Saturday 30 December 2006

UN repeats call for action on child soldiers – Clive Parker

The UN Security Council has repeated its call for action against the recruitment of child soldiers in countries considered the worst offenders, including Burma.

During a special day-long session to consider a UN report on progress to fight the problem, the council heard of "reliable reports" that the Tatmadaw (Burma Army) continues to recruit child soldiers. The junta was also accused of failing to cooperate fully with the UN in Burma in attempts to eradicate the problem, charges denied by the government.

Speaking to the council, Burmese government representative Kyaw Tint Swe said the report contained "unfounded allegations," and that appropriate measures had been put into place to eradicate the problem, including discharging minors from the military.

Radhika Coomaraswamy, the special representative of the UN secretary-general for children and armed conflict, said that commitments to demobilize troops in Burma, along with the Ivory Coast, Burundi and Uganda, "would result in concrete action". However, her report to the council said it was currently impossible to verify Burmese government efforts to eradicate the problem.

"The United Nations country team is aware of some cases of children being released from army service [in Burma] but is unable to verify the effectiveness of the [government] committee’s plan of action or whether all children are being screened out of the Government armed forces," the report concluded.
In January 2004, Burma set up a committee to address the problem following reports of extensive use of child soldiers.

Kyaw Tint Swe again criticized the UN decision to keep the Burmese army on a blacklist of recruiters of children. Insurgent groups including the Karen National Union and the Karenni National Progressive Party were removed from the list following consultations with the UN Children’s Agency earlier this year and are currently working with the UN to eradicate the problem.

The UNICEF office in Rangoon was unavailable for further comment on Wednesday.
Tuesday’s discussion at the Security Council means that Burma remains under pressure to provide evidence to the UN that it is taking effective measures to end the practice of recruiting minors into the army. Successive resolutions include the provision of a complete ban on arms sales to countries that persistently fail to address the problem.

The Tatmadaw has long been accused of forcibly recruiting children to its 400,000-strong armed forces. In 2004, the London-based Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers reported that the junta had in some cases kidnapped children as young as 11, forcing them to serve in the military. At the time, it estimated that up to 20 percent of Tatmadaw and ethnic insurgency forces were under 18-the current legal age of conscription-which would have put the total number of child soldiers in Burma at nearly 90,000, the highest of any country in the world.

Wednesday 20 December 2006

Myanmar: guidelines for UN imposed for their own safety

Naypyidaw: Military-ruled Myanmar said Sunday that regulations on how United Nations agencies and development organisations operate were imposed to ensure no “unpleasant incidents” happen to them.
Several UN agencies and non-governmental organisations have complained that their movements within the secretive state have been restricted, thus hampering their ability to carry out their work independently.

Soe Tha, minister for National Planning and Economic Development, told reporters Sunday that contrary to their complaints, the regulations were in fact there to make life easier for them.

“Even we, ourselves, have to take security precautions for traveling, let alone the foreigners, since there still remain a few insurgents in some parts of the country,” he said.
“We do not wish any unpleasant incidents to happen to them even if they take their own risks to travel.”
Myanmar’s junta has signed peace deals with 17 armed ethnic groups, but a handful of rebel groups continue to fight against the military government.

Soe Tha said UN agencies were required to inform the government two weeks ahead of a trip to a project site, and chastised UN officials who did not stick to their proposed itineraries.
“These people do not try to understand our situation; they thought we were hindering them from what they wanted to do,” he said. “In fact, it is not (the case).”
He said that Myanmar was cooperating with the United Nations and other development agencies on more that 120 projects, but warned that “we cannot accept those who use UN to do activities that will infringe our sovereignty”.

The junta in February issued seven pages of guidelines, including rules on employment and a requirement that government officials must accompany staff when they travel in Myanmar.
Even before then, agencies had complained of limitations of their activities.

In August last year, the UN-created Global Fund against AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis — diseases that are prevalent in Myanmar — announced it was pulling out, citing the junta’s restrictions.
Myanmar’s generals have long accused some foreigners of seeking to overthrow the government, labelling them “destructive elements” who encourage dissident opposition groups.

Thursday 30 November 2006

Myanmar denies closing down of ICRC field offices

Nay Pyi Taw: The Myanmar government denied on Wednesday that it has closed down field offices of the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) in five areas of the country, but saying that it was just a temporary suspension.

The denial was made by Police Chief Brigadier-General Khin Yi at the first press conference held in the new capital of Nay Pyi Taw.

Some foreign media had reported that the government had ordered five ICRC field offices in Myanmar outside Yangon to close, namely, in Mandalay, Mawlamyine, Hpa-an, Taunggyi and Kyaing Tong.
Khin Yi stressed that all organizations in Myanmar, including the ICRC, must abide by Myanmar’s related rules and regulations for their functions. He disclosed that the government is preparing to promulgate new rules and regulations to govern the launching of operation of all organizations.

He said that before the introduction of the new rules and regulations, the government temporarily suspended the operation of the ICRC field offices but is still in contact with the ICRC.
Between 1999 and 2005, the ICRC made 453 visits to prisons and labor camps across Myanmar, according to ICRC.

Fifty customs officials arrested in new police sweep – Khun Sam

More than 60 Burmese Customs Department officials have been arrested in countrywide raids and a similar number have gone into hiding, according to border sources.

The junta issued warrants for the arrest of 114 officials, 61 of whom had been detained, the sources said. Police were searching for the others.
The latest raids follow an earlier sweep resulting in the imprisonment of about 60 customs officials and traders in Rangoon and Shan State on charges of corruption, illegal trading and tax evasion. One prominent defendant, Customs Department Director-General Col Khin Maung Lin, received a 66-year sentence.
Among those arrested in the latest police action was the Custom Department and Border Trade’s deputy director-general in the Shan State border town of Tachilek, Win Swe. A police official in Tachilek confirmed that two arrests had been made there.

