Sunday, May 22, 2011

It’s a constant battle for refugees


MUHAMMAD Kamal* wakes up each day with a heavy heart. The Rohingya refugee lives from day to day, hoping someone will give him a job so he can feed his young family.

He is lucky if he can earn RM800 a month doing odd jobs like construction work.

The dark circles beneath his eyes make Kamal look much older than his 33 years. A victim of forced labour in Myanmar, Kamal escaped to Malaysia in 1995.

»It is better here. It is a hand-tomouth life but we can work« TUAL KHAU LIAN
Despite being a registered refugee, Kamal, who has two children aged two and six, says he has been detained several times, the longest being a month in the Lenggeng Immigration detention facility.

Last year, in hope of a better life, Kamal considered going to Australia by boat. An agent told him the journey would cost RM15,000, an amount he is unable to raise.

“I don't know how long I'd have to wait to be resettled. I just want to live like a normal human being,” he sighs.

For the human smugglers, transporting desperate refugees like Kamal is a lucrative trade, with some asking as much as RM33,000 to RM45,000 per refugee.

This illegal trade has drawn Australia's concern because Malaysia and Indonesia are said to be transit points. To stem the smugglers' trade, Australia is hoping to seal a proposed agreement to send 800 asylum seekers who have been detained by their authorities to Malaysia in return for accepting 4,000 refugees in Malaysia for resettlement over a period of four years.

In Malaysia, the refugees are spread nationwide but most are concentrated in the Klang Valley.

Unlike decades ago, refugees can now move around freely with the local community. But this freedom has some repercussions.

Ismael*, 31, who earns about RM800 a month as a rubbish collector, claims he has had to pay bribes to avoid detention. Sometimes, his employer pays the amount and docks it from his pay, he says.

“I have pleaded with the police on how hard it is to survive but to no avail. One policeman even told me he needs to pay taxes, whereas I don't have to,” the father-of-three claims.

However, treatment of refugees has improved over the last year although there are still instances of abuse, says Shan Refugee Organisation chairman Sai Kham Noom.

He relates that his taxi was stopped by a policeman last year but he was let off when he showed him his refugee status card from the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and also gave his call card.

When the policeman said he could go, Sai drove off, forgetting to take his UN card. The next day, he says, he received a call from the policeman who told him to take his card back.

For the refugees, a major problem is getting a job. They can only take on odd jobs, and the probability of them being exploited is high.

Sai says it is not easy to find work and most refugees earn about RM700 to RM800 monthly although he knows of a few who earn more as cooks and mechanics.

“Malaysia is still much better than Burma.”

Sai, who holds a degree in physics, says he ran away from Myanmar after he was accused of being a spy.

Chin Refugee Committee (CRC) coordinator, Henry Pin Maunt Shwe, says some employers are scared to hire refugees because of potential problems with the Immigration authorities.

He says a plantation worker could earn about RM700 monthly but there are instances when employers refused to pay their workers.

Tual Khau Lian, 55, was a farmer in Myanmar before he came to Malaysia in 2004.

“We are Chin people. Soldiers look down on us. We can't move freely, our children can't go to school and many are kidnapped by the junta and sent to work in labour camps.

“It is better here. It is a hand-to-mouth life but we can work. And the people here, such as those in the hospitals, don't look down on us. Thank you very much Malaysia,” he says.

Since coming here, Tual has worked in a tofu factory, restaurant and the construction sector. But it hasn't been a bed of roses for him.

He claims that in December 2006, he was picked up by cops who asked him for money. When he refused to pay, they took him to the police station and despite showing his UN card, no one from UNHCR came to help him, he relates. His guess is they were not told.

“My court case kept being postponed, so I was in Sg Buloh prison until 2008,” he says with a wry smile, adding that he picked up Bahasa Malaysia from the Malay inmates.

Tual suffered a mild stroke after his release and recuperated at a home in Batu Arang. He hasn't been able to work full-time since then but helps out with funeral services at the Zomi Association of Malaysia.

