Friday, 31 August 2012

Ashin Gambhira: “Why encourage racism, why create a crisis?”

Source thebestfriend, 29 Aug

Saffron Revolution leader Ashin Gambhira (aka Ko Nyi Nyi Lwin) has been struggling with his health since his release from prison earlier this year. In a new letter, he speaks about the current conflict in Arakan State, and the fighting between Muslim Rohingyas and Buddhist Rakhines.

"I feel very sorry after reading the latest news. I don't feel so much surprised as angry because I knew something like this would happen soon. One step leads to another. It is actually not so surprising for our country Myanmar, because neither people nor politicians have good understanding."

The Military relies on conflict to stay in power

"The violence between Rakhines and Rohingyas in Arakan State is an example of how dictatorships all over the world use and rely on conflicts to stay in power. If all people were united, a military dictatorship could not survive. Division and enmity in the minds of the people only keep the military strong. Because of this, the military systematically uses division-and-rule policies on the grounds of nationality, religion, economic and education status, etc., to divide people, to keep the military 'necessary', relevant, and in power. So the Burmese people are kept separated in groups, each group for themselves, without unity or cooperation. Everybody lives in fear and distrust of the other. Everyone sees the other with a suspicious mind. With this pressure, the people are defeated.

Nationalism is used to the keep the military system alive

"The new freedom fighter groups were organized under a wrong system of a Burma nationalist policy. These national revolution organization systems are a mistake. They produce suspicions and tensions between Burmese and their fellow landsman. Furthermore, it is slowly destroying the meaning of 'union' until the 'union mind' will disappear. This is the situation that the Burmese military uses to keep the military system necessary and alive.

The thirst for human rights

"We haven't had human rights or true democracy in our country for over fifty years. For the last fifty years and five months, an old man couldn't get a taste of democracy, human rights, freedom, justice, or equality. Some people have not known any of these things their entire lives. This means we were so thirsty for human rights that we sometimes demanded them like fools.

"We are living in the 21st century now, in a time of globalization, but in our country the principles of human rights and democracy are terribly broken. So our understandings of Dhamma, Metta, peace, and human rights are very rough, and we are beaten, arrested, killed, and destroyed.

"Mr. Tomas Ojea Quintana, the UN Human Rights Commissioner, has said clearly that during the 2007 Saffron Revolution, crimes against humanity were committed. The illegal government acted against me with unjust laws and rules. I was sentenced by a judge to 68 years in prison. I lost my time, health, education, and freedom for the sake of my motherland. I spent nearly 4 years in prison. Everyone around the world knew that the people and monks were marching non-violently with love, Dhamma, and peace, and we didn't have as much as a nail with us. But we were broken down very violently, beaten, shot, and killed.

"The same people who were ruling Burma then are now presenting themselves to the world as a legal government. They show themselves to be honest, polite, and clear. But nothing has changed in Myanmar, even in this changing period. The neo-military dictatorship has exploited and fostered a new national crisis, a religious conflict, the Rakhine-Rohingya conflict, for its own purposes.

"This is a very simple and effective strategy. It has happened several times in the past. There have been conflicts between Buddhist monks and Muslims before. They have been fighting each other, and the military dictatorship benefited from it. These clashes were encouraged by the military to keep the people separated.

"We had started a Metta campaign in our country with slogans for peace and democracy. The campaign includes members of all religions. But now, the Rakhine and Rohingya have turned against each other violently in front of the world. Even some members of the democracy movement have followed the threat of politics by the military regime and have changed sides.


The rule of law

"I want to say one additional thing. We need to count from the beginning. We only needed to judge with the rule of law those three Rohingyas who raped a girl. Rohingyas or Rakhines, Burmans or Shan, everybody must obey the rule of law. Why encourage racism, why create a crisis? Why blame only Rohingyas and put all of the purnishment on all of them?

"In Bangladesh, in a minority village on the border with Myanmar, several people were robbed by Bengali groups. The Bangladeshi government took effective action against the robbers with the rule of law, and a crisis was averted.

"I feel sad to know that some Buddhist monks have joined demonstrations and campaigns against Rohingyas. We already previously kindled a fire of Dhamma for everyone around the world to see in 2007. Do I need to explain in detail the meaning of the Buddha's words, of Metta, Dhamma, peace, ahitha, thitthar, ageha, for everyone?

"As you know, my health is not so good, so I have been taking a rest lately. Actually, the past revolution experience was a very dark and hopeless situation inside the prison for me. I faced it, and survived this condition after I was released into the present political situation. I really want to write more about it. But I have to take care of my health first. In the future when I am better, I hope I can do it. Even writing this letter hurts my eyes and causes severe headaches. The deep pain inside my body is bad, but I needed to write and send this to you."

The original letter was written in Burmese by U Gambhira (aka Ko Nyi Nyi Lwin) on August 27th to Ms. Yu Yu Ko. The letter was given to The Best Friend International e.V. for publishing. Special thanks for the first translation from Burmese to English by Ko Nyi Nyi Lwin, Tokyo.


The Rohingya Problem: Why? | Speech By Dr. Habib Siddiqui

Source Rohingyablogger, 30 Aug



[Author's Note: Keynote speech delivered at the International Conference on "Contemplating Burma's Rohingya People's Future in Reconciliation and (Democratic) Reform," held on August 15, 2012 at the Thammasat University, Bangkok.]

As a conscientious global citizen of our planet, I have been writing for the past 32 years since my days as a university student on a plethora of issues, which include history, culture and civilization of the peoples of the South Asia and the Middle East. I have also studied and written on international politics, human rights and terrorism. In my decades of studies I have not found a people that are more persecuted than the Rohingyas of Myanmar, or what used to be called Burma.

It is, therefore, necessary that we learn of this greatest tragedy of our time so that we can work towards finding a lasting solution to it. On a personal level, I consider it to be a privilege to be able to speak on the plight of this persecuted people in front of an audience that care and want to stop their misery. I take this opportunity to thank the organizers, esp. Mrs. Chalida Tajaroensuk (People's Empowerment Foundation), Mr. Salim Ullah (JARO or Arakan Rohingya Organization-Japan) and Mr. Anwar Burmi (Rohingya National Organization in Thailand) for inviting me to this international conference. My thanks are also to the university administrators, and faculty, staffs and students of the Political Science department of the Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand for hosting this much-needed event. Thank you all for joining us here, esp. those who came from different parts of the world (e.g., Japan, Canada, USA, Myanmar, Malaysia, Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Singapore).

I have come here not to debate but to discuss. I have come here not to talk as an expert on Arakan but to speak as a human being who cares deeply about our humanity. After all, what is more important than being an intelligent and rational person who can think, analyze and offer solutions that bind us all together on common themes that go beyond our identity as a race or an ethnicity?

The great Persian poet Shaykh Sa'di (1231-1291 C.E.) wrote:
"Adam's sons are body limbs, to say;
For they're created of the same clay.
Should one organ be troubled by pain,
Others would suffer severe strain.
Thou, careless of people's suffering,
Deserve not the name, "human being"."
[Tr. H. Vahid Dastjerdi (Mashriq-e-Ma'rifat)]

I would like to believe that we care and want to stop the suffering of the persecuted Rohingya people. As such, we deserve the name "human beings."


International Laws on Fundamental Rights
Who would have thought that in our time, some 64 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the world community to guide its behaviors and actions we would see so much of intolerance and persecution of peoples based on their race or ethnicity? The Preamble of UDHR reads:

"Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,… Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms, Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge, Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction."

There are 30 Articles of the UDHR, starting with "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights…" The second one reads: "Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status…" When it comes to the Rohingya, ladies and gentlemen, not a single one of these rights is honored by the Myanmar government. These unfortunate people are denied their right to citizenship while the 15th Article clearly states: "(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality."

The preamble of the United Nations says, "WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and …."

