AN URGENT APPEAL TO FOREIGN MINISTERS OF ALL ASEAN MEMBER STATES
Myanmar government’s invitation to all ASEAN foreign ministers to a briefing over the ongoing crackdown in Rakhine State might seem very welcoming at first. However, it should be looked with great scepticism based on Myanmar’s 38-year old ongoing systematic destruction of Rohingya community.
Since October 9, Burmese troops have intensified the persecution of Rohingya into the highest momentum. The UN officials are now describing the ongoing military operation at least as ethnic cleansing or crimes against humanity. Even Mr. Kofi Anan, who is in charge of the Rakhine Advisory Commission has also shown his deep concerns on human rights abuses against Rohingya after completing his a week-tour. Now many independent genocide research institutions fear that the Rohingya genocide is in its last stage, annihilation.
There is an ongoing engagement of the Tatmadaw (also called Myanmar’s military) and various organs of Myanmar border agencies in extrajudicial shootings and killing en masse of Rohingya men, slaughtering children, raping women as young as 10 years of age, looting and burning down Rohingya’s entire houses.
Since October 9, satellite images confirmed at least 1,500 buildings have been destroyed; 27,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh; 30,000 people have been newly displaced in the northern part of Maungdaw Township in Rakhine State alone; 7,600 pregnant women are deprived of any medical care; more than 10,800 people were not receiving nutrition treatment; 3,400 Rohingya children are severely malnourished in northern part of Rakhine State; at least 300 Rohingya women have been raped and more than 500 Rohingya unarmed civilians have been killed.
The Concern of the European Rohingya Council
The European Rohingya Council (ERC) is deeply concerned on the staggering rise of the Rohingya atrocities. So far, the Myanmar government has not come up with any productive plan to end military atrocities against Rohingya civilians.
Myanmar’s Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture has very recently announced to prove to ASEAN that the Rohingya community is not an indigenous group of Burma. This is Myanmar government’s ploy to justify the most serious crimes against Rohingya, the genocide. Belongingness of Rohingya to Myanmar is a moot point based on Myanmar official’s recognition of Rohingya as an indigenous community of Myanmar after its independent from Briton in 1948. In no ways, a community can be destroyed systematically based on race, religion, ethnicity, colour or belongingness. This Myanmar government’s ploy is not only deadly to Burmese society as a whole, and for Rohingya in particular but also dangerous for entire ASEAN regional stability.
European Rohingya Council immensely fears that the upcoming ASEAN meeting is merely a plan to distract the ASEAN states and extend time to maximize the wipe-out effect on the entire Rohingya community.
We, therefore, appeal to all the ASEAN governments attending the planned meeting on 19th December 2016 for immediate clarifications from the Myanmar’s State counsellor of the following grave concerns:
1.No political complexities can be justified to warrant continued aid blocks and complete lockdown of areas in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung! Why Myanmar government is still blocking international aid reaching the most vulnerable people since October 9?
2.If what is happening in the lockdown areas is according to the rule of law, why Myanmar government has banned international media from entering Rakhine state since October 9?
3.Rohingya can be saved and protected through amendment of the 1982 citizenship law. Do the Myanmar government and the Daw Aung San Suu Kyi herself intend to end or at least ease the level of persecution against Rohingya community? If they do, the de facto leader should stop the yet another unhindered ploy of the ministry of religion and culture to publish fabricated book. The state counsellor should be urged to provide a pathway to make inter communal harmony by making a peace building visit, as advised by UN envoy Mr. Nambiar, to all affected areas in Rakhine state.
4.Myanmar government insists that the Rakhine state has always been a fault line for inter-communal violence between Rakhine Buddhist and Rohingya Muslims. If so, why there is an ongoing recruitment, training and arming of non-muslim locals in this region? This could result further destabilization of Rakhine state as well as entire ASEAN region?
It is compulsory and moral obligation for the ASEAN visiting ministers to exert diplomatic pressure on the Myanmar government for the following:
1.Immediate resumption of all humanitarian assistance and release of Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung areas from military lockdown.
2.Allow international observers and institutions to conduct investigation of all atrocities including alleged rape and burning of Rohingya’s homes.
3.Allow independent media access without restriction.
4.Allow safe return of all the internally displaced Rohingya to their homes. The government should offer financial help in rebuilding houses to all those Rohingya whose houses were burnt down. Also, the government should assist in safe return of those entire 140,000 Rohingya who are still living in IDP camps since 2012 violence.
5.Free all Rohingya people, who were arbitrarily arrested and detained during military crackdown.
6.Provide financial compensations to all Rohingya families whose family members became victims of extrajudicial killings.
7.Immediately provide safe return of 27,000 Rohingya refugees recently stranded in Bangladesh border.
8.Myanmar should start a dialogue with its neighbours for safe returns of all Rohingya refugees before 9th October 2016.
9.The government of Myanmar must uphold its responsibility to protect all populations, regardless of their ethnicity or religion.
10.Address the core problem through amendment of 1982 citizenship law in accordance with the international human rights standard.
11.Involve Rohingya representatives in any commissions related to the future of Rohingya.
12.The visiting ASEAN group makes Myanmar clearly understand that if it does not fully comply on all above demands, it is legally obliged to take up the issue direct to the UN security Council; a need to preserve peace and stability in the region.
For more information:
Dr. Hla Kyaw Khubybe, + 31 652358202
firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @drkhubyb, @the_erc
Dr. Anita Schug, +4915750685496
email@example.com; Twitter: @schugAnita, @the_erc