Friday 20 November 2009

Junta Confiscates Land in Arakan State

Irrawaddy news, Nov 18, 2009,

About 50 traditional hand-dug oil wells and 10 acres of land were confiscated on Nov. 14 by the Burmese authorities in Kyuakphyu Township in Arakan State in western Burma, according to local sources.
The sources told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday that the landowners are afraid they will not receive any compensation from the Burmese authorities. Police in Kyuakphyu Township told them that the order to confiscate property came from Naypyidaw.

Maung Phyu, one of the landowners, said: “They came with guns to confiscate our property. We couldn’t say anything to them. This property is our legacy. We rely on it. We’ve lost it now, and we have no jobs.”
Land confiscation by the government is a common practice in Arakan State, according to the Arakan Rivers Network (ARN) based in Thailand.

An ARN report, “Holding Our Land,” published in February, said that 53,000 acres of land in Arakan State have been confiscated. Most of the property involved oil wells.
One Korean and two Chinese oil companies operate in Arakan State: China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC), the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS).

Local sources said they believed the confiscated land will be given to CNOOC to explore for oil on the site.
The oil companies and local landowners are often in business conflicts because oil companies promise to pay compensation after they take over land, but they don’t pay fair prices, according to the Arakan Oil Watch (AOW)  based in Thailand.

Tun Thar Aung, a Burmese migrant in Mae Sot, told The Irrawaddy his land was confiscated by CNOOC. The company told him to sign a contract and it promised to pay compensation, he said, but no payment was ever made.

Land confiscation has increased in Arakan State since 2007 when authorities evicted many landowners in Kyuakphyu Township, according to AOW.  About 70 villagers fled to Thailand and Malaysia after protests were made against CNOOC.

Arakan rights activists said the oil and gas projects in Arakan State have not benefited landowners or villagers, and the companies violate human rights and cause environment damage.

Meanwhile, CNPC announced on Nov. 3 that it had begun construction on the gas pipeline which will run through Burma into Yunnan Province in China. The Burmese government has agreed to sell gas to China in a contract that will provide up to US $30 billion to the Burmese government.

Saturday 31 October 2009

INGO Office Attacked after Arakanese Nurse Harassed

 Irrawaddy news, 30 Oct 2009

Following an incident with a female staffer, 500 Arakanese surrounded the local office of the French international non-governmental organization Aide Médicale Internationale (AMI) and attacked its office and vehicles in Buthidaung Township in Arakan State in Western Burma on Wednesday, according to local sources.
“A Muslim officer working for AMI harassed a female Arakanese staff nurse, who reported the accident to authorities,” said a source in the township who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“When the police went to arrest him, AMI refused to hand him over. Incensed Arakanese youths who had gathered outside then attacked the office and AMI vehicles,” the source said.
“Youths threw stones at the AMI office,” an eye-witness said. “AMI vehicles were destroyed and electricity to the building was cut off.”

The two-hour attack took place on Wednesday evening, although the quarrel between the two staffers happened earlier in the afternoon and ended when security forces arrived, NGO sources in Buthidaung said.
Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Friday, a staffer for AMI’s country office in Rangoon said they had discussed a report from their Buthidaung office.

“The situation has returned to normal and was not as bad as first reported,” the AMI staffer said, adding that authorities had ordered NGO staff not to talk to the media about the incident.
AMI provide medicine to local people in the Buthidaung-Maungdaw area, the staffer said. Along with foreign staff, Arakanese and Rohingya Muslims work together at the INGO.

On Friday afternoon, NGOs and UN agencies operating in Burma held a meeting to discuss the incident at the office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Rangoon.
Following the incident, the army in Budthidaung Township had to calm the situation. The Rohingya NGO staffer was detained, local sources reported.

When contacted by The Irrawaddy, an officer at Rangoon Police Headquarters declined to comment, saying he did not know anything about the incident.
The Buthidaung-Maungdaw area is historically sensitive. Bloody riots between Arakanese and Muslim Rohingyas have periodically broken out since British colonial times. Rumors of Muslim men raping Arakanese women have sparked race riots.

In the 1990s, the Burmese military junta launched a military offensive against the Muslim minority in the area, causing hundreds of thousands of refugees to flee into Bangladesh.
The junta and some scholars disagree about the use of the term Rohingya for the Muslim minority in Arakan State, saying that these people were originally “Bengali.”

