Sunday, 29 April 2012

Solutions sought to manage trafficking of Rohingya

Source from The Nation, 29 April 2012

Thai officials were involved in human trafficking and took advantage of stateless Rohingya, an ethnic group from Myanmar, a recent seminar revealed, amid calls for reforms of the immigration act and justice procedures.

The Lawyers Council Of Thailand and other groups joined a seminar on Thursday titled "Rohingya: the uncertain fate, empty future and the Thai government's handling of them" at the Thai Journalists Association.

Surapong Kongchantuk, vice-chair of the council's Human Rights Subcommittee on Ethnic Minorities, the Stateless, Migrant Workers and Displaced Persons, said the government was not tackling the Rohingya immigration issue seriously, despite greater awareness and immigration strategies. Thailand saw itself as a passageway for the minority to go to Malaysia, so officials only pushed the Rohingya back (to sea) and did not proceed with any legal processing.

Middlemen were paid about Bt60,000 to get the Rohingya on a boat and when it ran out of gas in Thai waters, officials - reportedly involved in all steps - rounded them up and pushed them back without any legal processing. This occurred amid claims the country has no place to detain them.

Surapong said if the Rohingya underwent a national identification process they could get Bangladeshi or Myanmar nationality. He urged the government to give the Rohingya, who are currently refugees here, a chance to prove their nationality and apply for visas. He urged the government to deal with Rohingya set to illegally enter Thailand according to the legal process, to seriously tackle the problem.

Another subcommittee member, Nassir Artwarin, said the Rohingya were taken advantage of, especially sexually. Some 100,000 kyat (Bt3,700) could buy a girl, while Thai officials also "sucked them dry". He urged Thailand to provide protection to the Rohingya to let the truth come out because these people were ready to testify about officials involved in human trafficking.

Department of Special Investigation (DSI) human-trafficking investigator Jatuporn Arunreukthawil said the Rohingya wanted to go to Malaysia but had to pass through Thai waters so Thai officials should provide fuel for their boats, if needed, so they could get to their destination. Because, if they were stranded in Thailand, it could cause problems with issues such as document forgery, drugs, terrorism and human-trafficking.

He cited a report from Internal Security Operations Command Region 4 that more Rohingya were sneaking in every year until 2009, when the number dropped from thousands to just 93 people, partly because middlemen in Bangladesh and Myanmar were arrested. He said the number of Rohingya being trafficked had risen again with more women and children. He said their journey should be supported, because if they were rounded up and pushed back, the middlemen would take them at the border and auction them as if they were cars.

He said the government should have a policy to ensure that arrests do not violate human rights. He called for amendment of section 55 of the Thai Immigration Act in regard to the arrest procedure so officials were not in a dilemma on whether to arrest or to help the Rohingya.

Dr Sriprapa Petcharamesree of the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights agreed the law should be amended so that officials would not push the Rohingya back into danger or expose them to victimisation by human-traffickers. She thought the issue should be discussed officially by Asean.

A Rohingya representative, Abdul Kalam, urged all to view his brethren as humans and solve the problem legally. "These days, we, the Rohingya, just want a piece of paper [nationality] so we can survive … now our children were born in Thailand, we cannot leave them, so we have to live here and we want to stay legalised," he said.

Friday, 27 April 2012

No Rohingya in NLD membership application: Arakan State NLD Acting Chairman, U Maung Pwa Aung

Source from Kaladan Press, 26 April 2012




Maungdaw, Arakan State: The National League for Democracy (NLD), Arakan State, acting chairman U Maung Pwa Aung told the students group of Maungdaw not to use Rohingya in the column of mentioning the race while applying NLD membership application at inaugurated the NLD office opening ceremony in Maungdaw on April 25 at about 9:30am, said a student who join the opening ceremony of NLD office.

"The acting chairman had met the student group from Maungdaw where he had advised the students to work hard to reach democracy in Burma and told to organize the people in Maungdaw to join the NLD. It is the duty of students."