And yet, the Myanmar government, being a member of the United Nations, denies citizenship right to the Rohingya people. By doing so, it is committing a terrible crime.
What's wrong with Burma Citizenship Law (1982)?

The Burma Citizenship Law (1982) states:
Chapter II – Citizenship
3. Nationals such as the Kachin, Kayah, Karen, Chin, Burman, Mon, Rakhine or Shan and ethnic groups as have settled in any of the territories included within the State as their permanent home from a period anterior to 1185 B.E., 1823 A.D. are Burma citizens.

4. The Council of State may decide whether any ethnic group is national or not.

The name Rohingya was deliberately expunged from the list of 135 national races (which includes 1 Burman major race plus 7 deputy races plus 127 sub-races) of Burma, thus, opening the door for all types of discrimination. [A comparison with the 1948 Union Citizenship Act, as shown below, would reveal that the 1982 Law altered the word Arakanese to Rakhine, thus effectively excluding the minority Rohingyas of Arakan from their shared national status. Similarly, the word 'ethnic' was put in place of 'races'.] Because of their racial and religious ties with the people of Bangladesh – living on the other side of the Naaf River, they are treated as if they have migrated from there since the days of British annexation of Arakan in 1826 C.E., after the First Anglo-Burman War of 1824-26. Forgotten there is the historical evidence that the ancestors of today's Rohingyas have lived in Arakan from time immemorial (see the history books written by experts like Professor Abdul Karim, Dr. Moshe Yegar and many others).

Interestingly, the author of this highly discriminatory law during the military dictator Ne Win era was (late) Dr. Aye Kyaw, a Rakhine academic who was a key figure in the formulation of racial policy of the ANC (Arakan National Congress). Through this 'criminal' law, Dr. Kyaw ensured virtual elimination of the Rohingya people from his native Arakan, where they comprised roughly half the population (i.e., 47.75% according to the estimate of Dr. Shwe Lu Maung in 2005).

As I have noted elsewhere ANC's doctrine is Rakhine neo-Nazi Fascism, which espouses superiority of the Rakhine race over all other races in Arakan. [See the book – The Price of Silence: Muslim-Buddhist War of Bangladesh and Myanmar, A Social Darwinist's Analysis by Shwe Lu Maung alias Shahnawaz Khan, DewDrop Arts & Technology, USA (2005), pp. 232-244.] Interestingly, Dr. Kyaw had no moral bite to deny the Rohingya of their due share in citizenship while he himself became a naturalized U.S. citizen. He and many of his Rakhine racist followers (including Aye Chan, Khin Maung Saw), of course, did not have to prove ancestral ties of more than 160 years for acquiring citizenship in their adopted countries, something that they demanded that the Rohingyas and many other minorities must now do to be eligible for such rights! What hypocrisy and what a grave crime to rob an entire people!

Note that according to the draft constitution for the Arakan state, formulated by the ANC, "The citizenship of the Republic of Arakan shall be determined and regulated by law. The citizen of Arakan shall be known as Arakanese. Buddhism shall be the state religion. Only the Arakan legal entities and citizens of Arakan nationality shall have the right to own land." Since the Rohingyas are classified as Arakan Bengalis they will be subjected to a second class citizenship with no right to run for office or own land. It is an apartheid policy of exclusion, discrimination and marginalization of the Rohingya, who are derogatorily called the Kula (Kala) much like how the Afro-Americans were treated in the USA as the Black Niggers.

As noted by Dr. Shahnawaz Khan (Shew Lu Maung), the Rakhaing neo-Nazism is not an isolated small group, but it is a widespread phenomenon led by the umbrella group ANC and supported by most of the Rakhine intellectuals and professionals. The tactics of the ANC and hate provocateurs like Aye Chan, Aye Kyaw and Khin Maung Saw include the total marginalization of the Rohingya people by fomenting fear that if they are not "contained (or eliminated)" as a 'virus' they would take over the state. Some of the members openly state that "Save our land even as Hitler if necessary … instead of losing out in foreign hands," "put the Rohingyas in a concentration camp under UN supervision or settle them in a third country," "mono-ethnic and majority race should control almost all so that the country can be developed easily," "there should be no compromise on rights of ethnic Rakhine who is the descendant of Tibeto-Burman tribes (and not Bangali or Indo-Aryan)," "we inevitably have to compose our nation similar to Israel," and "If Rohingya is to be recognized as indigenous race, any one who claims himself should take DNA test… If his DNA is different from those of the Bangali, he or should be accepted as ethnic Arakan citizen. If not, he should be chased out to Bangladesh or anywhere else away from our land."

Such utterly racist and hateful comments are enough to prove the Fascist leanings of many of the Rakhine leaders. Funny that racist Aye Chan's father is Haradhan Barua (Bangali Magh) and mother is an ethnic Rakhine. I wonder if Mr. Chan, who had once again rather conveniently excused himself from defending his 'influx virus' thesis against us, would have passed the DNA test required by his fellow racists!
The Question of being Indigenous to Arakan

Are the Muslims of Arakan who identify themselves as the Rohingya indigenous to the soil of Arakan or Burma? Our studies show without any shadow of doubt that they are indigenous, something that has also been accepted by many historians (even within Burma, pre-dating the Ne Win era) and the founding fathers of the Union of Burma. Sao Shwe Thaike who led and organized the Panglong conference in March 1946 famously said, "If the Rohingyas are not indigenous, nor am I." In 1946 General Aung San assured full rights and privileges to Muslim Rohingya Arakanese as an indigenous people saying: "I give (offer) you a blank cheque. We will live together and die together. Demand what you want. I will do my best to fulfill them. If native people are divided, it will be difficult to achieve independence for Burma."

Under the First Schedule to the Burma Independence Act 1947, the Rohingya were considered citizens of the Union of Burma. "1. The persons who, being British subjects immediately before the appointed day, are, subject to the provisions of section two of this Act, to cease on that day to be British subjects are the following persons, that is to say -

(a) persons who were born in Burma or whose father or paternal grandfather was born in Burma, not being persons excepted by paragraph 2 of this Schedule from the operations of this sub-paragraph; and (b) women who were aliens at birth and became British subjects by reason only of their marriage to any such person as is specified in sub-paragraph (a) of this paragraph."

Under Annex A of the Aung San-Attlee Agreement, 27 January, 1947, the Rohingya are citizens of the Union of Burma: "A Burma National is defined for the purposes of eligibility to vote and to stand as a candidate of the forthcoming elections as a British subject or the subject of an Indian State who was born in Burma and resided there for a total period of not less than eight years in the ten years immediately preceding either 1st January, 1942 or 1st January, 1947."

Under Section 11 of the Constitution of the Union of Burma (1947), as shown below, the Rohingya are citizens of the Union of Burma: 11. (i) Every person, both of whose parents belong or belonged to any of the indigenous races of Burma; (ii) every person born in any of the territories included within the Union, at least one of whose grand-parents belong or belonged to any of the indigenous races of Burma; (iii) every person born in any of territories included within the Union, of parents both of whom are, or if they had been alive at the commencement of this Constitution would have been, citizens of the Union; (iv) every person who was born in any of the territories which at the time of his birth was included within His Britannic Majesty's dominions and who has resided in any of the territories included within the Union for a period of not less than eight years in the ten years immediately preceding the date of the commencement of this Constitution or immediately preceding the 1st January 1942 and who intends to reside permanently there in and who signifies his election of citizenship of the Union in the manner and within the time prescribed by law, shall be a citizen of the Union.

The Nu-Attlee Agreement (1947), signed between Prime Minister U Nu (Burma) and Prime Minister Clement Attlee (Great Britain) on Oct. 17, 1947 on transferring power to Burma was very important as to the determination of the citizenship status of the peoples and races in Burma. Article 3 of the Agreement states: "Any person who at the date of the coming into force of the present Treaty is, by virtue of the Constitution of the Union of Burma, a citizen thereof and who is, or by virtue of a subsequent election is deemed to be, also a British subject, may make a declaration of alienage in the manner prescribed by the law of the Union, and thereupon shall cease to be a citizen of the Union."