His two sons, aged 20 and 15, came to Malaysia in 2010. His elder son works in a restaurant and supports all of them on his meagre pay while the younger one is studying.

Tual discloses that he and his sons have had their medical examination and adds brightly: “We are on our way to the United States! Once there, I hope my wife and daughter can join us.”

Housewife Vung Lam Dim, 33, lives in a tiny flat with her two-year-old daughter Rebecca. Her husband works as a lorry driver in the jungle.

“He comes home Saturday night and leaves Sunday. He comes back Monday night to attend Bible class (at the Myanmar Church which meets at the Life Harvest Assembly in Cheras) because he wants to help in the church.”

Lam Dim and her family were accepted by Australia a few years ago but after her husband's medical examination showed he had tuberculosis, they were rejected.

Although all three have a UN card, they are stuck here until her husband passes the next medical examination. In the meantime, she steers clear of the authorities.

*Not their real names

Source: The Star, Malaysia

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Welcome to the Recent Bilateral Agreement between Malaysia and Australia

Date: May 10, 2011
For Immediate Release
Welcome to the Recent Bilateral Agreement between Malaysia and Australia

We, undersigned overseas Rohingya organizations welcome the recent bilateral agreement between Malaysia and Australia for the resettlement of 4000 recognized refugees from Malaysia, though bulk majority of people surprise on the trade of 800 asylum seekers from Australia.

We salute the Honorable Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mohammed Najib Tun Abdur Razzak, who is on rightful stance in ending refugee phenomena in Malaysia. His deal is directly representing the Rohingya refugees who have been languishing in Malaysia for more than 3 decades, reaching to 4th generation.

We also salute that the Honorable Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, who is keen to accept the Rohingya refugees from Malaysia, which was proved to the Rohingya Araknese Refugee Committee (RARC), Malaysia, previously known as Arakan Rohingya Refugee Committee (ARRC) by an email response from her behalf, dated 1 October 2010 “In relating to the Rohingya refugees in Malaysia, should the UNHCR refer individuals for the resettlement in Australia, their visa applications will be considered at that time in accordance with legal requirements for grant of a visa.”

Government of Malaysia is well versed on the matter that more than 40,000 non-Rohingya Burmese refugees were resettled to third countries by the UNHCR in Malaysia in a past decade, where numbers of Rohingya refugees are around 250.

The Government of Malaysia also know the matter that there were the only Rohingya refugees in early 1980s and 1990s, while non-Rohingya refugees and asylum seekers are scrambling into the highest numbers with the help of some sorts of bias NGOs under hatred and discriminative policies towards the believer of the religion of Islam, which was suddenly begun in post 9/11.

Therefore, the Government of Malaysia is keen enough to sign deal to open a door to find a long-lasting solution for the Rohingya refugees in Malaysia, whose rights are being undermined by various quarters.

The Government of Australia has good experiences on the sub-human condition and marginalized position of the Rohingya refugees, not only in Malaysia but also in abroad and thus the Government had already extended space for the Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh and releasing numbers of Rohingya asylum seekers from detention.

We hope that the Government of Australia will move for quick release of remaining Rohingya refugees from its detentions who are completed peace loving and waiting there for 2 years. At least 20-30 years of waiting for resettlement to third country, these Rohingya refugees left Malaysia, expecting a safe place through a perilous plight. Currently, their children, wives and beloved family members are underway to dangerous proportion with starvation, medication, protection and etc.

In these regards, we humbly appeal to both Governments of Australia and Malaysia to exercise balance role in resettling 4000 Rohingya refugees to Australia as an effective advocacy towards a long lasting solution for the world’s most forgotten and oppressed people “Rohingya”.

We also appeal to the international communities and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to help to co-operate the Governments of Australia and Malaysia to make success of the recent deal in order to find permanent solution for the Rohingya refugees who were inhumanely exterminated by successive military government of Burma through denial of citizenship rights, restriction on their movements, restriction on education, restriction on religious practice, restriction on family and economic development, forced labor, forced eviction, forced taxation, rape, torture, extra-judicial killings, model village settlement and many other types of gross human rights abuses which are clearly considered as “CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY”.