"In the opening ceremony, most of the attended students are Rohingya community and the acting chairman advised the students not to use Rohingya as a race column, but use only "Muslim". He also mentioned that the NLD didn't want the Maungdaw students group to use-- Arakan Muslim, Burmese Muslim, Bangali and Kala- in their membership application."

"But, the acting chairman in his opening speech in the Maungdaw NLD office ceremony used the word "Kala" for the majority population- Rohingya community in Maungdaw."

The membership applications which were sent to the head office via regional office on February 12 by U Aung Pan Tha, was opened by acting chairman where he erased the name Rohingya into Muslim in the application. After that the applications were sent to the head office, according to a NLD member and sources.

But, a former NLD executive committee member from Maungdaw said that they send all the applications (around 50,000) before 1990 election with Rohingy ethnic in the race column. At that time, there is no mention about using of the Rohingya ethnic.

"In this time, we are facing some difficult while we are siting in the meeting with high level NLD member, they are using us as a Kala in the meeting where most of the people are Rohingya. Why they use the hate word to us.? May be they are not willing us as a member? First and last, the Rohingya are supporting NLD. Now the NLD high command using us in the meeting as a Kala."

If we need to write the name Muslim, we are not applying the membership application to NLD office. It is our ethnic name. so, we are not applying the application, said a group of students from Maungdaw.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Thai NHRC: Rohingya that the World Forget

Source from Thai NHRC, 24 April 2012  

Rohingya that the World Forget
news_pic.php?news_id=8659&w=300
On April 24, 2012, Professor Dr. Amara Phongsaphit, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand was invited by the Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS) to be a resource person in a seminar, ‘Rohingya that the World Forget,’ convened by the Thai PBS’ Social Capital Network Division, Social Capital Bureau, at Building A, Thai PBS Headquarters in Bangkok with an objective to build up awareness on the existence of Rohingya people through seminar and public media, and to look for solutions to problems faced by this people together.

Participants in the seminar included:
1. Professor Dr. Amara Phongsaphit, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRC),
2. Dr. Sriprapha Phetmesri, Representative for Thailand in the Inter-ASEAN Governments Commission on Human Rights,
3. Maung Kyaw Nu, Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand (BRAT),
4. Phil Robertson, Deputy Director, Asia Division, and
5. Sophie Ansel, a French reporter who is monitoring situations faced by the Rohingyas


The seminar was moderated by Mr. Chairat Thomya, a Thai PBS anchorman.
Dr. Sriprapha Phetmesri, Representative for Thailand in the Inter-ASEAN Governments Commission on Human Rights

To solve this refugee problem (involving the Rohingyas), it must be made into a national problem and unavoidably raised for discussions. Academics in the region is a driver that could advocate, making Rohingya issues public ones that people know and talk about. Four issues are to be emphasized:
1. No human being should be denied their basic rights because every human being must have a personal status. Denial of nationality and personal identity document, which is a basis for accessing other rights, is therefore a starting point of human rights violation.

2. Rohingya is an indigenous people. It is noted that other indigenous peoples are facing similar problems because they are minority peoples. Being different from the majority, they are always denied their rights. The Rohingyas, however, often find themselves in graver situations.

3. It is proposed that ASEAN makes Rohingya an ASEAN-level agenda. ASEAN must have political will to solve the problems. Leaders of each ASEAN country must join hands.

4. ASEAN is building a community of benevolent societies, but benevolent societies would not be possible if some groups of people are still excluded.

Phil Robertson, Deputy Director, Asia Division
Rohingya people have been abused in all forms. Those living in Arakan State, for example, are being exploited, forced to work, forbidden to leave the area, denied of land ownership and required to seek permission in order to get married otherwise they would be arrested and detained, resulting in many of them decided to escape out of the area. Therefore, efforts should be made together to change mindset of Burmese government. In fact, apart from Myanmar, there are Rohingyas in several other countries, such as Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia. Efforts to deal with this problem, therefore, should be extended to those countries. In addition, it is proposed that neighbouring countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia join hands to pressure Burmese government to actively solve the Rohingya problem.

