Sunday, November 4, 2012

BY EDWARD LOXTON








Where is Suu Kyi's famous 'moral authority' as Muslim Rohingya homes are razed to the ground?





CHIANG MAI - The iconic international image of Burma's charismatic opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is rapidly losing its lustre as she maintains her silence on the continuing violence in her country's westernmost Rakhine State.





The violence began in June, sparked by allegations that a Buddhist girl had been raped by Muslim men. After an uneasy lull, Buddhists again went on the rampage last week, killing more than 100 members of the Muslim Rohingya minority community, who have been suffering severe state persecution for decades.





Aerial photographs taken from the region show large areas of Muslim-populated towns and villages razed to the ground. About 70,000 people have so far lost their homes in the violence.





The Rohingya policy followed by the current government differs little from the discrimination inflicted by the military junta that ruled Burma for the past 50 years. Most Rohingya are regarded as non-Burmese Bengalis and are locked out of Burma's political and social structure and denied fundamental rights guaranteed by citizenship.





"Suu Kyi has lost much of her credibility because of her silence over these appalling events," SOAS University of London researcher Guy Horton told The Week. "Her evasiveness on one of the greatest human rights tragedies in the world today has lost her the commodity she has always had in abundance - her moral authority."





Horton is the author of a report on human rights violations in eastern Burma, Dying Alive, which contributed to the UN Security Council resolution in 2007 'Burma: A Threat to the Peace'.





Veteran Swedish journalist and author Bertil Lintner explained Suu Kyi's dilemma. If she condemned the attacks on Muslims, he told The Week, "many Buddhists - her main constituency - would turn against her. But if she says nothing, she'll lose credibility in the international community.





"She appears to have chosen the latter, and, consequently, criticism against her is growing among international human rights organisations and activists. From her point of view, that may be preferable to having domestic opinion, which is fiercely anti-Rohingya, turn against her."





Lintner, author of several books on Burma, who had talks with Suu Kyi in the Burmese capital Naypyidaw earlier this month, said she was already under pressure at home. "The problem is that her silence on the clashes in Rakhine state as well as the ongoing government military offensive against the Kachins in the north have already cost her a lot of popular support."





There are few Kachins who express any sympathy for Suu Kyi these days, Lintner went on, and even the Shan leader Khun Htun Oo said in an interview while he was in the US last month that she has become "neutralised". Many young Burmese are also becoming critical of her for other reasons, arguing that she has moved far too close to the government and the military.





But does Suu Kyi have any choice, if she wants to win the 2015 election? Guy Horton believes other great leaders "would have reacted differently and grasped the nettle...





"Gandhi, for instance, went on hunger strike to try to stop exactly the kind of horror of what is being inflicted in Rakhine State today. Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King - moral leaders with whom she is compared - would have shown solidarity with the victims and called for passive resistance. Instead, she has just collected prizes - including the US Congressional Medal of Honour - from a fawning world."





In Horton's view, it's no exaggeration to say that what is happening in Rakhine State is similar to the persecution endured by the Jews in 1930s Germany.





"It should be noted that a call by President Thein Sein for the deportation of the Rohingya or their forcible transfer into camps amounts to an incitement to commit a crime against humanity, as defined in the Rome Statute," Horton told The Week.





"In addition, the destructive targeting of a racial/religious group may amount to a form of genocide. The UN Special Rapporteur on Burma should renew his call for an investigation into crimes against humanity in Burma, which are not subject to the whims of political feasibility."





However, Maung Zarni, a Burma expert and visiting fellow at the London School of Economics, has a different view, telling the Associated Press: "Politically, Aung San Suu Kyi has absolutely nothing to gain from opening her mouth on this. She is no longer a political dissident trying to stick to her principles. She's a politician and her eyes are fixed on the prize, which is the 2015 majority Buddhist vote."





Horton challenged Zarni's view: "If she adopts such a position of cynical Realpolitik the long-term consequences are that she will lose not only her moral credibility, but the support of most ethnic people and possibly the 2015 election itself."

People displaced by the recent violence in Pauktaw pass the time at their shelters at Owntaw refugee camp for Muslims outside Sittwe. Photograph: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters






First one body appeared, floating in the waters of the Bay of Bengal, then another, and another, until those on board the little fishing boat that had gone to their rescue began to lose count.





Those bobbing lifeless among the waves had set out the night before, so desperate to escape the growing sectarian violence in Burma that they were prepared to risk boarding the dangerously overcrowded boat.





At least 130 had clambered aboard, but the boat foundered – whether it capsized because of the weight of bodies or because it struck rocks remains unclear.





The sinking last week was the worst reported incident resulting from the outbreak of violence between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in western Burma. The death toll is continuing to rise amid reports of a deepening humanitarian crisis.





"The situation is dire. The UN is doing its best, but it is trying to find more funding to help them," said Chris Lewa, director of the Arakan Project, an NGO working with the Rohingya.





With at least 32,000 people displaced by the latest violence – and at least 107,000 since trouble broke out in June – thousands have sought safety in refugee camps around the Burmese town of Sittwe. Those camps are at crisis point, according to Refugees International, which estimates that nearly a quarter of children were malnourished.





"Conditions in these camps are as bad, if not worse, than ones in eastern Congo or Sudan," said Melanie Teff, a researcher with the charity who visited Sittwe in September. "Child malnutrition rates are startlingly high. There's an urgent need for clean water and food. If further aid does not come through, there will be some unnecessary deaths."





In Baw Du Pha relief camp, where several thousand Rohingya refugees from Sittwe are surviving on rations and are severely short of medical care, Laila, 20, a mother of four, said: "I cannot give my baby rice when she needs it. We are suffering. When my daughter gets sick we have no money for medicine."





Compounding the need for essentials such as rice, water and oil, aid workers said refugees were facing a mounting psychological toll, with children bearing the brunt. "They lost their houses in the fires. Children cannot be left alone like before. So they're depressed," said Moe Thadar, a local Red Cross worker.





The death toll and fear of further violence have prompted many of the Rohingya to look for sanctuary in neighbouring Muslim countries. Many have concluded that the only realistic escape route is by sea. Thousands are reported to have been waiting for the end of the rainy season to put to sea. Those that have tried to get away have found that those countries are unwilling to accept them. Lewa said at least two boats had been turned back by Bangladesh last week and had returned to Sittwe.





"On Wednesday, we heard that about 7,000 people had arrived in Sittwe from Kyaukpyu [on the coast to the south] and Pauktaw [inland and to the east]. There were still about 900 of them sitting on the beach in Sittwe, while others had moved to camps or villages."





The UN has urged the Burmese government to tackle the causes of the conflict, prompting authorities to order people to turn in their weapons to police. It also urged Burma's neighbours to not to close their borders, but the appeal brought no immediate change of heart.





Some of those who have fled, such as the victims of last week's sinking, headed for Malaysia, where people-smugglers will take them for a fee. Others are looking closer to home – to Bangladesh and Thailand – but neither country wants them. Bangladesh is already home to around 300,000 Rohingya and is concerned about rising numbers. It has said that it will turn away boats, although people near Cox's Bazar, close to where last week's accident happened, said that some had made land and gone into hiding. Thailand does not want them and has been accused of forcing refugee boats back out to sea when they have tried to land. The latest assessment from the Burmese government – which regards the Rohingya as illegal immigrants – said 89 people had been killed in clashes between 21 and 30 October, with another 136 injured and 32,231 made homeless. At least 5,000 houses had been burned down. Activists say the true figures are likely to be higher.