Signed by:

Arakan Rohingya Organization (JARO), Japan
Burmese Rohingya Association in United Arab Emirates (BRA-UAE)
Burmese Rohingya Democratic Alliance (BRDA)
Ethnic Rohingya Committee of Arakan (ERCA), Malaysia
Myanmar Muslim Council (MMC), Saudi Arabia
National Council for Rohingya (NCR), Malaysia
National Democratic Party for Human Rights (NDPHR) exile, Headquarters, USA
National Democratic Party for Human Rights (NDPHR) exile, SEA Regional Office, Malaysia
Arakan Rohingya Refugee Ulama Council (ARUC)
Rohingya Arakanese Refugee Committee (RARC), Malaysia
Rohingya Youth Development Forum (RYDF), Arakan-Burma
World Rohingya Congress (WRC), USA
Individual Activists, Human Rights Defenders and general refugees; and others

For media contact:
Kyaw Soe Aung Te: +14147364273
Mohammad Sadek Tel: +60 163094599

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Stateless refugee mothers fall through the cracks in Bangladesh

Misha Hussain – Women News Network – WNN

Twenty-six year old Rohingya mother, Rashida Begum, is seven months pregnant. She and her four children have lived in Katupalong makehift refugee camp for four years. Image: Misha Hussain

(WNN) DHAKA, Bangladesh: Mothering in the Kutupalong makeshift refugee camp in the southwest of Bangladesh is about as tough as it gets. Without the right to work or receive humanitarian aid, women and children bear the brunt of the international community’s unwillingness to tackle a 20-year-old issue. Some mothers are as young as the age of 16. Many suffer, along with their children, from acute malnutrition, hunger and starvation. Many have little access to education or healthcare.

Burmese Rohingya refugees are in a growing state of crisis in Bangladesh as authorities prevent international aid measures to help them. Relief agencies such as MSF – Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) and Physicians for Human Rights are now facing their lowest ebb with cooperation from Bangladesh government authorities as they attempt to bring medical aid and higher food nutrition into Kutupalong camp. Another aid organization, Islamic Relief Worldwide, has recently pulled out due to inability to receive required permits to assist those in need inside camp.

As aid programs and program funding to help the Rohingya are now being discontinued by the Bangladesh government, Burmese refugee mothers are falling through the cracks.

“Bangladesh has increased restrictions on aid agencies working with the refugees,” says a recent Refugees International report. As Médecins Sans Frontières faces one wall after another with on-the-ground outreach inside Bangladesh, Rohingya women suffer from a decreased and critical extinction in the little medical programs left for them.

“Life is difficult, but whose isn’t? You take the rough with the smooth and pray that things will get better.” – Khushida Begum, mother of one at the Kutupalong camp

At the very bottom of Rohingya society are women and girls who live unprotected lives as stateless unrecognized members of Bangladesh society. Deprived of many human rights including the right to work, as well as the rights of citizenship, in both Bangladesh and their original home north of the Myanmar/Burma border, they struggle to keep their lives intact. The original home for the ethnic Rohingya in Burma dates as far back as the 7th Century A.D.

Pregnant Khushida Begum, age twenty, has one child. She has lived in the Kutupalong camp for two years. Image: Misha Hussain

While Rohingyas are not officially recognized in Bangladesh as refugees, legal recognition for them is vital to their survival and their ability to gain, and keep, asylum. Even the ethnic identity of the Rohingyas has been questioned in Myanmar, as well as neighboring Bangladesh.

Life is far from easy. In the Kutupalong makeshift camp, Rohingya women are forced to accept lives that continue to harshly limit them. Today they receive little to no access to employment education, proper or safe shelter, maternal health services or protection from personal violence.

As Bangladesh closes the door on aid coming into the country, lack of options for Rohingya women to receive maternal health care is now reaching a critical crisis.