Sophie Ansel, a French reporter who are monitoring situations faced by the Rohinya
Although changes did occur in Myanmar as can be seen in a recent by-election, Rohingya is still a forbidden issue in the country. One factor contributing to the problem is that the Rohingyas are Muslim while Burmeses are Buddhist. To create equality, an order forbidding the Rohinyas to leave the area must be revoked.
Professor Dr. Amara Phongsaphit, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, on the other hand, mentioned in the seminar that actually Rohingya people living in Thailand have more freedom than Rohingya people in their homeland as long as they do not commit wrongdoing. It was revealed in meetings between ASEAN member countries that an obstacle in having collective efforts to solve the Rohingya problem is ‘being considerate, afraid of offending another’s feeling’; no one therefore dare to raise the issue or directly criticize. To look for any way out of this problem, one needs to use imagination and regular consultations. ASEAN countries must be ready to talk openly about this problem, expose and explain it clearly, with cooperation between academics in the civil society sectors, neighbouring countries, super power countries and members of ASEAN.

The NHRC Chairperson also mentioned related works carried out by the NHRC which regularly asked permission to visit the Immigration Office and talked to the Rohingyas there about their problems as grave human rights violation must not occur. The case of many Rohingya people being arrested in 2009 is an important lesson for responsible officials. They need to change their way of thinking, consciousness, and have human rights awareness and humanity. The NHRC Chairperson had an expectation that inhuman violation of human rights would have gone away.
……………………………………

Other reports;
1) The death of Rohingya boat people in the detention centre in Ranong province
Investigation Report No.409/2554 of 26 December 2011
http://www.nhrc.or.th/news.php?news_id=8415
2) Rohingya deaths spark anger
Source – Bangkok Post (Eng), Thursday, August 20, 2009 05:41
http://www.nhrc.or.th/news.php?news_id=5324

3) NHK World News interviewed on Burmese Rohingya, member of (BRAT) from Thailand 



 

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Asylum seekers find no solution in East Timor

Source from smh, 23 April 2012

east timor asylum

THREE weeks ago some of the world's unluckiest people were given one more reason to curse their fate.
Fleeing persecution in their home country, and after years of living in Malaysia as non-citizens, 26 Arakanese Muslims from Burma set out on a boat bound for Australia.

Instead, on March 27, they washed up in one of the poorest countries in Asia - East Timor. Their boat ran out of fuel off the country's southern coast and their captain swam to shore.
East Timor, once the target of Julia Gillard's ill-fated ''Timor Solution'' is not a favoured destination for refugees. The poverty-stricken nation has signed the UN convention on refugees, but only a handful have ever come here.

Three weeks later, all 26 men, ranging in age from 14 to 46, are sleeping on mats on the floor of a large conference room of the Directorate of Civil Security in Dili. They survive on $5 a day from the International Organisation for Migration.

In East Timor, the authorities are stumped. Noor Muhammad, 36, speaking for the group when The Age visited them this week, said the police had charged them with illegal entry and handed them letters telling them to leave within 10 days or they would be deported, detained, or face ''other coercive measures''.
If they failed to comply, they could be imprisoned for two years. The 10 days expired on Friday. East Timor's chief investigation officer for migration, Alfredo Abel, told The Age: ''Now [we are] waiting for another solution''.

With no money and no documents, it was clear the refugees could not leave the country voluntarily. If they were to be imprisoned, it would be ''not tomorrow, not next week, a long time'', Mr Abel said.
If they apply for asylum in East Timor, the country has a responsibility under the UN convention. But they do not want to apply.
Another option, however, was for East Timor to fly them back to Malaysia, or even Burma, at its own expense, Mr Abel said.

With the help of refugee activist Mark Goudkamp, who was holidaying in Dili last week, they have the forms to apply for an Australian offshore humanitarian visa, but the 32-page form has so far proved too difficult for them to fill out.

