Rohingya NGO Calls on UN to Push Thein Sein

People shout slogans in support of the Rohingya Muslims in Burma during a demonstration outside the United Nations’ offices in Sanaa, Yemen on Aug. 13, 2012. (PHOTO: Reuters)

The Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK) has appealed to world leaders at the UN General Assembly to put pressure on Burma’s President Thein Sein following his proposal that third countries accept Rohingya refugees.

The Burmese president is currently in New York attending the UN General Assembly. Ahead of a meeting between Thein Sein and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday, the US announced it was lifting further sanctions on Burma due to the progress of reform under its new government.

In a letter to the UN on Wednesday, the BROUK president said, “We appeal to world leaders to put pressure on President Thein Sein to provide safety and security and to restore Rohingya ethnic rights and citizenship rights. We also appeal to world leaders to ensure strong wording in the UN General Assembly Resolution on Burma, including reform of the 1982 Citizenship Law, and the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry into what has taken place in Arakan State.”

Burma’s 1982 Citizenship Law fails to recognize the 800,000-strong Rohingya community as one of the country’s ethnic groups. Many Burmese consider the Muslim group to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, though many have lived in the country for generations.

In June, violence erupted in western Burma between the Rohingyas and the majority Arakanese Buddhist community following the rape of a local Buddhist girl, allegedly by three Rohingya men, and the public lynching of 10 Muslim pilgrims.

A month of riots and violence followed, which left thousands homeless and at least 82 dead, according to government figures. Rohingya sources, however, put the number of dead in the high hundreds.

In its letter to the UN, the British NGO claims that despite a Burmese government inquiry into the crisis, “unacceptable restrictions still remain, and the government is also failing to provide sufficient security for aid workers assisting Rohingya who have been threatened.”

The group claims that during diplomatic visits to the region in the wake of the violence, Rohingya community leaders were detained by police beforehand to prevent them from speaking to the diplomats, and that members of their community are barred from participating in the government inquiry.

Rohingya sources say that Burmese security forces continue to harass and detain members of their community, and that border guards have insisted on payment in order for them to be allowed to build new camps in the Maungdaw area.

Many of the 3,000 Arakanese Buddhists who are currently living in makeshift shelters have also expressed a fear of returning to Maungdaw and other majority-Rohingya towns, saying they are afraid of further violence. Many say they have put their houses up for sale and will not return.

According to Amnesty International: “Rohingyas have been persecuted for decades in Burma. They have been killed, raped, falsely imprisoned and forced to leave their homes. There are over 100,000 people who are homeless and helpless.

“The Rohingya minority are being persecuted in their own country, and we are demanding that some action be taken to stop this ethnic cleansing. The United Nations has said that the Rohingya minority in Burma is considered one of the most persecuted in the world.”

Human Rights Watch released a statement in August alleging that Burma’s security forces are playing an underhand role in persecuting the Rohingyas in the wake of the violence. It quoted witnesses as saying that “government forces stood by while members from each community attacked the other, razing villages, and committing an unknown number of killings.”

In mid-August, following a mission to Arakan State, the 57-member Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) condemned “the continued recourse to violence by the Myanmar authorities against the members of this minority and their refusal to recognize their right to citizenship.

“The [OIC] summit has decided to bring this matter before the General Assembly of the United Nations,” it said in Mecca.

However, the Rohingya issue is not on any itinerary at the UN General Assembly this week.

