

78 Rohingya rounded up in Ranong

Source nationmultimedia, 7 Nov

Rohingya boatpeople in Ranong in 2009 are still being held two years on

Photo by phuketwan.com/file


Police rounded up 78 Rohingya people at a remote seaside spot in Sooksamrarn district Friday morning.

They told police that paid between Bt35,000 to Br45,000 to a boat to take them to the spot waiting for another boat to take to Malaysia where they want to find a job.

They said they travelled about 25 days in the sea and there were about 600 Rohingya people on the boat. Once they arrived Ranong, they scattered to hide on various islands, pending transit to Malaysia.

High-profile BGP official killed a Rohingya old man

Source burmatimes, 7 Nov

Posted on November 8, 2014 by 
IMG_0418
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Burma Times: 08 Nov 2014 By Mir Ahmed A.B Siddiquee.

Burma Times: Maungdaw, western Burma- BGP CAMP NO.12, IN-CHARGE OFFICER KILLED A ROHNGYA OLD MAN WITHOUT ANY REASON

Shamshul Alam, s/o:  Sayed Alam, 65 years, from Ywet Taung (Rogya Daung) was killed by a high-profile official of Border Guard Police of Myanmar who is camp in-charge of camp no,12  without any reason.

Last night the BGP camp in-charge officer entered into a Rohingya house in Rongya Daung village and tried to pull out a young girl. The house holder was crying for help meantime wife of Shamshul Alam came out from their house and stared at the neighbor house to know about the incident but the old man Shamshul Alam was in his bed because he was suffering fever.

As soon as the officer knew about the old lady followed him then he pull out her husband then started beating and took to the camp, only half kilometer far from their house. The officer was drunk and didn't stop beating along the way to the camp. "Non-stop beating ended his breath". Before they (officer and group) reach to the camp, the old man died at the gate.  Sooner after the old man died, the officer called his wife and took signature then ordered to burry as soon as possible. Therefore the dead body has buried at early 07: 00 am( Myanmar standard time).

According to villagers' statement,  the camp in-charge of camp No12, the officer very often used to say, in public meeting as below—

"I was the single one who created the Duchiyartaan conflict last year, it was cleansed. Now I am here to cleanse these villages.  I am here to kill all of you Rohingyas and your bearded priests (Mollas). I don't want to see any Rohingya Molla in any village here. They are the agents of RSO. I will eradicate all Mollahs from my area"

 IMG_0417

Saturday, 8 November 2014

“Rohingya Issue at a Global Scale” ARU-DG, Dr. Wakar Uddin, States at the Rohingya Event at Harvard University

Source ARU, 7 Nov

Pl see the video via the link here..

Cambridge, MA. The Harvard Global Equity Initiative (HGEI) in conjunction with FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, and the Harvard University Asia Center convened a half-day conference on November 4, 2014 on the devastating–and worsening situation of Myanmar's Rohingya ethnic minority as evidence and research to identify a remedy for the deplorable situation faced by Rohingya community in Arakan state, Myanmar.

There were four panels, including "The Voice of Rohingya" where Maung Tun Khin, Daw Khin Hla, U Ba Sein, and Professor Dr. Wakar Uddin spoke. The session included two major themes: (1) Personal experience and situation on the ground in Arakan; and (2) The roles of international players, their impacts on the issue, and the major challenges in tackling the problem. Maung Tun Khin provided accounts of his personal experiences while growing up in Arakan with regards to basic human rights, and Daw Khin and U Ba Sein provided the background information on the Rohingya issue and the current situation on the ground. Dr. Wakar Uddin provided an international perspective describing roles of the major players such as OIC, US, the European Union, the United Nations, international NGOs, and Rohingya leadership inside Burma.