“I don’t know what I’m going to call the child, right now I just hope the child is born.” – Jahida Begum, mother of two, nine months pregnant

Marriage rights too have been an issue for many women and girls, but not in Bangladesh. In Myanmar permission for girls over the age of eighteen to marry is not permitted without paying a prohibitively high fee; a fee that most Rohingya families could never pay. Because of this, some families have relocated to Bangladesh to enable their daughters to marry more easily.

But even with permissions, marriage in situations of severe poverty often meet roadblocks. Numerous women are left alone caring for their children as husbands leave the camp to find work elsewhere for weeks or months at a time.

Twenty year old Kushida Begum has one child. She has been in the Kutupalong camp for two years. Image: Misha Hussain

“(Rohingyas) are the only ethnic group in Burma restricted from marriage, traveling beyond their village or building or maintaining religious structures,” says international advocacy and assistance organization, Refugees International. “In addition, they are subject to frequent forced labor, arbitrary taxation, sexual violence and land confiscations by the NaSaKa (Burma military forces),” adds Refugees International

When husbands leave for work in neighboring regions, women as heads-of-households are forced to get their family’s food rations, as well as search and find clean potable water along with wood for cooking and heating their home. Dangers for women who often walk hours to gather basic necessities cause an ongoing, and serious, safety dilemma. Cases of rape are not uncommon.

“If I can educate my child, I will have been a good mother.” – Eighteen year old Rohingya mother, Anwara Begum, pregnant with no children

Concerns at public community toilets in the camp are also a real safety issue as less than one toilet is available to women per ten families at Kutupalong. When rape does happen women have no access to making police reports or to receiving medical help.

Protection for women and girls against domestic violence and sexual assault too is literally non-existent inside the camp.

Eighteen year old Anwara Begum has no children She is nine months pregnant and has lived in Kutupalong camp for three years. Image: Misha Hussain

What many now claim was an attempt at ethnic cleansing by Burma’s General Ne Win in 1978, over 200,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh following reports of widespread torture, death and atrocity called the King Dragon Operation in Arkan.

But the numbers of those who migrated are not reliable. Current reported numbers of Rohingya living inside Bangladesh today may number over twice the reported figures. Under reporting and lack of accurate statistics mapping has contributed to a trend in deteriorating conditions.

According UNHCR – the United Nations Refugee Agency 1997 statistics, 27,400 refugees have been living in two makeshift camps: the Kutupalong and Nayapara camps on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. Ten years following the UNHCR data release, the 2007 GoB – Government of Bangladesh figures show a lower 26,000 figure for both camps.

Current Bangladesh government policies of ignoring stateless members, and their growing numbers, match persistent and growing problems inside the camps where ignoring needs are part of a targeted effort to get minority migrants to permanently leave the region.

“When a child calls you mother, that’s the greatest joy in the world.” – Rashida Begum, mother of four children, seven months pregnant

In Bangladesh, people give many reasons for excluding the Rohingya minority, including their ancient language; a language which has only been officially recognized since 2007 as a “one of the world’s unique languages.” As Muslims, their brand of ethnic Sunni faith is also seen as a religious dividing line between themselves and others.

Anu Begum is twenty years old. She has lived in the Kutupalong camp for one year with her only child. Image: Misha Hussain

Because Burmese Rohingya refugees are undocumented ‘illegal’ immigrants, women and girls are facing many of the same problems and situations of humiliation they faced in Myanmar. Exploitation is common. Women, and their families, who live with levels of extreme poverty are in constant danger of being tricked by human traffickers in what is often realized later as labour bondage or sex-trafficking schemes.

Disease and crisis conditions with food diarrhea and amoebic dysentery, often followed by severe dehydration, are found throughout the Kutupalong camp as mothers try to protect their children from camp based water; where sewage management does not exist and water is teaming with microbial pollutants from feces.

“I’m scared. I didn’t want another child, but I didn’t understand how to use the pill. My two children are still very young. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to support the new baby when it arrives. As a mother, if I can’t feed my children, I feel hurt.” – Noor Kalima, eight months pregnant, two children

With low access to even the most simple oral re-hydration formula commonly used in Bangladesh, that includes water, salt and sugar, many Rohingya refugee mothers are forced to watch helplessly as their children’s health deteriorates due to contaminated water.