"The villages have been burned down and some people have fled. A few have remained in the area, but others have tried to flee to the camps in Sittwe," said Lewa. "In some villages quite a lot of people have been killed, but we are still trying to find out how they died. Some died in the fires and some were attacked by Rakhine [Buddhists]. We also heard that the army shot at some of the Rakhine people. We heard about 170 people killed in one village alone."





Teff said the outlook for peace was grim. "There is a total lack of hope for the Rohingya. They have been rejected by many countries," she said. "The only way out is for the international community to act on the current situation."


We, the undersigned Rohingya organisations worldwide are calling for a global day of action in support of human rights for the Rohingya people of Burma.






We call upon all organisations and individuals, who support human rights for the Rohingya, to unite to take action on November 8th. On this date it will be 5 months since violent attacks against the Rohingya began in Arakan.





We call you for demonstrations at Burmese Embassies or the Foreign Ministry in your respective countries.





The Rohingya have been rendered stateless in their own homeland by the most oppressive Burma Citizenship Law of 1982. Due to Under Thein Sein government’s systematic racism and ethnic cleansing policy against Rohingya, the violent attacks against them erupted in June, 2012. Since then





· Many thousands of Rohingya have been killed.

· Thousands of Rohingya are missing.

· Thousands of homes have been destroyed.

· Hundreds of women have been raped.

· More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes.

· Hundreds and thousands of Rohingya have been living under siege while most of them suffering from starvation and diseases.

· Rohingya refugees and internally displaced are blocked from receiving adequate food, shelters, medical treatment and other humanitarian aids.

· A new system of apartheid against Rohingya is being introduced and practised.





We call on you to urge your respective governments for the followings:









SUPPORT U.N. PEACEKEEPING FORCE AND INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS ON THE GROUND









The Burmese government is NOT only failing to protect its Rohingya population but has also been the primary force behind the systematic persecution of them. It is important that further attacks, killings and destruction are immediately stopped. Now the responsibility to protect them lies with the international community.









FULL AND FREEE ACESS FOR DELIVERY OF AID









The government of Burma is blocking aid to many Rohingya areas and only allowing limited aid to those in camps for the displaced .An international effort must be made to ensure the delivery of aid in the same way pressure was applied to the government of Burma when they blocked aid after Cylone Nargis.









A UNITED NATIONS COMMISSION OF INQUIRY









Urge your government to support for the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry into what has taken place in Arakan State. A UN Inquiry is the only way the true facts can be established, those responsible can be held to account, and recommendations can be made to prevent further violence.









REPEAL OF THE 1982 CITIZENSHIP LAW









The 1982 Citizenship Law deprives Rohingya of their citizenship and underpins repression of the Rohingya. The international community must put pressure on the government of Burma to repeal and replace it with a law in line with international law standards and human rights principles.





Thein Sein’s government could have stopped the violence. Instead, the President asked for international support in expelling all Rohingya from Burma.





We, therefore, call for a peaceful global day of action on November 8th to urge international community to act in order to save the lives of the Rohingyas.





Signatories on this statement





1)Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO)

2)Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK)

3)Burmese Rohingya Association Japan (BRAJ)

4)Burmese Rohingya Community in Australia (BRCA)

5)Burmese Rohingya Association Deutschland (BRAD)

6)Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand (BRAT)

7)Burmese Rohingya Community in Denmark ( BRCD)

8)Burmese Rohingya Community in Netherlands (BRCNL)

9)Rohingya League for Democracy Burma (RLDB)

10)Rohingya Community in Norway (RCN)

11)Rohingya Society Malaysia (RSM)

12)Rohingya Information Center Malaysia (RIC)








For more information, please contact:

Aman Ullah : + 880 15584 8691

Tun Khin: + 44 (0) 788 871 4866

Monday, October 22, 2012

U.S. humanitarian assistance for Rakhine State


U.S. Ambassador to Myanmar, Derek Mitchell, talks during a news conference about U.S. humanitarian assistance for Rakhine State, at the U.S. Embassy in Yangon October 19, 2012. Mitchell said on Friday that the U.S. government will donate $2.73 million to U.N. responders in Rakhine State. Ongoing fighting with ethnic minority groups and violence against ethnic Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state has killed at least 77 people and left 90,000 homeless since June 2012. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun (MYANMAR - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)

22-10-2012, Arakan,Min Bya, 10:30 AM,


22-10-2012, Arakan,Min Bya, 10:30 AM, The whole Rohingya Muslim Village Tract, Thayet Aouk (Tharek Aouk) of Min Bya Township with over 450-households has been burn down. There about 20 Rohingyas were killed. The villages have been burnt down by the thousands of Rakhine terrorists since the early morning. No protection from the securities.

Buddhists Rakhines have started set fire from the Zaillya Para (Paik Seik Ywa) since 11:00 PM of last night. About 25 houses were burnt down and 5 Rohingyas were killed. Total about 5000 Rohingyas have become homeless for the above atrocities in Zaillya Para and Thayet Aouk.

Mrauk-U, 11:50 AM, Muslim villages, Baldi Para (Purin Ywa) and Paung Tauk are under set fire by Buddhist Rakhines, at present. There may have death and injure persons.

Addition to, Rakhines warned that all Rohingya villages of Min Bya and Mrauk-U will be burned down in this evening. Rohingyas are helpless and friendless, today. So, Rakhine extremists dare to terrorize continuously. Neither Myanmar Central Government nor International Communities interest to protect world’s most persecuted minority, Rohingya due to assist President Thein Sein’s reforms.

Rohingya Activist 

http://www.rohingyablogger.com/2012/10/burmese-muslims-escape-fire-during-hajj.


The Saudi Civil Defense assisted 179 Burmese and Indian nationals to flee after a fire broke out in a residential building in the Muslim holy city of Mecca on Sunday, according to a report by the Kuwait News Agency. Thirteen of the evacuees were slightly injured in the incident, the report added. The foreign nationals were among the more than two million Muslim devotees expected to pack into the city for this year’s annual Hajj pilgrimage, which officially begins on Wednesday. The gathering, which concludes on Friday, is the largest annual event in the world.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Earlier this week, I listened to the Turkish First Lady, the wife of the Prime Minister, Emine Erdogan, speak about her recent harrowing visit to the Rohingya people in the the federal state of Arakan (formerly now known as Rakhine) who are located in northwestern Burma (aka Myanmar). The Rohingya are a Muslim minority numbering over one million, long victimized locally and nationally in Burma and on several occasions over the years their people have been brutally massacred and their villages burned. She spoke in a deeply moving way about this witnessing of acute human suffering shortly after the most recent bloody episode of communal violence in June of this year. She lamented that such an orgy of violence directed at an ethnic and religious minority by the Buddhist majority is almost totally ignored by most of the world, and is quietly consigned by media outlets to their outermost zones of indifference and irrelevance. She especially appealed to the women present to respond with activist compassion, stressing that women are always the most victimized category in these extreme situations of minority persecution and ethnic cleansing.




