Friday, September 28, 2012

An open Letter Director General of ARU and Sectary General Of OIC

On Fri, Sep 28, 2012 at 7:06 PM, Maung Hla Myint KTW <> wrote:
Dear Director General of ARU and Sectary General Of OIC
Assalamu Alikum,
With due respect,We are praying to Almighty Allah to bless all of you.It is scarring me to write detail what happening here.We are passing day and night praying to Allah to save us because we don't know what going to happen tomorrow.It is very well plan to kill all of us and also it is very well organize.I think they will kill us without gun.Neither we have medicine nor food.Rakhine Mobs started gathering this afternoon at Oo Ottama Park. Despite presence of authority in the area, Rakhine Mob could proceed with  guns and knives etc and surround the remaining Rohingya areas in the town of Sittwe, anytime they can attack to Muslim Village.We are surviving here barely with small food and no medicine.Our sick,old ,young and injuries are dieing every hours.
May you know  after the declaration of Rathidaung conference they become very aggressive.They have been decided not to keep any Muslim House in the town or on the side of any Major Road.They declare to size all immovable Muslim's properties by any mean if necessary killing all Muslim in Arakan.They also asking not to open any OIC office on Arakan soil.All jail in Arakan are same to Abugarib of Baghdad for us even worst than Abugarib,it all  jail are silent killing palace.In Arakan anyone from Muslim community, they want they can kill, there is no Justice,judge themselves are killer,Arakan is no save place for Muslim.Our daily life here is hell.According to my best knowledge ,seeking help from currant Burmese Government is westing time and losting more innocent life.Than Sein Government is fully implementing exactly what he said to UNHCR High Commissioner.If a second country don't take us they will kill us systematically silently.We are not strong enough to fight against a mighty military government.Our people and our leader need to understand the situation of Arakan.In this situation, you should try to fine a safe place for us rather than seeking our citizenship from Myanmar Government.If we can not survive/we can not live here what for citizenship here?It is a method of systematic ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Rohingya community, which had never been used in any country in the world .
I don't know I will be here tomorrow or not,but if you want you can save  at least half of the Rohingya or they have to die without food and without Medicine.Thank You.
Maung Hla Myint

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Rohingya conundrum

By Nehginpao Kipgen   |   Monday, 24 September 2012

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

Source: here

Sunday, September 23, 2012

NHRC for talks with Myanmar to end Rohingya crisis

Dhaka, Sunday, September 23 2012

Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Prof Mizanur Rahman Saturday stressed the need for resolving the longstanding Rohingya refugee crisis through bilateral consultations between Bangladesh and Myanmar, reports UNB.

"They (Rohingyas) need to be given shelter on humanitarian ground, but Bangladesh has no capacity to shelter such a large number of refugees…the ongoing Rohingya crisis should be resolved through bilateral consultations," he told a discussion in the city.

The NHRC organised the discussion, titled 'Journey to Solution of Rohingya Refugee Crisis: A National Consultation United Nation High Commission for Refugee' at Dhaka University's Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban.

According to the international convention 1951, Dr Rahman said, Bangladesh has the right to send Rohingyas back to their homeland in the greater interest of the country. "The Myanmar government puts pressure on the Muslim ethnic community to leave Myanmar for political reasons," he told the discussion.

The NHRC chief said Bangladesh has already sent a formal latter to the Myanmar government for resolving the problem, but Myanmar does not give any positive response. "Under the circumstances, international help is needed to resolve the crisis."

"Rohingya issue is damaging the image of the country," he said adding that the Bangladesh government is sincerely trying to work out a solution to the longstanding crisis, which puts pressure on Bangladesh's land day by day.

Information Commissioner Sadeka Halim, DMP commissioner Benazir Ahmed and Prof Dr Kazi Zakir Hossain, among others, spoke at the discussion.

Roots of violence, hatred run deep

Sunday September 23, 2012

The Rohingya problem in Myanmar stems from the systematic discrimination against this ethnic and religious minority.

