Tuesday 23 December 2008

Burma One of the Worst Crises in the World: MSF

Source from Irrawaddy news, 22 Dec 2008

Military-ruled Burma is hosting one of the world’s worst humanitarian and medical emergencies, alongside the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Iraq, Sudan and Pakistan, according to a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) report on Monday.

But whereas massive forced civilian displacements, violence and unmet medical needs were identified as causes of crises in many nations, MSF singled out Burma and Zimbabwe as having humanitarian emergencies in 2008 due to government neglect.

In its annual list of “Top Ten” humanitarian crises, the Geneva-based organization, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999, stated: “In places such as Myanmar [Burma] and Zimbabwe—where governments fail to make health care a priority or view NGO interventions with suspicion—humanitarian organizations are either limited in the type of assistance they can provide or are left to deal with overwhelming health crises on their own.”
MSF added that hundreds of thousands of people in Burma are needlessly dying due to a severe lack of HIV/AIDS treatment as the Burmese government “does far too little to help its own people.”

The organization reported two specific humanitarian disasters in the country which it termed “critical”—the Cyclone Nargis disaster, which killed an estimated 130,000 people, and the HIV/AIDS problem, which was responsible for around 25,000 Burmese lives in 2007 alone.

“Governed by a military regime since 1962 and enduring low-intensity conflict in certain areas, the disaster was the latest blow to a people largely forgotten by the outside world,” MSF stated.

“Sadly the struggle to get an appropriate level of assistance for Myanmar’s most vulnerable people is one that extends throughout the country,” it added.
MSF said an estimated 75,000 people in Burma urgently need antiretroviral therapy to treat HIV/ AIDS, but less than 20 percent of those can get access to it.

Wednesday 3 December 2008

Burmese Rohingya Refugees Submit A Memo At UNHCR-Malaysia

By NDPHR(exile),

Today morning 10am (Malaysiam local time), Rohingya refugees about 1000 from various areas (including women and children), approached for peaceful assembly in front of UNHCR office and submitted a memorandum to UNHCR office in Malaysia. 
Some who had arrived early and separated groups were forced to leave from near UNHCR area, and the others were not allowed to involved in peaceful assembly. Then, one of the bus with sixty refugees from five buses was forced to drive throughly to Brick-field Police station KL. 

The refugees marching to 1Km far UNHCR office as their buses were not allowed to drive
About sixty refugees who were lifted by bus to Brick-field police station, were released at 12:00pm after taken statement for clearance. 
According to the sources, it's UNHCR's plan to foil the freedom of expression, movement and the right to seek, instead of attention over our claimants and which made on the situation.

However, the rest from four buses and the others were came out together, about 400 and read out the two pages of memorandum by Mr. Habib at where they were stopped by police forces near UNHCR office. 
After that, the memorandum was received by UNHCR’s head of security officer Mr. Ibrahim. He also replied that he will passed to his chief officer.

receiving memo by UNHCR's head of security officer Mr. Ibrahim (right side of the white man, from center)
Receiving memo by UNHCR's head of security officer Mr.Ibrahim (right side of the white man, from center)

In the memorandum;
Date: December 03, 2008

We, on behalf of Burmese Rohingya refugees in Malaysia, would like to express our firm stand to ensure the basic and fundamental rights of Rohingya refugees in order to find permanent solution to their long standing problem.

It is well known to the world that the Rohingyas are the worst victim of human rights violations. They are educationally back warded, politically liquidated, culturally assimilated, racially discriminated, ethnically exterminated and religiously persecuted.

Tens of thousands of Rohingya were forced to scatter in various parts of the world through the ethnic cleansing pogrom of Burmese military rulers.

Parts of them have managed to reach Southeast Asian region, particularly in Thailand and Malaysia which is the allied countries of military ruled Burma. These countries are the main supporters of Burmese military together with Singapore, China and Russia in order to keep strong relation for the betterment of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and to achieve the goals of its allied member states.

With a view to achieve democratization in Burma, the state members of ASEAN have yet to give priority towards the will of the people.

