Muslims are not protected in Arakan: Nurul Islam, President of ARNO

Chittagong, Bangladesh:  Muslims are not protected in Arakan –Maungdaw and Akyab- by the security force – Nasaka , Lon Htin and police –  and have become killer forces said Nurul Islam, President, the Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO), at a  peaceful rally to protest against the mass killing of Rohingyas and Muslims in Arakan in front of the Burmese embassy in London on 13 July 2012.

NUrul Islam, ARNO President called in a peaceful rally in of the Burmese embassy in London

“Instead of protecting the helpless, controlling the situation, restoring law and order, they rampaged and burned the Muslim villages and shot at the fleeing people from the burning houses. Curfew has been imposed just to carry out systematic killing of the Muslims in Akyab city and Maungdaw towns. During curfew time the Rakhines (Buddhists of Arakan) hooligans took to the streets together with the so called security forces and police and intruded the Muslim villages and started burning and killing and looting Muslims’ houses and properties. This is unacceptable.”

“This is a peaceful rally to protest against the mass killing of Rohingyas and Muslims in Arakan. You may be aware that the situation in Arakan is very very terrible from last one week. Muslims are being killed, their houses and mosques burnt down, their properties looted and their women raped,” the president called in the rally.

The President also stated in the rally that more than 1000 Muslims were killed, 4000 injured, 30 Muslim villages with at least 25 mosques and 3000 houses destroyed. In addition 30,000 Muslim became homeless in Sittwe (Akyab) and Maungdaw township.  Almost all villages in Sittwe city were burnt down. The exact information is not available. The areas are completely sealed and controlled by the Rakhine extremists with the backing of the local administration.  No dead bodies are so far returned to the people.

“This is a pre-planned design. This is a great conspiracy against the Muslims to ethnically cleanse them. The UN agencies and NGOs who have been engaged in humanitarian relief works have to leave Arakan as the government warned that it could not provide them with security. In the absence of them the extremists and local government could carry on the genocide against the Muslims more effectively without the knowledge of the outside world. This is a shame on the government, he called in the rally.

“Many boat loads of Rohingyas fleeing the carnage have reached Teknaf area of southern Chittagong, Bangladesh. They should be helped and provided with protection in Bangladesh. They have fled as they no national protection or their lives are no secure. In the absence of national protection they deserve international protection.”

“All Muslim shops were destroyed and looted. Rice, food and essentials were damaged or carried away out of the hand reach of the Muslims. People are starving in Akyab city and Maungdaw town,” the ARNO president said. “There’s humanitarian crisis looming.”

“In this difficult time, we want peace in Arakan. We don’t want any more violence by any people. We don’t want to see any more bloodletting. Please stop it. We want ‘peaceful co-existence’ among all people in Arakan and Burma.  Violence will not help anyone. The two Arakan’s major peoples of Muslim Rohingyas and Buddhist Rakhines have had lived together in the same place, drinking the same water and breathing the same air. They are still living together and they will have to live together until doomsday. There is no point to be hostile to each other,” the ARNO president said.

“We did welcome the steps taken by President U Thein Sein to bring about change towards democratization in Burma. But it is sad no wind of change has touched the Rohingya people yet.”

“We welcome the UN observer team which reached Sittwe just this morning.”

We call on the Government of U Thein Sein:  To end the ongoing violence in Arakan and address the underlying causes; To deploy adequate armed forces in troubled areas in Arakan in order to control the situation, restore law and order, establish peace and save the life of the innocent people; To form peace committees with Muslims and Rakhine elders together with the unprejudiced government officials;Operate genuine and impartial humanitarian activities and supply of rice and foodstuff to the victims to stop further outbreak of starvation; To disarm all those security forces and police involved the violence; To return the dead bodies to the Muslims for the ritual burial; To carry on urgent humanitarian activities and relief distribution to the victims; To prohibit dissemination of false information by media groups in Burma and to allow independent news media to Arakan in order to monitor the situation.

We also urge upon the international community: UN may adopt a strong resolution on the current situation in Arakan and actively consider humanitarian intervention to save the life of the people; To make a fully independent and comprehensive Enquiry Commission, under the supervision of UN to investigate and address the underlying causes of the violence and to bring to justice all those responsible; UN agencies and NGOs who worked in Arakan should resume their humanitarian and relief operation in affected areas; To send independent media and investigation teams to Arakan; Pressurise the Burmese govt to control the situation forthwith; no further theft of time is to be allowed;Request the people and Government of Bangladesh to accept and give the fleeing people from Arakan adequate protection. They are refugees with well-founded fear of being persecuted.

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