MUCH has been written lately, either empathetically or as a challenge, of Myanmar’s “Rohingya problem”. Since early June, the Rohingya have borne the brunt of communal violence, human rights violations, and an urgent humanitarian situation in Rakhine State, and face an uncertain future. But when considered more closely, is that all? What really is the problem?
The events of this year, as well as the violent events of 1978, 1992, 2001, and 2009, are attributable to systemic discrimination against the Rohingya in Myanmar. That is, to a political, social, and economic system – manifested in law, policy, and practices – designed to discriminate against this ethnic and religious minority.
This system makes such direct violence against the Rohingya far more possible and likely than it would otherwise be. Further, in the eyes of the Myanmar authorities at least – as evidenced by the lack of accountability for the civilians and officials alike – discrimination also makes the violence and violations somehow justifiable. That is the problem.
In 1978’s “Dragon King” operation, the Myanmar army committed widespread killings and rape of Rohingya civilians and carried out the destruction of mosques and other religious persecution. That resulted in the exodus of an estimated 200,000 Rohingya to neighbouring Bangladesh.
A similar campaign of forced labour, summary executions, torture and rape in 1992 led to a similar number of Rohingyas again fleeing across the border.
In February 2001, communal violence between the Muslim and Buddhist populations in Sittwe resulted in an unknown number of people killed and Muslim property destroyed.
Late 2009 featured the pushing back by Thai authorities onto the high seas of several boats – lacking adequate food, water, and fuel – of Rohingyas in the Andaman Sea.
It is true that all of these events have similar, separate equivalents in countries in which systemic discrimination does not take place.
Yet in Myanmar such discrimination provides the violence with a ready-made antecedent, expressly approved by the state. Indeed, to varying degrees, the five seminal events noted above were simply exacerbations of this underlying discrimination.
It would overstate the causality to assert that if Myanmar had never put its system of discrimination against the Rohingya into place, these events would not have occurred. Eliminating it now, however, is urgently required for a sustainable future peace in Rakhine State and, equally important, is a human rights imperative.
The system’s anchor is the 1982 Citizenship Law, which in both design and implementation effectively denies the right to a nationality to the Rohingya population. It supercedes all previous citizenship regimes in Myanmar of 1947, 1948, and 1974.
The 1982 Citizenship Law creates three classes of citizens – full, associate, and naturalised – none of which has been conferred on the Rohingya. Full citizenship is reserved for those whose ancestors settled in Myanmar before the year 1823 or are among Myanmar’s more than 130 recognised national ethnic groups, of which the Rohingya is not one.
Associate citizens are those who were both eligible and applied for citizenship under the 1948 Union Citizenship Act. Requiring an awareness of the law that few Rohingya had and a level of proof that even fewer were able to provide, this included few Rohingya.
Likewise with naturalised citizenship, eligible for those who resided in Myanmar for five continuous years on or before 1948. Moreover, with all three classes, a Central Body has the discretion to deny citizenship even where the criteria are met.
The 1982 Citizenship Law’s discriminatory effects are also extremely consequential. The main one is that the Rohingya, lacking citizenship in Myanmar, have been rendered stateless, both unable to avail themselves of the protection of the state and – as has been the case for decades – subject to policies and practices which constitute violations of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.
While not limited to Rohingyas, they are not imposed in the same manner and to the same degree on Buddhists or other Muslims in Rakhine State.
This is systemic discrimination. Laws, policies, and practices, though designed and carried out by people, are ultimately part of or attributable to a system that ensures discrimination even in the absence of discriminatory individuals.
And it is patently unlawful.

As a member of the United Nations, Myanmar is legally obliged to promote “universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion”, as written in Articles 55 and 56 of the UN Charter.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights – though admittedly not a binding document – provides in Article 2 that everyone is entitled to all the rights in the 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.”

It is clear that Myanmar, as a state party to this Convention, is in violation of its international legal obligations pertaining to the right of Rohingya children to a nationality.

Solutions? Myanmar should substantially amend the 1982 Citizenship Law or repeal and redraft it, such that the Rohingya are indisputably made citizens.

Rohingyas born in Myanmar who would otherwise be stateless should be granted citizenship, as should those who are not born there but are able to establish a genuine and effective link to the country.

Myanmar should also eliminate its policies and practices that discriminate against the Rohingya on the grounds of ethnicity and/or religion.

Myanmar’s “Rohingya problem” is almost entirely of its own making. More than any other single step, dismantling its system of discrimination would bring it closer to a solution.