Aung Kyaw Zaw, a Burmese political analysis based on the Burma-China border, said police and Special Bureau Investigation officials from Rangoon and local police had raided the Muse customs office in northern Shan State, near the Chinese border, on Monday evening.
Aung Kyaw Zaw said two officials had been arrested and around a dozen had escaped to China. One official had reportedly committed suicide.

Police sources told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday that the latest arrests were ordered by the newly appointed Customs Department Director-general, Col Hla Win, in a move to sever links with his predecessor.

The arrests follow an announcement in state-run newspaper The New Light of Myanmar on November 21 by Burma’s Ministry of Finance and Revenue, inviting members of the public to "file complaints against any misconduct" by its staff members in a drive to ensure a so-called clean administrative machinery.

In recent months several customs officials at Burmese airports, sea ports and border trade offices have been replaced. The property and assets of those convicted and jailed have been confiscated by the state.
The regime scheduled a press conference for Wednesday, at which more details of the latest arrests were expected to emerge.

Tuesday 10 October 2006

Rohingyas are not British Era Settlers

From The Rohingyas of Arakan, A F K Jilani
 The following historical facts prove that the Rohingyas are indigenous people of Arakan. "Muslims arrived and settled since last 1000 to 1200 years in Burma” (The SLORC Publication ' Thasana Yongwa Htoonkazepo’ p.65). 
            “Many Arab ships wrecked near Rambree Island of Arakan coast during the reign of Mahataing Sanda (788-810) and the crews and the traders of those ships were Muslims and they were sent to the Arakan proper and settled in villages, where the married local women.            
According to history, Islam came through the sea borne Sufis and merchants. These were testified by the darghas (shrines) which are dotted at the long coast of Arakan and Burma (British-Burma Gazetteers of 1879 page 16.) “The superior morality of those devout Muslims attracted large number of people towards Islam who embraced it enmasse” (The essential History of Burma by U Kyi P.160). 
            “In 1430 A.D. Jalaluddin Mohammad Shah, the king of Bengal, sent Gen. Wali Khan at the head of 50,000 soldiers to conquer Arakan. Wali Khan drove the Burman and took control of power over Arakan for himself, introduced Persian as the court language of Arakan and appointed Muslim judges (Qazis)”, (Bangladesh District Gazetteers P.63). 
            “Jalaluddin sent a second army under Gen. Sandi Khan who overthrew Wali Khan and restored Sulayman Shah to the throne of Arakan in 1430 A.D. From 1430 to 1638 Arakan was a Muslim state with a modern civilisation which resulted in renaissance” (Journal of Burma Research Society (JBRS) No.2. P.493).
            “From 1430 A.D. Arakan was ruled by the Muslims” (“The Arrival of Islam in Burma” by Zaya Kyaw Tin U Ba Shin P.5). “Muslim kingdom of Arakan was independent in the 14th and 15th centuries” (“Time Atlas of the World History”, edited in 1979 by Geoffrey Barraclough P.33).
            It had been reported that all the children born to the Dutch of Arakanese mothers were being brought up as Muslims (JBRS No.2 P.86).
            “The Mohammadans of Arakan were mostly the descendants of the slaves captured by Burmans and Arakanese kings in wars and were settled in Kyauktaw and Mrohaung Townships” (RB Smarts P.87).
            “In addition to the Muslim prisoners and slaves brought to Arakan from Bengal and even from North India, many more came to serve as mercenaries in the Arakanese army usually as the king's body guards” (Siddiq Khan, op Cit: P.25). 
            Dr. Than Tun, the rector of Mandalay University and professor of history wrote that "The kings of Arakan had Muslim titles, The Muslim kings mentioned in the Kyaukza (stone plates or stones tablets inscriptions of 1442) might be Rohingyas from the Mayu valley of the eastern Naf River (and the western Kaladan River) who claimed their existence of over thousand years. Their existence might be from the time of 1202 C.E. when their co-religious Muslim conquered Bengal, that is 800 years. It was written in the Kyaukza of 1442 that there were some Muslim kings of Arakan who were very friendly with the kings of Ava”. (Dr. Luce G.H., "Kyan (Chun)" Mru and Kumi (N.Arakan)," phases of pre-Pagan Burma languages and history, Oxford, SOAS, 1985-76-97). (Dr. Than Tun -Kalya Magazine - P.27-28, 1994, August). 
            In 1660 A.C. the Mogul Prince Shah Shuja fled to Arakan. This important event brought a new wave of Muslim immigrants to the kingdom of Arakan. Shah Shuja, his family members and everyone found wearing beard had been beheaded by the king of Arakan for his lust for his daughter and his wish to molest the prince's riches. 
            From 1665 to 1710 the Muslims of Arakan became the king makers of Arakan. In 1666 the Mughal army captured Chittagong and Ramu from the rule of  Maghs. During their retreat to Mrohaung the Magh army units were attacked by the local Muslims. The Maghs migrated to Mrohaung side, east of the Kaladan, and the Muslims from the east of Kaladan migrated to the Mayu valley since 1710. Thus from the Kaladan to the Naf the whole Mayu valley became a purely Muslim area. 
            In 1785 when Burmese king Bodaw conquered Arakan many people crossed to Bengal. Captain Cox settled some of them in a place, which was later known as Cox's Bazaar. 
            At the time when British conquered Arakan in 1825, half of the population of Arakan was Muslims. Some of the people who migrated to Bengal 40 years ago due to political upheaval started to return to their former homes in Arakan. Hence, the population of Arakan increase rapidly and now Muslim constitute 90% of population in north Arakan