Dr. Wakar Uddin outlined the advances made by the international community, highlighting consistent messages from United Nations General Assembly, United States Congress, and United Nations Special Rapporteurs to Myanmar, and various NGOs. He spoke about the significance of the current UNGA Resolution on Rohingya and Burma, which is a country specific consensus resolution that has been sent to the Secretariat of the Third Committee at the United Nations General Assembly on October 31, 2014. Among the several demands in the UNGA resolution, Dr. Uddin laid strong emphasis on "Rohingya ethnic identity" and "equal access to full citizenship" that the resolution has clearly stated. He described the key obstacles faced by the international community in tackling the problem, particularly internal issues such as the radical elements within the Government of Burma and the system of government itself.  On the international issues, he outlined several obstacles such as premature lifting of the sanctions led by the Europeans, international euphoria over the democratic transition and investments/trades, some international lack of insights to convoluted military-political machinery, frequent mixed messages and lack of common strategy, little or no international access to all affected areas in Arakan, and ASEAN-Myanmar relations. Dr. Uddin also highlighted some much needed key strategies by the international community to effectively end the persecution of Rohingya through  concerted efforts such as sustaining and reinstating international sanctions, development of a comprehensive list of sanctioned Burmese officials, targeting the 1982 citizenship law, stepping up the demands for recognition of Rohingya ethnicity by the Government of Burma, pressuring ASEAN countries to be part of common international strategy, presence of international teams (NGOs and media) to all affected area in Arakan, and maintaining the momentum at OIC, United Nations, and U.S. Congress in bringing resolutions. "Reinstatement of citizenship of Rohingya is the central issue, and there is not going to be a good solution until the 1982 Citizenship Law is dismantled or seriously amended" Dr. Uddin stated.

Friday, 7 November 2014

11 Rohingyas held in Medan immigration detention center

Source Antaranews, 6 Nov

A police officer stands guard near illegal migrants from Burma at an immigration detention centre in Medan in Indonesia's North Sumatra province on 5 April 2013. (Reuters)
A police officer stands guard near illegal migrants from Burma at an immigration detention centre in Medan in Indonesia's North Sumatra province on 5 April 2013. (Reuters)

Medan, N Sumatra (ANTARA News)
- Eleven Rohingyas from Myanmar are being held at the Medan Immigration Detention Center in Belawan, North Sumatra, for illegally entering Indonesia.

The head of the immigration detention center, Purbanus Purba, said here on Thursday that the foreigners were seized by immigration officers in Belawan, who then detained them at the center on Wednesday.

"The foreign citizens entered Indonesia illegally without any documents," he stated.

The arrest of these Rohingyas brought the total number of Myanmarese citizens being held at the center to 77, Purba added.

"After the 132 Somali detainees at the center, the number of Myanmarese ones is the largest," he affirmed.

Indonesia, especially Medan, sees a lot of illegal immigrants venturing into the country from many nations, even from ones as far as Afghanistan, Somalia, and Sri Lanka, among others.

The Rohingyas entered Indonesia through Tanjung Balai in Medan in a wooden boat from Malaysia.

"They were staying in Indonesia in transit, while waiting for other countries to receive them as asylum seekers," Purba explained.

Based on data from the Medan Immigration Detention Center, as many as 359 foreign citizens were held at the center in November. These included 26 Afghans, 11 Bangladeshis, 17 Palestinians, 77 Rohingyas, 132 Somalis, 42 Sri Lankans, 17 Iranians, 22 Sudanese, 2 Eritrean, one South African, nine Pakistanis, one Taiwanese and one Nepalese.(*)

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Buddhist teachers plead for Burma in an open letter to Obama

Source Lionroar, 3 Nov

Obama Burma Muslims Violence Buddhist

This morning, hundreds of Western Buddhist teachers sent an open letter to the President, asking him to show concern for Burma's Muslims. (In the September issue of the Shambhala Sun, Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield wrote about the anti-Muslim violence being committed by Buddhists in Burma. That article, along with action items for how you can help, is available to read in full.)

Obama will visit Burma in two weeks to attend two regional summits. While there, he plans to hold a town-hall-style meeting to discuss violence and democracy with Burmese youth. This is his first trip to Burma since 2012, when he visited to congratulate the government on its democratic reforms. As the New York Timesreported on Friday, those reforms have had limited success.

In the letter, Kornfield and 380 other Buddhist teachers ask Obama to "express concern for Burma's Muslims," and honor the "Burmese legacy of tolerance." Read the letter and the names of all 381 signatories, in full:

TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
from the BUDDHIST TEACHERS NETWORK

URGING YOU TO ADDRESS ANTI-MUSLIM VIOLENCE
AT THE UPCOMING ASEAN MEETING IN BURMA/MYANMAR

Dear President Obama,

We as 381 Buddhist Teachers in America represent a large community that is deeply concerned about the growing anti Muslim violence in Myanmar and across Asia, and the plight of the 1.3 million Rohingyas, many forced to live against their will in inhumane internment camps and permanent ghettoized communities.