Benjamin Zawacki is the South-East Asia Regional Representative of the International Development Law Organisation and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. The views expressed here are his own, adapted from remarks given earlier last week at “Plight of the Rohingya: Solutions?”, a conference organised by the Perdana Global Peace Foundation in Kuala Lumpur.

Source: The Star 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

RCI, NDPHR (exile-HQ) and BRAFA Rally in Front of UN (HQ) under Burma Task Force-USA

The Rohingya Concern International (RCI), The National Democratic Party for Human Rights (exile-HQ) USA and Burmese Rohingya American Friendship Association (BRAFA) actively demonstrated to show support and solidarity as well as condemning the on-going violence and pre-planned massacre to the Genocide victim Muslims such as Rohingya, Kaman and Rakhine Muslim of Arakan/Burma under the banner of Burma Task Force, NY, on September 08, 2012 with a huge rally of approximately 600 Americans including the Rohingyas.
The other active organizations behind the rally in the Burma Task Force (NY) were Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA), Muslim Peace Coalition of USA, Jamaica Islamic Center (NY), Council of American-Islamic Relations-NY (CAIR), and Burmese Rohingya Association of North America (BRANA).
Many American Muslim dignitaries, leaders, human rights advocates, and Rohingya leaders from the United States delivered speeches in the Rally moderated by Dr. Shaikh Obaid, the Director of the Burma Task Force-USA/NY.
The Speakers included Mr.Mohiuddin M Yusof (President of Rohingya Concern International(RCI),Mr.Kyaw Soe Aung (aka)Shaukhat MSK Jilani (the General Secretary of NDPHR(exile-HQ)USA and Acting President of Burmese Rohingya American Friendship Association (BRAFA), Al-Hajj Talib Abdur Rasheed (President of Islamic Leadership Council of New York Metropolitan Area), Mubasher Ahmed ( Islamic Circle of North America-ICNA), Abu Samia Siraj ( Muslim Ummah of North America), Mazim (Jamaica Muslim Center), Imam Ayub Abdul Bhaqi( Chairman of the Social Justice Committee & Islamic Leadership of New York Metropolitan Area), Naji Al-Muntasir ( Leader of Arab American Community), Dr. Wakar Uddin and Nay San Oo from Burmese Rohingya Association of North America (BRANA) , and Abu Samia Siraj (Leader of the Muslim Ummah of North America), and several leaders.
It was a historic event in front of the United Nations (HQ) where Muslim American women and young girls actively and strongly advocated and demonstrated their solidarity for the suffering cause of Muslim Rohingya people.
Some active Rohingya activists from America such as Mr.Yusof (aka)Ko Aye Tun from Garden City (Kansas),Mr.Junaid from New York (Buffalo),Mr. Zubair Ahmad @ Maung Ni from Milwaukee, Mr.Kamal Hussain from Milwaukee, Mr.Sayed Karim @ Khaing Hla Myint from Milwaukee, Mr. Hiram Shah @ Maung Win from Milwaukee, Mr. Ayub Khan from Milwaukee, Hajee Mohammad Ibrahim from Chicago, and Mr. Sultan Omar from Chicago participated in the demonstration under the banner of RCI,NDPHR and BRAFA respectively.
“President of RCI Mr. Muhiuddin Mohammad Yusof @ Maung Sein delivering the speech in the rally in front of UN (HQ)in New York City.”
Mr. Mohiuddin M Yusof ,the RCI president delivered the speech in English and Bangala languages which was short due to lack of material time in which he said of failure the global united response for immediate action on Rohingyas' suffering, demanded immediate restoration of Rohingyas' Citizenship rights repealing 1982 Myanmar citizenship law adopted by the military Government without the mandate of Burmese general masses, urged the democracy icon Daw Aung San suu Kyi to stand for justice and Rights of Rohingyas, condemned the instigation of Buddhist Monks (not all but those who are anti Rohingyas and Muslims) who are poisoning the minds and souls of Burmese population with hatred and enmity instead of love and (Metta) passion against the Rohingyas, expressed concern of the majority Burmese population united on Racism or form of extreme Buddhism against the