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UN intervention is most urgent to protect the Rohingya
Press statement by ARNO
After June 2012 deadly violence in Arakan, the human rights situation of the Rohingya has become more deteriorating with story of “dead and dying”. Campaigns of genocide and extermination against them are carried out day in, day out. Rape, murder, arbitrary arrest, looting, extortion, criminal atrocities, hunger and diseases are persistent and widespread. Their burned down and depopulated villages are being populated with Buddhist settlers warmly invited from within and from Bangladesh. These are the main ‘push factors’ that cause the migration of Rohingya to neighbouring countries for which the Burmese government and Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) with Dr. Aye Maung are fully responsible.
Most Rohingyas, including those about 140,000 internally displaced during the carnage, have nothing to eat and nowhere to go and are dying of hunger, malnutrition and diseases. Humanitarian aids to the Rohingya displacement camps and areas have been systematically blocked by the local administration dominated by RNDP, with organized gangs of Buddhist Rakhine. It is almost unprecedented that some 50 drinking water ponds of the Rohingya villages have been poisoned by the Buddhist Rakhine and the security forces.
No school or madrassa education is available for the Rohingya children in villages and displacement camps. Most of the mosques are still closed down, and funeral prayers for the deceased persons are disallowed without payment. Villagers and Maulvis (religious persons) were tortured for performing funeral services. In Shweza village of Maungdaw NaSaKa intelligence officer Aung Naing from Outpost No. 14 under Sector No.6 is extorting Kyat 10,000 to 25,000 for each funeral.
NaSaKa security forces are conducting sporadic surveys coercing the Rohingya villagers to write ‘Bengali’ as their racial name in place of ‘Rohingya’ against their will. Some villagers were arrested or tortured for opposing their dictation while others escaped away.
Since June 2012, an estimated 13,000 Rohingya took perilous voyages towards Malaysia and more than 500 boat people are missing or have drowned after several boats sinking, while a number of them ended up in jails and detention in countries within the region. During recent weeks Thai security forces rescued 773 beleaguered Rohingya in Songkhla province whereas another group of 73 rescued Rohingya are reported under threat of ‘push back’ to Burma where they face persecution. The boat people are often victimized at the hands of the human traffickers who used to sell them to slavery for 60,000 to 70,000 Bhat ($1,975 to $ 2,304) per person, particularly to fishing industry.
Rohingya tragedies and boat people disaster have got out of hand causing serious regional problem with international perspective. Primarily the Rohingya problem needs to be resolved within Burma, but there is no change of attitude of the ruling civil-military hybrid government towards them. In the absence of national protection the responsibility to protect them weighs on the international community.
We, therefore, request the United Nations and its Members of the Security Council to send UN Peacekeeping Force to Arakan in order to protect the helpless Rohingya people; and to constitute a UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate the international crimes committed against Rohingya and bring the perpetrators to justice.
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