Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Myanmar does not use or recognize the term ‘Rohingya’ when talking about the hundreds of thousands of displaced Muslims in Arakan (Rakhine) State.
But foreign governments, leaders, journalists and NGOs use the word frequently as its their ancestral name, which dozens of Racist Bhuddist Organizations in Arakan (Rakhine) State denies to recognize.
To end that ancestral naming, more than 60 civil society groups in Arakan (Rakhine) have banded together to demand that authorities bar usage of the offending word, the Voice Weekly reported.
Daw Saw Khin Myint, the head of the Arakan (Rakhine) Literature and Cultural Development Committee, reportedly asked the government to step in during a press conference about the terminology on Monday.
She singled out the news media, which should be stopped from using what she called the “illegal word,” the Voice Weekly reported.
U Kyaw Sein, chairman of the Rakhine Patriotic Organization, said since parliament has already decided “whether Rohingya exist or not,” the term should be officially scrapped. And especially with the National League for Democracy (NLD) coming to power early next year, Kyaw Sein is worried that Aung San Suu Kyi’s party might not hold the line, even though a spokesman has indicated he has nothing to worry about.
“There are some international pressures which might be higher in the next government period. So the present government should issue a statement,” he was quoted as saying.
Many of the Rohingya live in displaced camps in Arakan (Rakhine) State and were not allowed to vote in the recent election that swept the NLD to power.
The Suu Kyi government faces a challenge in Arakan (Rakhine), whose nationalist party won 22 parliamentary seats on November 8, the largest by far of any ethnic party. They have the support of nationalist Buddhist monks whose influence is still a factor.
Though no official ban on the terminology exists, Myanmar’s refusal to recognize the group despite being living there for generations in their own land. In the last week, several men were arrested for printing a calender that used the word ‘Rohingya.’
While Rohingya Muslims were unable to vote, many Muslim candidates were also disqualified. The lack of votes and candidates in addition to the overwhelming popularity of the NLD boded ill for religious pluralism. As a result, Myanmar’s new parliament will have no Muslim MPs for the first time in post-independence history.
Note: Changes have been made, Coconuts Yangon is not responsible for these.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

The Myanmar Police threatened a Rohingya and extorted money from him in Buthidaung Township last Friday for keeping the picture of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in his phone, according to reliable sources.

Around 2:30PM on November 20, a team of five police officers from ‘Regional Security Department’ from the Police Station stopped the Rohingya passers-by and checked out their hand-phone sets. Upon searching their phones, the police found the picture of Daw Aung San Suu Kyin saved in the photo of a person named U Aziz Nazir Hussein.

The police said “Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is not a leader of the nation but a puppet of the Western Nations. Why do you keep her photos in your phone?

Doing so is an insult to the President of the nation.”

After that, the police threatened him and extorted Kyat 150,000.  After that, they released him, according to an eyewitness.

Similarly, a Border Guard Police (BGP) staff named U Nay Lin Aung threatened a Rohingya in ‘Ye Nouk Nga Thar’ village in northern Maungdaw Township on November 21 for finding a photo of President Thein Sein in his (the Rohingya’s) phone.

The BGP Staff said to the victim named U Chitfa Ishaaq “you filthy people don’t have the right to carry the photos of the nation’s leader.” He then extorted Kyat 100,000 from him, said a local in the village.

The BGP Staff, Nay Lin Aung, serves as the Bodyguard of the Commander of the Police Station in ‘Nga Ran Chaung’ village under the Commandment Region 2 in northern Maungdaw. He committed the money extortion while he was on leave to his native village ‘Taman Thar.’

For a few months, the Myanmar armed forces such Police, Border Guard Police and Military have escalated money extortion from the local Rohingyas on blatant accusations. Nobody takes actions against the atrocious acts, local people complaint.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

 Around six human trafficking boats reported to have been waiting around off Sittwe (Akyab) coast for past few days were abandoned by the traffickers after hearing of a police raid, according to the reliable sources.

With already around 70 people from on the boats, the human traffickers were waiting more potential victims from the Rohingya IDP (Internally Displaced People) Camps, whom (the victims) were set to be later smuggled to Malaysia via Thailand.

On Monday night around 9:30PM, acting upon an information tip, the Police in ‘Manzi’ village led by the Station Commander, Hla Myo Thu, made to the coast of ‘Ohn Daw Gyi’ village where the human traffickers were reported to be waiting.

However, the traffickers abandoned the boats and fled from the place to go into hiding before the police’s arrival. Upon so, the victims on the boats (who are) mostly from the IDP Camps – such as Bodu Pha, Thakkay Pyin, Ohn Daw Gyi, Thay Chaung and Aung Mingalar — also ran away in fear.

Later, the police came back and said “we went there but found no one.”

However, the police said that they would be looking for the human traffickers and take actions.

“Earlier, the armed forces and the administrative authorities have also been complicit in the human trafficking. Now, we pray and hope they do something to prevent the trafficking,” said a Rohingya youth in Ohn Daw Gyi.

AS the monsoon ends in Myanmar and the sea-weather en-route to Thailand has become calm and stable, the human traffickers have started the illegal trading of human beings touted to be a multi-million dollar business in the region. This time, they are said to be taking a different route and applying different tactic for trafficking.

(Read earlier reports: HERE and HERE.)

“The traffickers coax people. Or they entrap people to smuggle them to Malaysia. But as long as the violence and brutal persecution by the government against our people do not stop, the people will continue fleeing. By this means or by other means,” said a Rohingya at an IDP Camp in Sittwe.