Rohingyas, chanted slogan urging the President Obama to protect the Rohingyas.Moreover, taking consideration of majority Bangladeshi brothers and sisters in the Rally, Mr. Mohiuddin M Yusof spoken out in Bangla language absolutely denying the claim of the honorable Foreign Minister of secular Bangladesh Government Dipu Moni that Rohingyas in collaboration with Jamat-e-Islami and other fundamentalist/extremist Islamic organizations are creating problems in Arakan/Burma, he also fervently requested the honorable Bangladesh President Zillur Rahman and honorable Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheik Hasina Wajeda not to take any action or sign any document with Burmese Government that may hamper or threat the future and survival of Rohingyas of Burma.
Finally, on behalf of two million world-wide Rohingyas and 1.5 million oppressed and suppressed Muslims in Burma particularly, those one million who are the victims of Genocide in Arakan fervently appealed and requested 160 million peace loving and humanity-caring Bangladeshi people irrespective of race, religion and language to come forward and urge united way to the Bangladesh Government to help the Rohingya cause so that, Rohingyas can live in their native land Arakan as human being with honor and dignity enjoying all rights enshrined in the Universal declaration of human rights adopted by UN and signed by Burmese Government.
 “The General Secretary of NDPHR (exile-HQ)USA Mr. Kyaw Soe Aung @ Shaukhat MSK Jilani speaking with the Journalist from Columbia University in New York.”
Mr. Kyaw Soe Aung @ Shaukhat MSK Jilani, the General Secretary of NDPHR(exile-HQ)USA and Acting President of Burmese Rohingya American Friendship Association (BRAFA) said the Rohingyas are bonafied citizens of Burma according to 1947 Burma constitution which was laid down by General Aung San, the independence hero and father of the nation of Burma,1982 Myanmar citizenship law adopted by the late General Ne Win is totally discriminatory and falsehood as well as against the international human rights law which must be repealed right now, the Rohingyas are victims of Genocide of Burmese Government for many decades, the on-going genocide against the Muslims of Arakan is crime against humanity and it is time to bring Burmese Generals of current Government to International Criminal Court (ICC)and International Court of Justice (ICJ) as it is not excusable by any means, demanded the President Obama (US Government) and world bodies to take action of these brutal Generals into Criminal court as done before in Rawaznda, Yugoslavia and other countries, he also rejected strongly the racism in all forms, totalitarianism, ethnic cleansing and genocide in Burma, finally he requested to put US forces together UN peace keeping forces and monitoring units in Arakan for protection of the helpless Rohingyas in Arakan region of Burma.
“General Secretary of NDPHR(exile-HQ-USA)& Acting President of BRAFA giving speech at the gathering in front of the United Nations (HQ)in New York City.”
The other speeches by all respective speakers were already available in the Media and YouTube, so, not repeated here.
The RCI, NDPHR (exile-HQ) USA and BRAFA leadership and members would like to express the heart-felt thanks and appreciation to all those leaders, activists, participants, contributors and speakers who are engaged to support the Burmese Muslim Rohingya Cause under the banner of Burma Task Force USA for giving us an opportunity to express our views and opinions in the Rally of NYC in front of UN (HQ).
Yours truly,
(1)Mohiuddin M Yusof (President of RCI)
(2)Kyaw Soe Aung @ Shaukhat MSK Jilani (NDPHR-exile)
(3)Zubair Ahmad (Acting Secretary of BRAFA)
(4)Yusof @ Ko Aye Tun (RCI-Representative in Kansas)
(5)Junaid (Secretary of RCI)
Media Contact: - (1) Kyaw Soe Aung @ Shaukhat MSK Jilani
                                                        Tel: 414-736-4273
                                        (2)  Zubair Ahmad @ Maung Ni (Tel: 414-306-1751)
Note: Demonstration pictures are attached with this news information. Please download pictures.
Thank you all.