Saturday 7 October 2006

The Ethnic Rohingyas of Arakan:Living Under the Oppressive Claws of a Tyrannical Regime in Burma

The Situation Of Rohingyas In Arakan-Burma(Myanmar)

Burmese Rohingya Association in Japan( BRAJ)

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
The Arakan State of Burma, bordering Bangladesh, is inhabited by two ethnic sister communities, the Rakhine Buddhist and the Rohingya Muslim. The Rakhine Buddhists are the majority group while the
Rohingya Muslims are minority group. The Rohingyas numbering approximately 1.5 million, enduring continued persecution and the ethnic cleansing policy of military regime in Burma. Also about 1.5
million Rohingyas have been living in exile in many countries all over the world. The Rohingyas in Burma continue to suffer from several forms of restrictions and human rights violations. The Rohingyas freedom of movement is severely restricted and right to education is harshly deprived. The Rohingyas have effectively been denied Burmese citizenship by the current SPDC military regime, although the previous democratically elected governments had recognized them as the citizens of Burma. They are also subjected to
various forms of extortion and arbitrary taxation; land confiscation , forced eviction and house destruction and restrictions on marriage. Rohingyas continue to be used as forced labors on roads and at military security camps.
Historical Background
The Rohingyas, whose settlements in Arakan dated back to 788 AD, are an ethnic group develops from different groups of people. They trace their ancestry to Arabs, Moors, Persian, Turks, Mughals, Pathans,
Bangalees, Rakhine, Chakmas, Dutch and Portuguese.Rohang / Roshang, the old name of Arakan, was very familiar with the Arab seafarers even during the pre-Islamic days. The descendants of the mixed marriage between the local people and Arabs founded the original nucleus of the Rohingyas in Arakan. The Rohingyas speak a particular language mixed primarily with words from the Urdu, Hindi and Arabic languages but also from the Bama, Rakhine and English languages. The Rohingyas preserved their own heritage and culture
even with the impact of Buddhist environment.
Historically and geo-politically, Arakan was a part of Bengal. It was separated from Burma by impassable Arakan Yoma range. Before the Burmese domination, Indo- Arian culture flourished and Indian people
settled in mass there. All early dynasties of Arakan were Indians. All historic monuments inscriptions and religious edifices were Indian in character. Here the Rohingyas are the descendants of Indo-Arian people of early Arakan. Some of them, of course mixed with the Rakhine. Until the 17th century, there were many colonies of Arab traders in Arakarn. Rohingyes got the religious of Islam through there direct contact with these Arabs.
The last dynasty of Arakan was the Mrauk Oo dynasty which ruled from 15th to 18th centaury. It was highly influenced by Muslim culture. The official language was Persian, the written language of Muslims of that time. The basis of Muslim religious faith, the kalima was inscribed on all of the coins. Almost all kings had Muslim titles. Courteous, arm forces and personnel in many other fields were almost all Muslims. So Rohingya Muslims are not migrant people as is accused today by the military government of Burma. They are natives
of that region of Burma. The colonial British census records in 1825 A.D show one Muslim for every two Buddhists in Arakan. The year 1825 is a landmark in the history of Burma. All of Burma's constitution
and citizenship acts provide indigenous status to all people who were permanently residing in Arakan or in the Union of Burma before 1825. So, above mentioned Muslims prior 1825 (before British
occupation of Burma) were counted as one of the lawfully indigenous race's of Burma. But, today the military regime is blindly denying historical reality and accusing all Rohingyas as to be Bangladeshi
illegal immigrants. It is a deliberate conspiracy on the part of military government to make Rohingyas stateless.
Until the advent of the military regime, Rohingyas have enjoyed full fledge Burmese citizenship. There have been foreigner's acts and foreigner's Registration Rules. Rohingyas were not required to register under those acts and rules. According to the Burmese Constitution's of 1947 and 1974, as well as according to 1948
Citizenship Acts, Rohingyas are Burmese citizens. Rohingyas enjoyed public employment and obtained Burmese Passport. The Rohingyas got the rights to elect and to be elected in all levels of administrative institutions including parliament.
The general elections for the Constituent Assembly was held in Arakan in 1947 (before the independence of Burma), excluding two areas of Maungdaw and Buthidaung. After independence, however, elections were held there; Mr.Sultan Ahmed and Mr. Abdul Ghaffar, both Rohingyas, were elected from those two areas. From the holding of the Constituent Assembly elections (1947) until the 1962 military takeover, three parliamentary general elections were held for both houses of Parliament in 1951, 1956, and 1960 respectively. In the 1951 general elections Rohingyas won 5 seats, four in the Lower House, and one in the Upper House. The Rohingyas had no political Party of their own. They stood either as independents or as
supporters of AFPFL. In 1956 and in the 1960 general elections Rohingya retained all their five seats of north Arakan. Rohingyas had parliamentarians, parliament secretaries, even ministerial posts. Mr.Sultan Mahmood, Ex-Parliamentary Secretary, in the British-India Legislative Assembly was inducted into the Cabinet of Former Prime Minister U Nu as a Health minister in 1961.
In 1990 SLORC sponsored multiparty general elections; however, the Rohingyas were not only able to vote but were allowed to stand as candidates, a right normally denied to non-citizens. The National Democratic Party for Human Rights (NDPHR), a Rohingya political Party, won four seats, capturing all the constituencies in Buthidaung and Maungdaw. Subsequently, the NDPHR was, like many other political parties, which won seats in the 1990 elections, deregistered by the military regime in March 1992.
Denial of Citizenship
The Rohingyas of Burma are vulnerable as they have no legal status in their homeland and are considered non-citizens. The plight of the Rohingyas demonstrate how people without citizenship rights in their own country can be forced out and become refugees, leaving them still vulnerable and without citizenship in their country of origin.The "so-called" Burma Citizenship Law of 1982, which violates several fundamental principles of customary International Law standards, has reduced the Rohingyas to the status of Statelesspeople. Although the 1982 Citizenship law is also discriminatory towards the vast majority of the Indian and Chinese populations of Burma, as the promulgation of this law took place soon after the
exodus of Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh in 1978. Once the refugees had been repatriated, this law was specifically designed effectively to deny Rohingyas the right to a nationality. The 1982 Citizenship law has had the effect of rendering the vast majority of Rohingyas ineligible to be Burma citizens. The law also makes no provision in relation to stateless persons. (i.e. Rohingyas)
The current 1982 Burma citizenship law unlike , the preceding 1948 Act, which conferred equal right on all citizens, creates three classes of citizen; full citizens, associate citizens and naturalized citizens (the Rohingya don't qualify into any of these three). The Rohingyas are not issued any new national identity cards which are issued to other citizens. The withholding of citizenship has become a mechanism for discrimination and persecution on the basis of ethnicity. ID cards are very essential in all national activities. ID cards must be carried at all times and a card number has to be given when buying, or selling anything, staying overnight
with friends or relatives outside own council area, applying for any civil service and professional post and other daily activities.
Most of the National Registration cards (NRCs) issued to the Rohingyas during the parliamentary governments or before SLORC/SPDC regime has been confiscated by the authorities. The authorities had
issued Temporary Registration Cards (TRCs) to some Rohingyas in Maungdaw and Buthidaung, locally known as "white cards" against their protest. This was nothing but a design to degrade their
