Thursday, 29 January 2015
Sunday, 25 January 2015
By M.S. Anwar
As Myanmar’s government is all set to resume the census on Rohingya population tomorrow, the Rohingyas in Arakan (Rakhine) State fear that they will be forced to accept ‘Bengali,’ instead of ‘Rohingya,’ as their ethnic identity.
During the nationwide census carried out in March and April last year, the Myanmar government took extremely brutal measures against the Rohingya people. However, the people were steadfast and still resisted from being forcibly classified as Bengalis.
The so-called citizenship verification process will be conducted according to 1982 Citizenship Law of Burma which will render the Rohingyas to be without the legitimate citizenship.
The local Rohingyas in Arakan view that the attempt by the Myanmar (Burmese) government to classify them as Bengalis is being made in direct response to the Resolution by United Nations (UN) to give full citizenship to the Rohingyas. The Burmese government is notorious for ignoring the international calls to respect the human rights or rather acting contrary and continuing committing crimes against humanity.
Once Rohingyas are verified as Bengalis by force, tortures or any means, the Burmese government can ignore the UN’s call and in turn, urge the UN to use Bengalis for Rohingyas in the international field.
The attempt by the Myanmar (Burmese) government to classify them as Bengalis is being made in direct response to the Resolution by United Nations (UN) to give full citizenship to the Rohingyas.
“We urge all our people, at home and abroad, to stand united and show solidarity at this critical time. Like we did to resist the forced classification of our people as Bengalis during March-April last year! It is a litmus test for us. Once we pass this test as a people or a nation, the government will have to act according to the call by the United Nations. And we will get back our full citizenship which we lost due to 1982 Citizenship Law” said an elder Rohingya in Maungdaw.
As preliminary steps, the Burmese authority has already started posing threats to tortures, imprisonments or even death threats to the Rohingya people after linking them with the now non-existent rebel groups such as Rohingya Solidarity Organizations (*RSO). Besides, the locals see the (so-called) citizenship verification process as an ethnic cleansing act by the Burmese government.
“Many Rohingyas have National Registration Cards (NRC or in Burmese). And their NRC numbers mentioned in the family registration list or the existing census documents of the government. Therefore, the authority is said to change the current family registration list with new ones so that no NRC numbers no remain on the official documents.
At the moment, if any Rohingya is on a journey or away from home for months during census, the authority truly write that he is on a journey. But this time, he/she is absent from home at the time of the census, the authority will permanently erase his/her from the official census documents. Consequently, he/she will not be able to come back home and live there legally. Hence, it is an obvious sign of ethnic cleansing.
Besides, it is said that the authority will list down the numbers of the Muslim Religious scholars separately” said a Rohingya Activist behalf of MYARF, a group of Human Rights Activists in Maungdaw.
On the other hand, during the recent visit by the Rakhine State’s Chief Minister, Maung Maung Ohn, and other government officials to the Thakkay Pyin village also known as Sakki Fara in Sittwe (Akyab), he asked Rohingyas to participate in their (self-coined) citizenship process according to 1982 Citizenship Law. He tried to coax Rohingya people using some sugar-coated words of the significant improvement in the socioeconomic life of the people if they participate in the process.
It is extremely crucial for the Myanmar’s hybrid civilian government to have more than 1 Million votes of Rohingyas in their favor against the National League for Democracy (NLD) going to participate in the election in full-fledged form this time.
However, the Rohingyas are said to have replied to the minister saying “we have been living here since the time of immemorial. We are not illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. Bangladesh has come into existence only after 1971. Our forefathers have lived here. We are living here. We have been here since before 1823.
Therefore, we are by birth citizens. We need not go through any citizenship verification. We need not apply for any citizenship newly.”
Last but not the least; Myanmar has announced that the country’s election is going to take place later this year. Therefore, it is extremely crucial for the Myanmar’s hybrid civilian government to have more than 1 Million votes of Rohingyas in their favor against the National League for Democracy (NLD) going to participate in the election in full-fledged form this time.