The situation of the Rohingya is an archetypal example of acute vulnerability in a state-centric world. In 1982 the territorial government of Burma stripped away the citizen rights of the impoverished Rohingya Muslims who have lived in Arakan for many generations, but are cynically claimed by Rangoon to be unlawful new migrants from bordering Bangladesh who do not belong in Burma and have no right to remain or to burden the state or cause tension by their presence. Bangladesh, in turn, itself among the world’s poorest countries, already has 500,000 Rohingya who fled across the Burmese border after earlier attacks on their communities, and has closed its borders to any further crossings by those escaping persecution, displacement, destruction of their homes and villages, and threats to their lives. To deepen this aspect of the tragedy, only 10% of these migrants who fled from Burma have been accepted as ‘refugees’ by the UN High Commission of Refugees, and the great majority of the Rohingya living in Bangladesh for years survive miserably as stateless persons without rights and living generally at or even below subsistence levels. The Rohingya who continue to exist precariously within Arakan are stateless and unwanted, many are reported to wish openly for their own death. As a group they endure hardships and deprivations in many forms, including denial of health services, educational opportunity, and normal civil rights, while those who have left for the sake of survival, are considered to be comparatively fortunate if they manage to be accepted as ‘refugees’ even if their status as undocumented refugees means the absence of minimal protection, the denial of any realistic opportunity for a life of dignity, and the terrifying uncertainties of being at the continuing mercy of a hostile community and an inhospitable state.



The principal purpose of this educational conference sponsored by Mazlumder, a Turkish NGO with strong Muslim affinities, was to gather experts to report on the situation and urge the audience to take action and thereby mobilize public opinion in support of the Rohingya people. It served to reinforce the high profile diplomatic and aid initiatives undertaken in recent months by the Turkish government to relieve the Rohingya plight. It also called attention to the strange and unacceptable silence of Aung San Suu Kyi, the widely admired democratic political leader in Burma, herself long placed under punitive house arrest by the ruling military junta and recipient of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize honoring her heroic resistance to dictatorship in her country. Her voice on behalf of justice for Burmese ethnic and religious minorities, and especially for the Rohingya, would carry great weight among Buddhists in the country and with world public opinion, and might shame the government into taking appropriate action. As it is, the present Burmese leadership and the prevailing tendency in domestic public opinion is to view the conflict as intractable, with preferred solutions being one or another version of ethnic cleansing, a crime against humanity—either forced deportation or the distribution of the Rohingya throughout the country so as to destroy their identity as a coherent people with deep historical roots in northern Arakan. Outside pressures from Saudi Arabia and the United States might help to rally wider international concern, especially if tied to Burma’s economic goals. Aside from Turkey, governments have been reluctant to put pressure on Rangoon in this period because the Rangoon leadership has softened their dictatorial style of governance and seem to be moving toward the establishment of constitutional democracy in the country.



What struck me while listening to the presentations at the conference was how powerful language can become when its role is to think with the heart. I have always found that women are far less afraid to do this in public spaces than men. We fully secular children of the European Enlightenment are brainwashed from infancy, taught in myriad ways that instrumental reason and logical analysis are the only acceptable ways to think and express serious interpretations of societal reality. Mrs. Erdogan not only thinks with her heart, but she infuses such thought with an obvious religious consciousness that conveys a spiritual commitment to empathy that neither needs nor relies upon some sort of rational justification.



Such a powerful rendering of suffering reminded me of James Douglass’s use of the realm of the ‘unspeakable’ (in turn inspired by the Catholic mystic author and poet, Thomas Merton) to address those crimes that shock our conscience but can only be diminished in their magnitude by speech. Their essential horror cannot be comprehended by expository language even if it is emotively heightened by an inspirational appeal. Only that blend of thinking with the heart combined the existential validation of direct witnessing can begin to communicate what we know, in the organic sense of knowing, to be the reality. I have discovered in my attempt to address the Palestinian ordeal as honestly as possible that direct contact with the actualities of occupation and the experience of listening closely to those who have been most directly victimized is my only way to approximate the existential reality. For this reason, my exclusion by Israel from visiting Occupied Palestine in my UN role does not affect the rational legal analysis of the violation of Palestinian rights under international law, but it does diminish my capacity as a witness to touch the live tissue of these violations, and erodes my capacity to convey to others a fuller sense of what this means for the lives and wellbeing of those so victimized. Of course, UN reports are edited to drain their emotive content in any event.



I recall also my experience with the world media after a 1968 visit to Hanoi in the midst of the Vietnam War. I had been invited by a European lawyers’ organization to view the bomb damage in North Vietnam at a time when American officials, especially the Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, were claiming ‘the most surgical strikes in the history of air warfare.’ I accepted this ‘controversial’ invitation to visit ‘the enemy’ during an ongoing war, although the fighting was somewhat paused at the time, as ‘a realist’ opponent of the war, basically accepting the position of Bernard Fall, George Kennan, and Hans Morgenthau that it was a losing proposition to suppose that the U.S. could achieve what the French colonial occupying power was unable to do and that it was a costly diversion of resources and attention from more important security concerns. My experience in Hanoi transformed my understanding and outlook on the war. It was a result of meeting many of the leaders, including the Prime Minister on several occasions, visiting bombed villages, talking with peasants and ordinary Vietnamese, and most of all, realizing the total vulnerability of the country to the military superiority of the United States with no prospect of retaliation—the concrete and cumulative terror of being on the receiving end of one-sided war that continues for years. I came away from North Vietnam convinced that ‘the enemy,’ and especially its people, was on the right side of history, and the United States, and the badly corrupted Saigon regime that it propped up, was on the wrong side; above all, I felt the pain of the Vietnamese and was moved by their courage, humanity, and under the dire circumstances, their uncanny faith in humanity and their own collective destiny as a free nation. It produced a sea change in my mindset concerning the Vietnam War, and ever since.



When I left Vietnam, and returned to Paris, I received lots of attention from mainstream media, but total disinterest from these prominent journalists in what was for me the most important outcome of the trip—the realization of what it meant humanly for a peasant society to be on the receiving end of a high tech war machine of a distant superpower whose homeland was completely outside what is now being called ‘the hot battlefield.’ The journalists had no interest in my (re)interpretation of the war, but they were keenly eager to report on proposals for ending the conflict that had been entrusted to me by Vietnamese leaders to convey to the United States Government upon my return. It turned out that the contour of these proposals was more favorable from Washington’s point of view than what was negotiated four years and many deaths later by Henry Kissinger, who ironically received a Nobel Peace Prize for his questionable efforts. My main reflection relates back to the Arakan meeting. The media is completely deaf to the concerns of the heart, and is only capable of thinking, if at all, with the head. It limits thought to what can be set forth analytically, as if emotion, law, and morality are irrelevant to forming an understanding of public events. What at the time interested the New York Times and CBS correspondents, who were sympathetic and intelligent individuals, was the shaping of a diplomatic bargain that might end the war, whether it was a serious proposal, and whether Washington might be interested. It turned out that Washington was not ready for even such a favorable compromise, and plodded on for several years, culminating in the unseemly withdrawal in 1975 in the setting of a thinly disguised surrender.