national status and put them in a state of uncertainty. In the past few months the authorities in the capital Rangoon arrested and detained several Rohingyas who had been living there for more than 4
decades and got National Scrutiny cards legally. The authorities are extorting money from their family members and those who are unable to pay are sent to jail.
Restriction of Movement
Rohingyas in Arakan State must routinely apply for permission to leave their village, even if it is just to go another nearby village. This has had serious repercussions on their livelihood and food security, as they are often unable to seek employment outside their village or trade goods and produce unless they have official
permission and obtain a pass which they must pay for .Most Rohingyas cannot afford to pay on a regular basis for these permits. As two-third of the Rohingyas is poor day laborers, the restrictions on their movement also greatly affect their ability to find work in other villages or towns.The constraints on freedom of movement are one of the major problems facing Rohingyas. These restrictions prevented people from seeking work in other villages, trading, fishing or even attending a funeral of a relative or visiting a
When Rohingyas want to travel to a village in the same township they must obtain a local travel pass at the VPDC. If they need to go further, for example to another township, they need to apply for a different kind of travel permit at the Immigration department at the Nasaka camp, the so- called "form 4". It is almost impossible for Rohingyas of Maungdaw and Buthidaung to visit Sittwe, the capital city of Rakhine State (Arakan). If Rohingya from Sittwe manage to travel to north Rakhin State, it is extremely difficult for them to
return to their homes in Sittwe, let alone travel to Yangon.
Freedom of movement is fundamental human rights, upon which other human rights are contingent. Rohingyas' inability to travel freely greatly inhibits their ability to earn a living, obtain proper health care, and to seek higher education. In October 2004, over 165 Rohingya students were deprived of appearance in their supplementary examination as they were denied issuing their travel document to go to Sittwe by the authorities. The reason given was that DPDC Chairman was directed not to issue any travel documents without the knowledge of the Western Command Commander Brig.General Maung Oo based in Ann town, Arakan state. The ordinary Rohingyas can hardly think of going to Sittwe where students are sometimes allowed to travel with the special travel permission from authorities under very much humiliating conditions and by paying large sums of money.
The sweeping restrictions on the movement of Rohingyas are disproportionate and discriminatory; they are imposed on all Rohingyas because they are Rohingyas, not on members of other ethnic nationalities in Rakhine State. They are broad and indiscriminate in their application and such are unlawful. They have a severe negative impact on the lives of thousands of Rohingyas who have not committed any offence. Especially serious is the fact that these restrictions constitute, in addition, violations of other basic human rights for the Rohingyas including the right to work, and the right to an adequate standard of living. 
Forced Labor
North Arakan has turned into a militarized zone resulting in the increase of forced labor and other violations of human rights. Still forced Labor is phenomenal all over Arakan, particularly in the Rohingya areas, although under increasing pressure from ILO. The SPDC officials are extracting statements from the people that there is no forced Labor .The armed forces routinely confiscate property, cash, food and use coercive and abusive recruitment methods to procure porters.
The Rohingyas have to build, without wages, military establishments, roads, bridges, embankments, pagodas and ponds.According to an elder, the Rohingya villagers of Alay Thankyaw and Myint Hlut village tracts of Maungdaw South have been engaged in forced Labor at Na Ka Pa camp since 27th February 2005.The villagers have had to plough the farm land and grow various vegetables, to construct buildings of the camps, to carry woods from the forest to bake bricks, to clean up the camp compounds everyday, and to repair the
damaged roads and the streets nearby the camps . Besides, since January 2, 2005, the villagers have also to pay sentry guards for Na Ka Pa along the rivers and seashores from 5pm to 6am everyday.Forced labor demands from the authorities' place a large burden on the Rohingya population as it leaves them with not enough time to do their own work. The kind of forced labor that is requested and frequency differs from place to place and appears to be related to the attitude of local authorities and number of military or Na Sa Ka camps near the village. Most of the times it is the poorest who must undertake forced labor, as people who can afford it often are able to pay a bribe to the authorities.
The burden of forced labor demands from the authorities falls mainly on the Rohingya population as the Rakhine population living in the same areas appears to often be exempted from it. In Maungdaw and Buthidaung and to a lesser degree in Rathidaung township, only Rohingyas are normally required to perform forced labor .The forced labor situation has become so excruciating that the Rohingyas have been rendered jobless and shelter less. 
Land Confiscation, Forced Eviction and House Destruction.The confiscation of land in Northern Rakhine state is related to the establishment of "model villages", the construction or expansion of Na Sa Ka, military and police camps and establishing plantations for security forces and also for new settlers. Recently the process of forced eviction had been intensified by the authorities. The military regime policy of relocating Rakhine Buddhists and other non-Rohingyas to especially established model villages to Northern
Arakan state has resulted in the confiscation of land from the Rohingya population.
A model village is usually built to house about 100 families. Each family receives four acres of land, a pair of oxen and house .These model villages have been built on land that was confiscated from the Rohingya population. Houses and health centers in the model villages are built by forced labor by the Rohingya. The majority of people in model villages do not cultivate the land allocated to them and instead rent it out to Rohingya farmers, in some cases the same people from whom the land was originally confiscated. The
confiscation of land from Rohingyas to build model villages deprives them of opportunities to sustain their livelihood as these are rice field, shrimp farms grazing grounds for their cattle. Furthermore, the Rohingya population of nearby villages is often forced to build the houses and other facilities of the model villages without pay. They had to provide the building materials as well.
The building and the extension of military camps mainly for the Na Sa Ka have also led to land confiscation. Moreover the Na Sa Ka has confiscated land for commercial purposes, mainly to establish shrimp
farms but also rice fields for themselves. The Rohingya never receive compensation and are also forced to work on the same fields that were confiscated from them. Since 2002 the Na Sa Ka intensified in strictly implement land use policies and this has led to numbers of evictions of Rohingyas from their homes. Due to population growth, some families built their houses on land registered as paddy fields decades ago. Recently they have been issued with expulsion orders and forced to dismantle their homes.
The eviction process strictly implemented about two years ago. First they evicted 40 houses in a village near Maungdaw. Eighteen families protested and refused to dismantle their houses. They were arrested
and sent to Buthidaung jail. They are still there. They detained mostly the head of the family but they also jailed some women, even one pregnant woman. She gave birth inside the jail. They were not given any other place to go. These have forced the Rohingyas to become increasingly landless, internally displaced, to eventually starve them out to cross the border into Bangladesh. The right to housing is a basic right which is a fundamental component of the right to an adequate standard of living and central to the enjoyment of other human rights.