15 Responses to Rohingya NGO Calls on UN to Push Thein Sein

  1. Here is the brief history of Arakan.

    “The earliest inhabitants of Arakan were a pro-Australoid people called Negritos settled in the Neolithic period. They were known as Rakkhasha (cannibals). They were dark-skinned people much like Africans and Rohingyas of today. They did not look like Mongoloid Rakhines or Maghs of today who falsely claim to be of their descendants. The second earliest people of Arakan were Indo-Aryans (i.e. Indians) followed by Mro and Saks. Their settlements dated back to B.C. 3323. Most of the earliest Kingdoms in Arakan history were Indian Kingdoms namely Dhannyavadi Kingdoms and Vaishali (Vesali) Kingdom. These earliest Indians, that is to say the forefathers of Rohingyas, were the followers of Hinduism, Buddhism and Animism. With the advent of some Arabs as traders and Islamic propagators to Arakan in 788 AD, most of local Indians converted into Islam. It is very important to note that it was Islam that came to Arakan in 788 AD, not Muslims. Yet, the indigenous Indians who had converted into Islam (known as Rohingyas today) later came to mix with foreigners as their settlements continued throughout its historical periods. Usage of the term “Rohingya” in form of “Rooinga” can be found as early as 17th century. Rakhines of today was the last significant people of single Mongoloid stock to arrive in Arakan with the Mongolian invasion in 957 AD. Later, a new civilization took place as they came to mix local Indians and formed into Indo-Mongoloid people, while many remained purely of Mongoloid origin. And they re-established Buddhism in Arakan but in the form of Theraveda this time. With the continual invasions by the feudal kings of Tibeto-Burman people of Mongoloid stock from Upper and Lower Burma, the people of Arakan were gradually formed to be of more Mongoloid origin and Indian-Originated people consequently decreased or were outnumbered. Therefore, the later Kingdoms of Arakan such as in Lemro and Mrauk-U Periods were rather Indo-Mongoloid or Mongoloid Kingdoms than Indian Kingdoms. However, Muslims (of both Indigenous Indian Origins and foreigners settled in Arakan) played many at times as phenomenon Kingmakers and other very important roles during Mongoloid Arakanese Kingdoms. Despite being the sons of Indigenous Negritos and Indo-Aryans, today Rohingyas are being labeled as Bengalis and recent illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh. It is perhaps because they look similar to Bengalis in appearance. In fact, Rohingyas, Bengalis, Indians of today’s India and Pakistanis etc are generally referred as South-Asians or Indians. They are of single roots. Yet, Rohingyas are linguistically and culturally different from Bengalis.” If the DNAs of Rohingyas to be checked up, it will be similar with the DNAs of Proto-Australoid people and South Asians in general which includes Bengali as well. Similarly, Bamas as well as Rakhines also need to get their DNAs checked up. Their DNAs will be similar with Mongolians and Chinese. If Rohingyas have to leave Arakan because they have Indian DNAs in their blood, they will also need to leave Burma and go to China and Mongolia because they have the DNAs of Mongolian and Chinese in their blood. And make Burma a land with no people.

    And Rohingyas are not the guests. They are aboriginal and indigenous to Arakan. Their land and status was hijacked by the Mongolian invaders. They don’t need anyone’s sympathy but justice. 

  2. You’re caught up in your own angry internal dynamic, BFF. Just try listening and empathising – people do feel angry and upset, on both sides. Think about why that is the case.

  3.  can you stop nonsense allegation of rohingya ethnic as Bengali illegal immigrant.rohingya are ethnic of Myanmar, who are residing in arakan since eight Burmese freedom fighter,your action against rohingya shown how uncivilized you are,we rohingya in Myanmar,including all ethnic of union are not welcome you,instead feel sorry for you.racist like you hurt image of Myanmar general,Buddhist society particular.

  4. I am agreed with The Burmese Freedom Fighter. Rohingyas must stop lie portraying pictures of victims in bomb blasts in Pakistan.. The Burmese Freedome Fighter is generous in offering them some basic Burmese language. For me, they must be deported to any Crazy Muslim countries that care and crying for them, specially to Pakistan.

  5. While Thein Sein and Aung San Suu Kyi,  hand in hand, are literally giving away the country to multinational companies’s pleasure with no discussion or canvassing the wider public opinion as the modern “Democratic” practice goes nowadays, and Thein Sein being generous for the American to have military foothold in the country just off China with extensive strategic  coastline, NO international body is going to say mush as a single ill word against the raping, torturing, killing, bullying Bamar Sit-tut at a time they are actively and massively killing the Kachins and, seemingly (only seemingly), much less consequential Rohingya or whatever they choose to call themselves.

    At the same time it does not help their cause that that Rohingya community cannot stop being a continual source of physical violence. All the lone travellers, be they villagers en route or university students to their campuses,  are subject to threat and real physical violence. A reality none of Rohingya advocates seem to care much about.  Nurul Islam, Tun Khin, Chris Lewa, Ben Rogers, Francis Wade. 

