Amnesty Calls for Arakan Investigation

Burma's security forces are accused by Amnesty International of participating in the violence in Arakan State. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

Burma’s authorities should ensure full and unfettered humanitarian access to displaced people, and conduct an independent and impartial investigation into recent communal violence, Amnesty International said in a statement on Tuesday.

The London-based rights group’s statement echoes remarks made by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Burma Vijay Nambiar who visited Arakan State last week. While Nambiar noted the Burmese government’s “sensitive” response to the recent deadly clashes between Arakanese Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State, he called for “a full, impartial and credible investigation” of the disturbances to be conducted urgently, as well as to ensure that the rule of law is enforced in a transparent manner.

“The basic humanitarian needs of these people must be met immediately, as many still lack adequate food, water, shelter, and medical attention,” the Amnesty statement said. “The Myanmar authorities should allow local and international aid agencies full and unhindered access to all displaced persons—including an estimated 1,500 persons illegally denied refuge across the border last week by Bangladesh.”

The UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, has also expressed its deep concern over the welfare of people fleeing violence in Arakan State. It said that it recognizes that for years, Bangladesh has been bearing the brunt of the forced displacement caused by earlier crises in Burma.

Amnesty International accused Burmese security forces of participating in the violence in Arakan State, saying that, in addition to sectarian gangs, state security forces had also committed human rights abuses, citing incidents in Maungdaw and Buthidaung.

Amnesty also called for “decades of systemic discrimination against ethnic minority Rohingyas” to be addressed.

“Myanmar authorities must grant Rohingyas the citizenship to which they have right and rescind all discriminatory policies and practices against them,” the statement said.

Amnesty International emphasized that “restoring the pre-violence status quo is not sufficient … as systemic discrimination against the Rohingya characterizes decades of state policy in Myanmar. Tens of thousands of Rohingyas were forcibly displaced by security forces in 1991-1992. Despite being a state party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Myanmar continues to deny Rohingya children the right to a nationality. Refused citizenship under the 1982 Citizenship Act, the ethnic and religious minority is restricted to various degrees in their rights to study, work, travel, marry, practice their religion, and receive health services.”

The rights group also appeared to take a swing at Ko Ko Gyi of the 88 Generation Students group, saying that “recent statements by former political prisoners in Myanmar … further contributes to prejudice against the Rohingya.”

Last week, Ko Ko Gyi said that the Rohingya could not be considered an ethnic group of Burma, an opinion voiced by a great number of the majority Burmans in the country.

Even Aung San Suu Kyi has not been able to sidestep the issue. While in Norway to belatedly accept her Nobel Peace Prize on Monday she responded to a reporter’s question on the issue of whether ethnic Rohingya should be regarded as Burmese by saying, “I do not know.”

She added that some people claim that many who call themselves Rohingyas are actually more recent immigrants from Bangladesh. The trouble, she said, is that there are no clear-cut rules regarding who qualifies as a citizen.

12 Responses to Amnesty Calls for Arakan Investigation

  1. Why these international agencies are crying for Rohingyas? Are they fools? UN asked for impartial inquiry, so do Amnesty International. Are they bribed?. They look human being as human. It seems there were some cruel injustice had been done.

  2. Please look at the G map of the very porour border along the nuf river. Small boats carrying people who may later called themselve as Rohinger could easily cross a few hundred feets of water and enter creeks and mersh land. It may be true that Bengladash government may not allow refuges to comeback to their land, but they are willfully alow oneway trafic. Burma government in noway is capable of securing this border area.
    About the UN convension of Children, why nobody is voicing about the right of children born in Thailand and Malaysia by Burmese immigrants?

  3. There it is, it is a new world order. It is so powerful and it can’t be refused. We are afraid of tyranny within our country and we miss other tyrant outside of the country. Ammenesty International want to claim that Burma does not have any conscience regarding to humanity and only Amminesty International does. Why don’t Amminesty International going after the Western Governments who descriminate muslim? Is it because Western Government are too powerful? Burmese people are much more civilized than you guys giving credit for.

  4. Why should we grant Myanmar citizenship to illegal immigrants from Bangladesh! If this is the case, Australia should release all the illegal boat people and grant them citizenship.

    It appear that all international organisations are only concern about Rohinyas and therefore, please take them to your countries (wherever it is and we do not want them) and grant them your citizenship. I am sure majority of Myanmar citizens agree with me saying that.

  5. There are only legal citizens, questionable “citizens”, and illegal immigrants. The recent conflict was hijacked by the rohingyas and the latter 2 groups, to get legitimate recognition.

  6. How easily and how readily you specify a group of your own peoples as “Illegal Immigrants from Bangladesh”. Can you please care to explain how these peoples are immigrants from Bangladesh? Bangladesh came into existence in December 1971, Modern day Burma came into existence in 1948, all these rohingya have been living in arakan for centuries still they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh? why this enmity and hatred toward Bangladesh while people of Bangladesh is and was a great friend and well wisher of burma? you do not feel the same and do not display same attitude towards your other neighbors such as China and India because they are much bigger and much more powerful than you. it means your collective mentality is capable of listening to the power and force. An undignified but perfect mentality to be the subject of brutal military dictatorship for the eternity. One Suu kyi is not enough to rescue Burma if there are millions of ko ko gyi.