Restrictions on Marriage of Rohingyas Since the creation of Na Sa Ka in 1992, the authorities in Northern Rakhine State have forcefully introduced a regulation that the Rohingyas are required to ask for
permission to get married. This restriction is only enforced on the Muslim in this area and not on the Buddhist Rakhine population, nor any of the other ethnic minority groups living in the region. In fact, there are no written rules or procedures for the marriages of Rohingyas. All are verbal orders but they are to be followed without question. Non-compliance is resulted in heavy punishment.
In recent years, imposition of restrictions on marriage of Rohingya couple has further intensified. The marriageable age is at 18 for girls and 20-25 for boys. Marriages need to be solemnized with the consent and sometimes, in the presence of the army officers. It is near impossible for the intended couples and their guardians to observe all the formalities which include medical tests, recommendations from various administrative departments and army commanders including Na Sa Ka border security forces and other law
enforcing agencies and police.
Since 2002, the authorities had begun to demand large amounts in taxes from Rohingyas who request for permission to get married. The authorities also appear to have limited the number of permissions given each year. People have had to wait for two to three years to get permission, even after paying large sums of money, and they had to go to the Na Sa Ka camp several times for it. In general, Rohingya couples must pay a substantial amount of money to the Na Sa Ka varying from 50,000 to 300,000 Kyats. Usually the bride and groom must each pay the same amount of money. After payment, permission is not always given. This restriction especially affects poor people, who are unable to obtain such large amounts of money. In some
villages there have been no marriages at all during the last year because of this restriction. There are also consistent reports of young couples fleeing to Bangladesh because this is the only way for them to get married. Once in Bangladesh it is very difficult for them to return, as their names have often been removed from their family list by the authorities.
Arbitrary Taxation and Extortion
Rohingyas in northern Rakhine State are subjected to extortion and arbitrary taxation at the hands of the authorities. These vary from tax on collecting firewood and bamboo to fees for the registration of deaths and births in the family lists, on livestock and fruit - bearing trees, and even on football matches. The type of taxes and the amounts people have to pay appear to be applied in an arbitrary fashion and vary from place to place, depending on the local authorities.
The authorities imposed very high rate of taxation on the food grains and on various agricultural products of Rohingya including staple food, rice. In addition, shrimp tax, vegetable tax, animal or bird tax (for cows, buffalos, goats, fowl), roof tax , house-building or repair taxes, etc, are collected by force. Every Rohingya who breeds either cattle or domestic livestock has to pay certain amount for each and every item they possess. Every new born or death of the above has to be reported paying a fee.The Rohingyas have to pay taxes for everything, for cutting bamboos or woods in the jungles, fishing in the rivers and breeding animals at homesteads from December 2002. A Rohingya family has to pay kyats 1500 when a new child is born and Kyat 1000 when a member dies, to register it in their family list.
The Rohingya villagers have to pay yearly a new tree tax of Kyat 2500 per betal-nut tree and kyat 5000 per coconut tree. Na Sa Ka authorities have appointed agents for every essential item and warned the Rohingya not to sell their products directly except through such agents. They are paid prices fixed by the Na Sa Ka,
which is usually one- third of the market price.
There have been several reports of Rohingyas being arrested and accused of breaking various regulations such as having been to Bangladesh or failing to pay their taxes. If they can pay a sum of money, which varies but is often extremely high, they can be released.

