ERC Press Release: An emergency appeal to save lives of Rohingya stranded in Andaman Sea
We have been inspired by your stand on human dignity, values and the contribution of your country towards the humanity. We are, therefore, urgently bringing the plight of the Rohingya minority who are facing total extinction from the soil of Arakan, Myanmar, to your knowledge.
Currently, there are more than 6000 people in rickety boats, most of them are Rohingya (including pregnant women, sick people and children), stranded in Andaman Sea. They have been without food and water for days. Thailand, Malaysia or Indonesia is not allowing them to come ashore. People are dying every day.
UN have recently warned that the Andaman Sea will be the floating coffin unless emergency rescue operation is in place. We, as concerned Rohingya living in Europe, are appealing you to come forwards with strongest voice possible to pressure to ASEAN countries to undertake an emergency rescue operations; if necessary, with material support from European nations.
While ensuring emergency rescue operations, we are appealing you to address the root cause of this human catastrophe.
This tragedy is the result of decades-long policy induced persecutions—denied access to health care, restriction on livelihood, marriage and movement, rape, isolation, etc— of Myanmar government. A study conducted by researchers led by Professor Penny Green from International State Crime Initiative (ISCI) based in Queen Mary University of London highlighted the root cause of the crisis. The experts were based in Sittwe, Rakhine state, which is home to minority Muslims and conducted field research from October 2014 to March 2015. In his own words by Professor Green:
The Myanmar government’s ongoing persecution of the Rohingya minority has, in the last two years, reached a level so untenable that tens of thousands have been forced to flee on boats. The current exodus of those seeking asylum is just one manifestation of persecution consistent with genocide. Our research is being conducted within a state crime framework in which genocide is understood as a process, building over a period of years, and involving an escalation in the dehumanization and persecution of the target group. The Rohingya have been subject to stigmatization, harassment, isolation, and systematic weakening. The Rohingya are faced with only two options: stay and face annihilation, or flee. Those who remain suffer destitution; malnutrition and starvation; severe physical and mental illness; restrictions on movement, education, marriage, childbirth, livelihood, land ownership; and the ever present threat of violence and corruption.
The hidden decades-long unbearable persecution by the state is no longer hidden, and it appears into broad daylight that international community can longer stay silent. This is an opportunity to bring whole networks of perpetrators starting from masterminds of these heinous crimes against humanity to human trafficking networks into accountable so that we are faithful to the commitment “Never Again”.
We hope you will listen to our collective cries and cries of the women, children and sick
stranded in Andaman Sea.
Khairul Amin (Chairman)
CC: Foreign Minister in European Countries