Twenty-three year old Noor Kalima has lived in the Kutupalong makeshift camp for the past four years. She has four children and is eight months pregnant. Image: Misha Hussain
Sanitation during childbirth is also an issue. Expectant mothers run unnecessary and high risks during childbirth due to lack of medical support offered in case of complicated deliveries. While Bangladeshi mothers nationwide have shown a remarkable forty percent decrease in maternal mortality over the past nine years, minority migrant women living in makeshift camps have not been counted or included in the study.

With neither prospect of asylum in Bangladesh nor hope of returning to their native Arakan State in Myanmar, 500 miles northwest of the Burmese capital Yangon, these Rohingya mothers and children survive within the camp by taking refuge in the only thing they have left, each other.
Interesting FACTS:
· An estimated 44% of households are headed by women
· The global acute malnutrition rate in the Kutupalong Makeshift Camp is 30%, double the emergency threshold and 10% higher than in Somalia.
· Some 250,000 Burmese refugees live in Bangladesh, of which just 28,000 come under the protection of the UNHCR. The others live hidden in the villages or within large communities in makeshift camps. Kutu Palong makeshift has 20,000 refugees.
· A US $33 million United Nations joint initiative to regenerate the area where the refugees live was rejected by the Bangladesh government last month.

Settle Rohingya issue

Myanmar is one of the neighboring countries of Bangladesh. There exists a close tie of export-import liaison between these two countries. Of late, the Rohingya issue has been creating a crack in the diplomatic relationship between the two countries. Thousands of Rohingyas (Myanmar's aboriginals) have been crossing into Bangladesh for a long time. Because of their illegal entrance, our local inhabitants are suffering much.

Rohingyas are now causing serious social and economic disturbances. They are now creating violence in our land. Most importantly, many blacklisted criminals use the Rohingya-cover to disguise themselves from police. Moreover, they are sometimes used as the human and drug trafficking agents! So, it is very important for both the Myanmar and Bangladesh govt. to come forward and settle the matter.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Burma: Petition calling for UN commission of inquiry delivered to British foreign office

Christian Solidarity Worldwide

Saturday, 7 May 2011,

A petition with 5,323 signatures calling for a UN Commission of Inquiry into crimes against humanity in Burma and organized by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) and Partners Relief and Development, was delivered to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) today.

The Head of the South-East Asia and Pacific Department at the FCO received the petition from a delegation including representatives from CSW, Partners Relief and Development, Burma’s National League for Democracy-Liberated Area (NLD-LA), and ethnic nationalities including Bwa Bwa Phan of the Karen Community Association UK, Van Biak Thang of the Chin Human Rights Organisation, Ring Du Lachyung of the Kachin National Organisation UK and Maung Tun Khin of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK.In a letter to Foreign Secretary William Hague, accompanying the petition, CSW and Partners Relief and Development “warmly welcome the support the UK government has already given” for the recommendation made by the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Burma, Mr. Tomas Ojea Quintana, for the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Special Rapporteur has made this recommendation in his reports to the UN in March 2011, October 2010 and March 2010. CSW and Partners Relief and Development urge the UK, as a member of the Security Council, “to provide increased, proactive leadership in support of these recommendations.”

CSW also urges the British government to raise war crimes and crimes against humanity in Burma at the UN Security Council debate on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict next week, and to work to build an international coalition of support for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry and an end to impunity in Burma. At least 15 countries have expressed support for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry, in addition to the United Kingdom, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United States.

In March 2010, the Special Rapporteur told the UN that the “gross and systematic” violations of human rights represented “a state policy that involves authorities in the executive, military and judiciary at all levels.” He went on to state that “according to consistent reports, the possibility exists that some of these human rights violations may entail categories of crimes against humanity or war crimes.”