Registration of Births and Deaths in Families
All Rohingya households are obliged to report any changes to the family list to the authorities for the registration of births and deaths in families. Rohingyas are forced to pay fees to the VPDC or the Na Sa Ka. The amounts people have to pay to register births and deaths are different from place to place and vary from 1000 to 8000 kyats. On some occasions people had to work for the authorities. The sale of the cattle must also be registered and paid for.
There have also been reports that since mid-2002, Rohingya pregnant women have had to register themselves in person at the nearest Na Sa Ka camp, which may be some hours walk away from their village. Women were asked to show their faces and their abdomens.

Deprivation of Right to Education
Since promulgation of new Burma Citizenship law in 1982, the Rohingya students are denied the right to education. It becomes a great problematic matter to pursue higher studies while professional courses are barred to them. Rohingya students who stood in selection tests and got formal admission in various institutions located in Rangoon and Burma proper are unable to pursue their studies as they are disallowed to travel. During recent years about 1500 students have to stop their further studies.
In October 2004, over 165 Rohingya University Students were deprived of appearance in their supplementary examination as they were denied issuing their travel documents to go to Sittwe by the authorities. The reason given was that DPDC chairman was directed not to issue any travel documents without the knowledge of the western Command Commander Brig. General Maung Oo based in Ann town, Arakan State. The ordinary Rohingya can hardly think of going to Sittwe where Rohingya Students are sometimes allowed to travel with the special travel permission from authorities under very much humiliating conditions and by paying large sums of money. Furthermore, in February 2005, the SPDC authorities had totally banned the Rohingya students from going to University in Sittwee and Yangon. Arbitrary arrest, torture and Extra- Judicial Killing

While Arakan remained totally shut from outsiders, the Burmese authorities has been carrying out a relentless torture and killing campaign in Arakan particularly against the youths without putting anyone on trail. Over 100 innocent Rohingyas have been killed during last one year in different parts of Arakan. Hundreds of Rohingyas are put behind the bar and are subjected to inhuman torture. They are also used as human shields and are forced at gun point to act as watchmen against any possible rebel attack.
The inhuman forced labor treating the Rohingyas as human cattle is on the increase. They are treated worse than slaves and are subjected to severe beatings and random killings while pottering or engaged in other works.Aftermaths of the removal of Gen.Khin Nyunt, the then Prime Minister and Military Intelligence Chief, hundreds of Rohingya businessmen have been arrested by the authorities alleging them as the collaborators of his military intelligence or corrupt Na Sa Ka officers.
On 27th January 2005, two men were killed and two others were injured by gun fire by Na Sa Ka at Inn Din Village of Maungdaw in Arakan State. The men were fired by an army of the battalion No.233, now as Na Sa Ka, while they were trying to flee from a boat in which they were loading rice, goats, and fowls in a creek of Inn Din Village and it was to be carried to Maungdaw town by sea. The dead persons were identified as Sultan Ahmed 29, son of Mr.Ali Ahmed and Mohamed Meah 27 son of Mr.Ali Abbas while Abu Taher and his sons were injured by bullets.All the dead and injured person were hailed from Inn Din village.
The Rihingya elected representative in 1990 General Elections of the NO.1. Constituency of Buthidaung Township Arakan State, U Kyaw Min (a) Mr. Mohamed Shomshul Anwarul Hoque, 55, was arrested by the authorities for unknown reason. He is an executive committee member of National Democratic Party for Human Rights (NDPHR), which is only Rohingya political party with the winner seats in 1990 General Elections. He is also a member of Committee for Representatives Peoples Parliament (CRPP). He was picked up from his Rangoon home by the Burmese military agent on 17th March 2005. Special Police agent
went to his house around midnight and told him to follow them for some questions and then he was carried away by police car. His family members do not able to trace his whereabouts.

Abuse of Rohingya Women and Elders
Rohingya women have become victims of rape, molestation and dishonor, increasingly at the hands of security forces. They are not allowed to wear hijab; their age of marriage is limited and is subjected to forcible contraception. Many Rohingya women were forcibly married by security forces and then left them away. Rohingya women are compelled to stay in camps set up by the security forces for so-called training where they are subjected to rape and dishonor. Under various pretexts, the SPDC armed forces intruded the houses of Rohingya villagers in odd times and seized and carried away the women to their camps for unholy purpose. There were many instances that women were raped in their houses before the very eyes of the children or parents.
Rohingya religious figures and elders are increasingly harassed, tortured and sometimes their beards are shaven off and are forced to issue religious decree to allow un Islamic practices.The authorities continued to discriminate against members of minority religions, restricting their educational, proselytizing and Mosque building activities. Mosque buildings are totally banned since 2000 in Arakans State while several existing Mosque and madarasa were dismantle by Na Sa Ka. The Rohingyas religious houses dismantling process is intensified recently in Arakan. In the first week of September 2004, Col. Tun Tun Oo, the commander of the Na Sa Ka sector No.6 of Maungdaw Township ordered the villagers of Zum Baina to destroy the ancient Mosque of the village. The Na Sa Ka arrested 3 members of Mosque committee for not complying the order of Na Sa Ka. The arrestees are Zahir Ahmed, 56 son of Omer Abbass, Molvi Zakaria son of Lukman Hakim and Abul Kasim 54, son of Tanda Meah on 25th September 2004. However, they were released on 2nd October after bribing Kyat 1.5 million to the concerned authorities. But the order is not withdrawn yet and the Mosque still exists. This is an ancient Mosque in the village built with concrete and roofed with tin sheets.


Frequently, the Burmese military regime launches drive operations, create communal riots, and make forced relocations to sweep of the Rohingya population. With a view to controlling the birth rate of the Rohingya, the women were pushed infertility injection by coercion. At the time of marriage, the bridge has to undertake that he will never do second marriage. But other minority groups are exempted from these procedures. In Burma birth control is officially discouraged and abortion is punishable offence. Yet SPDC is forcibly applying this abhorrent method on Rohingya alone. Now the married couples are strongly warned not to produce more then 3 children.