The Australian embassy in Dili referred queries to the Australian Immigration Department, which said they were welcome to apply for humanitarian visas. The International Organisation for Migration could help them, a spokeswoman said.

Mr Muhammad said he had been in Malaysia since 1994. The UN recognised him as a refugee from the Burmese regime, which denies his people the basics of citizenship such as identification documents and free movement.

In Malaysia, he lived for 17 years as a non-citizen in the refugee ''queue'', applying repeatedly for asylum in Australia. Others in his group had been there even longer.
Mr Muhammad said they wanted to come to a country where they would be welcomed, and be able to work, marry, travel, and enjoy full legal rights.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Rohingya ‘camping out’ at UNHCR office

Source from mizzima news, 20 April 2012
 
(Mizzima) – Hundreds Rohingya men, women and children from Burma are living virtually on the doorstep of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) at Vasant Vihar, India, seeking refugee status.
A Rohingya child lives in harsh conditions at the Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp, Teknaf, Cox’s bazar.  Photo: Mizzima
A Rohingya child lives in harsh conditions at the Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp, Teknaf, Cox’s bazar. Photo: Mizzima

Residents in the area complain that the U.N. should provide some sort of temporary solution to alleviate the congestion in the area, according to an article in The Times of India on Friday.

“We do sympathize with the poor people seeking refugee status, as it is hard for people to live in the country without support,” A. K. Seth, head of the homeopathy department at Ganga Ram Hospital, told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, Rohingya leaders are calling on international countries to find a solution to the Rohingyas’ plight before sanctions are lifted against Burma. The Rohingya refugee community, a predominantly Muslim group, claim they are persecuted in Burma, do not enjoy rights of citizenship and are abused by government authorities.

“Many of our people are either begging for money in India or working as rag-pickers. If we do not get refugee status, we want the government to send us to another country where we can live as refugees,” said one homeless Rohingya.
      
 Dr. Wakar Uddin, chairman of the Burmese Rohingya Association of North America, has urged the U.S. State Department, the Senate foreign relations committee and the House of Representatives human rights commission to coordinate efforts to address the Rohingya refugees situation in Burma, India and Bangladesh, according to a story in International Business Times (IBT) on Friday.
      
“If somehow the Burmese government [manages] to get sanctions lifted and the Rohingya issue is not resolved, we are finished,” Uddin was quoted by the BBC. "There is no hope because they will not revisit this. Whatever needs to be done about the Rohingya, it has to be done before the sanctions are lifted.”

In December 2011, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reportedly discussed the Rohingyas’ status during her meeting with Burmese President Thein Sein in Rangoon.

According to the Burmese government, Rohingya are migrants from India who are not eligible for citizenship. Western nations, the United Nations and India assert the Rohingya are indigenous to Burma. In Burma’s northern Rakhine State, some 800,000 stateless Muslims, mostly Rohingya, account for 90 percent of the region’s population.

Uddin told the newspaper that the Rohingyas’ situation “has gotten worse since the [Burmese] election.”

“The government is trying to show the West that they are dealing with the Karen [another aggrieved ethnic group] and other groups by giving rights and making a truce. But they are showing the carrot in one hand and the stick for us [the Rohingya] in the other. It's a distraction and a diversionary tactic,” he was quoted as saying.

Recently, the IRIN news agency reported that Nurul Islam, president of the London-based Arakan Rohingya National Organization, said, “There is no change of attitude of the new civilian government of… Thein Sein towards Rohingya people; there is no sign of change in the human rights situation of Rohingya people. Persecution against them is actually greater than before.”

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Yangon: Rohingyans Imprisoned for Traveling

 Source from The Sail, 17 April 2012

Last week on about 10 April 2012, 14 Rohingyans from Akyab/Sittwe were arrested in various areas of Yangon during an operation conducted to check the guests. They were charged with illegally staying and absenting to report at Village Peace and Development Council-VPDC.
Despite they bear ’45 days official travelling permit’, authority arrested them.
They are currently detained in Insein Prison and had already appeared at the court. But the type of sentence is not yet known.