The Section 10 of the 1947 Constitution of the Union of Burma also states: "There shall be but only one citizenship though out the Union; that is to say, there shall be no citizenship of the unit as distinct from the citizenship of the Union."

Article 3 (1) of the Union Citizenship Act, 1948 (original statement, and amended up to 1957) reads: "3. Any person:- (a) who was born in any of the territories which, at the time of his birth, was included in His Britannic Majesty's dominions; (b) who had resided in any of the territories included in the Union for a period of not less than eight years in the ten years immediately preceding either the first day of January 1942 or the fourth day of January 1948; (c) who is of good character; (d) who has not done any act prejudicial to the security, peace or interest of the Union; and (e) who is not disqualified as defined in section 2 of the Union Citizenship Act, 1948, may apply to the officer in the district in which he resides for a certificate of citizenship."

[As can be seen by comparison with the amended version of 1960 (see below), the original statement did not have the "indigenous" racial criterion for citizenship.]

Article 3 (1) of the Union Citizenship Act, 1948 (as amended up to 1960) states: "For the purposes of section 11 of the Constitution the expression "any of the indigenous races" of Burma shall mean the Arakanese, Burmese, Chin, Kachin, Karen, Kayah, Mon or Shan race and such racial group as has settled in any of the territories included within the Union as their permanent home from a period anterior to 1823 A. D. (1185 B.E.)." [Author's note: Arakanese meant all residents of the state of Arakan, e.g., Rohingya and Rakhine.]

Article 4 (2) of the Union Citizenship Act, 1948 (as amended up to 1960) states: "Any person descended from ancestors who for two generations at least have all made any of the territories included within the Union their permanent home and whose parents and himself were born in any of such territories shall be deemed to be a citizen of the Union."

These two categories of people and those descended from them are automatic citizens who did not require applying to court for naturalization. Rohingya are for all intents and purposes Arakanese and they are also a racial group who had settled in Arakan/Union of Burma as their permanent home from a period anterior to 1823 A. D. (1185 B.E.).

The Rohingyas were not subjected to any laws related to Registration of Foreigners before or after Burma's independence such as the Foreigner Act (Indian Act III, 1846), the Registration of Foreigners Act (Burma Act VII, 1940) and the Registration of Foreigners Rules, 1948.

During colonial administration Rohingya representatives were elected from North Arakan as Burmese nationals from the national quotas.

The Rohingya people exercised the right of franchise (the right of citizenship and the right to vote) in all elections held in Burma from British colonial rule up to the present such as, 91 Department Administration election (1936), Aung San's Constituent Assembly election (1947), all elections during parliamentary rule (1952, 1956, 1960), Ne Win's BSPP (Burma Socialist Programme Party) constitutional referendum and election (1974) and SLORC military multiparty election (1990), military SPDC's constitutional referendum (2008) and its multi-party election (2010).

There were Rohingya MPs. Minister, parliamentary secretaries, professionals, doctors, engineers, lawyers, academics, civil and military officers, and others who ran for the public offices. It is noteworthy that citizens whose parents hold FRCs (Foreign Registration Cards) are not allowed to run for a public office.

The parliamentary government (1948-1962) had officially declared Rohingya as one of the indigenous ethnic groups of Burma. The declaration from Prime Minister U Nu said: "The people living in Maungdaw and Buthidaung regions are our national brethren. They are called Rohingya. They are on the same par in status of nationality with Kachin, Kayah, Karen, Mon, Rakhine and Shan. They are one of the ethnic races of Burma."

As can be seen, the Rohingyas were accepted as indigenous to Arakan by all Burmese government that preceded Ne Win. Yet, they were rendered stateless through the highly racist 1982 Law.
What's wrong with the Burma Citizenship Law of 1982?

As duly noted by Mr. Nurul Islam of ARNO, a lawyer by training, Burma Citizenship Law of 1982 is the most restrictive citizenship law in the world promulgated by late dictator Ne Win's BSPP regime on October 15, 1982. It violates several fundamental principles of international customary law standards, offends the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and leaves Rohingyas exposed to no legal protection of their rights. It is conflicting government's obligation to fulfill the rights of the child as stipulated by Article 7(1) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 which states that the Child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right to a name, and to acquire a nationality. The Burmese government ratified this convention in 1991 and is obliged to grant citizenship to Rohingyas.

Note also that the 1982 Citizenship Law violates:
(1) Article 24(3) of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 also states, "Every child has the right to acquire a nationality."
(2) Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEADAW), 1979.
(3) Article 5(d) (iii) of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination 1965.

The 1982 Law promotes discrimination against Rohingya by arbitrarily depriving them of their Burmese (Myanmar) citizenship. The deprivation of one's nationality is not only a serious violation of human rights but also an international crime.

The law continues to create outflows of refugees, which overburden other countries posing threats to peace and security within the region. Of the Rohingya Diaspora an estimated 1.5 million now live in Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, UAE, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, USA, UK, Republic of Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, and any other place they can find a shelter. The Rohingya refugee crisis with their boat people has become a regional problem of international dimension.

In his report to the United Nations in February 1996, the Special Rapporteur on Burma Professor Yozu Yokota stated, "Muslim population of Rakhine (Arakan) State was not recognized as citizens of Myanmar under the existing naturalization regulations and they were not even registered as so-called foreign residents …Their status situation did not permit them to travel in the country…They are also not allowed to serve in the state positions and are barred from attending higher educational institution."

He recommended: "The 1982 Citizenship Law should be revised or amended to abolish its over burdensome requirements for citizens in a manner which has discriminatory effects on racial or ethnic minorities particularly the Rakhine (Arakan) Muslims. It should be brought in line with the principles embodied in the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness of 30 August 1961."

Another 16 years have passed by since 1996, and a new regime, headed by a retired general, purporting to be reform-minded has been sworn in, and yet the apartheid 1982 Law remains intact in Myanmar. A new pogrom has started and the suffering of the Rohingya continues. In July of this year, President Thein Sein said Rohingyas were not an ethnic group of Myanmar and asked the UN refugee group to help solve their problem by taking over responsibility for the Rohingyas in refugee camps or by sending them to third counties. Simply put, his government does not want them in Myanmar.

The 1982 Citizenship Law sanctions an apartheid policy, which epitomizes neo-Nazi Fascism. As I see, it is a blueprint for elimination or ethnic cleansing of 'other' races. Period! The United Nations define 'Ethnic Cleansing' as: "Purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas."

Thus, the latest pogrom against the Rohingyas of Myanmar is a continuation of that policy of total elimination of the Rohingya people, one way or another.
New 'Myanmarism'

Since the days of military dictator Ne Win, the successive Myanmar regimes (military or quasi-civilian) have learned to exploit racial and religious sentiments to persecute minorities and non-Buddhists. As correctly noted in an earlier Karen Human Rights Group report, their power is rooted in the deep racism that has permeated Burmese society since its beginnings; not only the racial supremacy complex which many Burmans are brought up with, but the racism of the Karen against the Burmans, the Burmans against the Shan, the Shan against the Wa, the Wa against the Shan, the Mon against the Burmans, the Rakhine against the Rohingyas, the Burmans against the Chinese, the Christians against the Buddhists, and everyone against the Muslims. The list goes on and on, and the military has always exploited it to turn people against each other and thereby increase its hold onto power.

The government propaganda continues to encourage a blind racist nationalism, full of references to 'protecting the race' — meaning that if Burmans (the majority Bamar people) do not oppress or eliminate other nationalities or races then they will themselves be oppressed, 'national reconsolidation' – meaning forced assimilation (through Burmanization and Buddization), and preventing 'disintegration of the Union' – meaning that if the Army (Tatmadaw) falls then some kind of ethnic chaos would ensue destabilizing the state. The regime has perfected this art of Myanmarism since the days of General Saw Maung who was handed down power after the bloody crackdown of 1988. [The same recipe of containing the minority Rohingya is followed in the Rakhine state by the majority Buddhist Rakhine.]