Poets in the West, caught between a cultural insistence on heeding the voice of reason and their inability to transfer feelings and perceptions into words, vent their frustration with language as the only available vehicle for truth-telling. As T.S. Eliot memorably expressed it in the final section of his great poem East Coker:



Trying to use words, and every attempt



Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure



Imagine if the master poet of the English language in the prior century gives voice to such feelings of defeat (paradoxically in one of the great modern poems), how must the rest of us feel! We who are mere journeymen of the written word fault ourselves for inadequacies of depictions and usually lack the temerity to blame the imperfect medium of language for the shortcomings of efforts to communicate that which eludes precise expression.



Earlier in the same poem Eliot writes some lines that make me wonder if I have not crossed a line in the sands of time, and should long ago have taken refuge in silent vigil:



…..Do not let me hear



Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly



Richard Falk is an international law and international relations scholar who taught at Princeton University for forty years. Since 2002 he has lived in Santa Barbara, California, and taught at the local campus of the University of California in Global and International Studies and since 2005 chaired the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. Read more articles by Richard Falk.

http://richardfalk.wordpress.com

US military and civilian officials has arrived in Myanmar

A delegation of more than 30 US military and civilian officials has arrived in Myanmar at the weekend, in Washington’s most comprehensive push yet to engage with Myanmar’s military and government.






The visit by 22 senior officials with support staff highlights a growing debate, in Europe and in other western countries, about greater engagement with the military, which for decades ruled the country with scant regard for human rights, prompting many governments to impose harsh sanctions.



The US maintained military attach├ęs in Myanmar – even in the years when it imposed sanctions. However, the participation of senior US military officers such as Lt Gen Francis Wiercinski, head of the US Army’s Pacific command, in this week’s visit reflects the growing view in Washington that the support of Myanmar’s military is essential to any lasting reforms, or peace agreements with ethnic minorities.



In a recent report, the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies suggested that the US should start bilateral programmes of training and exchange visits as a precursor to normalising military relations.



This week’s visit follows successful trips to the US last month of President Thein Sein and Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate and opposition leader who has indicated she welcomed the idea of US engagement with the military.



Myanmar’s government has forged ceasefire agreements with 10 of 11 main ethnic rebel groups. However, fighting continues in northern Kachin state amid reports of military offensives and displacement of villagers.



Even as the government struggles to engage Kachin commanders in peace talks, tensions within other large ethnic groups, particularly the Karen National Union on Myanmar’s eastern border with Thailand, have raised concerns about the fragility of agreements signed in the past eight months.



“This visit makes perfect sense,” said Thant Myint-U, who is involved in the government’s peace efforts. “It would be counterproductive for the peace process to proceed without involving Myanmar’s military.”



At the same time as the US delegation’s visit to Myanmar this week, William Burns, deputy secretary of state will also hold high-level talks. Other US officials include Vikram Singh, deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, Derek Mitchell, US ambassador to Myanmar, and other senior officials from the state department, National Security Council, homeland security department, and USAid. They are due to meet Thein Sein, Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of the military, and other senior officials.



Outside of the government, the US group will meet leaders of ethnic groups. These groups will include Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists from the western coastal state of Rakhine (formerly Arakan), where sectarian violence broke out in June. They will also meet trade unions and religious groups, as well as members of Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy and Generation 88, a group of former political prisoners.



● Myanmar’s ruling United Solidarity and Development party opened a three-day national meeting over the weekend to elect officials and appoint a chairman to replace Thein Sein, who vacated the role when he won the presidency early last year. The party will also discuss strategy for the 2015 presidential election.



U Htay Oo, the general secretary, told The Myanmar Times, an independent English-language newspaper, that the USDP would greatly expand its two main leadership committees and make other moves to “improve organisation”.



The weekly newspaper cited senior party sources as saying that the speaker of the lower house, Thura Shwe Mann, would be chosen as leader. The party will choose more than 200 executive committee members at the gathering, 35 of whom will be appointed to the central executive committee.



The USDP has been beset by tensions since losing by-elections on April 1 to Ms Suu Kyi’s party, which won 43 of 45 parliamentary seats.



Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Rohingya conundrum

    11Rohingya sit in a tractor loaded with bags of donated rice outside a temporary relief camp on the outskirts of Sittwe in Photo: AFP




By Nehginpao Kipgen Monday,  2012


Since May this year, Myanmar has witnessed an escalation in the simmering tension between two groups of people in Rakhine State. The violence between the Rakhine (also known as Arakan) and Rohingya (also known as Bengali) has led to the death of at least 88 people and displacement of thousands of others. Unofficial reports, however, put the number of deaths in the hundreds.



The immediate cause of the violence was the rape and murder of a Rakhine Buddhist woman on May 28 by three male Rohingya. This was followed by a retaliatory killing of 10 Muslims by a mob of Rakhine on June 3. It should be noted that tension between these two groups has existed for several decades.



Several questions are being routinely asked: Why has little apparently been done to resolve the conflict? Is there a possibility of reaching a permanent solution to this protracted problem? Much blame has also been directed at both the Myanmar government and the opposition, led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.



As members of the international community are trying to promote their own national interests in newly democratic Myanmar, sectarian violence such as we have seen in Rakhine State has not been paid serious attention, especially by Western powers.



While Human Rights Watch has criticised the Myanmar government for failing to prevent the initial unrest, majority Muslim nations, such as Indonesia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Malaysia have criticised what they allege is discrimination against the Rohingya based on their religious beliefs.



The sensitivity of the issue has silenced many from discussing it publicly. Even the internationally acclaimed human rights champion and leader of the democratic opposition, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has made only brief comments about the conflict, emphasising the need to establish an adequate citizenship law.



The root of the problem begins with the nomenclature itself. Although many of the Muslims in Rakhine State call themselves Rohingya, the Myanmar government and many of the country’s citizens call them illegal Bengali migrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.



Since the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh have refused to accept them as their citizens, the Rohingya have automatically become stateless under international law. Under such circumstances, are there any possible solutions to the problem?



President U Thein Sein suggested that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) should consider resettling the Rohingya in other countries. Although such proposal may sound ideal to many, there would definitely be challenges in terms of implementation.



For example, will there be a nation or nations willing to welcome and embrace the million or so Rohingya people? Moreover, UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres has rejected the idea of resettlement. Even if the agency reconsidered its position, would the UNHCR offices in Myanmar and Bangladesh have adequate resources to process such a large number of people?



One possible solution is for the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh to reach an amicable arrangement to integrate the Rohingya population into their respective societies. There are about 800,000 Rohingya inside Myanmar and another 300,000 in Bangladesh.



This proposition also has its own challenges. Chiefly, will the indigenous Rakhine accept Rohingya as their fellow citizens and live peacefully with them? On the other hand, will the Bangladesh government change its policy and offer citizenship to the Rohingya?