 The Burmese Border Guard Police robbed a Rohingya woman while going through the check-post in Maungdaw Township on Sunday, according to eyewitnesses.

The victim is identified to be 39-year-old Kaneez Fatema Jamal Hussein hails from ‘Yedwin Chaung’ village in northern Maungdaw. She was on the way to ‘Myo Oo’ village when she got robbed. 

“The victim was said to be visiting Myo Oo (Naitor Dael) village to see her sick relatives. The BGP at the check-post nearby ‘Shwe Zarr (Shujah)’ bridge stopped their bus for a (routine) check-up like they usually do to Rohingya passers-by. As she got off from bus, she took off her Gold-Chain weighed 16-gram off her neck and put inside her purse.

However, a BGP staff put his hand inside her purse on pretext of checking out what’s inside. After that, the BGP staff asked her to leave. As she found her gold-chain missing from before she left, she went back to the BGP camp and asked them to give her chain back.

The BGP declined and said that they didn’t find any such thing in her purse. So, she started crying for the chain as she had only that to call her valuable belonging. The BGP scolded her and threatened to beat her 
So, she had to leave the place in desparity, ” said an eyewitness on the condition of anonymity.

The BGP at the ‘Shwe Zar’ Bridge-Post frequently rob valuable belongings from Rohingya passers-by, steal their money like pick-pockets, beat the (Rohingya) innocent people and often bodily harrass the women. However, the higher authorities fail to take actions against the Barbaric BGP police despite knowing everything.

“The higher authorities know that. But they don’t do anything to stop this. So, it can be interpreted as ‘the higher authorities are also complicit in the crimes,” remarked an elderly Rohingya in Maungdaw.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

The Myanmar Border Guard Police (BGP) arrested two Rohingya religious scholars on arbitrary allegations in northern Maugdaw Township on October 13, according to the reports by eyewitnesses.

The BGP arbitrarily framed charges against the two scholars of possessing Bangla SIM Cards and beat them up taking them into their camp. They detained one of them under the arbitrary charge, releasing another afterwards after extorting Kyat 0.6 Million.

“Mv Sayed Salam Mohammed Salam and Mv Jafar Hussein Yusof, two religious scholars hail from East Hamlet of ‘Kyauk Pyein Seik’ village tract, were in their way to Maungdaw by their respective motorcycles around 9:30AM on November 13.

As they reached to BGP Check-Post nearby the Bridge between ‘Hla Pho Kaung’ village and ‘Kyauk Pyein Seik’ village, the BGP personnel stopped their motorcycle and dragged them into their camp. They stripped off their clothes on pretext of body-search. Nothing was said to have found.

And a BGP staff came out and put a ‘Bangala Grameen SIM Card’ into their motorcycle. After that, (it was said that) the BGP put another SIM Card into the pocket of Mv Jafar Hussein. So, after the plotting the charges, the BGP accused both innocent scholars of possessing Bangla SIM Cards.

So, they inhumanely started beating them in their camp. And they (the BGP) demanded Kyat 300,000 from each of them for their releases. Since they (the victims) were only able to pay Kyat 300,000 (for both), they were transferred to the BGP Commander in ‘Kyauk Hle Karr’ village under Region (Nay Myay) 6, northern Maungdaw.

The BGP commander also beat them. He released Mv Sayed Alam as he was able to pay Kyat 600,000, while kept another victim, Mv Jafar Hussein, in detention under the made-up charge of possession of ‘Bangla SIM Card.’

On November 16, he was transferred to Maungdaw Township Court for trial under the charge framed against him,” said a local who witnessed incident when the victims were arbitrarily arrested.

Now, it has been learnt that the Maungdaw police took him under their detention after taking ‘Remand’ from the Court. His family members were not allowed to see him although they sought permission from the authorities to meet him while he was being taken to the court.

Nowadays, money extortions from the local Rohingya people by the Police and the Border Guard Police (BGP) by framing such arbitrary charges have become rampant. Money extortion is being treated by the armed forces as a legal business.

The Burmese Police chased and arrested few internally displaced Rohingyas in Sittwe Township, Arakan state, last Friday.

On November 19, the Police is said to have attempted to arrest a few Internally Displaced People (IDP) in ‘Sethamma Gyi (Say Thar Mar Gyi)’ IDP Camps for unknown reasons. And it consequently led to a confrontation between the Police and the IDP.

During the confrontation in the Camps, the Police saw some IDP carrying knives with them. Therefore, the Police called for extra Forces and as the more Police Forces arrived, the (displaced) dispersed and left the place.

“Actually, the people carrying knives were from ‘Thandaw Li (Saantoli)” village taking shelter in the IDP Camps. Having knives with them and taking them wherever they go is their custom and tradition.

They used to do it. They are doing now. It’s not to harm anybody. And they were not involving in the confrontation but other people were.

However, the police misunderstood it or intentionally call for more police forces despite knowing it. As more police forces arrived, everybody left the place as they didn’t want the confrontation into a conflict or violence” said an internally displaced Rohingya.

Nevertheless, on November 20 around 7:30AM, many fully-prepared police forces raided in ‘Sethamma Gyi’ IDP Camps and started chasing people. One displaced Rohingya was arrested while the police kept chasing other people.

It has been further learnt that the arrested Rohingya was taken to the Police station of ‘Ohndaw Gyi’ IDP camps afterwards. The police kept him under the hot-sun in the premise of the police station for the whole day by tying him in the post with his hands also tied at his back.

Some of his camp-mates went to the police station to try to get him released.