ERC speak out against EU’s stand on the term “Rohingya”
Date 26 th June 2016
The European Rohingya Council (ERC) vigorously protest the EU’s stand on the term “Rohingya,” the term used by “Rohingya” community to self identify their ethnic name. In an article published in Reuters quoted Roland Kobia, the EU ambassador to Myanmar, saying, “…it would respect the call by country leader Aung San Suu Kyi to avoid the term “Rohingya” to describe persecuted Muslims there.” It is completely unacceptable in general and also gravely violates the Rohingya’s universal human rights to self-identify themselves. We are completely in shock that how a union of democratic countries categorically ignores universal human rights of a group’s self-identification. This stand of the EU is showing a green light to the oppressive policy of previous governments and the current one, we believe.
The EU ambassador further stated, “We understand that the term ‘Rohingya’ is emotionally charged in [Burma]…” We argued that the term “Rohingya” is not inherently emotionally charged, rather a manufactured reality by previous military regimes as a discriminatory state policy, which seems to be adopted by the current Aung San Suu Kyi-led government. We are not claiming a new ethnic identity –even to do so is a universal human right – instead, we are claiming to reinstate our officially recognized ethnic identity of post-independent Myanmar. The idea to ensure universal basic human rights of Rohingya such as access to education, health care, and livelihood without being allowed to call the Rohingya with their own name is not only counterproductive but also not logical. How can one give the basic rights to a people while denying the very existence of the people!
We strongly believe that the term “Rohingya” is not the problem as it is portrayed; rather, the main problem is the state’s discriminatory policy towards “Rohingya.” Once there is a change in discriminatory state policy into inclusive policy, we can hope for the peace in Myanmar in general and in Rakhine state in particular because justice is a precondition for the peace. The question is, “Does Aung San Suu Kyi have a genuine willingness to ensure the due rights of decades-long oppressed Rohingya?” Therefore, ERC urge the EU to respect rights of “Rohingya” to self-identification, and to take necessary steps to alleviate the genocidal suffering of “Rohingya.”
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ERC Media Team
Tel. No: +31652358202