Another possible solution is that Myanmar can amend its 1982 citizenship law to pave the way for the Rohingya to apply for citizenship. As Minister for Immigration and Population U Khin Yi told Radio Free Asia recently, under the existing law foreigners can apply for citizenship only if they are born in Myanmar, their parents and grandparents have lived and died in Myanmar, they are literate in Burmese and meet some additional criteria.



Finally, to prevent a further escalation in tensions, the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh need to secure their porous international borders to prevent illegal movements.



None of the above suggested policies are simple and easy to achieve. Despite the challenges and difficulties, the Rohingya issue cannot be ignored for too long. Without addressing the crux of the problem, the May incident and the violence it sparked could recur, with even more tragic consequences.



Until a solution is achieved, international institutions, such as the United Nations and Association of Southeast Asian Nations, should pressure the Myanmar government to take steps to resolve the problem of Rohingya statelessness in a holistic manner, rather than inciting, or allowing others to incite, hatred along religious or racial lines.



(Nehginpao Kipgen is general secretary of the United States-based Kuki International Forum. His research interests include political transition, democratisation, human rights, ethnic conflict and identity politics and he has written numerous peer-reviewed and non-academic articles on the politics of Myanmar and Asia.)



Rohingya Muslim killed in Buthidaung jail

-Rohingya Muslim killed in Buthidaung jail




Buthidaung, Arakan State: Three Rohingya Muslims were killed in torture by the concerned authorities in Buthidaung jail on the first week of October 2012, said a local trader from Buthidaung on condition of anonymity.







“They were arrested from Maungdaw south by the Burma’s security force during the communal violence earlier.”



The dead bodies were identified as Moulvi Salamat, hailed from Lamba Gona, Abdu Salam, hailed from Washa village and another one is from Gudu Sara village of Maungdaw south.





They were severely tortured by the concerned authorities in the jail after British Ambassador Andrew Heyn accompanied by two others visited in Buthidaung recently, said a reliable source from Buthidaung on condition of anonymity.





The prisoners were severely tortured by the concerned authorities in the jail because the delegation asked them about the recent violence, the present situation of Rohingya community and why the violence was occurred.



However, the dead bodies were not handed over to their family members by the authority, but they were buried in a Rohingya cemetery nearby Buthidaung jail, a villager elder told at Kaladanpress.



A prisoner said on condition of anonymity, “My health is very bad condition that I have been suffering from skin disease and odema in the jail as I don’t get proper treatment from the concerned authorities in jail.”



So, the prisoners are now languishing in the critical condition. They are suffering from food, medical assistance and etc. They can’t take bath very day, but they can take bath once in a week and the water is very limited. The prisoners are provided food with Dal (pulse curry) very imperfect twice a day, said a released prisoner who was released recently.



A widow named Ms Shajan (50), (not to mention her village for security reason), said that her son was arrested by the Burma’s security force during the communal violence. Now, she has been suffering from starvation because she has no other earning source except her son.



Similarly,many Rohingya villagers have been suffering from starvation in Maungdaw south like Ms. Shajan. Many people are not able to go Buthidaung jail to see their sons, brothers and relatives because of financial crisis

Myanmar govt asks Mercy Malaysia to rehabilitate hospital


                                   Dr Ahmad Faizal : ‘Request shows Myanmar government trusts us’





THE Myanmar government has requested the Malaysian Medical Relief Society (Mercy Malaysia) to rehabilitate a hospital in the Rakhine state to offer on-site healthcare services to the Rohingya people stricken by the civil war.



Mercy Malaysia president Datuk Dr Ahmad Faizal Mohd Perdaus said yesterday the request was extended by the Health Ministry in Myanmar through the Rakhine state health department.

It requested Mercy Malaysia to rehabilitate the station hospital in the Dar Paing internally-displaced persons camp, which is deep in Rohingya territory near the Sittwe capital.



“It shows that the Myanmar government trusts us, which is something quite significant,” Dr Ahmad Faizal told a press conference.



Mercy Malaysia’s vice-president II, Norazam Ab Samad, said the society would also provide equipment and training personnel to work at the hospital, which would be rehabilitated at a cost of about US$50,000 (RM153,530).



The request was made yesterday after Norazam had led a team from Mercy Malaysia comprising executive council member Dr Heng Aik Cheng, Relief Operations head Hew Cheong Yew and volunteer Dr Mohamad Iqbal Omar to visit both Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya camps in Sittwe two weeks ago.



Mercy Malaysia had distributed over 3,000 hygiene kits, including 2,500 drug-impregnated mosquito nets, and RM61,420 worth of medical supplies for flu, fever, cough and malaria.



The violence in the Rakhine region erupted in early June between ethnic Buddhists and both Rohingya and non-Rohingya Muslims after a woman was raped and killed in the town of Ramri.



Since then, thousands of both Buddhists Rakhine and the Rohingya community have been displaced after the violence swept through Sittwe and the surrounding areas, and the Myanmar government’s restriction of humanitarian access had only compounded matters.



Dr Ahmad Faizal said several international NGOs, such as Doctors Without Borders, were offering healthcare services in camps near Sittwe but the situation remained dire as heavy monsoon rain, crowded living conditions and poor sanitation had led to the spread of diseases such as respiratory infections, skin diseases, diarrhoea and malaria.



He said the society needed RM3.5 million to carry out basic medical services and reconstruction projects, including proper sanitation and drainage systems, for one year and a relief fund had been set up towards this end.



He also said the society had sent another team, headed by executive council member Dr Jitendra Kumar to visit the Syrian refugee camp where medical equipment was sorely needed.



A fund of RM2 million had also been established towards this end.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

ARU-DG SPEAKS AT THE IILO CONFERENCE ON OPPRESSED PEOPLE IN MYANMAR

ARU-DG SPEAKS AT THE IILO CONFERENCE ON OPPRESSED PEOPLE IN MYANMAR




Tuesday, October 09, 2012 




 
A conference on oppressed people of Myanmar was convened by the International Islamic Lawyers Organization (IILO) was held in Istanbul, Turkey, October 2-4, 2012. Over one hundred lawyers from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Sudan, Qatar, Bahrain, United States of America, Great Britain, Germany, Spain, Italy, Malaysia, and several other countries participated in the conference. Additionally representatives from Rohingya community including Director General of ARU Prof. Dr. Wakar Uddin, ARU Council Member from Turkey Mr. Eyup Han, Rohingya Jalia leaders from Saudi Arabia Mr. Mohammed Ayub, Mr. Abdullah Maruf, and others, RSO leader Dr. Mohammed Yunus, ARNO leader Mr. Nurul Islam, and other Rohingya representatives from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Malaysia, also attended the conference.
On behalf of Rohingya community worldwide, Dr. Wakar Uddin addressed the audience with details of the current situation on the ground in Arakan, role of ARU in OIC’s engagement with Myanmar Government, and the importance of concerted efforts by the international community to help advance the Rohingya cause. Dr. Uddin provided some compelling evidences of ethnic cleansing and genocide against Rohingya, and the ongoing atrocities against Rohingya committed by the Burmese/Rakhine police force and the Rakhine mobs. He also cautioned that those examples are just tips of the iceberg, and the depth of width of the crisis in Arakan is much more profound than the evidences presented in the conference. Dr. Uddin has appealed the IILO, the Muslim Umma, and the international community to help the Rohingya people bring the perpetrators to justice at the International Criminal Court and other entities for the crimes they committed against humanity in Arakan. There were several new developments at the conference, and the details will be available at due course of time

Rakhine women protest in the street in Sittwe on Wednesday

Rakhine Women, Monks Protest OIC


By LAWI WENG / THE IRRAWADDY
October 10, 2012


Bangali Rakhine women protest in the street in Sittwe on Wednesday afternoon. (PHOTO: Rakhine Straight Views)



More than 500 Bangali Arakanese Buddhist women took to the streets of Sittwe on Wednesday to protest the government decision to allow the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to open an aid office in Arakan State.