Wednesday 28 October 2009

Rohingya forced to build fence

Aljazeera news, By Nicolas Haque on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border

On Myanmar’s side of the Naf River that marks border with Bangladesh, labourers are hard at work building a fence that will prevent them fleeing persecution.
They will not be paid for their work. Instead the men, who come from the persecuted Rohingya ethnic group, have been coerced into erecting the 230km long fence by the threat of violence against their families.
The Rohingyas are a distinct ethnic group from Myanmar’s Rakhine State. The authorities in Yangon have refused to recognise them as citizens and they have been persecuted for their cultural difference and practice of Islam.

For many, life in Myanmar has become so difficult that they have fled across the border to Bangladesh. Over the past year 12,000 Rohingyas have been caught crossing the border illegally.
Now they are being forced to build a fence to prevent such escapes. 
“The Myanmar army have forced all of the men living in the villages on the border to work on the fence,” a worker involved in the construction says. “Most of them are Rohingyas. If we don’t do as they say they beat us and our families.”

So far they have fenced off 70km of border in what experts believe is an attempt by Yangon to increase control of the lucrative smuggling trade that flourishes in the area.
“Illegal trade between Myanmar and Bangladesh has formerly been in favour of Bangladesh, but this will change now,”explains Professor Imtiaz Ahmed, from Dhaka University. “The country that controls the barriers between borders can also assert greater control over the illegal trade.”

Disputed border
Refugee special
 UN: ‘wars displace record numbers’
 Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees
Bangladesh and Myanmar have never agreed on their borders, and an ongoing dispute over where their maritime frontiers lie has seen tension rise along the Naf river.
The contested maritime border involves a patch of sea believed to contain valuable oil and gas. Control of these waters could make either country very rich, and experts say that diplomatic relations between the two countries has deteriorated as a result of the dispute.

“The tension was heightened last November when the Myanmar Navy came in to put a rig in what Bangladesh claims, rightly, to be our own territorial water,” says Retired Major General ANM Muniruzzaman, from the Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies.
“Eventually the Bangladeshi diplomatic efforts diffused the situation, and the Myanmar navy rig went back, but the Myanmar government has consistently told Bangladesh that this is their water, and that they will come back. When that happens, perhaps the Myanmar government wants to put a dual pressure on Bangladesh, not only from the sea but also from the land border.”

That process may have already started. Myanmar has deployed 50,000 men to the border with Bangladesh, and in the past month alone, Dhaka has responded by sending an additional 3000 troops to the area in a manoeuvre codenamed “Operation Fortress.”

Officially, the Bangladeshi government denies there is tension along the border. The troops say they are there to monitor and stop the illegal trafficking of goods and people.
But the soldiers know that relations between the two countries are strained.    
“We have a border through which we can observe the other side of the river. Our troops morale is very high, under any circumstances we are ready to protect the integrity and sovereignty of our country,” says Lieutenant Colonel Mozammel, commanding officer of Border Guards Bangladesh in Teknaf.

Unregistered refugees
Many Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh 
Meanwhile, the horrific conditions faced by the Rohingyas in Myanmar are prompting thousands to flee to Bangladesh.
Malika is one of those who crossed the Naf river illegally. Her feet are swollen from the three-day walk to escape Yangon’s soldiers.
She says she suffered horrific abuse there and had no choice but to leave.
“I couldn’t stay there, the soldiers raped me over and over again,” she says. ”The Myanmar army do not consider us as humans.”
But once in Bangladesh, the refugees face new problems. Of more than 400,000 Rohingyas believed to have slipped across the border into Bangladesh, just 26,000 have been offically recognised as refugees by the Bangladeshi government and the United Nations.
The authorities refuse to feed and house the rest.

Even the handful of NGOs working here are not allowed to provide food or medical aid or education facilities to unregistered Rohingyas because the government fears that this would spark tensions between poor local villagers and the new arrivals.
Fadlullah Wilmot, the director of Muslim Aid in Bangladesh, explains: “More than 44 per cent of the population in this area are ultra poor, that means that their daily income only provides their basic food needs. The literacy rate is about 10 per cent. The wage rate is low, so of course there are tensions.”

In limbo
In 1992, the Bangladeshi government, under the supervision of UNHCR, organised the forced repatration of 250,000 Rohingyas on the basis that the refugees would be given citizenship by the Myanmar authorities. That promise was never kept.
Professor Ahmad believes the refugees are trapped between a rock and a hard place.
“Myanmar’s position is they do not recognise them as citizens, they are stateless within Myanmar, and they are also stateless when they come to Bangladesh,” he says.
“No-one wants us. This is humiliating.” Rohingya refugee in Bangladesh
“If you build the fence now Myanmar will probably say it is ready to take the 26,000 legal refugees from the camp but not the unregistered because they don’t know who they are.”
Trapped in limbo between two countries that don’t want them, the Rohingyas have become a bargaining chip for both Bangladesh and Myanmar as they try to settle their border dispute.