    Citizen Act of 1982 was a product of brutal and oppressive junta and burmese peoples have been struggling hard for a very long time to get out of the junta’s clutch and have been longing for freedom, equal rights, human rights. are these basic human rights only entitled for bamars as if they are the only superior race? Junta introduced many bad things and piled up social and political rubbish that bad smell reaching up to the furthest corner of the earth now and citizen act of 1982 is undoubtedly one of them. Burmese people should decide wisely whether they are ready to clean up the mess to join the humanity or they would remain in that to be left over of humanity.

    it is very sad to see that even The Greatest lady of the time Ms. suu kyi is also afraid of taking any firm stance. When a great leader like her who risked her life against junta without a second thought but being wary of her own peoples,then it speaks volumes about the mentality of the majority populace she is dealing with. Dear Burmese please look at Yugoslavia, learn from the history, blind hatred, ultra nationalism and egoistic superiority complex will led you to self destruction only. It may reduce you to be satisfied at the end with a “bamaria” state in near future instead of the great union of Myanmar/Burma just as serbs reduced Yugoslavia into serbia. i hate to say but i see that potential in you.

  7. Rohingyas are the VPGs (Victims of Population Growth) of Bangladesh. They find anywhere else better to live than to stay on in their own country. Myanmar is a heaven for them and they are asking for their right and freedom to live in Myanmar. We should envisage that they will continue asking for autonomy, their own state and administration; and finally secession from the Union.

    What is Tatmadaw doing? They reiterate every day that they will never let to lose any inch of the motherland. But in order to stay above the people of Myanmar Tatmadaw is constantly plotting internal conflicts among its own people. It will highlight that “Myanmar people always need Tatmadaw’s protection from the problems created by Tatmadaw”.
    They should be transparent to tell us why they continue fighting with our own ethnic Kachins. Leave there and move to Rakhine state. Solve the problem with Rohingyas as it is a trouble helped grown or failed to be resolved by your generals. Take the responsibilities for the sake of the country of you own. Then we will really appreciate that we need you and your care to protect us.

    What is AI doing? They should analyze the problem for its root causes rather than highlighting the bubbling points to inflame the people. AI should be able to define what the origin of these Bengalis is and where they belong, and help formulate how to emigrate them from the land they do not belong.

    • “Myanmar is a heaven for them”

      Yes, Indeed, Burma and North Korea are the heavens in earth. Everyone should give his/her best efforts to get into that “heaven” at any cost, or, life will be completely, totally meaningless!!

  8. I am sorry, but unless I was a Burman nationalist, I would find it very hard that anyone would want to leave a democratic country like Bangladesh and migrate illegally to live in a military dictatorship.

    Why would a Bangladeshi who can get married legally in their homeland (where their army does not make them do forced labour) want to sneak across the border to a country where it is illegal for Muslims to mrry, and do forced labour for the Burmese Army?

    The problem is Burman nationalists who believe that Burmese = Burman Buddhist. Rohingyas are not Burman and are not Buddhist so they cannot be Burmese.

  9. Martin is right who would change a live in Chittagong against Maungdaw or the Camps there and try to get citizenship in Myanmar,- only an idiot would do that.- In an other issue so it is clear that Myanmar within ASEAN has the same job as Poland has in the EU.– close the border and protect them as much as possible against Economical Imigrants which again for sure not think one minute to live in Myanmar but in rich Thailand, better Muslim Malaysia and Indonesia.
    Sure around 800 AD the first Muslim – Arab traders landed in Ramree – Rakhine,- the than King ordered to kill,- beheaded most of them ( story and legend ),- since this time Muslim are believed to live in rakhine,- but sure no one named Rohingya and this more Bengali – Pakistan tribe came much later,- Rohingya is known only since 1950.
    Go back to the British UK which are not in charge for all today calles Rohingyas but for the most, as British colonial men brought these labours into the Myanmar Rakhine part.
    In 1891 there were 58.000 of these people,- in 1911 England counted already 178.000, at that time not jet called Rohingyas 300 % in 20 years only. The British left,- the than called Bengalis left behind and got raped & torchered one after the other by the Japanese Soldier ( could it be that 100.000 today Rohingyas are actually half blood Japanese now and could be brought to Japan for a better live there ??? ). How much reparation fees Japan Governemt paid already for the Bengalis that time all raped. It would be a beginning and UK England could share with all Commenwealth countryes the rest for a better live. Aung san Sue Kyi failed in Europe to talk about this fact that the British might not be the only devil here but the major creator of this problem.
    Good that there is a second chance when President Thein Sein visits Downing Street 10 he should find out of ” How much UK really want to help Myanmar — or just them self and boost their economy through Myanmar resources..???? ”
    UN , WFP or other INGO s can not just go in there as amnesty stupily asking for, as Rakhine hate them and it is not without danger,- duew to the fact that the Rakhine believe that UN, WFP and INGOs only created and boosted the Rohingya. The Myanmar Government is manly acting here for the security of these INGO s staff and these INGO s know it even better than the Government. Amnesty always in a Dream World

  10. I am sorry,but Burmese state and nationalists are the major problem of this issue.Cause they behavior racist.Their army also racist ,don’t allow to international press and UN .They don’t protect these poor minority,so there is a humanity crime in Burma/Myanmar.The whole world knows and watches.They should help amnesty.

  11. @ Martin West, Even they can get married legally in their homeland, do you have any idea how small Bangladesh is as compared to Myanmar Country? And, our country do have Islamic Citizens.

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