Benedict Rogers, CSW’s East Asia Team Leader, said: “We are grateful to the UK for the support it has given to Burma’s movement for democracy and human rights, and for its support for the Special Rapporteur’s recommendation for an inquiry into crimes against humanity. The purpose of this petition is to encourage the UK to increase its efforts, to build an international coalition of support that could lead to the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry by the UN. The time for action is long overdue, particularly as the regime continues to attack civilians in ethnic states and jail and torture more than 2,000 prisoners of conscience. The crisis in Shan State and continuing offensives in Karen State make it even more imperative to take action. We hope that the UK and other countries already supportive of the idea will work together to ensure an end to the culture of impunity in which the regime has been allowed to violate international law.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Letter from a refugee: ‘I feel as though I can’t continue any longer’

I am a Rohingya. An oppressed, stateless people from Burma. The Burmese military has long oppressed Rohingyas and has been involved in an ethnic-cleansing pogrom to prevent the creation of a Rohingyan state.

My life in Burma was very hard. My family house was demolished three times by authorities and as a result we have move to my mother’s native village. Every person in that village was subject to violent abuses, fines, extortion, military harassment and corporal punishment. I am aware that at least 100 villagers are still in detention and many have died in detention

My father was died for the subsequent detentions. My siblings detained in 2008. After I passed matriculation, I sneaked out Arakan to Rangoon to continue my study. If I did not go leave in secret my family would have had to have paid a large bribe, which they could not afford.

In Rangoon, I was involved in research into the natural resources, as a [result] of my research I was harassed, beaten and detained by government authority. My colleagues managed to released me through a bribe.

To avoid further punishment, I escaped Burma to Thailand. In Thaliand, I survived by selling bread. I could not stay long Thailand because of tension directed towards Burmese people.

I then went to Malay border. In Malaysia, I was detained many times as Rohingya people bounded a constant cycle of humiliation, harassment and abuses. I was involved with Rohingya refugee organisations and Burmese political opposition groups based in [Kuala Lumpur]. I worked odd jobs in mechanical and electrical works.

Once I was detained, I sold by corrupt immigration officials to people smugglers. I was then sold to a large fishing boat and forces to work at the threat of being shoe at sea on the fishing boat. I managed to escape the boat when it came into land to collect ice and I run from the boat and away from the boat.

In order to avoid further persecution, I came to your country via a risky boat journey from Indonesia. We a group of ten Rohingya reached Ashmore Reef on 29 Dec 2009 and for the first time no fear for any more persecution.
I was happy as I was sure I would find safety in Australia. I was found to be genuine refugees by DIAC since the end of May 2010. Since that time, I have been waiting for my security clearance. I am provided with good accommodation and food in detention in Australia, some officers here are willing to listen my cases.

My life in detention, however, is very hard on my mind. I have been detained for 18 months. This makes me very depressed and I am tired by enduring the physical and mental pains as a result of my detention. I have to take medicine for that.

I feel as though I can’t continue any longer to be detained like this. I have received many promises in detention. I was told in November 2010 that I should wait until the Christmas festival to be free. I was told many times that we many be able to be moved into community detention and be able to live free whilst I wait for my security clearance.

On March 17, the government notice told everyone that their security clearance would be completed by April. I and my friends were happy to hear this news after a long wait. I was told that us Rohingyans would be a priority case. I waited all of April for my clearance and have now been informed recently that it will be delay again.

I feel like sailing with hopeless and isolated and I am an innocent refugee. I have been asked to go to a different country so I can escape this pain but this can’t happen. I do not know how long I will have to suffer from this indefinite detention. I have seen some friends attempted suicide including by setting themselves on fire.

I had to help move a friend down from a tree after he attempt to hang himself with a sari. A friend has banged his head a large number of times against a wall. Some have cut themselves.

I am trapped for an unknown reason. I am not a terrorist. I do not support terrorists and hate terrorists and my family have been the victim of many terrorist incidents from the Burmese authorities.

I should not be detained for being a refugee. Therefore, I would like to approach the Australian communities to come together to call Australian government to look kindly into the matter and why its notice is undermined.