A spokesperson for the OIC, however, told The Irrawaddy that the office was not intended as a flagship for the Rohingya cause, and that it would provide humanitarian aid to both Buddhist and Muslim communities in the form of food and shelter.



Dr. Aye Maung, the chairman of Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP), said that his party would accept all the help and humanitarian aid that was provided to those affected by the sectarian violence in the region. He stressed, however, that the RNDP objected to an OIC office in Arakan State capital Sittwe, and suggested that the group base its operations out of either Rangoon or Naypyidaw.



The 57-member OIC is a mostly Muslim bloc of nations which includes all the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia. It encompasses some 1.6 billion people worldwide.



The OIC signed an MoU with the Burmese government on Aug. 11 to permit the group to open an office for humanitarian purposes in Rangoon and Sittwe. A delegation from the OIC then traveled to Arakan State in September to inspect the aftermath of communal clashes between Muslims and Buddhists in the strife-torn region.



Approximately 200 women began demonstrating on Wednesday afternoon in central Sittwe wearing t-shirts with slogans reading “No OIC.” As the protest gained momentum, an estimated 300 more women joined in.



“We are protesting because we heard that the OIC is coming to our country. We do not want them based here,” said protester Nyo Aye.



She told The Irrawaddy that the Buddhist women demonstrators supported the 1982 Citizenship Law, which fails to recognize the Rohingya as an indigenous ethnic group of Burma.



“The Bengali Muslims [Rohingyas] are illegal immigrants,” she said. “They should be sent to other countries.”



The demonstration took place just a day after some 500 Buddhist monks held a similar protest in Sittwe in front of the Bangladeshi consulate. A spokesman for the monks said they were demanding that the Burmese government rescind its offer to the OIC to open an office in Arakan State, because it would be used only to support Muslim people.



The Buddhist monks also delivered a letter to the Bangladeshi consulate calling for Dhaka to investigate and take action against those who destroyed Buddhist temples and pagodas in southern Bangladesh recently.



On Monday, Buddhist monks held a demonstration outside the US embassy in Rangoon where they voiced similar sentiments and offered their condolences to the US for the death of its ambassador in Libya last month.



Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Wednesday, prominent Buddhist monk Ashin Ottama, who led the protest in Sittwe, said, “We will not let the OIC open an office in Arakan State even if the government has already agreed it.”



A delegation from the OIC met with representatives of Burma’s Ministry of Border Affairs in Rangoon during the second week of September. According to Dina Madani of the Muslim Minorities and Communities Department at the OIC in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the Burmese ministry agreed to cooperate with the OIC in its humanitarian role and in establishing offices in the country.



Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Wednesday from OIC headquarters in Jeddah, Ms. Madani said, “We are laying the groundwork to open our offices in Burma by cooperating with non-government organizations that deal with humanitarian affairs. We will hopefully open our offices soon.”



In response to a question about the protests by Rakhine women and Buddhist monks, Ms. Madani said, “That’s unfortunate. But it’s certain people’s opinion, not the Burmese government’s.



“The OIC is only coming [to Burma] for humanitarian affairs,” she said. “We will help both sides—Buddhist and Muslim. There should be no discrimination when it comes to humanitarian affairs.



“I wanted to tell them [the protesters] that we are reaching out to both societies. We want to be partners in peace-building and trust-building. We are not there to discriminate on whether they [partners] are Buddhist or Muslim.



“Without dialogue, there will be more conflict. I do not think the people want this,” she said.



In the meantime, RNDP Chairman Aye Maung said that his party would raise an objection in Parliament to the OIC offices.



He said that the Arakanese people would accept help and humanitarian aid “from any organization and from any country,” but that it was unnecessary for the OIC to open an office in the region.



“We are afraid that the OIC will influence religion and politics in Arakan State,” he said. “It could even threaten the rule of law in our country.”



He reiterated that his party and the majority of Rakhine Buddhists at large would not object if the OIC opened offices in Rangoon or Naypyidaw in coordination with other members of the international community.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


BREAKING NEWS (Sittwe) 3:00 PM loacl time


Now, About 3:00pm, Rakhine peoples fired recently attacks to the ancient big mosque compound including many houses on the main road in Sittwe. Rakhine peoples and authorities are trying to kill Rohingya Muslim and fire Aung Mingala village. Now they are surrounding Muslim village in Sittwe but military and security forces are trying to control the crowd.
At first the caretaker house and Imam houses were set fired by the mob of racist Maugh. Rohingya in Mawlek ,Koshai para are at tense. Now the whole compound of Mosque is burning.

Now, About 3:00pm, Rakhine peoples fired recently attacks to the ancient big mosque compound including many houses on the main road in Sittwe. Rakhine peoples and authorities are trying to kill Rohingya Muslim and fire Aung Mingala village. Now they are surrounding Muslim village in Sittwe but military and security forces are trying to control the crowd.

On Phone

Breaking News: Ancient Mosque in Sittwe on Fire


Breaking News: Ancient Mosque in Sittwe on Fire


By M.S. Anwar

Sunday, 7th October 2012

Sittwe, Arakan- On 7th October 2012 (i.e. today), an 800-year-old ancient mosque called “Sawduro Bor Masjid” near to the National Museum and U Uttama Park was torched and burnt down by the Rakhine Extremists with the help of 500 military personnels. This historical mosque is also recorded by the United Nation as one of the many historical heritages in Burma. At the same time, many of Rohingyas’s houses and guest houses around the area were also torched by the Rakhine extremists.

“Around 3PM Myanmar standard time, many Rakhine extremists gathered around the mosque and started torching the mosque. When Rohingyas around the area came out to put off fire, around 500 Military blocked Rohingyas and protecting and helping Rakhines in burning down the historical mosque. At the same time, Rohingyas’ houses and guest houses were put on fire, too” said Maung Maung Oo, a Rohingya from Sittwe.

According to local Rohingyas in Sittwe, Rakhine Extremists in cooperation with Military burnt down the mosque in retaliation to the recent violence against Buddhist minority in Bangladesh. Bangladesh government irresponsibly bucked up the blames on Rohingyas for the incidence. Bangladesh government is just taking advantage of already victimized Rohingyas who have no legal status either in Burma or in Bgladesh and hence can’t move around freely. Besides, it is known to the world that Bangladesh has pushed back Rohingya victims to the sea. Now, the violence against Rohingyas in Arakan has been renewed in cooperation again with the country’s military. Now, only God knows what their future and destiny hold.