We know you have been supportive of all Burmese people and have encouraged peace and reconciliation across the nation.

Your upcoming visit to Burma is an important opportunity to strengthen your capacity as a peacemaker. We urge you to once again express concern for Burma's Muslims and Rohingyas in your public speeches and as well as in your diplomatic engagements there. We believe you can do so in a positive way, honoring the Burmese legacy of tolerance and Metta, values shared across all the great spiritual traditions, as nations including our own face challenges of injustice and prejudice.

Thank you for your care in this matter that affects so many lives in Burma.

Yours Respectfully,

Dr. Jack Kornfield, Spirit Rock Center. Woodacre, CA
Hozan Alan Senauke, International Network of Engaged Buddhists Berkeley, CA
Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, Chair, Buddhist Global Relief (BGR), President, Buddhist Association of the United States (BAUS), Chuang Yen Monastery, Carmel NY
Dr. Robert Tenzin Thurman, Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, Dharma teacher, Menla Mountain Retreat Center, Phoenicia NY
Dr. Reggie Ray, Dharma Ocean Foundation, Boulder and Crestone, CO
B. Alan Wallace, Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies, CA
Lama Surya Das, Spiritual Director, Dzogchen Center, Cambridge, MA
Gina Sharpe, New York Insight Meditation Center, NY, MY
Carol Wilson, Insight Meditation Society, Barre, MA
Joseph Goldstein, Insight Meditation Society, Barre, MA
Dr. Rick Hansen, San Rafael, CA
Will Kabat-Zinn, Spirit Rock Mediation Center, Woodacre, CA
Dr. Donald Rothberg, Spirit Rock Center, Woodacre, CA
Gil Fronsdal, Insight Meditation Center, Redwood City, CA
Lama Palden. Sukkhasiddhi Fdtn. Fairfax
Trudy Goodman, InsightLA, Los Angeles, CA
Tara Brach, Insight Meditation Center, Washington, DC
Sylvia Boorstein, Spirit Rock Center, Woodacre, CA
Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot, Upaya Zen Center
Pamela Weiss, SF Insight, San Francisco, Ca
Sebene Selassie, director New York Insight Meditation Center, New York, NY
Venerable Dr. Pannavati, Co-Abbot, Embracing Simplicity Hermitage
Venerable Pannadipa, co-abbot, Embracing Simplicity Hermitage
Acharya C Dhammaratana, Embracing Simplicity Hermitage
Susie Harrington, Desert Dharma, Moab, UT
Steve Armstrong, Vipassana Metta Foundation, Maui, HI
Kamala Masters, Vipassana Metta Foundation, Maui, HI
Matthew Brensilver, PhD, Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society , San Francisco, CA
Jane Baraz, Berkeley, CA
Art Jolly, Oakland, CA
Dr. Nikki Mirghafori, Spirit Rock Center, Woodacre, CA
Narayan Helen Liebenson, Cambridge Insight Meditation Center
Cambridge, MA
Konda Mason, East Bay Meditation Center, Oakland, CA
Maureen Shannon-Chapple, InsightLA, CA
Kokyo Henkel, Santa Cruz Zen Center, CA
Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara, Village Zendo, NY, NY
Santacitta Bhikkhuni, Aloka Vihara, Placerville, CA
Kate Lila Wheeler, Compassion Sangha
Somerville, MA
Tempel Smith Spirit Rock Center. Woodacre, CA
JoAnna Harper, Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society, Los Angeles, CA
Erin Treat, Durango Dharma Center, Durango, CO
Richard Shankman, Spirit Rock Center, Woodacre, CA
Gregory Scharf, Insight Meditation Society, Barre MA
Ralph Steele. Buddhists of New Mexico
Stan Lombardo, Kansas Zen Center, KS
Daishin McCabe, Soto Zen Buddhism
George Pitagorsky, NY Insight Meditation Center, NY