In Bangladesh’s refugee camps, frustration and anger are rife amongst the beleagured minority.
“We cannot work. Our children can’t go to school. Our wives aren’t allowed to see doctors,” one man says. “We cannot receive any food aid. No one wants us. This is humiliating, we have no arms, but we are ready to fight and to blow ourselves up. People need to know that we exist.”

Wednesday 21 October 2009


Source from thaingo, 19 Oct 2009

In the Name of Allah The Most Beneficient and Most Merciful .
On the specific plight of the Rohingyas as well as the people of Myanmar as whole, the governments of Myanmar and ASEAN are called upon to ensure
On the specific plight of the Muslims of South Thailand and all Thais as a whole, the governments of Thailand and ASEAN are called upon to ensure:
On the specific plight of the Bangsamoro of Mindanao, the governments of the Philippines and ASEAN are called upon to ensure:
On our part as NGOs, we undertake to:
Endorsed by :
Bangkok Declaration
Islamic Center, Bangkok, Thailand
October 16th 2009

1. Nusantara Initiatives for Justice and Peace
2. Citizens International, Malaysia
3. TERAS, Malaysia
4. Secretariat for the Ulama Assembly of ASIA ( SHURA)
5. Muslim Care Malaysia
6. International Islamic Strategic Studies
7. Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia
8. Ulama Association Of Malaysia
9. Muhammadiyyah International
10. Ikatan Ilmuan Nasional, Malaysia
11. Muslimah Action Council Of Malaysia
12. Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand (BRAT)
13. United Islamic Rohingya Organization for Development
14. International Students Network
15. Young Muslims Association of Thailand
16. Persatuan Ulama Kedah, Malaysia
17. Pusat Advokasi Hukum dan Hak Asasi Manusia (Paham), Indonesia
18. Centre for Indonesian Reform (CIR)
19. Yayasan Generasi Baru Nusantara
20. World Assembly of Muslim Youth (Thailand Office)
21. Thai Muslim Students' Association, TMSA.
22. Deep South Women's Network for Peace
23. Council of Muslim Organizations of Thailand
24. Students' Federation of Southern Thailand
25. Rohingya Human Rights Association in Thailand
26. Muslim Students' Federation of Thailand
27. Islamic Culture Foundation of Southern Thailand
28. As-Salam Institute, Yala Islamic University
29. Muslim Group for Peace (Thailand)
30. Yala Muslim Community Radio Network
31. Muslim Attorneys Centre, Thailand (MAC)
32. Thai Islamic Medical Association (TIMA)
33. Students Federation of Thailand
34. Students' Network for Protecting People
35. Pencerdasan Ummat, Malaysia (Wadah)
36. Muslim Patani Association
37. Aman News Network, Thailand
38. Muslims Association of Krabi, Thailand
39. Association of Research and Development for Consumer Protection (Thailand)
40. Halal Consumer Protection Association of Thailand (HACPA)
41. Muslimah Sisterhood of Indonesia (SALIMAH)
42. Cross Cultural Foundation
43. Islamic Centre of Thailand
44. Muslim Relations Association of Krabi
45. Peoples' Empowerment (Thailand)
take the lead in bringing about a greater understanding among our people and governments, and international organisations about the conflicts and the threat they pose for peace, security and development in the region;
to address the gross violation of human rights, seek remedies for all victims and press for the provision of adequate legal and administrative protection against human rights violations;
deliberate and adopt ways to empower the people through the improvement of their socio-economic conditions;
engage ASEAN and convince the member states to be wary of any military alliance with hegemons and to seriously pursue the goal of making Southeast Asia a zone of peace, freedom and neutrality, free from foreign interference;
to establish a strong network of NGOs in the ASEAN region linked to NGOs in other parts of the world, particularly in the U.S and the European Union, that share the same strategic vision and goals and that will closely cooperate towards the above aims;
to formulate and put in place a plan of action through the set up of a regional secretariat to oversee, coordinate all the above activities and evaluate the progress.
the resolution of the Mindanao conflict by addressing the root causes of injustice, colonization, poverty, underdevelopment, displacement and the illegal encroachment of Bangsamoro territory
that the Moro peoples? right to self-determination be undertaken as a distinct and independent/autonomous entity as provided for by many international treaties, such as the UN Covenant on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of 1994;
the support of peaceful avenues towards attaining and achieving that right, including through the support for the full implementation of the MNLF-GRP 1996 agreement and the ongoing peace process between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front
that past injustices in the form of land seizures and colonial settlements be redressed through the formulation of a comprehensive, balanced and just agreement - that does justice to the past as well as current situation - on ancestral lands through consultation and consensus with all stakeholders
that the Bangsamoro exercise control over their territories, including on the form and nature of the utilization, preservation and protection of natural resources to benefit the present and future generations;
that the Bangsamoro are supported in the development and establishment of an effective and constructive system of education and training that is accessible to all, young and old, and that preserves and promotes the positive aspects of their cultural heritage, traditions and history of the Bangsamoro people shall be maintained;
the guarantee of freedom of movement and speech that is just and true to the traditions and aspirations of the Bangsamoro;
the rights of all vulnerable groups, such as women, children and the disabled and elderly are, in all aspects, protected, defended and promoted and that the violation of these rights are punished to the full extent of the law;
the establishment of an economic system of economic and financial resources administration and management that is inspired by the Bangsamoro heritage and aspirations
the end of the Emergency Decree, Martial Law and any other laws which can lead to the abuse and unfair persecution of the Muslims of South Thailand and that the people of South Thailand enjoy the basic human rights guaranteed by the Constitution of Thailand.
the end to all enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrest, torture, extortion and harassment, including sexual harassment
punishment of those responsible for the commission of any of the above crimes
the end of the persecution, injustices and the culture and system of impunity put in place as part of the suppression in South Thailand;
all paramilitary or volunteer civilian 'defense' groups are disarmed in Yala, Narthiwat, Patani, Satun and some districts of Songkla as these have worsened the violence and created distrust between and among the local communities;
the full recognition to all Rohingyas and other peoples of Myanmar the right to citizenship as nationals of their country
freedom of worship and the building/rebuilding and maintenance of all mosques, temples, churches and other religious institutions;
equal access to education and vocational training;
the end to all enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrest, torture, rape, arbitrary taxation, extortion, forced slave labour and harassment
punishment, in the case of the commission of any of the above
freedom of movement;
freedom of matrimony and lift restrictions against marriages;
the end to illegal evictions, destruction of houses and confiscation of properties;
that all of Myanmar's peoples who are either internally displaced or living abroad as refugees who seek to return to their homelands are accepted and guaranteed their safety and dignity;
the opening of humanitarian space in Myanmar and the support of the humanitarian efforts by United Nations and non-governmental organisations there; and
the free and fair conduct of elections in 2010.