Elsewhere, “Military raided the village, Baggona in Maung Daw on 6th October 2012. While Rohingya men in the village were on hinding, they gathered a few Rohingya women and thretened them not to or let their men meet any foreign investigation teams or observers coming to the region. Or else, they would take strong actions against Rohingyas” reported by A. Faiz from Maung Daw. The raid was carried out subsequently after the departure of British Ambassador to Burma, Andrew Heyn, who visited the region in the earlier days.

Reply To The Demands to the Government from the People’s Gathering in Yathetdaung, Arakan (Part-1) | Myo Chit Maung


Reply To The Demands to the Government from the People’s Gathering held on 25th and 26th of September in Yathetdaung, Arakan



1. To build strong fence both along the sea and land of the western border of Myanmar as there are illegal inflow of foreigners. 

Reply: 
Border fence: waste of time and money. Before fencing the border the communal harmony between the two communities must be defined and established. If the fence is meant for protection of National security and sovereignty without building mutual trust and unity, then it is ridiculous. National security cannot be safe guard only by the fence. As it is known to everybody that today’s world is only a single click. The actual fence to protect the national sovereignty is the unity of the people living in the region. As long as unity among the races and the equal rights to the communities are not assured the fence will not effective. For example, during the election campaign of 2010 and during the recent violence of Rakhine state, many arms and other weaponries were reported to smuggle in Maungdaw by the Rakhines. If the depressed community enjoy the freedom and equal rights, and the feared community is made to understand free of fear and hatred, be sure that the border is secured. According to the ongoing situation the fence is mainly aimed at the persecutions of Rohingyas. 

Illegal inflow of Foreigners: illogical totally. The people of Bangladesh are enjoying the super freedom in the worst case than people of Myanmar. So how would it be logical to say that there will be illegal inflow of foreigners? From a logical point of view, who will come to the land of dire human rights violations, on may reason? Only the sons of the soil will come to the mother land challenging so many difficulties. According to the report of the NaSaKa and other border security forces who specially have been deployed since many years for the systematic control Rohingya community, there are no illegal inflows. It is Rakhine community who on their assumption repeatedly and shamelessly uttering that the Rohingyas are illegal immigrants. The President on the 17 minutes interview with VOA on 14th of August 2012 officially testified that there are almost no illegal immigrants in that area. Likewise Union immigration minister U Khin Yee has also same view on that issue. The 88 generation leader U Ko Ko Gyi also later expressed that they have also same view as President. In spite of all these, why the Rakhine community is claiming that there are illegal inflows? Should not they be referred to as ignorant and dump? To put simply, when Rohingya return to their ancestral land, they are branded as illegal immigrants, and when Mogh enter Myanmar they are branded as legal citizens. 

2. To render full support in setting up economic zone in the Rakhine state with the lead of Rakhine people in order to refill the shrunk population

Reply: 
This would be a good initiative. From strategic points of view, Rakhine states have many reserves of natural resources like oil and gases including strategic location like Sittwe and Kyawkphyu harbors, and Saing Tin water fall on which the successive government did not pay importance due to various perceptions. But it seems illogical to me to set up economic zone to refill the shrunk population. It will bring no significance results as long as equal rights and security are assured. The reasons of the shrunk population is due to grievous human right violation to the Rohingyas and freedom of movement and everything (as compared to Rohingya) assured by the Government to the Mogh( Rakhine). Many Rohingyas left their ancestral land due to the persecutions while other hand Rakhine have moved to Burma proper in search of green pastures. Approximately 1.2 million Rohingya have been living in abroad. 

3. To enjoy proportionate share of the natural resources of Rakhine state according to the international standard. 

Reply: 
In the letter dated 17th of August 2012 to the Hlutdaw by the President, under the section “The Situation of Rakhine People” the number (3) clause stated that Rakhine are accusing Government of only taking away the resources of Arakan without giving due share to the Rakhine people. Later this letter was announced as not-president-opinioned letter from the President Office and postponed reading it in the Hluttdaw on the protest of RNDP MPs. The protest was on the account that the points and clauses in it are against the RNDP and Rakhine People. That is Rakhine people are not accusing the Government of as was in the letter. The above statement again testifies that they do are accusing of Government regarding natural resources. In the letter it is said that Rakhines are accusing of the Government. When RNDP protest, President Office clarified that it is not their opinion. From these points one may conclude the status and the role played by the President Office. 

4. To prescribed an effective law for controlling the birth rate of Bengali people. 

Reply: 
Remarkably, Rohingyas have been suffering from all kinds of human rights violation in all atmospheres of everyday life. Only for Rohingya, special border security forces (NaSaKa) on the cost national budget have been deployed. Local orders on the perception of contemporary situation are in huge practices by the NaSaKa. Marriages and birth have been in tight scrutiny and control. You still want more effective law to control birth rate? What could be more effective than checking the womb of every Rohingya pregnant women in the name of law? If you do not believe ask any officer of NaSaKa who are in various commands in Mayu area. What this is called if not Human right violations? The problem is the Rakhine community does believe neither Rohingya nor Government. 

5. To put restrictions on the immoveable properties of non-citizens. 

Reply: 
From the interview of President and Union Immigration Minister with foreign news agencies, it is cleared that there are no foreigners in Rakhine Sate. 

6. To form and deploy People's Militia with modern weapons in all villages of Rakhine. 

Reply: 
Instead of proposing this, why your thoughts not loiter around the solution for peaceful co-existence like before. How many of the countries in the world have that sort of security for the majority people? Even for the minority people the security is assured by the Government forces. This shows that the level of trust the Rakhine Community has in the Government. To speak practically, all new NaTaLa villages have camp of security forces which have been deployed since at the very beginning of the settlement of the villages. 

7. To materialize exact practice on 1982 citizenship law. 

Reply: 
This 1982 citizen law is out of international standard. For Myanmar going for Democracy it is shameful in the international exposure to have this law got implemented. Because there are various concrete documents claiming that the Rohingyas are one of indigenous races of Myanmar. Even before the 1982 citizenships law, the Rohingyas by and according to the successive Governments and law they already are citizens of Myanmar. 

8. To closely monitor the activities of UN and iNGOs in the region. 

Reply: 
I do not understand whether they ( so called Rakhine Scholars) pretend not to know or actually not know that in UNHR there is always undercover government appointed intelligent person employed as UNHCR employee who are directly appointed from Yangon. I personally know such person and witnessed their spying in the various occasions of UNHCR’s visit to the Muslim villages. To the worse extend, during the military intelligent (MI) era, the Government has informer in every school who monitor the movement of other staffs and students. 

9. To reveal the roots of Islamist inside Burma and take action accordingly. 

Reply: 
This demand is baseless. As the Muslims are under severe Human rights violations since 1962 there is no such possibility. In the country where there is no religious freedom for Muslims, where there is no permission to build, rebuild, renovate and repair the religious structures, where every mosques and their care takers are closely watched, how come it would be possible? From the historical evidences, Muslims are living peacefully in Myanmar since time immemorial. More specifically, in the name of Islamist, many have been tortured and killed by MI and NaSaKa by false accusations. 

10. To regain the lands of those who fled due to 1942 Muslim-Buddhist riots and after-1948 Mujahid’s movement and establish the villages for the generation of those on these lands. The resettlement should be on the equal proportion of Muslims and Buddhist. 