Friday, September 14, 2012

US team stresses for int’l aid agency access to Myanmar

US deputy assistant secretary Kelly Clements addresses a press briefing along with Ambassador Dan Mozena at American Centre in Dhaka on Thursday. Photo courtesy by American Embassy

The US State Department delegation, which visited Rakhaine state of Myanmar on Thursday, said a serious insecurity, tension, persecution and displacement of people continued there and stressed for access of international aid agencies in the country.
The delegation strongly recommended for immediate humanitarian assistance and access to international aid organisation to supply emergency relief to the victims.
“Tension is very much in evident and displacement continues. A large number of people continue to displace, so challenge is very much grave there,” said Kelly Clements, US deputy assistant secretary for Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.
Two members of the four-member delegation gave their impression at a press conference at American Centre in Dhaka after visiting the worst affected Sittew and Mongdu area following the ethnic violence in the Rakhine state in June.
A four-member high-powered US delegation visited Myanmar on September 7-10 and Bangladesh on 11-13 to assess current conditions and to discuss with government officials how to reduce tensions and improve security, stability and humanitarian situation over long-term.
Kelly and her colleague, who is also deputy assistant secretary for US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Daniel Baer told the press conference that they talked to local leaders and victims in Arakan state as well as Rohingya refugees in two official camps in Cox’s Bazar to get first hand impression of the situation.
Asked whether they feel that the Myanmar government has failed to address the ethnic problem, Kelly said it needs high priority to bring the prevailing tension under control. She said the Myanmar government is aware of it and trying to solve it.
On a question about a long-term solution of problems in the state, she said understanding between communities (Rohingya Muslims and Buddists), reconciliation and reintegration are needed so the communities can go back to their homesteads.
About the Bangladesh government decision banning the operations of the three international NGOs in Cox’s Bazar, Kelly did not reply precisely but said it is very clear that the Rohingya refugees need enormous humanitarian assistance.
She said the US continues its support through UNHCR to address the need of Rohingyas as well as the citizens of Bangladesh in Cox’s Bazar until a long term solution is possible.
When asked whether US wants Bangladesh to receive new Rohingya refugees, US Ambassador Dan Mozena, who also spoke at the press conference, said Bangladesh has long tradition of hospitality and hoped that the government will uphold the tradition in case Rohingyas arrive here fleeing to save their lives.
Source here

US calls for safe repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar Read more:

The U.S. State Department is urging Myanmar and Bangladesh to develop a long-term solution to deal with thousands of Rohingya refugees, including providing food and basic healthcare to the stateless people.
The United States on Thursday urged Bangladesh to keep its border open to Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar in the wake of June violence but advocated their safe repatriation as a long-term solution.
A delegation of the U.S. State Department recently visited the troubled region in Myanmar where violence between Rakhaine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in June left at least 80 people dead. The team later visited refugee camps of Rohingya in Bangladesh's southern Cox's Bazar district.

U.S. officials said at a news conference in Dhaka that the situation in Myanmar was still grave for the Rohingya people.

They urged both Myanmar and Bangladesh to work out a long-term solution while stressed the need for providing food and basic healthcare to stateless Rohingya.

Dan W. Mozena praised Bangladesh for its years of support to the Rohingya people but urged the country to do more for tens of thousands of undocumented Rohingya in Bangladesh.

Mozena, who did not visit Myanmar but went with the full delegation to the camps in Bangladesh, said the situation was "grim" among refugees outside the official camps who were deprived of basic needs.

Some 28,000 Rohingya refugees live in two official camps in Cox's Bazar district, but tens of thousands of others languish outside without proper care or facilities.

The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina earlier this year asked three international organizations to stop providing services to undocumented Rohingya to discourage fresh refugees from Myanmar. The government says it needs to take precautions because it has intelligence reports that some Islamic militant groups have targeted the Rohingya refugees for recruitment.

The U.S. officials were concerned about the situation of Rohingya people in Myanmar, said one of the delegation who visited there, Kelly Clements, deputy assistant secretary for Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

Clements said displacement of Rohingya people was still rampant in the troubled region, where many homes were burned to the ground during the violence. But she praised Myanmar for allowing them "unprecedented access" to see the area.

She said reconciliation and reintegration of the ethnic groups should top Myanmar's government agenda to resolve the crisis.

She said both Bangladesh and Myanmar should ensure basic assistance to the people in trouble.

The U.S. officials also pushed for continuous dialogue between Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Myanmar considers the Rohingya to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and denies them citizenship. Bangladesh says Rohingya have been living in Myanmar for centuries and should be recognized there as citizens.

In the 1990s, about 250,000 Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh in the face of alleged persecution by the military junta.

Later, Myanmar took back most of them, leaving some 28,000 in two camps run by the government and the United Nations.

