Joint Statement: Apartheid against Rohingyas in Arakan should be a concern of international community

Joint Statement:

Apartheid against Rohingyas in Arakan should be a concern of international community
July 2, 2012

The undersigned organisations have strongly condemned the Rakhine National Development Party (RNDP) for revitalizing ‘apartheid’ in Burma against the Muslim Rohingyas of Arakan.

In its statement dated 26 June 2012, the RNDP has dubbed the entire ethnic Rohingyas ‘illegal Bengali intruders’ and urged the people and Government of Burma, inter alia, “to segregate Rohingyas from the Buddhist Rakhines in every town and village of Arakan by relocating them in separate areas away from Buddhist Rakhines’ localities”.  It has further demanded “to resettle the non-national illegal Bengalis in third countries within a fixed short period of time through negotiation with the United Nations and international cooperation.”

In the recent ethnic violence, the Buddhist Rakhine extremists in collaboration with army, Lon Htin, Nasaka, well equipped local Rakhine militia or police  had killed and injured many hundreds of Rohingya, devastated numerous villages with mosques, burned down thousands of their homes, and looted immeasurable properties and valuables, while forcing scores of starving Rohingya men, women and children fleeing the carnage to drift in the Naf river and Bay of Bengal as Bangladesh has closed its border for them despite international outcries.

It has been well documented that, since 1942, about 1.5 million Rohingyas have fled their homeland of Arakan for various destinations for their lives. On the contrary, thousands of Rakhines known as Maghs from Bangladesh have been regularly settled in Arakan under state programme particularly from Ne Win’s BSPP (Burma Socialist Party Programme) regime. Some of those Bangladeshi Maghs are in the helm of affairs of the state. Thus the alleged illegal immigration of Rohingyas from Bangladesh is unfounded, politically motivated and preoccupation of Islamophobia. It is a racist and xenophobic design of Rakhines to scapegoat the native Rohingyas enwrapping the infiltration of the Bengali Rakhine Maghs into Arakan. Their ultimate objective is to create an independent ‘Rakhine Prey” or Rakhine Country in which the Rohingya remain a stumbling block.

The ethnic flare up was preceded by series of malicious smear campaigns of RNDP and its stalwarts inside and outside Burma preaching hatred while inciting violence against the Rohingya people. It has been increasingly evident that the barbarous aggression was masterminded by RNDP and xenophobic Rakhine academics in connivance with the military hardliners. The RNDP’s policy of ‘forced relocation’ and ‘forced deportation’ of Rohingya with intention of maintaining the hegemony of the Buddhist Rakhine race in Arakan affirm the crime against humanity of ‘Rohingya extermination’. Its statement constitutes a breach of the anti-discrimination clause of every human rights convention and as such perpetrators should be held responsible. Their activities are, without doubt, a great hindrance — for which the Rohingyas are in no way responsible– in Burma’s fragile democratization process and promotion of human rights.

In the State capital Sittwe (Akyab) Rohingyas’ shops and properties are being confiscated. Rape of Rohingya women, arrest and detention of Rohingya elites and youths, confiscation of IDs and documents, extortion, theft, and looting of their properties and valuables have been phenomenal all over North ‘Arakan. Humanitarian crisis is unfolding with increasing Rohingya death toll resulting from starvation, food insecurity and lack of medical treatment.

In the light of the above, we make the following demands and requests:

Demand Government of Burma:

Ban RNDP as a political party and bring those responsible to justice for masterminding the ethnic violence in Arakan.
Stop those vile practices of RNDP and other Rakhines immediately.
Provide adequate domestic protection to the Rohingyas without delay.
Stop rape, arbitrary arrest, extortion and ransom, theft, looting and damaging of Rohingya’s properties by army, Lon Htin, Nasaka, Rakhine militia or police at once.
Release forthwith all Rohingyas arrested under false and concocted charges.
Stop seizure of Rohingyas’ shop, properties, IDs and documents and return to the owners all that have been confiscated.
Stop forced labour of the traumatised Rohingyas to build houses for the Rakhines.
Ensure complete freedom of religion, including Friday congregational prayers.

Request to UN and international community:

Request U.N, international community, OIC, EU, ASEAN, USA, UK and Burma’s neighbours to do away with the policy of apartheid against the Rohingyas in Burma.
Request for independent news media to monitor the actual situation in Arakan.
To make independent and impartial investigation into the violence in Arakan.
To extend necessary humanitarian assistance to the victims and displaced people.

Request to Bangladesh Government:

To consider providing temporary shelter and protection to the Rohingya refugees fleeing violence and persecution in Burma on humanitarian ground.
To try for a permanent solution of the ‘Rohingya problem’ in cooperation with OIC and international community.

Signatories:

Arakan Rohingya National organisation (ARNO),
Burmese Rohingya Association Japan (BRAJ)
Burmese Rohingya Association Deuschland (BRAD)
Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand (BRAT)
Burmese Rohingya Community in Australia (BRCA)
Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK)
National Democratic Party for Human Rights (In Exile)
Rohingya Community in Norway (RCN)
Rohingya League for Democracy (Burma) (RLDB)

For more information, please contact:

Aman Ullah        +880-15584 86910
U Hla Aung         +33 – 629 258 793
U Tun Khin        +44- 788 871 4866

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