Since the government’s recent proposal on granting suffrage to the *white card holders met with strong objections from the oppositions, it is required for the government to issue a kind of legal document to the white-card holders for getting more votes. On the other hand, it (the legal document) should not ensure the white card holders to have the status of the full-fledged citizenship. That is where the citizenship verification process of Rohingya according to of 1982 Citizenship has come into implementation. A successful implementation of the law against the Rohingyas will lead them to lose their ethnic identity ‘Rohingya’ forever
For decades, Rohingyas have been the victims of racial and religious persecutions in Myanmar largely dominated by Neo-Nazi Buddhists. Hence, oppression against this community is nothing new and had been going on silently until the state-sponsored violence that started in June, last year. The violence against them, which is going on until today, is just a transformation of the silent persecution into an open and widespread violence.
United Nations call them to be one of the most persecuted people on the earth. There is a Human Rights Watch (HRW), one of most of the credible human rights watchdog in the world, which announces with all the evidences that Rohingyas have been subjected to Ethnic Cleansing. In reality, many in the international community are calling it Genocide. President Obama, Desmond Tu Tu, Dalai Lama, Ramos Hortha and many other famous personalities urged Burmese government to stop the ethnic cleansing. But does it have any impacts on Burmese regime? No impact at all! In fact, the violence against Muslims is escalating even more.
The more the Burmese regime is urged to stop the violence, the more the violence is taking place. After all, why? The answer might be simple to those who know about Burmese socio-political structures. Though the violence is portrayed as sectarian, in reality, it is a politically motivated violence targeting Muslims, their religious infrastructures and their properties and businesses. Therefore, no matter be how great one’s personality or how pious he, he cannot influence to cease the violence.
There is a Neo-Nazi fascist skinned-head called Wirathu, the abbot of the Mandalay Masurein Monastery, who has been propagating Islamophobia in the so-called defense of Buddhism. Buddhism is a philosophy that doesn’t need any defense. The fascist monk might know what Buddhism teaches but he doesn’t follow it at all. The very first tenet of Buddhism is “Do No Harm” to the creatures let alone killing human beings. Nevertheless, all his speeches are about “Doing Harms.” A member of Buddhism can’t break its very first ruling in its defense!! We can only label such fanatic extremist as a terrorist. This terrorist head has so many terrorist gangs under the name of 969.
Coming to the point, in Myanmar, one can’t, yet, protest or propagate anything without the consent of the government or that goes against the government. The reforms that are portrayed to be taking place in Myanmar by the western media are just nothing but full-packed lies for their own benefits. Therefore, Wirathu and his 969 gang are well-supported by the government itself. Many at times, the Burmese regime and Wirathu have spoken the same language regarding anti-Muslim violence with vested political interest. Hence, it goes without saying that they are the birds that are flocking their same feathers together!!
Therefore, the violence in Myanmar will not simply stop contrary to some people’s thought that it can be solved through diplomacy. To go through diplomacy, one must be able to find someone who understands the language of diplomacy or is willing to work diplomatically. For instance, to communicate in English, one must find out a man who understands English or willing to communicate in it! Awfully, Burmese regime is deaf to any diplomatic language. They neither understand it nor will to go through it even if they understand.
Someone, recently, has rightly pointed out that diplomacy is all about lying. You lie for your interest, I lie for my interest. Obama lies. Thein Sein lies. What is so new in it? Obama said he urged Thein Sein to end the violence but never seems to exert pressure to do so. Thein Sein, in turn, said he will try to quell the violence. See what happened right after his trip to USA. Many houses, shops, businesses, religious buildings owned by Muslims in Lashio, Shan state, were destroyed by the government sponsored 969 terrorist Gangs. Besides, few Muslims were killed as well. This is what you call a real DOPLOMACY!
