Sunday, April 28, 2013

Myanmar govt participating in violence against Rohingya

This week, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a report that highlights gross rights abuses and possible ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people in western Myanmar.

Partners Relief & Development (PRAD) confirms that HRW’s claims are in line with what its staff has seen and heard in Arakan State. More than 120,000 people are still in desperate need of emergency relief. The humanitarian situation is close to a catastrophe. People lack everything from food and medicine to tarps and blankets.

I have interviewed more than 30 people who in some way have been victims of violence in Arakan over the last year. They testify to horrific acts of violence where not even children were spared. They confirm that both police and army officials participated in the violence. They speak of unlawful arrests, torture and rape. These are people who are living in hopeless despair.

One woman I talked to cried uncontrollably as she told us of the massacre of her 29 relatives, among them her seven children and 18 grandchildren.

PRAD wants to support HRW in demanding an immediate change in Arakan. The Myanmar government must immediately investigate the acts of violence, and the offenders must be brought to justice. The Rohingya people must be given back the citizenship they lost in 1982. Humanitarian-aid organisations must get free access to the areas in greatest need.

PRAD also wants to encourage the international community to take this situation seriously and reconsider if financial investment in the Myanmar is justifiable as long as the government is not able to put and end to the serious rights abuses against the Rohingya people.

Oddny Gumaer
PRAD advocacy officer

source: The Arakan Observer

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