Zipporah Portugal, Insight Meditation Society NYC, NY
Kirsten Rudestam, Insight Santa Cruz, CA
Kathryn Turnipseed, Albuquerque, NM
Bill Spangle, Kagyu Changchub Chuling, Portland, OR
Dora DeCoursey, Kagyu Changchub Chuling, Portland, OR
Lori Wong, Insight Meditation Central Valley, Modesto, CA
Kirtan Coan, Winston Salem Dharma Community, NC
Rev. Gaelyn Godwin, Houston Zen Center, Houston, TX
Claire Stanley, Ph.D., Vermont Insight Meditation Center, Brattleboro, VT
Rev Christine Palmer, Soto Zen, Mill Valley, CA
Jeanne and Steve Lowry, Gathering Waters Sangha, Milwaukee WI
Rev. Eido Frances Carney, Olympia Zen Center, Olympia, WA
La Sarmiento, Insight Meditation Community of Washington, MD
Gordon Peerman, Insight Nashville, TN
Ruby Grad, Portland Insight, Portland, OR
Dr Pawan Bareja, East Bay Meditation Center, Oakland, CA
Ann Buck, InsightLA, Los Angeles, CA
Janice Clarfield, WestCoast Dharma
John Mifsud, East Bay Meditation Center, Oakland, CA
Ayya Dhammadhira, Mahpapajapati Monastery, Pioneertown, CA
Rev. Judith Randall, San Francisco Zen Center, CA
Wildecy de Fatima Jury, EBMC, Oakland, CA
Daniel Bowling, Spirit Rock Center, Woodacre, CA
Shell Fischer, Insight Meditation Center, Washington DC
William (bill) Brooks, Insight Meditation Community of Fredericksburg, VA
Gary Buck, PhD., Spirit Rock Center, Woodacre, CA
Francesca Morfesis, Insight Meditation Society, Barre, MA
Elizabeth Rapaport, Albuquerque Vipassana Sangha , NM
Jundo Cohen, Treeleaf Sangha
John Blackburn, Tennessee Community of Mindfulness, TN
Deborah Ratner Helzer, Insight Meditation Community of Washington, MD
Vanee Songsiridej, MD, Peace Sangha, WI
Ron Vereen. Durham, NC (Triangle Insight Meditation Community)
Gary Singer, New York Insight, NY
Susan Orr, Sacramento Buddhist Meditation Group, CA
Dosho Port, Great Tides Zen, Portland, ME
Cornelia Santschi, Newark Community Meditation Center, Newark NJ
Katy Wiss, Westchester Insight Meditation Community, Danbury, CT
Maureen Fallon-Cyr, Durango Dharma Center, CO
Lesley Grant, Marin Mindfulness Institute , CA
Oren J. Sofer, Oakland, CA
Susan Bachman, Insight Meditation Center, Redwood City, CA
Don Morreale. Colorado Insight Meditation Community, CO
Carol Cook, Prescott Vipassana Sangha – Prescott, AZ
Patricia Dai-En Bennage, Mt. Equity Zendo, Jiho-an, Muncy, PA
Zenkei Blanche Hartman, San Francisco Zen Center, CA
Katherine Barr, Durango Dharma Center. CO
Judith Roitman (Zen Master Bon Hae), Kansas Zen Center, KS
Rev. Nonin Chowaney, Nebraska Zen Center / Heartland Temple, NE
Ocean Gate Zen Center Shinshu Roberts/Jaku Kinst
Sharon Beckman-Brindley, Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville, VA
Denis Martynowych, Seattle WA, Seattle Insight Meditation Society
Richard A. Heckler, PhD, Pundarika Foundation, CA
Mary Helen Fein, Mountain Stream Meditation, Nevada City, CA
Linda Ruth Cutts , San Francisco Zen Center / Green Gulch Farm Zen Center / Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, CA
Amy Selzer, New York Insight Meditation Center, NY
Ani Gilda Paldrön Taylor, Portland Sakya Center, Portland, OR
Janet Lipner, Buddhist Peace Fellowship
Kate Wylie, Vermont Insight Meditation Center, VT
Shinchi Linda Galijan, Tassajara Zen Mountain Center
Howard Cohn, Mission Dharma, San Francisco, CA
Susan Ezequelle, Insight Meditation Center
Rikki Asher, Chan Meditation Center, Rego Park, NY
Charmaine Henderson. New York Insight Meditation Center and North Fork of Long Island Insight Meditation Sangha