So what to do to stop the ever escalating violence and ethnic cleansing in Myanmar? There is a saying that “one must use diamond to shape another piece of diamond.” If you don’t take lessons from distant people, you must at least learn something from other ethnic people in Myanmar and their struggles. Kachins, Karens and Shans are recognized as ethnic communities in Myanmar. Yet, they revolt and take up arms because they are considered inferior and not treated equally by the Burmese supremacists. Now, these communities have got opportunities to have dialogues with the government to demand the due rights and status they deserve. All because of their difficult armed-struggles! Alas, even if Rakhine extremists, who are killing Rohingyas, can have armed militant wings called Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) and Arakan Army (AA), why can’t Rohingyas who are subjected to ethnic cleansing take up arms for their survival.
So what are you waiting for if you want to survive with dignity on your own land? Stop giving speeches in the air-conditioned rooms, issuing and sending letters and begging for your due status and rights. Go and take arms up. It is all legal according to both all the major religions and the international laws. In the Preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is mentioned “whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.”
No people in the world had, are having and will be having their freedom without sacrificing their wealth, blood and lives. And Rohingyas can’t be exempted from this reality.
Saturday, 24 January 2015
Four dead bodies of unknown Rohingyas were found in the valleys of the mountains in southern Maungdaw yesterday, some Rohingya firewood gatherers said.
The firewood gatherers believe that some armed Rakhine miscreants have killed the people as they were crossing the mountains.
“We went to collect firewood in the mountains nearby Kaing Gri Rakhine hamlet of Tharay Kunbaung village tract yesterday morning. There in the valleys, we spotted four dead bodies of unknown Rohingyas covered under leaves. When we tried to examine the corpses more, some armed Rakhine miscreants saw us and started firing their guns at us. Therefore, we were unable to know more details about the corpses” said a Rohingya firewood gatherer.
“No other people are allowed to go to the place and see the dead bodies by the possible terrorists. The victims killed are likely from Buthidaung Township. They might have been killed as they were crossing the mountains on their way to Maungdaw Township” he added.
Several Rakhine Buddhist Model villages have been established on the confiscated lands of Rohingyas in southern Maungdaw in the recent two decades. Of the villages, armed Rakhine extremists in the villages such as ‘Kaing Gri and Maw Ra Waddy’ have been notorious for committing crimes against the vulnerable Rohingya people with the cooperation of the Military and the Border Guard Police (BGP).
Myanmar’s Border Guard Police (BGP) has been notorious for facilitating the human trafficking in Arakan state, but nowadays they expel the Rohingya people by pushing them into the hands of their partners in human trafficking, according to reliable sources.
The BGP and their partners have started to abduct innocent Rohingya children and hand them over to the human traffickers waiting standby on boats within Myanmar’s water of the Bay of Bengal not so off the sea coast in southern Maungdaw Township.
“There is a human trafficker named Abul Hashim (son of) Ishaaq at Kyauk Pandu village also known as Shitaaf in southern Maungdaw. He, with the supports by the Border Guard Police (BGP) in the region, coaxes and gathers the innocent people on the pretext of sending them to Malaysia. Then, he uses an engine boat owned by his co-villager, Kifayatullah (son of) Kaasim, to send the people to the fishing trawlers waiting in the Bay of Bengal. And the human traffickers need to bribe the BGP Kyat 10,000 person.
Therefore, when the human traffickers and BGP are unable to coax enough people for their trafficking business, they abduct innocent children and forcibly send them to the boats waiting in the Bay of Bengal.
And the fishing trawlers take the people to Thailand and many of the people die on their way” said a local Rohingya that have witnessed many such cases in southern Maungdaw.
It has been learnt that in December 2014, they together abducted a 12-year-old ‘Salimullah’ and sent him to their boat. Now, the child is said to have been still held by the two human traffickers in Thailand, ‘Abbas and Islam,’ siblings of Abul Hashim because the child’s parents are unable to pay the ransom that they (the human traffickers) demand.