The traditional Myanmarism has been Buddhism and militarism since the days of King Anawrahta (ca. 1044-1077 C.E.). The new Myanmarism is a toxic cocktail of ultra-nationalism and religious fanaticism (or religio-racial ultra-nationalism, as coined by Dr. Shahnawaz Khan) as coded in the Lauka-thara-pyo, which is the skeleton of the Buddhist political theology (based on the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha).

If the old one was dirty and ugly, the new Myanmarism is dirtier and uglier. In this, the ends justify the means; lies and deceptions are all too natural and acceptable strategies to rule and govern. It is a feudal recipe for disaster, which shuns pluralism, diversity and multi-culture – the very trend-setters for progress in our time. The 1982 Citizenship Law thus provides the very justification for the Myanmar regime towards elimination of the minority races like the Rohingya.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

A few dead lists escalated from Sittwe, Minbya and Pauktaw towns

By NDPHR(exile),
A few dead lists escalated from Sittwe, Minbya and Pauktaw towns, are numbered about 140 persons according to the below chart.
This list was sent from Arakan and escalated through related relatives and there are still outstanding to collect a large number of deaths.

A few dead lists about 50 persons escalated from Maungdaw town were already publicized at Rohingya Blogger.(Page-21-23)

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Update news of Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships

kaladanpress

Maungdaw, Arakan State: The Rohingya villagers are not free from the arrest of Nasaka, army, Hluntin and police personnel at Maungdaw Township. The higher government authority lets them free to harass the Rohingya community without any fear, according to a school teacher from Maungdaw south requesting not to be named for security reason.
On August 25, Aman Ullah (40), son of Madi, Abulu (35), son of Khadir Hussain were arrested by Nasaka with the collaboration of village Chairman U Thein Maung. Both of them belong to Udaung west village of Maungdaw south, Arakan State. Villagers said that the village chairman pushes the Nasaka to harass the Rohingya villagers while the concerned authorities want calm in northern Arakan.

Besides, on August 27, the Nasaka also arrested Mohamed Hussain (20), son of Abdu Shukur and Lalu (30), both of them hailed from Fokira Para of Udaung village tract over the allegation that they were involved in the recent riots.

Earlier, on August 23, eight villagers were arrested from this village tract by Nasaka over the allegation that they were involved in riots between Rohingyas and Rakhines on June 8. Nasaka frequently attack this village, so that the villagers cannot live in the village for fear of arrest by the Nasaka. Those, who were arrested by Nasaka were severely tortured in the Nasaka camp. Some of the villagers were released after paying money and the villagers who are not able to pay money are being detained in the camp, according to local villagers.

On August 28,   Aman Ullah (55), son of Fokurul, hailed from Nari Bill of Maungdaw north was arrested by the Nasaka personnel of Nari Bill out-post camp, over the allegation that he didn't provide the fish to the Nasaka that he caught from the fishing project. He was arrested at noon and brought to their camp where he was detained for money, said a youth from the village who is relative of the victim.

On August 28, five girls and three youths of Fokira Bazar of Mauungdaw north were arrested by Nasaka and brought to their camp and detained there. The girls were accused for not giving information to the concerned authorities where they stayed as guests and the said three youths were accused for holding mobile phones. However, at night, the village administrator brought the girls to his home by giving grantee to the Nasaka that the next day the girls will be sent to the camp again. The next day, the girls were sent to the camp. Their relatives till know, didn't know the fate of the girls, said a village elder.

The Rohingya prisoners, who were arrested during the recent violence between Rakhines and Rohingyas were produced at the courts of Buthidaung and Maungdaw in recent times. The concerned authority produced 30 to 40 prisoners at a time to the courts, but, the relatives of the prisoners are not allowed to meet them and also barred them to supply any food to the prisoners. The prisoners also do not get any access to fight their cases by lawyers. So, the parents don't know what kinds of cases that the authority filed against the prisoners. Some of the parents, who went to the court on August 28, were humiliated by the officials of the court.

"One  of the prisoners said to his relative that don't give us food with meat as our teeth  were broken in the jail by torture, " said one of the parent who met his son at the court giving bribe to the security force secretly.

The prisoners will get one year or ten years or life term jailed for their guilty. They were accused Act 436, which means, torching houses, killing people, organizing the people to involve in the riots, and giving encouragement, said a lawyer on condition of anonymity.


Rohingyas give security for Pagoda:

On August 23, at night, a group of Rakhines was trying to destroy the Buddhist Pagoda of Tha Yae Kumbo village, which was built at the center of the Rohingya village. The Rohingya villagers, seeing the event, they informed the matter to the local Commander of Nasakra area.. So, the commander immediately sent a group of Nasaka (Border security force) to the spot. When the Nasaka reached near the Pagoda, seeing them, the Rakhine villagers ran away to a nearby mountain and disappeared. But, the authority did not take any action against the villagers who involved in the event, said a village elder from the locality preferring not to be named

Actually, the Rakhine villagers are trying to make Rohingyas to be guilty because the Rakhine villagers had already destroyed the Khala Mosque of Tha Yae Kumbo village, recently. As a result,   Rohingya villagers have to give security to the Buddhist Pagoda not to be guilty in government's sight, said a local youth on condition of anonymity.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

more than 80 Rohingya women and girls have been raped from Baggona village alone

Rohingyablogger, 28 Aug

At Baggona, a village three miles far from and lies to the South of Maung Daw of Arakan state, more than 80 Rohingya women and girls have been raped and gang-raped by Military, Rakhine Extrmist-Terrorists, Police and Security Forces since the beginning of the violence in Arakan. Though we could not list all the names of the raped victims due to the highly shy and timorous nature of Rohingya women, we were able to collect the profiles of 32 raped victims. The list is mentioned at the end of the article.

On 19th June 2012, armed Rakhine terrorists, security forces and police (Note: security forces and police in Arakan state are made up of mostly Rakhines, no Rohingya at all) raided Baggona village in Maung Daw and arrested young and old Rohingyas alike which numbered almost 100 (age: 12-80). (They were taken to unknown locations and nothing had been heard from them since then.) Therefore while the remaining Rohingya men were on hiding in the fear of being arrested, they raped and ganged raped the Rohingya women left behind to their heart’s content. Besides, they robbed and looted 700 houses and took away gold, silver, money and whatever possible. For the worse, these terrorists destroyed furniture, cooking pots and other properties which they could not take away. Currently the people in the village are having serious crises and the raped Rohingya women are in troubles such as being pregnant with these unknown terrorists and others. Therefore, they plead international communities to help them out from the hands of evils rather than giving mere lips services. 

Now President U Thein Sein has set up an inquiry commission into the violence of Arkan, which has 27 members, to investigate and find out the culprits of the violence. But sadly, the commission itself has the people who have committed the crimes against Rohingyas themselves. Therefore, the government will only be able to find out the real cause and culprits of the violence if they replenish the inquiry team with the representatives from the political parties of local Rohingyas and Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP) and use them to thoroughly investigate the real victims in the ongoing violence whether as a means of refilling to the present commission or to exactly find out the masterminds behind the brutal treatments of Rohingyas. 

 

Five Reasons No One Cares About the Rohingya

article-image

Source 27 Aug, muslimmaters.org

If you paid especially close attention to the news these past few weeks, you might have caught some fleeting mention of the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar.

Considering how little the American media, and to only a slightly lesser extent their international counterparts, have covered this latest outbreak of violence between Buddhist nationalists and minority Rohingya Muslims, you are squarely in the majority if you have no idea that dozens have been butchered and hundreds have attempted (unsuccessfully) to flee their homeland.