    No one has much as mentioned any violence meted out in threats or realised by the Rohingya to their immediate neighbours  fully aware that that has been one of the most potent uniting reason for the local Arakan communities and even the Hindu community in Sittwe.

     It is all very well to play victim and invite possible international jihad to kill of all the Buddhist and the Burmese, as it seem to be the plan by the Rohingya advocates of all colours and creeds, such plan is even less likely to benefit any human being of any religious persuasion.

    Meanwhile the Arakan nationalism but definitely not wisdom is on the rise stoked by the central chauvinistic military government in changed clothes.

    At a time when global religious fundamentalism is on the rise with ever-so-wishing-to- be-seen-as-secular Malaysia debating about hudud, it would pay for both sides to really sit together and lessen the actual physical violence. It is the local violence, the central government is taking advantage of. If local people can stay peacefully, all will prosper. 

    Unless active discussion and action to reduce the local violence on both sides is done, the affair will spiral out. People near and far will lose.

  6. Important as the wider picture and global issues, it is time for people involved in Sittwe, Maung Daw, Yathetaung, etc. to sit down together and solve the problem peacefully together locally before outsiders come in and wipe every one out. Then no one will win. 

  7. How come you did not raise any voice about the Burmese government’s role in creaating and then escalating this clash between the Rohingya Muslims and the Buddhists?

  8.  Rahul, Trust me that no Muslims nation has done what has been done to the Rohingyas by the Burmese givernment. Don’t be an air head.

  9. ႈInstade of pushing Myanmar Government to accept these illegal immigrants Bengali, why these Muslim countries try to bring them into their countries. There are so many countries practicing Muslim faith and culture, just bring these same faith and believes people into your countries. I can’t understand just come out and push other as human rights… Wow….  

  10. There will never be peaceful solution to Rohingya stalemate as long as Bangladesh kept on ignoring the fact that they are Bengali and wandering between Myanmar and Bangladesh. As human being, everyone will sympathize with what happened to Rohingyas but the Rohingyas themselves could not live up to acceptable norm of their human fellows until today. Just because they are Muslims, Islamic nations should not jump on defence of Rohingyas over what happened recently in Rakhine state of Myanmar. 

    Islamic nations like Malaysia, Indonesia and of course Bangladesh have been ignoring the Rohingyas for decade after decade although they reached their shore for help. This is history that Myanmar should be solely blamed for what happened to Rohingyas. On what happened to Rophingyas recently, the first guy who ignited war were three Rohingyas who raped teenage Buddhist girl and brutally murdered her. Can any Muslim country accepted such a kind without punishment? 

  11. Everyone on earth should sympathize with what happened to Rohingyas in Burma recently but the Rohingyas themselves could not live up acceptable norm of culture to their other human fellows wherever they are.  This violence was fueled into furnace by three Rohinyas who raped under-aged Buddhist girl and also brutally murdered her which pulled all Buddhist down to the earth in wrath over Rohingyas and the violence suddenly became wildfire against Rohingyas. I think Rohingyas first need education and adaptation to human culture before they talk about where they belong to regarding resettlement.

  12.  Since the Burmese government accepts those who can produce testimony to be in Burma for at least two generations, father and grandfather, and that 1948 – the year of the independence of Burma from the British colonial yoke has been declared legal for Burmese citizenship, there is no point asking for any other reason, including being ‘rohingya’.  The Burmese government’s non racist and sensible demand for the fulfilment of the the criteria seems plausible and practical.  Anybody claiming to be rohingya cannot be accepted as citizens … so crying and shouting citizenship for rohingya is just useless and out of the question.  If these people have been for thousands and years in Burma, yes, they need to be granted the citizenship.  Oh yes, provided they have lived continuously for two generations in the soil of Burma, of course!

  13.  Well, now you should call Rohingya to be up held human rights and no inhuman activities in Cox Bazaar recent incidents that set afire Buddhist temple and houses…

  14. So long as there will be no freedom of religion for Non-Muslims in all the Islamic countries in the world, there will hardly be any freedom of religion for Muslims in Myanmar. All the Islamic countries and the UN must scrap blasphemy laws and other laws that belittle non-Muslims in Muslim countries must be scrapped and followed word to word before anyone can call for the freedom of religion for Muslims in Myanmar, whether anyone like it or not.

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