The Forgotten Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh

The Roingyas have faced continuing persecution by the military government in Burma and have escaped to Bangladesh in large numbers, with the biggest influx in 1991-1992 when about 270000 of them crossed the border. Although many of these refugees have since then been repatriated to Burma under the supervision of UNHCR, there are still about 20000 refugees living in two camps in southern Bangladesh. The refugees are completely dependent on UN and aid agencies for food. In addition, an estimated 100,000 Rohingyas are living illegally in Bangladesh without access to protection or humanitarian assistance. Since economic opportunities in Bangladesh are limited, the Rohingya outside of camps are not living in Bangladesh for economic security, rather they are fleeing a history of persecution and human rights abuses in their hearths and homes by the Burmese government.
At first the Government of Bangladesh was welcoming towards the Rohingyas and made efforts to accommodate them. In recent years, however, it has pushed for all refugees to be sent back to Burma and
has rejected any possibility of local reintegration for them. Recently, the Government of Bangladesh, in order to improve economic relations with Burmese military regime, has declared that the remaining Rohingya refugees in the camps should be repatriated by any mean. Meanwhile the military Government of Burma has not cleared most of the refugees in the two camps for return and accuses them of having contact with insurgents. The Burmese military regime has created a complicated system of bureaucratic conditions and
procedures which make it very difficult for refugees to be cleared and repatriated. Even though the Government of Bangladesh wants the refugees to leave, there is a very slow rate of repatriation.
The refugees who eventually make it to Burma find conditions there as bad as before, with restrictions on movement, forced labor, violence and intimidation. They often have no choice but to reenter Bangladesh. In last six months, over 1000 of those who have been sent back to Burma have returned to Bangladesh. 
Conclusion and Appeal
Widespread violations of basic human rights against Rohingyas population in Burma continue unabated at the hand of Burmese military regime despite the presence of UNHCR officials. These rights abuses are carried out severely in places not out of the sight of UNHCR, but misleading and false propaganda are often
circulated to conceal the truth. One cheap propaganda is that the Rohingyas are leaving Arakan for economic reasons. But the truth is never spoken. In fact, there is no security of life, property, honor, and dignity of the Rohingya. Extra-judicial killing and summary executions, rape of women, arbitrary arrest and tortures, forced labor, force relocation, confiscation of moveable and immovable properties, religious sacrileges etc are regular occurrences in Arakan.
Severe poverty, unemployment, lack of education and official discrimination affecting mainly the youths and work force. The future of the community seems to be bleak. The exodus of Rohingya into the Bangladesh is in cyclic order and is recurring again and again. Any democratic changes in the country are expected to be a
breathing space for the Rohingya but not solution to their problems as the democratic leaders and opposition forces of the country are ambivalent towards Rohingya and are not accommodating to them on democratic principles.


To solve the Rohingya problem once and for all it needs a viable political solution without which the Rohingyas will continue to be battered over again and their problem will never end. To this fact "Burmese Rohingya Association in Japan (BRAJ)" invites the attention of the international community. The United Nations and international community may be apprised that the ruling Burmese military SPDC is a regime characterized by brutality, and is bent on exterminating the Rohingya people from Arakan by using of force,
distorting their history, spreading malicious propaganda, perpetrating genocide and grave human rights abuses against them. Appeal to the International Community

Burmese Rohingya Association in Japan (BRAJ) appeal to the international community for the following.
To explore a permanent solution to the outstanding Rohingya problem within the frame work of international law, pacts, human rights and other international practices;
To pressurize SPDC to nullify Burma citizenship law 1982 in order to bring them into line with international standards and recognize the Rohingya people of Arakan as one of the indigenous nationalities and therefore, natural citizens of Burma;
To urge SPDC to give and guarantee the Rohingyas all their due rights at par with other national groups of the country;
To urge SPDC to put an end travel bans currently imposed on Rohingyas in Arakan State;
To pressurize SPDC to fully cooperate with the ILO with regard to the total elimination of forced labor;
To continue assistance to the Rohingyas refugees in Bangladeshi camps and elsewhere for their basic necessities. Those governments, notably the United States, Japan, European Union countries, which
have contributed funds to the Rohingya refugee and repatriation programmed, should encourage Bangladesh to continue allow refugees to enjoy asylum.
The international community must step up efforts to ensure that the human rights situation in Burma is improved and conditions are created under which the Rohingyas could voluntarily return in safety
and dignity
Coordinated pressure must be applied with Western and Asian governments working together through the United Nations Secretary General's office in carrying out his mandate to ensure the implementation of the General Assembly resolutions on Burma and the work of the UN special Reporter to Burma, with particular attention to the call for Burma to end forced labor and to amend it citizenship law.
Ensure that UNHCR is adequately resourced to give priority and effect to its mandate in relation to persons who have been rendered effectively stateless in Burma.
Ensure that the UNHCR should continue to press for measures to ensure that any return of Rohingya refugees in voluntary as well as for access to those arriving in Bangladesh from Burma. In order to allow refugees to make an informed decision about whether or not to return, the UNHCR must regularly provide detailed and objective information on the situation in Arakan including information concerning human rights violation.
To urge SPDC to stop all kinds of human rights abuses and release all political prisoners including recently detained prominent Rohingya political leader U Kyaw Min and politicians implicated in false crime cases in Arakan and in all Burma.
To mount effective pressure on the SPDC for the initiation of the meaningful "Tripartite Dialogue" with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the NLD and representative of the non-Burma ethnic nationalities including Rohingyas of Arakan.