Rev. Edward Keido Sanshin Oberholtzer, Lewisburg, PA
Joseph Priestley Zen Sangha
Shinge Roko Sherry Chayat, Abbot, Zen Studies Society, Livingston Manor, NY
Caverly Morgan, One House of Peace, Portland, OR
Charles A. Lingo, Jr
True Seal of Virtue, Chan An Duc, Breathing Heart Sangha, Mindfulness Practice Center of Atlanta, Decatur GA
Stephen Brown, Berkeley CA
Lisa Ernst, One Dharma Nashville, TN
Susan Kaiser Greenland, Inner Kids, CA
Keri Pederson, Seattle Insight Meditation Society, WA
Tenney Nathanson (Sensei), Desert Rain Zen, Tucson, AZ
Rev Furyu Schroeder, Abiding Abbess, Green Gulch Farm, San Francisco Zen Center, CA
Debra Seido Martin, Zen West/ Empty Field Zendo, Eugene, OR
Santussika Bhikkhuni, Karuna Buddhist Vihara, Mt. View, CA
Arthur Silacci, Prescott Vipassana Sangha, Prescott, AZ
Rev. Therese Fitzgerald, Dharma Friends, Maui, Hawai'i
Alicia Dougherty, Prescott Vispassana Sangha, Prescott, AZ
Toni Greene
Camille Hykes, Natural Dharma Fellowship, Boston, MA
Anna Suil, Santa Cruz, CA
Shinzen Young, Vipassana Support International
Deborah Alberty, Vipassana Sangha
Richard Brady, Mountains and Rivers Mindfulness Community.
David Lawson, Still Mountain Buddhist Meditation Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Martha Wooding-Young
Barbara Casey
Chan Linh Thong, True Spiritual Communication, Peaceful Refuge Sangha, Ashland, OR Kristi Holmstrom
Dr. Karen Hilsberg, Order of Interbeing, Culver City, CA
Laura Goldstein
Rik Center, Mindfulness Care Center, San Francisco, CA
Myokei Caine-Barrett Shonin, Myoken-ji Temple/Nichiren Buddhist Sangha of Texas
Houston, TX
Ernestine Enomoto, Honolulu Mindfulness Community, Honolulu, Hawaii
Helen C. Morgan, Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
Rev. Keiryu Lien Shutt, AccessToZen.org
Kristen Larson, NO Sangha – Diamond Sangha lineage, Port Angeles WA
Lhundup Jamyang (Marleen Schreuders), FPMT
Shastri David Stone, Chicago Shambhala
Andrew Palmer, Sensei, Open Source Zen (Vast Refuge Sangha, Wet Mountain Sangha, Springs Mountain Sangha), Colorado Springs, CO
Douglas Kaishin Phillips; Empty Sky Sangha; West Cornwall, CT and Lexington, MA
George Bowman Zen Priest, Furnace Mountain Zen Community, Clay City, KY
Joan Sutherland, Roshi, Awakened Life & The Open Source, Santa Fe, NM
Younes Mourchid, Spirit Rock, Woodacre, CA
Leslie Baron
Gretchen Neve, Shambhala Center of Chicago
Jeanne Anselmo, Plum Village Tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh
Leslie Rawls, Dharma teacher, Charlotte (NC) Community of Mindfulness
Kenn Duncan, Prescott Vipassana Sangha, AZ
Mahin Charles, San Francisco, CA
Ven. Bodhin Kjolhede, Abbot, Rochester Zen Center, Rochester, New York.
Shoyo Taniguchi, Ph.D.
Kaye Cleave, San Francisco, CA
Jill Allen
Cynthia Loucks, Prescott Sangha, Prescott, AZ
Tubten Pende, Santa Cruz, CA
Annik Brunet, Sukhasiddhi Foundation, Fairfax, California
Jack Lawlor, Lakeside Buddha Sangha, Evanston, Illinois
David I. Rome
Myoshin Kelley
Susan Antipa
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Zen Center of NYC
Venerable Chang Wen, Buddhist Monk, Dharma Drum Retreat Center, Pine Bush, NY
Noah Levine, Against The Stream Buddhist Meditation Society, Los Angeles, CA
Ann Barden, Insight Meditation Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI
Karen Drimay Gudmundsson, Gelongma FPMT, Land of Medicine Buddha
Rev. Konin Melissa Cardenas,
John Yates PhD Dharma Treasure Buddhist Sangha, Upasaka Culadasa
Susannah Freeman White