Again in the end of August last year, 9 Rohingyans were arrested in Tamu Township of Sagaing Region in northwest Burma near the border with the eastern Indian state of Manipur.
They coincidentally met with high-ranking authorities who were arrived there. After questioning, they were arrested and lifted to Monywa city for investigation.

They are identified as origin from Kyauktaw, Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Sittwe/Akyab of Rakhine/Arakan state. Four men from Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships have official ‘temporary registration cards’ and the rest have recommendation letters of VPDC.

However, they were brought to the Monywa Court separately four men and five men. Their documents were not proved and their explanation were not favoured in the court.
The court given the highest sentence of 5 years imprisonment for illegally trespassing into the country from foreign and bearing no official identity. Finally, they were sent to Monywa Jail.

Rohingya and Changes in Burma:
Despite current political reforms and sanctions lifting by developed countries are favour towards on going changes in Burma, the facts that continuous activating various restrictions and violations, denial of citizenship and ethnicity, remaining thousand of Rohingya prisoners, silences of opposition NLD and Thein Sein government in Rohingya issue, corroborate that there is nothing about Rohingya and nothing to do with Rohingya.
Rohingya Parties namely; National Democratic party for Development-NDPD and government backs National Development and Peace Party-NDPP and other politicians had submitted appeal letters to president Thein Sein on 21 Oct 2011, 28 Oct 2011 and 12 Feb 2012. For lawfully consideration and to remove the role of discrimination against Rohingya and attached a short account of the historical existence of Rohingya.
There is only one that Rohingyans have to trust much is upon Suu Kyi rather than NLD because NLD vice president U Tin Oo interviewed with RFA on 1st Oct 2011 and and immigration minister U Khin Yi interviewed with BBC on 2 Oct 2011, quoted the Rohingyans as illegal Bengali immigrants.
Anyhow, Burma’s first refugee Rohingyans do not find solution in home or exile therefore intl communities and world leaders must actively interfere to persuade to solve Rohingya problems.
The slang word ‘kala’ is still used to call Rohingyan and Hindu people in Arakan. Which was largely used against Indian community during Coolie strike in 1936-37 and Chinese community during nationalizing in 1963. But Rohingyans are treated much lower than the other kalas.

Looting and Arrest in Maungdaw:
A few days ago, a group of Rakhine people gang with weapons had looted properties and cashes from Rohingyan villagers.
The villagers identify this gang as armed members of Arakan Liberation Party-ALP who entered from Bangaladesh and have been newly relocated in Maungdaw after cease-fire agreement with the government.
Even though authority received accurate information about this gang, authority just arrested 11 Rohingyans and laid the charges upon them.
Three of them were released by 350,000 Kyats payments and the rest are still remaining in torture.
Members of ALP who were arrived for cease-fire talks, had been warmly welcomed by current Rakhine state minister and Rakhine people. While its head-office to place in Paletwa twonship of Chin state was rejected by people of Paletwa.

Communal Riot against Muslims in Pagu region:
A group of radical Burman people led by chairman of Union Solidarity and Development Association-USDA,had destroyed a mosque and 11 Muslim houses in Kamma township of Magway region on 13 April 2012.

Yangon: Rohingyans Imprisoned for Traveling

Source from thesail, 17 April 2012

Last week on about 10 April 2012, 14 Rohingyans from Akyab/Sittwe were arrested in various areas of Yangon during an operation conducted to check the guests. They were charged with illegally staying and absenting to report at Village Peace and Development Council-VPDC.

Despite they bear '45 days official travelling permit', authority arrested them.
They are currently detained in Insein Prison and had already appeared at the court. But the type of sentence is not yet known.

Again in the end of August last year, 9 Rohingyans were arrested in Tamu Township of Sagaing Region in northwest Burma near the border with the eastern Indian state of Manipur.
They coincidentally met with high-ranking authorities who were arrived there. After questioning, they were arrested and lifted to Monywa city for investigation.