Reply: 
In the 1942 riots, both communities suffered. In the northern Rakhine, Rakhines suffered more and in the southern Rakhine, Rohingyas suffered more.Rakhine in northern parts fled to the southern and Muslim in southern part fled to the northern. According to historians, dense Muslims population in the northern Rakhine state is the result of that. Years later after the riots, many Rakhine came and sold out their immoveable properties to the local Muslims. If you are claiming such lands of those Rakhines, will you be magnanimous enough to give back the lands of those Muslims who fled during the riots from the southern part of Rakhine? Please don’t be double standard? Equal proportion of Muslim and Buddhists resettlement: what will you do with equal proportion resettlement? The number will do nothing in this digital age. 

11. To remove the Bengali villages along the main communication streams in the Rakhine state and also to remove the surrounding Muslim villages of Sittwe University for peaceful schooling of the students. 

Reply: 
This demand is due to the fear rooted in the mindset of Rakhine people. If we analyze the factual history, not a single occasion where the Muslim community around the Sittwe University made any disturbance to the students, cannot be pointed out. Rather there were many occasions that the Mosque near Sittwe University was attempted to destroy many times from the authority and Muslims students were harassed everyday in the transport vehicles. It is Rakhine students who repeatedly have tried to create problem nearby area. 

12. To promptly implement the Saing Tin Water Fall to generate hydro electric power for local people. 

Reply: 
It is a long cherished hope of both Rakhine and Rohingya people. The successive government did not pay any solid attention due to the existence of Muslims in the region. 

13. To assure security of all the government services employee along the border area. 

Reply: 
This is a kind of creating turmoil for a nonexistence phenomenon. There is no such record that any government employee is attacked or harassed while on their duty. There are so many examples in Maungdaw that non Muslims government employees are given brotherly treatment by the Muslim families. For example in Alaythankyaw there are two families; one retired MI 18 personal and the other school teachers, are living together in the Muslim compounds as family members. 

14To prescribe the curriculum of Madrasa from the concern authority and watch closely whether the same is in action. 

Reply: 
Rohingya Muslims will be very happy to have got such implementations as long as curriculum is not against the religious prescription and is controlled by the Islamic affairs of the state. 

15.To execute the words that the president have urged the UNHCR officer on 11-07-20012 regarding Rohingyas. The Rakhine communities whole heartedly support these words and demand to implement the same. 

Reply: 
That statement of the President has worsened the condition more unsolvable. On the other hand, Rakhine community in particular and other communities in general have gained more courage to remain on their stances. Being the head of the state he should even not uttered such single word which has erupted a great criticism around the globe. Later these words of President are nullified on the interview with VOA on the 14th of August 2012. When you study carefully these demands, you can contradictory in itself. In demand no.(10) it demanded for the proportionate settlement of Muslim and Buddhist and here it said to completely deport the Rohingyas to the third country. 

16.To return the all kinds of lands, lakes, creeks confiscated by the concerned military, department and organization. 

Reply: 
In this regard, Rohingya suffered and suffering worse than Rakhine community. Everybody in Mayu Area knew that all Muslim’s shrimp breeding projects have been confiscated by the Military since many years and put auction for yearly basis. Such projects can be seen along Alaythankyaw beach area and Kayindan sea side area. 

17. To stop auction system of creeks, streams, seas which are the main sources of family earning for the common people. 

Reply:
This system actually has worsened the daily earning for the Rohingya ordinary people. In Maungdaw and Buthidaung every sellable items they carried must have to give tolls to NaSaKa and Hluntein camp based along the roads. 

18. To quickly implement the rail road, motor road between villages and townships. 

Reply: 
This infrastructural development is a must for building modern developed nation. 

People’s Gathering held on 25th and 26th of September in Yathetdaung, Rakhine 
Totally GO AGAINST the following Points: 

1.The co-existence of Rakhine-Bengali as it has become impossible to live together the two communities because of
     (1) the situation and circumstances of the cause of the violence, 
   (2)the irregularity of Bengali’s inner mind set,(3) the Bengali’s unfaithfulness to the           Government and disrespecting of Burmese Culture. 

Refutation: 

If you don’t want to live together what will you do? But remember that the President’s words can never be implemented in this age of 21st century. So what is the option? You can remain on your stance on the cost of your reputation of wild and hostile behaviors towards not only a community but also humanity. If you can afford your community write such hostile history of your own by ignoring human value then remaining on your current stance of not living together is an option. But care should be taken that you are trying to build a dead kingdom on which every world will refrain from doing any engagement. 

How come one can accuse Rohingya of unfaithful to Government despite many-years-many-qualified-personnel’s dedicated services in the Government? It is not a mouth say but evidences from the history. What is meant by disrespect of Burmese culture? If you study carefully what Rohingyas have in practice as their dress is as same as Burmese people except in some religious cases? It is Rakhine community that cannot perceive the Rohingya with positive and constructive vision. 

2.The OIC’s interference in the internal matters of Myanmar and we also strongly denounced the any office set up of OIC in any place of Arakan. 

Refutation: 

OIC’s interference has no political interest. This is a kind of Humanitarian engagement for both communities. At the same time one should realize that the value of universal brotherhood not only within Islam but also beyond Islam. Due to lack of self confidence or having too much confidence in them, Rakhine communities have no confidence on others. 

3.The implementation of Lay Mro Hyro-electric generation project as it may make damages to the environments and soci-economic condition of Rakhine people. 

4.The use of non-existence race Rohingya in the local and international media. 

Refutation: 

This is made on the due to ignorance of the truth. There are numerous documents and records that there were Rohingyas in Myanmar since time immemorial. The earliest record the 18th century. Rohingya historical evidences are flooding around the web. The latest record that the name Rohingya appeared is in the official family list of Rohingya around 1990s. 

5.The Bengalis MPs who are attending on different Hluttdaws by the possession of National identification Card (Citizenship Cards) in illegal means. 

Refutation: 

This has been cleared by the Union Immigration Minister in the recent interview with RFA. The Rakhine community is accusing the border immigrations officers of issuing the NIC cards to the Rohingyas. This view is also cleared by the minister on the same occasion. But the Rakhine extremists are giving no heed to the clarification. 

6.The copying and use of religious, cultural signs and marks which are noble to Rakhine community by the Bengali. 

Refutation: 

Arakan is the name of the land where Rohingya have been living for many years. If they use Arakan to represent their ancestry, it is not copying and using of others cultural and religious values. Actually this sort of demands deserves no reply and discussion. 

RECOMMENDATIONS to the Government from the People’s Gathering held on 25th and 26th of September in Yathetdaung, Rakhine State 

1. Urged all the political parties in the Rakhine State(RNDP,ALP,ALD,USDP and NUP) to whole heartedly support the demands, denouncement and advices put forward to the State from the Rakhine People Gathering,Yathetdaung. 

2. Urged all the Rakhine representing parties to come to the unity in spite of diversification and disunity for the sake of Rakhine’s benefits. 

3. Urged to build strong network between the organizations inside and outside of Rakhine for the future development of Rakhine State. 

RB News Desk