Glenda Hodges-Cook, Louisville Vipassana Community, KY
Dr. Gareth Sparham
Philip Davidson & Kay Davidson, Mindfulness Meditation For Richmond
Tsechen Ling, University of Michigan, University of California
Ruben L.F. Habito, Maria Kannon Zen Center, Dallas, TX
Gerry Shishin Wick, Roshi, Great Mountain Zen Center, Berthoud, CO
Nancy Baker,NY, NY, No Traces Zendo
Jacqueline Mandell, Samden Ling, Portland, OR
Ethan Nichtern
Bruce Wilding
Rev. Shinkyo Will Warner, Lexington Nichiren Buddhist Community, KY
Michael Schwammberger – Chan Phap Son
B. Alan Wallace, Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies
Tim Olmstead, The Pema Chodron Foundation, The Buddhist Center of Steamboat Springs. CO
Dr Daniel M. Ingram, MD
Sheridan Adams, IMCB
Tim Geil, Seattle Insight Meditation Society
Gyalten Palmo, Tse Chen Ling Center
Jonathan Landaw, Land of Medicine Buddha, Soquel, CA
Dr. Libby Howell, Desert Lotus Sangha, Phoenix, AZ
Rev. Ronald Kobata, Buddhist Church of San Francisco, SF, CA
Lorne Ladner, PhD. Guhyasamaja Buddhist Center.
John Dooley, Prescott Vippasana Sangha, AZ
David Chernikoff; Boulder, CO; Insight Meditation Community of Colorado
Maria Janca, Sangha in Prescott AZ
Josh Korda, Dharmapunx New York + Againsthestream
Chas Macquarie, President, DZIMC
Stephanie Tate, Glass City Dharma, Toledo, OH
Rev. Henry Toryo Adams, San Mateo Buddhist Temple, San Mateo, CA
Kenneth Folk
Rev. Maia Duerr, Upaya Zen Center, AZ
Matthew Daniell, IMS, Barre MA & IMC Newburyport, MA,
Dr. Nicholas Ribush, Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive, Lincoln MA
Dharmacharini Viveka Chen, Triratna Buddhist Order, SF, CA
Amy Miller, Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT)
Ani Samten Palmo, Sebastopol, California
Helen Farrar, IMCW, Buena Vista, VA
Jill Shepherd, IMS, Barre, MAr. Danny Fisher, Greensboro, NC
Chan Phap Tri, Rose Apple Society's Center for Contemplative Practice, VT
Dr. Jan Willis, Agnes Scott College, Decatur, GA
Anne Klein /Lama Rigzin Drolma, Dawn Mountain Tibetan Buddhist Center, Houston, TX
Leslie(Lhasha) Tizer, Insight Meditation Tucson, AZ
John Orr and the New Hope Sangha
Jill Hyman, Insight Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
Karma Lekshe Tsomo, Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women
Grace Gilliam, East Bay Meditation Center, Oakland, CA
Erin Selover, Berkeley, CA
Wendy Garling, Garden of Dharma, Concord, MA
Rev. Nomon Tim Burnett, Red Cedar Zen Community, Bellingham, WA
Rachelle Quimby, Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA
Terry Ray, Insight Meditation Community of CO
Ed Mushin Russell, Prairie Zen Center, Champaign, IL
Caitrìona Reed & Michele Benzamin-Miki, Manzanita Village
Barbara Brodsky, Deep Spring Center, Ann Arbor MI
Roberta Orlando, San Francisco, CA
Marinell Daniel, Woodacre, CA
Koshin Paley Ellison, New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, NY
Joel Levey
Michael Dempsey, Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley, CA
Augusta Hopkins, San Francisco Insight, CA
Rodney Smith, Seattle Insight Meditation Society, WA
Jason Murphy-Pedulla, Insight Santa Cruz, CA
Amma Thanasanti Bhikkhuni, Awakening Truth, Colorado Springs CO
Esteban and Tressa Hollander
Rev. Myo-O Marilyn Habermas-Scher, Dharma Dance Sangha in Minneapolis, MN
Wendy Zerin, MD, Insight Community of Colorado Boulder, CO,
Rev. Wendy Egyoku Nakao
Cynthia McAfee, Kensington, CA, Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
Deborah Kory, Berkeley, CA