All while the world remains silent.

It wasn't supposed to be this way. The days of mass expulsion and unchecked, government backed aggression was assumed to be a relic of a bygone era. With citizen journalism filling the few gaps overlooked by a 24-hour news cycle, how has the plight of the Rohingya Muslims been largely ignored?

1) Location, Location, Location

For better or worse, the Middle East is an area of the world that garners, even during "normal" times, plenty of coverage and commentary. When extraordinary events occur in the region, they innately draw the world's eyes and ears – and news cameras. 
The same can hardly be said for Southeast Asia. Even with China's ascendancy on the world stage, Americans simply don't care about Asia. In fact, the vast majority of Americans probably couldn't spot Myanmar on a map, given the trouble they have even pointing out nations they're at war with.

What's more, we can't even decide what to call the country. Among the few news reports that have acknowledged the crisis, "Burma" and "Myanmar" were used interchangeably. Given all the media items vying for our scarce time, this added bit of confusion likely undercut whatever traction the story might have otherwise had.

2) No Rohingya Mona Eltahawy

As the ongoing – though, hopefully, close to concluding – crisis in Syria evidences, social media cannot in itself solve all the world's ills. Facebook is not in the business of feeding the hungry and Twitter does not topple dictators. In an age of ever decreasing attention spans, however, these tools expand a story's global mindshare. The more people "like" and "retweet" news of a tragedy, the higher the chances that something will be done about it.

In the case of the Rohingya, there hasn't been anything near the critical mass that the Arab Spring garnered. Part of the reason, as mentioned, is a general dearth of interest in this part of the globe. Just as important, perhaps, is the lack of a Rohingya representative, a Western media darling that, like Mona Eltahawy did with Egypt, presents the crisis in terms that an American audience can understand and sympathize with. In essence, if your not seeing it in your Facebook newsfeed or Twitter stream, don't expect to see it on your nightly news.

3) No Land to Call Their Own

One's mobility, identity and, more importantly, access to rights is fundamentally linked to their national affiliation. As there is hardly a patch of land or water on the globe not claimed by some sovereign nation, the notion of a landless people seems like it should be an anachronism in the modern world. If only that was the case.

The issue of statelessness is all too familiar to Muslims who have for generations witnessed the suffering of Palestinians under Israeli occupation. Yet, in some ways, the Rohingya do not even enjoy the modicum of civil rights afforded to the Palestinians. Since the approximately 800,000 Rohingya living in Myanmar are denied citizenship status by the military government, their land is routinely confiscated, their children are denied any education beyond what they internally receive within the community, adults are denied the opportunity to look for work outside their village, and they can't even marry without getting authorization to do so. As David Camroux, a top commentator on Islam in Asia, succinctly put it: "The Rohingya are the Roma of Asia, nobody respects their human rights."

4) Getting in the way of "Democracy"

Oftentimes – though, certainly, not always – the West will rally to the aid of oppressed peoples if their oppressor fits the "bad guy" mold. The interventions in Rwanda, Bosnia and Somalia, for example, allowed Western powers to construct a narrative of "good" versus "evil." When the roles are not so neat, when, for instance, the oppressor is a "necessary evil," then NATO, the UN, et al. get far more gun shy – witness the past half century of Middle East policy. Just imagine the inertia, then, when the "bad guy" is being billed as the "good guy."

Prior to this recent outbreak of violence, Myanmar was drawing positive headlines for its "democratic transition." Over the past year, President Thein Sein has made strides towards greater openness and representation in his country, garnering praise from the international community and audiences with top dignitaries from America and Europe. Within this new democratic paradigm, however, it seems there's no room for the Rohingya.

Top officials and activists in Myanmar have either tacitly or explicitly – more often, the later – shown their disdain for the Rohingya. No less a figure than the president himself openly said the Rohingya are not welcome in his country. Following this declaration, exiled Burmese democracy activists in Japan voiced their support of the president's stance. Perhaps most appalling, however, is the cowardly silence of Myanmar's celebrated Nobel Peace laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, as her country continues its policy of ethnic cleansing.

5) Follow the Money

Shockingly, the world's economic superpowers don't appear to be supportive of Myanmar's "democratic transition" out of reverence for the ideals of freedom and liberty. They would likely be much less enthusiastic about the country's newfound openness if it wasn't for its vast, largely untapped natural resources. Multi-national and sovereign backed corporations are jockeying left and right for a piece of what could be the next big growth story in Asia (the Economist Intelligence Unit estimates an 85% chance for growth to rise 75-100% in the next eight years).

With such heady prospects, it is no surprise that Hilary Clinton's recent visit with Thein Sein, which came two days after the US eased sanctions on Myanmar, was centered on business and long-term investment opportunities rather than ongoing human rights abuses. To be fair, Clinton did bring up the plight of the Rohingya, calling them "internally displaced persons" in an affront to President Sein's call for the UN to resettle the Rohingya outside Myanmar's borders, but the issue was dropped just as quickly at it was raised. We can't have a few thousand ill-treated Asians get in the way of Corporate America's potential windfall, after all.

It has been a few weeks now since the violence in Myanmar reached its peak. Nonetheless, Amnesty International reports that Rohingya Muslims continue to be targeted by the majority Buddhist population in the region. The Rohingya's status is becoming much more precarious with each passing day. How to resolve this matter is debatable, but the first step is for the global community to acknowledge there is a problem. What we certainly cannot do is sit idly by and expect the Burmese government to handle this matter "internally." If you think that such acquiescence would bring about anything short of genocide, you simply haven't been paying attention.

Sadly, you're not alone.

Ignoring the minorities

Source nation.com.pk, 28 Aug

In the last few weeks, the plight of Burmese Muslims has come to limelight. Of particular concern are circumstances surrounding the minority Muslim community of Rohingya. There are reports that the Burmese state is involved in serious violations of human rights and the Rohingya community is subjected to massacres and indiscriminate killings.

Rohingya is a small Muslim community (by some accounts, less than one million people), residing in the western part of Burma for the last several decades. They have been subjected to discrimination by the majority Buddhists and are not recognised as citizens of Burma. The bias against the Rohingyas is so strong that even Aung San Suu Kyi, when asked about whether the Rohingya Muslims are, in principle, citizens of Burma, exclaimed that she does not know. Needless to say that her response was rather unfortunate considering her stature, but goes on to give an insight into the gravity of the situation.

The Rohingyas have been in the news lately with reports emanating from Burma suggesting mass killings of this minority community. International media was slow to respond, the primary reason being that Burma is still a closed territory and analysts still have only limited understanding of what is going on in this reclusive state. Similarly, a section of electronic and print media in the country is influenced by the state and this presents an additional hurdle in the fair and accurate reporting of events.

Unfortunately, and one wishes to say this with utmost caution, the international community is not only slow in its response, but also appears to be biased. Despite clear indications of mass killings, it seems that the international community is complacent with only paying lip service to the problem, and essentially agreeing with the Burmese government that it is an internal matter of Burma.
On the other hand, when the civil society in Pakistan, and certain other Muslim countries, started raising voice against the killings, they were blamed for playing in the hands of fundamentalist Islamic organisations. The argument goes that the situation in Burma is exaggerated by certain unscrupulous elements, the sorts of Al-Qaeda and Taliban, so as to gain sympathies from Pakistanis, and thereafter recruit young Pakistanis into their ranks. This concern may not be wholly misplaced; however, completely dismissing the injustice suffered by Rohingyas based on this premise also needs reconsideration.

Despite the effort of civil society, there is not a single word at the official level in Pakistan condemning the conduct of Burma. Admittedly, citizenship rights of the Rohingyas are not recognised and the Burmese state refuses to protect this minority community. There are also confirmed reports of mass killings, although the extent of killings is yet to be determined. There is, therefore, a need for transparent investigation and international intervention.