They are identified as origin from Kyauktaw, Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Sittwe/Akyab of Rakhine/Arakan state. Four men from Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships have official 'temporary registration cards' and the rest have recommendation letters of VPDC.

However, they were brought to the Monywa Court separately four men and five men. Their documents were not proved and their explanation were not favoured in the court.
The court given the highest sentence of 5 years imprisonment for illegally trespassing into the country from foreign and bearing no official identity. Finally, they were sent to Monywa Jail.

Rohingya and Changes in Burma:
Despite current political reforms and sanctions lifting by developed countries are favour towards on going changes in Burma, the facts that continuous activating various restrictions and violations, denial of citizenship and ethnicity, remaining thousand of Rohingya prisoners, silences of opposition NLD and Thein Sein government in Rohingya issue, corroborate that there is nothing about Rohingya and nothing to do with Rohingya.
Rohingya Parties namely; National Democratic party for Development-NDPD and government backs National Development and Peace Party-NDPP and other politicians had submitted appeal letters to president Thein Sein on 21 Oct 2011, 28 Oct 2011 and 12 Feb 2012. For lawfully consideration and to remove the role of discrimination against Rohingya and attached a short account of the historical existence of Rohingya.
There is only one that Rohingyans have to trust much is upon Suu Kyi rather than NLD because NLD vice president U Tin Oo interviewed with RFA on 1st Oct 2011 and and immigration minister U Khin Yi interviewed with BBC on 2 Oct 2011, quoted the Rohingyans as illegal Bengali immigrants.
Anyhow, Burma's first refugee Rohingyans do not find solution in home or exile therefore intl communities and world leaders must actively interfere to persuade to solve Rohingya problems.
The slang word 'kala' is still used to call Rohingyan and Hindu people in Arakan. Which was largely used against Indian community during Coolie strike in 1936-37 and Chinese community during nationalizing in 1963. But Rohingyans are treated much lower than the other kalas.

Looting and Arrest in Maungdaw:
A few days ago, a group of Rakhine people gang with weapons had looted properties and cashes from Rohingyan villagers.
The villagers identify this gang as armed members of Arakan Liberation Party-ALP who entered from Bangaladesh and have been newly relocated in Maungdaw after cease-fire agreement with the government.
Even though authority received accurate information about this gang, authority just arrested 11 Rohingyans and laid the charges upon them.
Three of them were released by 350,000 Kyats payments and the rest are still remaining in torture.
Members of ALP who were arrived for cease-fire talks, had been warmly welcomed by current Rakhine state minister and Rakhine people. While its head-office to place in Paletwa twonship of Chin state was rejected by people of Paletwa.

Communal Riot against Muslims in Pagu region:
A group of radical Burman people led by chairman of Union Solidarity and Development Association-USDA,had destroyed a mosque and 11 Muslim houses in Kamma township of Magway region on 13 April 2012.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

UNHCR and Bangladesh authority jointly hold meeting about refugee repatriati​on

Source from Kaldan Press, 15 April 2012
Teknaf, Bangladesh: A High level delegation of UNHCR and Bangladesh concerned authorities for refugee repatriation jointly held a meeting with official refugees in the Nayapara camp on April 9, regarding the repatriation, said a schoolteacher from Nayapara camp.
Hunt Chess, the Country Representative of Burma of UNHCR explained the refugee about the situation of Burma.

Hunt Chess, the Country Representative of Burma of UNHCR who recently came from Burma said that “the political situation of Burma is changing and the economic development is also progressing than before. Besides, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi including other political prisoners was released by the Burmese authority.”

“I come here to inform the refugees about the situation of Burma and the progressiveness which has been made recently in Burma. If the refugees want to go back, we will facilitate the refugees return.”

Feroz Salah Uddin, the Refugee Relief and Repatriation commissioners (RRRC) said, “We don’t want to force the refugees for repatriation, we want voluntarily repatriation. Refugees can go back to Burma and we want to take decision by themselves.”
The country representative of UNHCR, Dhaka, RRRC, Kamorul Zaman, the Camp-in-Charge, office staff and others were participated in the meeting, sources said.