Joseph Curran, Insight Meditation Center of the Mid-Peninsula, CA
Rev Joan Hogetsu Hoeberichts, Heart Circle Sangha, Ridgewood, NJ
Samu Sunim, Zen Buddhist Temple, New York, NY
David Rynick, Abbot, Boundless Way Zen Temple, Worcester, MA
Larry Mermelstein, Nalanda Translation Committee
Sarah Bender, Springs Mountain Sangha, Colorado Springs, CO
Deborah Todd
Elizabeth Hird, Spirit Rock Meditation Center
Hai Nguyen, Sinh Thuc Meditation Center, Wardensville, WV
Eric Rodriguez, Ventura, CA
Pamela Kirby, Redwood Valley, CA
John Makransky, Foundation for Active Compassion, Bodhipaksa
Triratna Buddhist Order, NH
Diane Perea, Berkeley CA
Ven. Seikai Luebke, Pine Mountain Buddhist Temple, Maricopa, CA
Gail Ganino, Berkeley Buddhist Monastery, Berkeley, CA
Ajahn Prasert Avissaro, Wat Buddhanusorn, Thai Buddhist Temple, Fremont, CA
Liz Brown, Berkeley, CA
Mushim Patricia Ikeda, East Bay Meditation Center
Bruce Kristal
Tulku Sherab Dorje, Blazing Wisdom Institute
Bhiksuni Thubten Chodron, Sravasti Abbey, Newport WA
Rev. Sumi Loundon Kim, Buddhist Families of Durham, Durham, NC
James Baraz, Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley (IMCB) & Spirit Rock Meditation Center
Chris Crotty, Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society, Cloucester, MA
Rev. Heng Sure, Berkeley Buddhist Monastery, Berkeley, CA
Diana Winston, UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center
Heather Sundberg, Mountain Stream Meditation Center, Nevada City, CA
Kenneth Keiyu Ford, Clouds in Water Zen Center, St. Paul, MN
Diana Lion, Berkeley, CA
Guy Armstrong, Spirit Rock Center, Woodacre, CA
Erin O'Connor, New York Insight, Brooklyn NY
Hal Nathan, San Francisco, CA, Partners Asia
Anushka Fernandopulle, Spirit Rock Meditation Center, CA
Charmi Neely, Mindfulness Meditation Group of Staunton-Waynesboro, and Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville, CA
Dr. Janice Sheppard, Madison Insight Meditation Group/Madison Vipassana, Inc., Madison Metropolitan Area, WI
Byakuren Judith Ragir, Clouds in Water Zen Center, St. Paul, MN
Charles Agle, Insight Meditation Community of Washington, Washington, DC
Amy Predmore, Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville, Charlottesville, VA
Wes Nisker, Spirit Rock, Woodacre, CA & YogaKula in Berkeley, CA
Gendo Allyn Field, Upper Valley Zen Center, White River Junction, VT
Rev'd James Ishmael Ford, Boundless Way Zen Buddhist Network, Providence, RI
Sosan Theresa Flynn, Clouds in Water Zen Center, St. Paul, MN
Rev. Jill Kaplan, Zen Heart Sangha, Woodside, CA
Jennifer Stanley, Insight Meditation Community of Washington, Washington, D.C.
Rev. Genjo Marinello, Seattle Zen Temple
Josho Pat Phelan, Chapel Hill Zen Center, Chapel Hill, NC
Silvia Garcia Pereira, Insight Meditation Community of Washington,
Mitra Bishop, Mountain Gate, Ojo Sarco NM
Rev .Jisho Warner, Stone Creek Zen Center
Anna Roudebush, Insight Fort Wayne, IN
William F. Mies, Arnold, MD
Barbara A. Lahman, North Manchester, IN
Ann Herington
Iris Diaz, Oakland, CA
Peter Schneider
Tamara Dyer
Rev Robert Schaibly/Brother True Deliverance, The Order of Interbeing
Angie Boiss, Floating Zendo, San Jose, CA
Kay Davidson
Eiko Joshin Carolyn Atkinson, Everyday Dharma Zen Center, Santa Cruz CA
Marjorie Markus, NYC, Community of Mindfulness
Kathy Schwerin, Community Dharma Leader, Dharma Zephyr Insight Meditation Community
Haju Sunim/ Linda Lundquist, Zen Buddhist Temple, Ann Arbor, MI
Catherine Brousseau, Insight Meditation Community of Washington