Longtime detainee Burmese refugee asylum seeker

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Joint Statement on the International Labor Day vis May Day

For Immediate Release
Date: May 1, 2011

Joint Statement on the International Labor Day vis May Day

May 1 is a historical day for entire human being in the world, which gives perfect spirits to their rights to voluntary work but millions of people are suppressed in their working sectors, denying their willingness.

In the records of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and office of the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) that the Burmese military regime has been violating the rights of labor through out the massive engagement of forced labor in across the country, particularly in ethnic minorities areas.

Forced labor is used as weapons of degradation, cruelty, exterminations, ethnic cleansing and poverty in Burma’s Arakan State against the ethnic Rohingya Arakanese people which compelled them to leave their ancestral homeland.

These people have taken refuge in various parts of the world, particularly in Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Indonesia and etc., while they are being suppressed and marginalized under the development of modern day salvation.

Upon determination of their status as refugee, rights to their livelihoods are denied, prohibiting on their working rights, while the security measure remains before the question. They are subjected to illegal immigrants and thus their rights to wages enjoyment are kept behind the power of racial, regional and state supremacy.

Obviously, none of the countries of Rohingyas refuge ensure the rights to claim their due wages as these states take advantages of sympathy on the de-facto stateless people. Therefore, the Rohingya refugees are passing lives in the hardest proportion with ridiculous justice.

Despite ensuring protection, social justice and equal opportunity, every individual and authority of certain states enforce laws against the vulnerable Rohingya refugees as there is no significant improvement of their situation and advocacy under shades of Islam-phobia.

Muslim worlds are not sincere enough to the plight of Rohingya as they are followers of classical Islamic practitioner in Hanafi Way, which is number 1 among 4 classical Imams. At the same time, almost entire Muslim states are not party to 1951 UN Refugee Convention and 1967 Protocol.

Currently, tens of thousand of Rohingya refugees suffer long hours of work, heavy and dangerous workloads, unpaid wages and inhumane working conditions, often resulting in handicapped and, deaths at work. They also suffer from violence and harassment on a daily basis with no access to administrative or judicial remedy because of the nature of their work as well as their status in country, especially in Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.

Besides, tens of thousands of Rohingya refugee children are being engaged in child laboring, begging and exploitation in various kinds of inhuman behaviors, which bring constant threat to their lives and liberties.

In spite of being persons of concern to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Rohingya refugees get little access on the basis of their Islamic belief, while some local staffs make benefits by abusing UNHCR power through the engagement of Rohingya refugees in certain companies as commission agents.

By this occasion, we call upon the world leaders, international community:-

To install effective pressure on the Burmese military government in order to halt all kinds of human rights abuses in Burma, particularly to bring an end of forced labor of Rohingya in Arakan State;
To immediately negotiate with the Government of Malaysia, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and others to ensure the working rights for the Rohingya refugees until having a congenial time;
To help to co-operate the UN Refugee Agency in making clear sense on the UN Refugee Convention that warrants the livelihoods of the refugees by all means, safeguarding to the lives of refugees and to start up registration and refugee status determination of Rohingya refugees in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and some other countries of Rohingyas’ refuge.

Signed by:

Arakan Rohingya Organization (JARO), Japan
Burmese Rohingya Association in United Arab Emirates (BRA-UAE)
Burmese Rohingya Democratic Alliance (BRDA)
Ethnic Rohingya Committee of Arakan (ERCA), Malaysia
Myanmar Muslim Council (MMC), Saudi Arabia
National Council for Rohingya (NCR), Malaysia
National Democratic Party for Human Rights (NDPHR) exile, Headquarters, USA
National Democratic Party for Human Rights (NDPHR) exile, SEA Regional Office, Malaysia
Arakan Rohingya Refugee Ulama Council (ARUC)
Rohingya Arakanese Refugee Committee (RARC), Malaysia
Rohingya Youth Development Forum (RYDF), Arakan-Burma
World Rohingya Congress (WRC), USA
Individual Activists, Human Rights Defenders and general refugees; and others

For media contact:
Kyaw Soe Aung Te: +14147364273Mohammad Sadek Tel: +60 163094599