Following numbers of people have been smuggled by Abul Hashim with the supports by BGP on the following dates respectively.
On January 18, 2015, fifteen people
On January 17, 2015, fifteen people
On January 15, 2015, eight people
On January 14, 2015, five people
On December 3, 2014, twenty seven people
On December 27, 2014, eighty people
These people included both children and adults whom the human traffickers has either coxed or abducted.
A UNHCR report says more than 20,000 Rohingya people (trafficked by the well-connected agents) have risked their lives in Indian Ocean enroute to Thailand. However, this could be estimated figures. The actual numbers of the people that have died in the sea and in the hands of the human traffickers since 2012 violence could well exceed 40,000.
The Myanmar Border Guard Police (BGP) nowadays carry out money extortion business at the expense of the innocent Rohingya people all over Maungdaw Township like a legal licensed business, the locals say.
The police label arbitrary accusations against the people, harass, arrest and torture them for ransom. They plunder their properties. The similar illegal activities are being carried out with absolute impunity by the BGP in Buthidaung Township as well.
The following cases are some of the recent incidents of money extortions by the BGP.
Case #1: January 17
A group of 20 BGP personnel were on a patrol at Zeepin Chaung (Zeeyaung Khali) village in northern Maungdaw. The BGP team, in service under the battalion in Taung Pyo sub-Township, included the commander of the battalion as well.
Meanwhile, three of them arrived at the shop of a villager named U Musaa and grabbed away some biscuits, breads, cigarettes and other dry foods. After around 30 minutes, they arrived at the shop again to ask for the more dry foods. The shopkeeper fell asleep and so he was unable to open the shop’s door.
Therefore, having destroyed the door, they robbed Kyat 12,000 (Sales Money) and; Drinks and Dry foods worth Kyat 10,000.
Case #2: January 19
Three Border Guard Police (BGP) personnel from Kyar Gaung Taung Camp carried out a raid in the cinema hall in the nearby village called Ye Kay Chaung Kwet Sun village around 11:30PM on January 18. The police are said to have picked up a Bangla phone in the cinema hall.
However, the next day, around 11:00AM, the police accused an innocent ‘Ye Kay Chaung Kwet Sun’ villager named Noor Amin of owning the phone and arrested him subsequently. The police demanded Kyat 500,000 for his release and at the end, having extorted Kyat 100,000, the police released him.
Similarly, some four members of the same BGP Camp arbitrarily held Mohammed Rafique, a 10-household-head, on his way back home and beat him up severely. Then, the police extorted two chickens from him for his release.
The BGP harasses the local Rohingyas in the region for ransom day in and day out.
Case #3: January 17
A BGP patrol team (လွဳပ္ရွားမွဳးအဖဲြ႕) led by second lieutenant (ဗိုလ္ေလး) raided the village of Kyauk Pandu also known as Shitaaf in southern Maungdaw around 11:00PM on January 17. They arrested three innocent Rohingya villagers accusing them of human trafficking. The police released them around 4:00PM on January 18 after extorting 150,000 from them.
Earlier, in the same village, around 1:00PM of the same day, the lieutenant officer forced two Rohingyas to stop as they were travelling by their motorcycles. He abused them saying “I don’t want to see you, Kulars, riding motorcycles anymore.” And, he extorted Kyat 10,000 from each.
Case #4: January 5
The Border Guard Police in Inn Din (Aan Daang) extorted Kyat 200,000 from each of the following people under the accusation of feeding the robber gang (*Abdul Hakim Dacoit Gang) on January 5.
Mv Jaabir (son of) Saleh
Mv Rahmat Ullah
Mv Sayed Ullah
MV Riyaaz (son of) Shobi
The Border Guard Police in cooperation with the village administrator, a Rakhine extremist, always harass the villagers for money.