There is also a need to put pressure on Bangladesh to open up its borders for the Rohingya refugees, who are trying to flee the country to protect their lives. In fact, the Muslims in Burma did try to enter Bangladesh, but were refused entry in violation of international law and norms. Once again, not a single utterance by the international community reprimanding Bangladesh. One wishes that even if the governments, due to diplomatic complexities, fail to address this issue, the media and the civil society will make an effort to expose the unlawful conduct of Bangladesh.

A discussion of maltreatment of minorities cannot be complete without mentioning the predicament of Hindus in Pakistan, who have been forced to a point where they have no option but to leave the country. The discrimination against minorities in Pakistan has reached alarming levels. The Hindu, Christian, Ahmedi, Parsi, and many other minority communities are subject to systematic discrimination at the hands of state, as well as discrimination by society at large.
Such migration by the Hindus is a result of continued injustice over the years. Can you really blame them when their girls are regularly married to Muslim men after being forcefully "converted" to Islam? The reaction of the government is hopeless and dismal, to say the least!

The response of the civil society on this issue is also unsatisfactory. While we do not let go of any opportunity to highlight the quandary of Rohingya Muslims, what is happening to our Hindu brethren is not a topic of much concern. The civil society ought to play a more meaningful role in developing tolerance for minorities in Pakistan and to ensure that the government does not wilfully ignore this matter.

On a positive note, surprisingly and unexpectedly, the government showed some leadership during the Eid holidays. It banned pillion riding in Karachi and switched off mobile phone networks in major cities. This had a significant impact in Karachi where target killings and street crime was majorly curtailed on Chand Raat. One does not wish to encourage the government to halt mobile phone service, however, considering the worsening law and order situation in Karachi, it may not be a bad idea to implement such bans and stoppages on phone service during night time. The pre-paid SIM service also needs to be re-examined, considering the number of undocumented SIMs operating in the country. One wishes that Rehman Malik et al will examine the proposition of shutting down mobile service at night in Karachi, and impose a permanent ban on pillion riding, so as to bring some respite to the citizens of Karachi from the worsening law and order situation.

The writer practices and teaches law. Opinions expressed herein are solely his own. Email: zeeshanadhi@gmail.com

The real culprits behind the violence in Rakhine state | Dr. Maung Zarni

August 29,  , Source

It's great that US Ambassador to Myanmar, Derek Mitchell, has finally spoken out on the ethno-religious riots between Rohingyas and Buddhist people in the Rakhine state. 

He points out racism in Myanmar society at large, something some of us have been saying for so long.

But the problem with shifting the new focus onto popular racism is that it lets the real culprits - the generals and their troops - off the hook.

The Myanmar regime has a direct and immediate hand in the recent communal riots between the Rakhines and the Rohingya - who it only refers to as "Bengali Muslims" - by sending the message that these people do not belong in Myanmar, even though they were born on Rakhine soil and have been in the country for generations.

For the record, I place the ultimate responsibility for the outbreak of ethno-racial violence squarely on the Thein Sein government. Successive military regimes since Ne Win's reign (1962-1988) have used the tactic of ethnic and religious divide and rule. Precedents and contemporary cases abound. In 1967, Ne Win reportedly diverted attention from the failings of his socialist economy - which resulted in rice shortages across the country - by blaming "greedy Chinese merchants". That sparked anti-Chinese riots. When the mob in Yangon stormed the Chinese Consulate, the generally trigger-happy Burmese troops (when it comes to "restoring law and order") simply stood by and watched the mob kill the deputy chief of mission on the Chinese Consulate's premises. The regime is pursuing a scorched-earth military operation against the Kachins in the north while offering ceasefire deals to the other armed ethnic resistance groups.

This is the regime that has specialised in "law and order" for the past 50 years, since 1962. It deliberately let all hell break loose in western Myanmar because it suited the regime in multiple ways for the Rakhine and the Rohingyas to slaughter one another.

Burmese generals have never liked the Rakhines people, especially those who are ethno-nationalistic and want to push for genuine political autonomy for the Rakhine state.

Troops and all other security units stationed in western Myanmar, on the other hand, have turned all kinds of severe restrictions - in place for at least 30-40 years - into the basis for extorting and abusing the Rohingyas. For instance, the Rohingyas' physical movements and their ability to marry and have children were restricted, requiring permission from the authorities and security units. In effect, the Rohingyas were turned into cash cows by the local security units in western Myanmar.

For their part, the Rakhine people felt angry that the government security troops and authorities were benefitting economically from the Rohingya. (The Rohingya population in general are very poor, while there are a handful of wealthy Rohingya business families. Many Rohingyas who work abroad, however, remit money back to their families in western Myanmar.) Also, forced labour among the Rohingya population is disproportionately higher than in any other ethnic community including those in Myanmar's active war zones in the eastern and northern regions of the country. So, the authorities extract both cash and labour from the captive Rohingya population.

But the Rakhine people felt powerless in the face of the overwhelming might of the security forces on their soil, despite their perception of the regime's favouritism to the Rohingyas, whom the Rakhine have come to consider as "animals" on their soil.

So, naturally, the Rakhine people grew more hateful of the Rohingyas and the state security apparatus, and finally took it out on the weaker of the two - the Rohingyas.

When violence broke out, not only did the security forces not intervene to keep order and nip the initial violence in the bud, but troops - some Burmese and some Rakhine themselves - in places like Maungdaw decided to turn against their cash cows and forced labourers - the Rohingyas.

This time it wasn't the greed of the troops, who had long milked the Rohingyas for their money and extracted labour that led them to directly participate in the slaughter of the Rohingyas. Rather it was the Burmese and Rakhine people's general dislike of Muslims that finally compelled the troops in Maungdaw to machine-gun the Rohingyas in large numbers.

Evidence of the attacks keeps surfacing from various independent eyewitnesses. According to one local researcher in the country - whose account of the Rohingya slaughter at the hands of the Burmese and Rakhine security forces was published in Al Jazeera English ("Mass graves for Myanmar's Rohingya, August 9) - the troops that he interviewed openly talked about "how much they hate Muslims" and described coldly the manner in which they machine-gunned down the Rohingya.

This directly corresponds with the policies of Nay Pyi Daw. This is not simply troops in local areas shooting without orders from above and getting away with mass murder. In fact, the widespread view within the military is: "the bottom line is, we do not want more Muslims in our country". So there is not simply popular racism but vertical and official hatred of Muslims in general and the Rohingya Muslims in western Myanmar in particular.

To deny this is to add insult to injury. The focus of the current riot inquiry by the presidential commission and the international media coverage needs to focus on this direct connection between popular racism and the regime's racist and violent policies and practices of the last 40 years since Operation Snake King (or Nagamin) killed hundreds, if not thousands, of Rohingyas and drove hundreds of thousands more out of western Myanmar into Bangladesh in the 1970s, under the Ne Win-Sein Lwin regime. Ne Win was the godfather, and Sein Lwin was the butcher.

Muang Zarni is a visiting fellow at the Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit, the London School of Economics. A veteran founder of the Free Burma Coalition, Zarni advocated "principled and strategic engagement" with the regime as early as 2003. @ m.zarni@lse.ac.uk.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Iran concerned over conditions of Rohingya Muslims, Salehi tells Myanmar FM

Source Tehran Time, 27 Aug

TEHRAN – During a meeting with Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin in Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi expressed concern about the conditions that the Rohingya Muslims are experiencing in Myanmar, it was reported on Monday. 
 
Salehi said that Iran is ready to send humanitarian aid for the Muslims in Myanmar and will welcome a decision to use Iran’s influence to help defuse tensions in the country.  
 
Myanmar’s foreign minister who has visited Iran to participate in the Non-Aligned Movement meeting briefed Salehi on the incidents that have taken place in his country and said that efforts are underway to restore peace. 
 
He also assured Salehi that Myanmar is committed to respecting people of all religions and does not regard discrimination against Muslims as appropriate. 
 