Bangladesh has been unsuccessfully negotiating with Myanmar for years to send them back and, in the meantime, tens of thousands of others have entered Bangladesh illegally in recent years.

Burmese Democracy Idol Will Face Critics in Return to UN

When Aung San Suu Kyi was last in New York she was single, sharing a small apartment in midtown Manhattan with an exiled Burmese singer and walking six minutes each day to a bureaucratic job she hated at the United Nations.
That was in 1969. The 24-year-old daughter of the founding father of an independent Burma, still unsure what to do with her life, lived in relative anonymity for three years, until she left with no regrets to marry an Englishman, according to Peter Popham’s biography of her.
May 30 (Bloomberg) -- Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi arrived in Thailand today in her first overseas trip in 24 years. Suu Kyi will speak at the World Economic Forum on East Asia conference in Bangkok on June 1. Rishaad Salamat reports on Bloomberg Television's "On the Move Asia." (Source: Bloomberg)
Next week the Burmese democracy icon, now a 67-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner and member of parliament, will be back in New York for the first time in decades to attend meetings at her former employer. During a 17-day U.S. tour, she will be feted on both coasts and awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, America’s highest civilian honor.
Still, as she transitions from icon to practical politician, Suu Kyi’s silent treatment of the minority Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar has begun to blemish her reputation as a champion of human rights. No longer confined to house arrest, she now must gauge whether to compromise some principles in order to retain popular support.
“She could have been Gandhi, but she sacrificed her moral authority,” said Robert Lieberman, a physics professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, who spent two years making an undercover documentary on Myanmar. “The Burmese are very prejudiced against the Rohingya, and she is running in 2015. Politics are a dirty business.”

Reviled Rohingyas

While beloved by voters -- her image is a fixture in Burmese shop windows and homes -- the majority of the population reviles the stateless Rohingyas, who are deprived of citizenship in Myanmar. The next nationwide vote in 2015 will take place a quarter of a century after the military dictatorship refused to recognize the victory of Suu Kyi’s party in 1990 elections.
At home and abroad, Suu Kyi remains a symbol of Myanmar’s stoic nonviolent struggle against the five-decade rule of generals who kept her under house arrest for 15 years. As the former military junta allowed a political opening, she showed her willingness to engage by entering parliament after her party’s successful showing in April by-elections, running for a seat in parliament that came open between regular elections.
For the first time this year, Suu Kyi has been able to travel freely overseas without fear of being banned from re- entry, dropping by Oslo to pick up her Nobel Peace Prize -- 21 years after it was bestowed on her.
She also visited Great Britain, where she had studied at Oxford University and lived in the 1980s with her husband Michael Aris, a Tibetan scholar. In 1999, when Aris was dying, she dared not visit him out of concern she wouldn’t be allowed to return to Myanmar.

Democratic Icon

Wherever Suu Kyi goes, she attracts throngs of supporters seeking a glimpse of their idol and media eager to quiz her.
Along with the adulation comes greater scrutiny.
Questions on where she stands on the persecution of the Rohingya dogged her in a trip to Europe in June. Her decision to skirt the issue elicited rare criticism.
“Aung San Suu Kyi has the moral authority to change the terms of debate in Myanmar about the Rohingya towards a rights- respecting, non-discriminatory path, and we certainly hope she will seize the unique opportunity of this U.S. trip to do so,” said Bangkok-based Phil Robertson, who oversees the work of Human Rights Watch in Asia.
“We hope she can push the government of Myanmar to recognize that the Rohingya deserve citizenship,” he said in an e-mail.

Extended Visit

When Thein Sein makes his first UN appearance as Myanmar’s president at the General Assembly on Sept. 27, he, too, will be grilled about the Rohingya. On the same day, 80 miles north of New York in New Haven, Connecticut, Suu Kyi will be addressing Yale University students. Their paths won’t cross at the UN, with Suu Kyi leaving New York as the president arrives.
It will be harder to duck the issue of the Rohingya at media-packed events during her extended stay in the U.S., which also will include a stop-off on the West Coast. On Sept. 29, she will meet members of the Burmese community -- a mixture of economic migrants and political dissidents -- in San Francisco.
Nyunt Than, a 49-year-old software engineer who fled Myanmar in 1992 and settled in the Bay Area in 1996, says he hopes finally to meet his idol in person. As a young activist, he and his friends followed her around wherever she spoke.
Nyunt Than, who went on to form the Burmese American Democratic Alliance in the U.S., says he wants to visit his homeland at the end of the year, but is concerned the authorities have yet to clear his name from a travel blacklist.