Burmese Rohingya Association in Japan( BRAJ)
e: mail: brajtokyo@yahoo.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Thursday 7 September 2006

Chittagong a Part of Rohang (Arakan)

Source from BD, 14 Nov 2005
written by Mohammad Sadek and Enayet Ullah (Thailand)

It is really dramatic that the Chittagong has fallen under the part of bagnaldesh which was always a part of Rohang (Arakan) for centuries.
Though it under the rule of Bangladesh; not under the rule of Bengal as Bengal covers the area unto Calcutta, a part of India. But, the impression over the people of Chittagong (ancient Islamabad) or Chatia has become to be Bengali under the policy of Bengalization, folding the people of Chittagong into one with other parts of Bangladesh.
Vast majority people of Chittagong are the Roi or Rohingya whgo were never ruled by Bengal and thus a small numbers of Chati or Chittagonian people has go down under the domination of Rohingya. They used to communicate in Rohingya dialect among each other, which is presently known as Chittagongian dialect.
History is evidence that the Rohang (Arakan) kingdom was the most familiar at all over the world from which the rule of peaceful co-existence was practiced there. The Rohingya are peace-loving, they have been living together with Rakhaing (locally known as Magh) and other nationalities of the Rohang (Arakan) and ruled the land for centuries.

But, some Rakhaing people do not want to accept or acknowledge the realistic history with their racism and communalism that harm on the humanity. They don’t want to be identified as Magh that may prove their origin of being from Magadah (Bihar) State of India and their lawlessness for whom a familiar saying is present as “Magher Mulluk” (country of lawlessness) that indicates to Rakhaing people directly.
As a result, the then influential Rakhaing leader Ngathandi appealed to the then Burman King Bodapaya to occupy the Arakan and to be the King of that land, which was succeeded in 1784 but he gained to be the Governor only. Later, the entire people of Arakan have fallen into the suffering of their miseries, which has been still existed unto present day.

The Burmese colonialist and Rakhaing communalist and racist have taken initiative to divert the name of Rohang and to divide the state into two parts. During that time, the British Empire occupied the India up to Burma’s east border and when the British Empire was awarding independent to the people, these in-humanists approached to them to apart the Arakan based on religious majority which was also a policy of the British Empire. So that, the Arakan fall into two parts such like apart in Burma and the other in Pakistan, likewise, the Bengal in Pakistan and in India, Kashmir in India and Pakistan, Panjab in Pakistan and India, Afganistan in Pakistan and Soviet Russia etc.

However, the origin and reality are undeniable and the issue shall arise in a day, when the people get free from colinialization and fall under the history of sufferings. As an example, today, the Rohingyas are the sufferers of the Stateless, though their land Arakan ancient name “Rohang” is being exist in both Burma and Bangladesh. They are neither accepted by Burma nor Bangladesh. Burma accuses of being Bangladeshis or Bengalis and Bangladesh accuses of being Burmese. They are neither Bengalis or Bangladeshis nor Burmese in the present days but they are “Rohingya” the people of Rohang or “Arakanese” the people of Arakan. They have their distinct identity in culture, religion, history and heritage etc.

Therefore, it would note that the governments of both Burma and Bangladesh must recognize the Rohingya as their indigenous ethnic groups as these governments are enjoying the benefits of the Rohinagys’ land that they rule for centuries. Otherwise, these countries must advocate their issues to the international community including the United Nations, European Union, OIC, Arab League, ASEAN, SAARC and etc. to make space for these unfortunate Rohingya to settle them there and to eradicate the problems of statelessness.
As Burma is ruled by the military dictator, involved in gross human rights violations, the international community would put pressure on the regime for the democratic reforms to award ability to advocate the people issues, rather than making worst.

Despite being democratic country, the Bangladesh authorities are deliberately ignoring the issue of the human rights of the “Rohingya” and oppressing them by various means who are already vulnerable and fighting for hand-to-mouth survival in condition of emerging crisis of hunger and poverty.

So, the Rohingya people would like to remind to those communalist and colonialist of Arakan and Burma to stop all sort of maltreatments against the Rohingya including Bengali accusation, discrimination, hatred policy, rape, torture, forced relocation, forced eviction, taxation, confiscation of their land, new Buddhist settlement, restriction on their travels, restriction on marriage, anti-Rohingya propagandas, arbitrary arrest, imprisonment and extra judicial killings etc.

Though the Rohingya are sufferers in the present day, their fate may be changed in a day likewise the Israelis were the sufferers in the hands of Palestinians but now the Palestinians are the sufferers in the hands of Israelis. I don’t mean that the situation of Arakan will lead into such atmosphere but the humanity would be existed at all conditions and all times.

Lastly everyone should be realize the matter of the name of the people and its derivations like the people of Singapore are called Singaporean, Malaysia – Malaysian, Cambodia – Cambodian, Burma – Burmese, Bangladesh –Bangladeshi, Bengal- Bengali, Chittagong- Chittagonian, Arakan –Arakanese or Rohang –Rohingya. The ancient name of Arakan was Rohing and Chittagong was never a part of Bengal but with Rohang. So that the people of Chittagong may be included in Rohingya rather then Bengali, they are also Bangladeshis as it is presently situated in Bangladesh. Similarly, the Rohingya would have rights to be the citizenship in both countries of Burma and Bangladesh as their distinct identity is rightly protected and culture and heritages are rightly preserved. Ð

Writers are Rohingya activists, fighting for their due rights that lost after the occupation of their ancestral homeland “Rohang” (Arakan) in 1784.

Sunday 1 January 2006

List of Rohingya Refugees Detained for Seeking Refuge in Malaysia

Compiled by Admin, 1 Jan 2006

Note: we have also recorded the below listed people' horrible experiences and given consent to release part of their letter that submitted to concern quarters..