Noor Mohamed (27), a refugee from the camp submitted an application to the delegates, and it has the following points:  1) to recognize as citizens of Burma with Rohingya ethnicity by the UN-recognized democratic government of Burma,
2) to have equal rights like other ethnic groups in Burma,
3) to provide compensations and to return of confiscated lands and other properties,
4) to stop human rights violations and racial discrimination, especially against the Rohingya community.
“We will go back to our motherland, if our demands are accepted and fulfilled by the Burmese authority. We don’t want to stay in the small sheds with bad condition anymore.  How long are we living in Bangladesh in such condition?” Noor Mohamed said.

According to refugees, they also urged to the Burmese authority through the delegates to immediately fulfill the said conditions.
“Another refugee woman said, “We have been living in Bangladesh over 20 years. How long we have to stay here. We want our citizenship rights, equal rights and want to stay peacefully in our country.

The meeting was started at around 1:00 pm and ended 2:00 pm.
Similarly, the high level delegates also visited the Kutupalong official camp and held meeting with the official refugees, said a schoolteacher from Kutupalong camp.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Ethnics' representatives including Rohingya meet British Prime Minister, David Cameron

Source from Kaldan Press, 15 April 2012




Chittagong, Bangladesh:

In the meeting, the Rohingya representative - Mr.Abu Taher- Central Executive member, Head of Political Bureau and Research and development of National Democratic Party for Development (NDPD), highlighted recent Rohingya facing--  social, economic and political-- problems in northern Arakan.

He highlighted the identification of Rohingya ethnicity and the root cause of Rohingya ethnic, where he mentioned that from Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) time to till today, the regime excluded from the list of ethnic-- the 135 races- under the 1982 Myanmar Citizenship Law and that citizenship law is contradicting with 2008 Constitution.

The 1982 Myanmar Citizenship Law was designed specially in order to make deliberately Rohingyas from bona-fide citizen to non-bona-fide citizen. The law was done as a racist attitude. The regime has no legality or authority to exclude Rohingya from the list of ethnic, said the Rohingya representative in the meeting.

"The authority has to restore Rohingya ethnic rights and citizenship rights, before going durable solution, national reconciliation and durable peace process in Burma."




Ethnics' representatives meeting with British Prime Minister, David Cameron at the residence of the British ambassador in Rangoon

The representative also highlighted on going Human rights violations in Burma and especially in the area-- northern Arakan - where Rohingya community reside.

He also submitted to Prime Minister an official letter on behalf of NDPD. After the meeting they were served by dinner at British Ambassador residence.

The Rohingya representative, Abu Taher, won from People's Parliament, Buthidaung Township in 2010 election. But, Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) forcedly denounced his victor, according to NDPD press released and case file against Shwe Maung of USDP.

NDPD complained to Township Election Commission, the votes were recounted by the Commission where Abu Taher (NDPD) got 56,882 votes and Shwe Maung (USDP) got 53,702 votes, according to election watch in Buthidaung report.

"Obviously she [Suu Kyi] is ignoring the Rohingya problem, a key human rights issue in Burma. However, still the Rohingya have high expectations of her. Rather than avoiding the Rohingya people and their problem,... Aung San Suu Kyi should take all measures to formally accommodate Rohingya into the family of the Union of Burma, with full ethnic and citizenship rights, as one of the many ethnic nationalities of the country," Nurul Islam, President, Arakan Rohingya National Organization ( ARNO) told IRIN News agency.

British Prime Minister, David Cameron talking with ethnics' representatives

"There is no change of attitude of the new civilian government of.. Thein Sein towards Rohingya people; there is no sign of change in the human rights situation of Rohingya people. Persecution against them is actually greater than before."