EP

 

Ongoing Situation in Arakan

By NDPHR(exile),

Rathedaung town
26 Aug: Military authority met with acting Rohingya leaders from Nyaung Pin Gyi(Muzadia), Anauk Pran(Anakpran), Samila and Sangudaine villages and reiterated about their relocation to Maungdaw town.
Except from
Nyaung Pin Gyi (Muzadia) and 51 houses of Anauk Pran(Anakpran), the rest of Rohingya houses in Anauk Pran(Anakpran), Samila, Sangudaine villages were not set fire. But the military authority said that they could no longer protect the villagers and the relocation will be only solution.
The villagers however responded that they would only move to Sittwe town in case they would be forced. Because the military authority in Sittwe are not abusive unlike in Maungdaw.
 

The aid delivered by Yangon based muslim organizations were brought by military in Rathedaung town on 21 Aug. The homeless Rohingya victims were asked to unload the rice packages from the boat. The villages requested to dock the boat closer to the shore. Instead, the military forces began beating and pounding with guns and forced the villagers to go down into the waters. 10 villagers of Anauk Pran (Anakpran) village and 30 villagers of Nyaung Pin Gyi (Muzadia) village, were beaten up. Of them, the village head of Nyaung Pin Gyi (Muzadia), Habirahman was seriously beaten up and still in coma.


Maungdaw town

26 Aug: 3 Rohingya cowboys were attacked by a gang of Rakhine people on their return with cattle to own Nurulla village from near by the farming land. One of them was escaped and and informed the villagers. On the time of the villagers followed to the scene, the two cowboys were found slaughtered.


Sittwe town
27 Aug: About 4,000 Rohingya victims of Sentoli villages taking shelter at the school of Thakkaybyin (Sakki Fara) village were forcefully expelled from the school by the Rakhine state education minister yesterday afternoon. The victims said that expulsion came an hour after a team of UN visited them. Now the victims are wetting under the rain without shelter and food because they have even not registered at refugee camp.

Following the president's announcement, Rakhine people expressed dissatisfaction and attempting to attacks Rohingya villages from the past week. A group of 4 Rakhines who entered Aungmingala (Mole Fara) village with lethal knives and fuel bottles were captured by military in the afternoon of on 23 Aug. Another two Rakhines attempted to attack the same village were also arrested by military in the evening of 25 Aug.

Total displaced number of homeless Rohingyas plus Kamans and Rakhine muslims in Sittwe is estimated about 96,000 people and only about half of them are registered at refugee camps and the rest are still languished without food and shelter, according to the ground report .
As we received a list as below, in Sittwe refugee camps so far at least 64 people died from contracted diseases and starvation. The number is higher for the other towns where no aid group has been visited from the beginning.
The death toll in Sittwe refugee camps: NDPHR(exile)

Monday, 27 August 2012

Saudi- WAMY seeks further measures to help Myanmar Muslims

Source menafn, 26 Aug

(MENAFN - Arab News) The World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) has asked Muslim and Arab countries to take further measures to help Muslims in Myanmar, insisting that Gulf states should assume a "pioneering role" in the drive.

"As the Muslims around the world cheerfully celebrated Eid Al-Fitr, the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar are being subjected to appalling atrocities, finding their life still in danger," said Dr. Saleh Al-Wohaibi, WAMY's secretary-general, here yesterday.

Al-Wohaibi, who launched a WAMY's relief and rehabilitation program for the Muslims of Myanmar, applauded the efforts of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, who ordered $50 million in aid to the Rohingyas. "The Saudi assistance and the efforts made by the Saudi leaders in cooperation with the international community will go a long way in alleviating the suffering of Muslims in that country," said the WAMY chief.

Referring to the relief efforts of the WAMY, he pointed out that this Islamic organization would spend $1.5 million in the first phase of its program. "The WAMY is coordinating with several aid organizations including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to extend all possible help to Muslims in Myanmar," said Al-Wohaibi, adding that the Rohingya Muslims have recently been exposed to grave human rights abuses including ethnic cleansing, murder, rape and forced displacement.

He pointed out that the WAMY offices, as well as other Islamic NGOs around Mynamar, had been contacted for the relief and rehabilitation plan. Several volunteers will be sent to that country, if the Myanmar government allows them to enter into the country, he added. He said that the WAMY strongly condemns the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims as well as the brutal acts and flagrant violations of human rights against them with the aim of coercing them to leave their homeland.

Al-Wohaibi, while urging the international community to take immediate action to protect Muslims in that country, renewed his call to all Islamic and Arab countries to adopt a strong stance to put an end to the killing of Muslims in Myanmar. "If there is no strong stance against this tragedy afflicting Muslims in Myanmar, be sure that there will be a repeat of the same ugly episode again," he added.

Al-Wohaibi expressed concerns that the international community has been by and large ominously quiet about the events in Myanmar. More than 2,000 Rohingya Muslims have been murdered thus far in the conflicts that broke out in the region. He also lamented that the mainstream media in the West have been largely silent about the massacre of Muslims in Myanmar.

Along with the media, Western governments have also blatantly turned a blind eye to the suffering of the Rohingya Muslims. Even renowned Burmese political activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who was recently invited to Norway to collect her 21-year old Nobel Prize, preferred not to speak about the affliction of her fellow citizens. Al-Wohaibi, however, thanked the Myanmar government for inviting an OIC fact-finding delegation to visit the country rocked by sectarian violence.

For their part, Amnesty has also accused Burmese security forces as well as ethnic Rakhine Buddhist residents of assaults, unlawful killings of Muslims and the destruction of property. "Most cases have meant targeted attacks on the minority Rohingya population and they bore the brunt of most of that communal violence in June and they continue to bear the lion's share of the violations perpetrated by the state security forces," Amnesty researcher Benjamin Zawacki told the BBC in a recent program.

Meanwhile, Myanmar has set up a 27-member commission to investigate the killings. The commission will be headed by a retired religious affairs ministry official and include former student activists, a former UN officer and representatives from political parties and Islamic as well as other religious organizations.

The commission is tasked with proposing solutions to the longstanding hatred between the two communities and is to submit its findings by Sept. 17.


'Thousands of Rohingyas dead'

Source Malaymail, 27 Aug

Number of growing casualties played down by authorities, says refugee

rohingya

FOOD BOXES: Rohingya volunteers preparing packages of sardines to be delivered to the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh — Pix: Arif Kartono

ROHINGYAS in Malaysia are claiming that media reports on the death toll in the Arakan region of Myanmar are grossly inaccurate, saying thousands of Rohingya villagers have become casualties of the growing unrest.

Contractor Abul Kasim, 34. who has been staying in Malaysia for the past 10 years, said the reported numbers were played down by the Myanmar authorities.

"This (the violence) is nothing new. It has been going on for some time, many years, in fact. All these years, there has been only discrimination, but the mass murders only started recently," said Abul Kasim, who fled Myanmar about a decade ago to escaped the mistreatment of Rohingyas by the Myanmar junta.

"They (army personnel) raped my cousin in front of me. They were hunting me down after realising I witnessed the incident. I couldn't take it any longer and decided to come to Malaysia to start a new life.

"I later learned that my cousin committed suicide." Abul Kasim was one of 30 Rohingyas who volunteered to pack supplies provided by Kelab Putera 1Malaysia, bound for the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh next week.

"This is the only way I can help my fellow Rohingyas," he said. Abul Kasim said his father still lived in Yangon but had been stripped off all his property and land.

"My uncle still lives in villages near Arakan. From my last conversation with him, their homes have been burned and they are homeless," he said.

rohingya

Abul Kasim: Claims death toll higher than reported in media

"We don't want anything from the government of Myanmar. We just want our freedom and citizenship." Abul Kasim said the Rohingyas who left Myanmar were not refugees trying to escape poverty as thought by many.