Still Struggling

“My father is still alive, he’s 85, but my mother passed away a few years ago,” Nyunt Than said in a telephone interview. “The sad thing is that even with my financial support my family still struggles.”
Born in a village about 70 miles east of Yangon, Nyunt Than is among the 100,000 people of Burmese descent living in the U.S. He’s able to send money home through unofficial channels, and bought an apartment in the capital for his parents so they could have access to better health care.
Known to the Burmese as the “The Lady,” Suu Kyi’s grueling schedule may take a toll on her fragile constitution. She’s had fainting spells and bouts of exhaustion this year.
“We are so happy to have her, but I feel sorry she is coming such a long way because of her health,” Nyunt Than said.
Still, the Rohingya remain a delicate topic, even for Burmese who left their homeland long ago. When asked about Suu Kyi’s stance on the Rohingya, Nyunt Than stiffens.

‘Quite Guarded’

“The international media and some rights groups do not understand the circumstances and the background well enough and got it wrong in their reporting, views and the remarks,” he said. “There is an humanitarian situation and lack of rules of law in the Arakan State in Myanmar, and the current government, activists, and the communities are collectively addressing it.”
Politics aside, Myanmar’s economic potential is the point of focus for investors. Emerging from isolation as sanctions are loosened, Myanmar’s economy may grow as much as 8 percent a year over the next decade, according to the Asian Development Bank.
Getting Suu Kyi to be more forthcoming may prove difficult.
Lieberman, who interviewed Suu Kyi at length while filming “They Call it Myanmar,” describes her as quite guarded, even intimidating, on subjects she’s uncomfortable with, especially her private life. When he nudged her to be a little open, she snapped, “I can’t be someone I am not.”

“And no personal questions, by the way.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Flavia Krause-Jackson in United Nations at

Source: Here 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Crisis in Rohingya: "Where is our Foreign Minister?"

by Free Malaysia Today Aug 28, 2012 06:59 AM 5 views

 Pakatan MPs Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli and Nurul Izzah Anwar question the absence of any action by Malaysian Foreign Minister on the crisis in Rohingya, Burma. 
Pakatan MPs Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli and Nurul Izzah Anwar question the absence of any action by Malaysian Foreign Minister on the crisis in Rohingya, Burma.

Burma’s stateless Rohingya have come into sharp focus following the deadly sectarian violence that has plagued the minority Muslim community over the last two months. A hard-hitting Human Rights Watch report this week accused security forces of killing, raping and carrying out mass arrests of Rohingya Muslims.

Source: Here

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Internatioanl Confrence on the Plight of the Rohingya : Solution?


“International efforts in addressing the suffering of Rohingya – the role of NGOs and Civil Society”

Date: 17 September 2012 (Monday)
Time: 9am – 6pm
Venue: Auditorium, Islamic Arts Museum, Jalan Perdana, Taman Tasek Perdana (opposite the National Mosque)

Keynote Address by

YABhg Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad
Fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia & President of Perdana Global Peace Foundation

Plenary Session 1

Tan Sri Razali Ismail
Former Special UN Representative to Myanmar (Moderator)
Mr Benjamin Zawacki
Consultant, Former Researcher
Amnesty International
Mr Matthew Smith
Human Rights Watch
Dr. Maung Zarni
Civil Society and Human Security Unit
London School of Economics
Mr Jacob Zenn
International Affairs Analyst, Washington DC
Formerly at UNCHR Malaysia

Luncheon Address

HE Dr. Surin Pitsuwan
Secretary General of ASEAN

Plenary Session 2

Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Rais Abdul Karim
Former Vice Chancellor UPSI & Acting Secretary General PERKIM (Moderator)
Ms Chris Lewa
Director of the Arakan Project
Dr. Sriprapha Petcharamesree
Office of Human Rights Studies & Social Development, Mahidol University, Thailand
Mr Saiful Huq Omi
Equal Rights Trust Research Consultant
Dr. Abdulllah Ahsan
JUST International