Similarly, "The government is trying to show the West that they are dealing with the Karen [another aggrieved ethnic group] and other groups by giving rights and making a truce. But they are showing the carrot in one hand and the stick for us [the Rohingya] in the other. It's a distraction and a diversionary tactic," Dr. Wakar Uddin, chairman of the Burmese Rohingya Association of North America said to www. ibtimes.com.

"If somehow the Burmese government [manages] to get sanctions lifted and the Rohingya issue is not resolved, we are finished," Uddin told the BBC.

"There is no hope because they will not revisit this. Whatever needs to be done about the Rohingya, it has to be done before the sanctions are lifted."

According to the United Nations, the Rohingya who live in Burma are forbidden from owning property, marrying or even traveling without state permission. Many are subject to forced slave labor and extortion by authorities.

Many Rohingya have also moved to neighboring Bangladesh, where they are also unwanted.
Ethnics' representatives - Chin, Kachin, Shan, Karen and Rohingya-- met British Prime Minister, David Cameron, at the residence of the British ambassador in Rangoon on April 13 at 7pm- 8 pm, according to a source from Rangoon and BBC Burmese.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

26 Burmese ‘Shipwrecked’ on Timor Leste

Source from Irrawaddy news, 9 April 2012

From a stock photo in 2011, a group of 91 Burmese Rohingya “boat people” were arrested and detained in Phuket, Thailand. (PHOTO: Phuketwan.com)

DILI, Timor Leste—An investigation is underway into the case of 26 Burmese asylum seekers who were on a boat that ran out of fuel en route to Australia, landing near East Timor.
The boat, with 26 Burmese asylum seekers and an Indonesian captain, left Indonesia on March 21 but ran out of fuel on March 27 near Wetali, on the south coast of East Timor, according to the East Timorese Prosecutor-General’s dispatch document on the case.

The document states the 26 asylum seekers, ranging from 14 to 46 years old, left Indonesia “without identity documents or passport” with the intention of looking for work in Australia.
The Indonesian captain reportedly swam to shore but the 26 asylum seekers, who could not swim, stayed on the boat until an East Timorese fisherman helped them get to dry land.

“This Timorese fisherman took them to report to the Uhakae village head Mr. Augusto da Costa Soares, then took them immediately to the Viqueque police station,” the document said.
The East Timorese procurator-general said that immigration police officials could “promote or execute the expulsion of the 27 citizens that have entered and stay illegally in the national territory of Timor Leste.”
Timor Leste’s Department of Immigration Chief Investigator Alfredo Abel said that since the incident the asylum seekers had been staying in hotels or apartments in Dili, organized by the Immigration Department.
“Now there is an investigation going on to find a solution for the 26 people,” Abel said.
The International Migration Organization is assisting the East Timorese government to provide humanitarian assistance to the asylum seekers.

Abel said a decision was pending on whether to expel the asylum seekers.
A spokeswoman for the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship said the 26 asylum seekers had lodged no applications with the department.
So far in 2012, 18 asylum-seeker boats have entered Australian waters, while last years total was 69, the spokeswoman said.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Stateless Rohingya: & Running on Empty

Source from AIPMC, 1 April 2012

From March 27 - April 1, 2012, award-winning photographer Suthep Kritsanavarin will be exhibiting his work on the plight of the Rohingya at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, opposite MBK Mall in Siam Square.


Supported by the Asian Resource Foundation (ARF) and the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC), the exhibition, which took three years in the field, portrays the story of Rohingyas, an ethnic and religious minority from Myanmar, unknown to the world. The exhibition reveals deep and true story of the world most neglected population. Let's experience the story of people who are estranged in their very own homeland. For Rohingyas, life is an endless journey of struggles. They run from place to place, in search of the land they belong to but end up finding themselves running on emptiness.

Let's discover the meaning of this endless journey. Let's seek an answer for these questions: who are the Rohingyas? Why they have to flee their land? Why they are not wanted? Where will they be recognized as human? And how could we respond to the problems faced by the Rohingya?

Pl read more at- http://www.iqlab.co.th/index.php?lay=show&ac=article&Id=539462057&Ntype=21