"It's not about money. We have millions worth of properties in Myanmar but they have been burnt down," he said.

"We were forced to travel all over the world, yet our hearts were never at peace because of what is happening."

He said he was hopeful that pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu-Kyi would be able to address the issue.

"We still support her. We understand her difficult situation."

Chandra urges diplomatic approach on Rohingya issue

KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 26, 2012): Dr Chandra Muzaffar, president of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), has called on Malaysia to take a diplomatic approach to persuade Myanmar to stop the persecution and ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya minority in the state of Rakhine.

Chandra said Malaysia was viewed as being able to play an effective role as it was among the Asean members which strongly supported Myanmar's entry into the bloc.

"Therefore, as a neighbour and friend, we should persuade the Myanmar government to act fairly in the Rohingya issue," he told Bernama.

He said Kuala Lumpur and other Asean members should ensure that the Investigation Commission set up by the Myanmar government was transparent and autonomous in bringing to justice those responsible for the persecution.

Malaysia should also continue communicating with Asean secretary-general Dr Surin Pitsuwan in efforts to halt the ethnic violence in Rakhine, he said.

Apart from these diplomatic efforts, he said, Malaysia could also provide financial assistance by collecting funds for the victims in Rakhine and other areas affected by the conflict.

Chandra also called on Asean member countries to bring up the issue at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit to be held from Aug 29 to 31 in Tehran.

Although there were bigger issues such as Iran, Syria and Palestine, the Asean members present there may be able to make a stand on the situation and pass a resolution on the matter, he said. – Bernama

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Indonesian Red Cross sends team to Myanmar

Asia Pacific News, 25 Aug

JAKARTA: The Indonesian Red Cross sent a team of aid workers on Saturday to western Myanmar, where deadly sectarian violence in June left dozens dead and thousands of Rohingya displaced.

The eight-member team took off in a military jet from an airbase in the capital Jakarta in the morning with 500 hygiene kits, 3,000 blankets and 10,000 sarongs for the first phase of their mission.

"This is an agreement between the president of Myanmar and the Indonesian Red Cross," Indonesian Red Cross chief Jusuf Kalla told reporters.

"We expect the team to stay for around a year, but that will depend on coordination with the government and other Red Cross and Red Crescent teams."

Sectarian violence between ethnic Rakhine and Rohingya has flared in Rakhine state, where clashes in June left around 80 people dead, according to official estimates deemed low by rights groups.

Villages were razed and an estimated 70,000 people, the majority of them Rohingya, were left displaced in government-run camps and shelters.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch has accused Myanmar forces of opening fire on Rohingya, as well as committing rape and standing by as rival mobs attacked each other.

Myanmar has set up a commission to probe the clashes after facing heavy criticism from rights groups.

Decades of discrimination have left the Rohingya stateless and they are viewed by the United Nations as one of the world's most persecuted minorities.

-AFP/ac

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Myanmar president blames Buddhist monks for violence

August/25/2012, Daily News

Myanmar President Thein Sein shakes hands with Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoğlu. AA photo

Myanmar President Thein Sein shakes hands with Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoğlu. AA photo

Buddhist monks, politicians and other ethnic Rakhine figures are kindling hatred toward Muslim Rohingya in an area plagued by sectarian violence, Myanmar's president, Thein Sein, has warned in a report.

In an assessment of the role of Buddhists in unrest in Rakhine (Arakan) state, which has left scores dead on both sides and displaced tens of thousands of people, Sein also said ethnic Rakhine could not accept the Rohingya as fellow citizens, Agence France-Presse reported.

As part of efforts to raise awareness of killings of the Rohingya in western Myanmar, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu visited the country on Aug. 8. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's wife, Emine Erdoğan, and daughter, Sümeyye Erdoğan, as well as the foreign minister's wife, Sare Davutoğlu, accompanied the minister, who met with Sein during his visit, discussing both the humanitarian aid efforts being carried out by Turkey and the Rohingya Muslims' situation.

Decades of discrimination have left the Rohingya stateless, and Myanmar's government considers their 800,000-strong population as foreigners, while many citizens see them as illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh and view them with hostility.

"Political parties, some monks and some individuals are increasing the ethnic hatred. They even approach and lobby both the domestic and overseas Rakhine community," Sein said in a report sent to Myanmar's union parliament on Aug. 17. "Rakhine people are thinking [of terrorizing] the Bengali Muslims living across the country," he said, using a term frequently used in Myanmar for Rohingya.

China returns refugees to Kachin war zone
Meanwhile, China forced at least 1,000 ethnic Kachin refugees who have fled from civil war to return to a combat zone in northern Myanmar this past week and has plans to deport 4,000 more soon, Human Rights Watch said on Aug. 24, according to The Associated Press.

Human Rights Watch urged the Chinese government to stop repatriating the refugees to Myanmar and instead provide temporary protection for them in Yunnan province, which lies along Myanmar's northern border. The group said that while China has provided sanctuary to 7,000-10,000 Kachin refugees in Yunnan, the government has not given them protection or aid, and Chinese authorities have not allowed the United Nations and humanitarian groups to visit the refugees.

The refugees who were deported this week had been living in makeshift camps in China since June 2011, the group said.

Comments about trying the Myanmar Government at the International Criminal Court

Asian Tribune, 24 Aug

By Habib Siddiqui

Myanmar government wants to hide its despicable record of racism and bigotry against non-Buddhist minorities inside the country by saying that there was no religious discrimination. As we say here, when a duck flies like a duck, swims like a duck and sounds like a duck it is a duck; it is not chicken.

As once again noted from the declarations of and papers presented at the recently concluded Bangkok Conference, held on August 15 at the Thammasat University, Myanmar government is guilty of practicing Apartheid policy of neo-Nazi Fascism. It can't skip from being labeled as such.

If we cannot protect the endangered Rohingya community from their elimination campaign, then the world community would have no alternative but to proceed with actions that lead to issue of an arrest warrant against the regime and their provocateurs that are at the root of the suffering. Of course, for that to happen, we shall need funding from international agencies to prepare and prosecute the case in the ICC, The Hague.

As you know it is not an easy matter. The regime can refuse to comply to hand over their war criminals, much like what happened with Slobodan Milosevic until he was voted out and the new regime, hungry for western recognition and bettering economy complied with the directives to hand over the criminal.

But the reality inside Myanmar is even worse than those prevailing in Serbia. The bulk of the Buddhist community inside Myanmar is racist and bigotry ridden except a few noble souls living outside (like e.g., Dr. Maung Zarni). The tragedy is that they are not even aware of their racism. They think what they are doing is fine, patriotic, and unless they continue to do so, they won't be able to protect their race from being overwhelmed by 'foreign' elements. What chance is there that if they are voted out (which I strongly doubt) in 2015 that Suu Kyi's NLD (supposing that it got majority and formed a new government) would hand over the war criminals? She has proven to be an ignoble soul, a politician and not a moral voice on suffering humanity. She talks about Buddhist sympathy and not what are human rights that continue to be violated by the regime. She is an opportunist.

We also need international partners to push the matter against the criminal regime. I don't think we have been able to make the case for the real 'powers' (e.g., USA and veto-wielding UNSC member states) to see the Rohingya problem our way. Without them, no international action would be taken. Sadly, as I have noted, the powerful western nations are also bankrupt when it comes to moral issues. Many of the governments in the West are mortgaged to big companies or lobby groups that care more about making money from trade and commerce with Myanmar than anything humane and moral. That is the reality of our time!

Still, we should not feel frustrated. The world is waking up to the hideous reality inside Myanmar. Who would have thought of so much support pouring into when not too long ago what we heard were only one-sided xenophobia against the Rohingya, even from some aid agencies because of their ignorance? But that has changed, by the grace of God.

Let's try our best in our individual and group levels to educate people and relieve the pains suffered by the Rohingya and other persecuted peoples.

- Asian Tribune -