Presentation of Resolution

Tan Sri Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak
Former Secretary General of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia & Trustee of PGPF (Moderator)
NGOs Asia
NGOs  Other Countries
For more info on the conference please email to us at

Source: Here

USCIRF Statement -- World Must Stand with Burma's Rohingya Muslims

August 31, 2012 | Azizah al-Hibri and Robert P. George, Commissioners

For Muslim Americans and other concerned citizens in Indianapolis and elsewhere in the nation, news of still more violence against the largely Muslim Rohingya of Burma highlights the plight of one of the world’s most persecuted communities and the need for a global response. The latest bloodshed, coupled with two prior months of riots and murders, has left more than 700 dead and 80,000 homeless. This violence has been compounded by the behavior of the Burmese security forces who, according to major human rights organizations, have participated in killings and rapes as well as mass arrests against the Rohingya.
Despite recent democratic reforms, Burma’s new civilian government has failed to reverse decades of anti-Rohingya discrimination, including denial of citizenship. As a result, Rohingyas face severe religious freedom restrictions, including limits on the number of Muslim marriage ceremonies in certain villages. Authorities routinely deny them permits to build mosques and often destroy mosques and schools for lacking permits. The military offers charity, bribes, and promises of jobs or schooling for Muslim children converting to Buddhism.
This alarming state of affairs reveals how much farther Burma’s new government must go in advancing reform and protecting human rights, including religious freedom. Until improvements occur, the United States should maintain economic and political sanctions, including its designating Burma as a “country of particular concern” for severe religious freedom abuses.
We recognize Burma’s recent changes and the positive political opening they promise. Yet in the face of massive violations of human rights, and in particular the right to religious freedom, we must address the plight of the Rohingya. Public condemnations and food aid, while necessary, are insufficient when Burma’s 800,000 Rohingya remain stateless and vulnerable. Moreover, Burma’s experiment in democratic change will surely fail if it excludes the Rohingya and other ethnic and religious minorities.

At least three factors contributed to the crisis confronting Rohingya Muslims.

• First, anti-Rohingya animus runs deep. Many Burmese view the Rohingya as an unwelcome foreign presence that the British foisted on Burma in the 19th century. Unfortunately, even Nobel laureate Aun San Suu Kyi stopped short of publicly endorsing Rohingya citizenship.
• Second, Burma has a history of severe religious freedom violations, especially against non-Buddhist ethnic minorities, including both Muslims and many Christians among the Chin, Naga, Karen, and Karenni ethnic minorities.
• Finally, Burma’s military governments for decades maintained power through a divide-and-conquer strategy which pitted Buddhists, Christians, and Muslims against each other, and ethnic Rakhine against their Rohingya neighbors. Reflecting this strategy, Burma’s military in 1982 stripped the Rohingya of citizenship, and subsequently let violence, discrimination, and human rights abuses occur with impunity.
The mistreatment of the Rohingya should arouse the world’s conscience. Besides the ongoing anti-Rohingya violence inside Burma, at least 350,000 Muslim Rohingya languish in refugee camps in Bangladesh, Malaysia, and other Southeast Asian nations.
The new government’s treatment of the Rohingya serves as a bellwether for its treatment of other ethnic and religious minorities. Under military rule, Burma was one of the world’s worst human rights and religious freedom violators. Under civilian rule, it has yet to put that image behind it and fully affirm its ethnic and religious diversity by upholding human rights, including religious freedom, for everyone.
So how can we help the Rohingya?
The international community should speak out against anti-Rohingya violence and encourage Burma to increase the Rohingya’s protection. The United States and the UN have spoken out recently, as have countries like Indonesia, Turkey and Pakistan. This emerging coalition must support immediate security measures and a durable solution for the Rohingya in Burma and throughout Southeast Asia.
Further, the United States and world community must keep challenging Burma to embrace democracy and freedom. There must be coordinated efforts to convince Burma’s new government that protecting religious and ethnic minorities is not only the humanitarian thing to do, but is vital to security and prosperity.
If Burma wants a free and prosperous tomorrow, it must uphold the rights of all of its people -- Rohingya included -- today.
To interview a USCIRF Commissioner, please contact Samantha Schnitzer at or (202) 786-0613.

Source: Here