The Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organisation Malaysia (Merhrom) is deeply concerned about the continued killing of and violence towards Rohingyas in the Arakan state of Burma.
Though the military junta has stated that the situation is better now, the information we received from home is different.
The killing continues, many Rohingyas have been arrested and we do not know what has happened to them. Women and girls have been raped and sexually abused; many Rohingyas have been missing; many more houses have been burned and more people stranded without food, shelter and medication. Many Rohingya businessmen and the educated have been arrested and till now there is no news about them. The shops and businesses belonging to the Rohingyas have been confiscated by Rakhine Buddhists, the police and the military. Rohingyas are dying as they cannot buy food from shops belonging to Rakhine Buddhists as they refuse to sell it to Rohingya Muslims.
The dead bodies of many Rohingyas have been burned or are missing. The information we received from home states that the dead bodies of Muslims were taken away… We ask for the United Nations to urgently investigate this matter. We continually receive information about the situation back home. Until now, the situation is really bad and access to information from the outside world is very bad as the information has been covered up and controlled by the military.
Currently the military has taken over and controls Arakan state. The situation has become worse and the violence has increased. The information we received alleges that military and border security forces have threatened the Rohingyas and asked for money.
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Much information has been released by many parties but we are very concerned about the misinformation regarding the real situation. A lot of information has been manipulated by some parties for their own interest. We urgently ask the United Nations peace-keeping mission to step in and resolve the problem.
Many Rohingya houses have been burned. Rohingyas have had to flee to neigbouring villages. The military has issued an order that they are not to go to other villages. When they ask where they are supposed to go, the military reply saying, “We do not care but if you still go the military will take action against you.” Many stateless Rohingyas now have become homeless without food, shelter and medication.
We applaud the United Nations for sending its top envoy Mr Vijay Nambiar to Arakan state to assess the situation. However, we are very worried about whether he was able to assess the real situation as he was escorted by the military officials at all times. Furthermore, the Arakan state has been taken over and is controlled by the military. Although there were 10 Muslim leaders joining him, there was no guarantee they can talk freely without fear. They cannot talk freely as they will face prosecution. We are worried whether the top envoy can talk independently with the Rohingyas without being escorted by military officials. We are worried that if the Rohingyas give real information, they will face prosecution from the military.
We are very sad that the Bangladesh government has denied entry to the Rohingyas who are trying hard to save their lives. We condemn the action of the Bangladesh government, which has failed to protect human beings in real need. Many Rohingyas have been arrested and held in Bangladesh prisons for the past two decades. We ask for the Bangladesh government to release all Rohingya refugees from their prisons.
So much violence is taking place in different shapes and in different areas. It is taking place but the world and the international communities are slow to act. We ask for urgent international intervention to stop the killing of and violence towards Rohingyas.
Therefore, we urge:
- the United Nations peace-keeping mission to step into Arakan state urgently to control the situation
- the United Nations to send a group of investigator to monitor, investigate and assess the situation urgently
- the United Nations to supply the medication, food and shelter for the affected Rohingyas.
- the United Nations to bring General Thien Sein to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the crimes he has done to the Rohingyas and the Burmese people.
- world leaders to put pressure on the military junta to stop the persecution and prosecutions of Rohingyas and to rocognise Rohingyas as citizens.
- the military junta to hand over power to Aung San Suu Kyi immediately as the winner of 1990 general rlection.
- The international media to step in to Arakan state to observe and get accurate information and to release the accurate information.
Zafar Ahmad bin Abdul Ghani is president of the Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organisation Malaysia (Merhrom)