Rev. Zenki Mary Mocine, Abbess Vallejo Zen Center, Vallejo, CA
Les Kaye, Kannon Do Zen Center, Mt. View, CA
Rev. Domyo Burk, Bright Way Zen, Portland Oregon
Devi Weisenberg, Inverness, CA, Spirit Rock Meditation Center, CA
Taigen Dan Leighton, Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, Chicago, IL
Dr. Bill Knight, Muskoka Mindfulness Community
Manny Mansbach, Vermont Insight Meditation Center
Cornelia Shonkwiler, Middle Way Zen, San Jose, CA
Susan Lee Bady, Brooklyn Sangha of New York Insight Meditation Center, NY
David Silver, Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville, VA
Tonen O'Connor, Milwaukee Zen Center, WI
Daniel Terragno, Rocks & Clouds Zendo, Sebastopol, CA
Trish Magyari, Insight Meditation Community of Washington (IMCW), Baltimore, MD
Joen Snyder O'Neal, Compassionate Ocean Dharma Center, Brooklyn Center, MN
Barbara Rhodes, Kwan Um School of Zen
Stephanie Golden, Brooklyn NY and of NY Insight Meditation Center
Jennifer Jordan, IMCW Family Program
Abby Cassell, NewYork Insight, Brooklyn Sangha
Elizabeth Fryer, St Louis Insight
Ann Pendley, Knoxville Insight Meditation, TN
David Flint, Dharmacarya, New York City, NY
Jon Aaron, New York Insight Meditation Center, NY
David Loy
Jim Dalton
Robert Beatty, Portland Insight Meditation Community
Debra Kerr, Oakland, CA, Alameda Sangha and East Bay Meditation Center, CA
Merra Young, Rivers' Way Meditation Center, TCVC, Common Ground Meditation Center, Minneapolis, MN
Nina Wise, San Rafael, CA
Soren Gordhammer, Santa Cruz, CA
Jill and Bruce Hyman
Gil Fronsdal, IMC Redwood City, CA
Meg Agnew, Dharma Wisdom Seattle Sangha
Kitsy Schoen, East Bay Meditation Center
Ellen Furnari, PhD, Buddhist Pathways Prison Project, Solano prison, Vacaville, CA.
Hugh Byrne, PhD, Insight Meditation Community of Washington, Silver Spring, MD
Chaplain Eileen Phillips, BCCC, Mt Stream Meditation Center and Spirit Rock Meditation Center, CA
Tere Abdala-Romano
Bob Stahl, Guiding Teacher Insight Santa Cruz, CA
Frank Ostaseski, Founder, Metta Institute, CA
Jayla Klein, Insight Santa Cruz, CA
Anna Douglas, Spirit Rock, Woodacer, CA
Philip L. Jones, Silent Mind Open Heart Sangha, Columbia, MO
Jennifer Kim, New York, NY
Leslie Tremaine
Rebekah Laros, Spirit Rock Meditation Center, CA
Brian Lesage, Flagstaff Vipassana Meditation Group, AZ
Nina Nagy, New Canaan, CT
Gregory Gerber
Jeff Scannell, Montpelier Insight Meditation, VT
Elaine Retholtz, New York Insight Meditation Center, NY
Laura Crawford Hofer, Eugene, OR
Tina Rasmussen, Ph.D., Awakening Dharma, San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Anne Briggs, Insight Meditation Community of Chestertown, Chestertown, MD
Alice Alldredge, Open Door Sangha, Santa Barbara , CA
Devon Hase, Madison City Sangha
Nancy Hilyard, Oceano, CA
Berget Jelane, San Jose Insight Meditation, CA
Barbara Poe, Prescott Vipassana Sangha, Prescott, AZ
Kerry Walsh, San Anselmo, CA
Luke Lundemo, Jackson MS Meditation Group, MS
Jai Uttal, San Anselmo, CA
Tomi Kobara, Awakening in Deep Refuge sangha – East Bay, CA
Nancy Taylor, Teton Sangha, Jackson Hole, WY
Elissa Epel, Ph.D., UCSF, San Francisco, CA
Russell Long, Ph.D., San Francisco, CA
Sakula Mary Reinard, Portland Friends of the Dhamma, Portland, OR
Michele Ku, Yes, East Bay Meditation Center, Berkeley, CA
Betsy Rose, Berkeley CA & Spirit Rock Meditation Center
Gayle Markow, San Francisco, CA
Philippe Daniel
Arpita Brown
Jessica Graham, Eastside Mindfulness Meditation , Los Angeles, C