Despite taking proactive step to find permanent solution for the Rohingya refugees¢ plights, the staffs of the UNHCR in Malaysia have been involved in gross human rights violation, practicing discriminatory role over refugee status determination, registration, resettlement, protection, assistance and etc that by virtue of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), 1951 Convention on the status of refugees and its 1967 protocol.

However, we have great expectation that UNHCR shall wake up by this call to sweep all those highhanded staffs from UNHCR office without further delay in order to prove the loyalty of UN Refugees Agency and to show her firm commitment on the implementation of the UDHR and Refugees Conventions.

We hope that the member states of the United Nations and signatory countries to refugee convention and its additional protocols will get accurate information in order to come forward for taking to measure to resettle the Rohingya refugees in respective countries. It will also help and in eradication of violation the roles of UN member states and parties to international instruments.

We are deeply shocked for unawareness of the matter and allowing the agency staffs for continuous human rights abuses, by means of marginalization, isolation, autocratic influence and deprivation of fundamental human rights of refugees.

According to Burmese democratic dissidents, the agency is giving priority towards the causes of ethnic minorities of Burma, ignoring the matter of ethnic Rohingya minority and pro-democracy activists who are the worst victims of human rights abuses not only in Burma but also in the whole region. This mode is life evidence that the UN Refugee Agency in Malaysia follows the policy of Burmese military rulers towards ethnic cleansing and instigating problems among the Burmese people.

However, we have been trying our level best to have a constructive discussion between UNHCR official and refugees communities, sending letters to UNHCR office. The agency is maintaining silence and ignoring the cries of refugees and asylum seekers. Besides, the agency staffs have threatened refugee representatives with fabricated accusations which may be considered as leading to conspiracy to foil refugee rights movements and to harass refugees as well.

By this peaceful assembly, we call upon the UNHCR that:-

1.       To provide adequate protection for Rohingya refugees in Malaysia in order to find permanent solution like non-Rohingya refugees who were recognized by the agency;

2.       To regularize Registration, Refugee Status Determination (RSD) and Resettlement (RST) process for Rohingya refugees without further delay;

3.       To declare the full refugee status of Rohingya refugees who are registered with UNHCR and holding UNHCR TP Card and to issue the card as equal as non-Rohingya Burmese refugees, removing sophisticated word (bin) from the card;

4.       To improve respect and implementation of basic human rights for the Rohingya refugees, providing foods, shelter, clothes, medication, protection, financial assistance and education as soon as possible as they are very vulnerable and desperate, which should be continued till their resettlement in a third country;

5.       To put an end to unethical, inaccurate and undue representation by the various quarters and eliminate improper sources providing, illogical exampling, undocumented responding and telephone threat to refugees, while eradicating the doubtful under table payments for UNHCR facilities;

6.       To uphold an international campaign for the Rohingya refugees in Malaysia and to produce particular report on them in order to advocate the causes of forgotten Rohingya refugees and to find durable solution for them.

7.       To bring the issue of Rohingya refugees before the United Nations Meeting as the Rohingyas are the deserving refugees for equal treatment of UNHCR in Malaysia and in need of resettlement in third countries which is warranted by the situation here.

8.       To end the step of salvation in this modern world through finding solution of Rohingya refugees problem and concluding their illegal status in countries of non-signatories to refugees instruments.

9.       To immediately take steps to cause and effect release of Rohingya refugee detainees from detention centers who have been undergoing changes of victimization such as being sold to human traffickers, smugglers, modern slavery in fishing boats, plantations and other sectors;

10.     To immediately bring an end of UNHCR assistances towards Burmese military regime and its collaborators through registering, protecting and resettling them to third country under so-called prioritization for ethnic community as they persecute Rohingya people in Burma and conspire in exile.

In the light of the above circumstances, we hope that UNHCR would be able to understand our position in order to support our rightful struggle to ensure the rights of Rohingya refugees like others in Malaysia. Any proactive intervention, support or assistance and deliberation pertaining to this memorandum and the contents towards human rights and refugee rights activities would be highly appreciated.

Thank you,

Contact Person: Habibur Rahman, Tel: 0122595185

Copy to
1. Host Government (Malaysia)
2. All Concerned Diplomatic Missions
3. INGOs
4. Local NGOs