WE, the activists and members of the NGOs of the ASEAN region from member organizations of the Nusantara Initiative for Justice and Peace (NADI), on the occasion of the ASEAN NGO Summit in Bangkok,Thailand on the October, 16th 2009,

Remembering the tragic histories of the peoples of Myanmar, Southernmost Thailand and Mindanao and the lessons they offer to the present generations;

Reaffirming ASEAN as a regional initiative for multilateral co-orperation and mutual development;

of the need for the encouragement of a people-to-people initiative for justice and peace within the Southeast Asian region;

all Heads of State/Government on the commitments declared in the 41st AMM 17 - 24 July 2008 in Singapore, on their obligations to the people in undertaking concrete and practical cooperation to address issues of common interests and with the view to build capacity, develop expertise and enhance coordination in areas that can contribute to the region's collective security objectives;

Reiterating the need to build an ASEAN Community that is socially just, economically sustainable, culturally rooted and vibrant, environmentally sensitive and politically stable;

that regional progress for peace and justice must be framed within the socio-economic needs and traditional and cultural roots of the people;

Affirming that all conflicts must be addressed through peaceful means on the basis of truth, justice and the rights of the people;

Condemning the high-handed military escalations and operations undertaken by many of our governments under the pretext of combating terrorism, separatism and radicalism, that have, thereby, acerbated the conflict, deepened the injustices and victimised the people by way, particularly, of arbitrary arrests, extortions, abductions, extrajudicial killings, torture, illegal confiscations of property, draconian laws and other violations of universal human rights;

Rejecting all economic, cultural, political and military intrusions and hegemony by powers outside the region through either covert or overt means; and

Noting with concern the ongoing conflicts in Myanmar, South Thailand and Mindanao and the adverse impact their perpetuation and escalation will have on the region as a whole in the absence of good will and sincere efforts towards reaching their just resolution,

HEREBY CALL ON ALL ASEAN GOVERNMENTS TO:honour the trust that the people have placed on them to guarantee the people's legitimate rights to justice and peace, to live in dignity, to the fulfillment of basic needs and to the equitable distribution of national resources;
eschew military options for the resolution of conflict but rather address and tackle all conflicts and disputes within the region peacefully and holistically in the spirit of healthy, harmonious, and cooperative regional co-existence and relations between States and peoples
promote engagement and consultation between States and their peoples and the need to live up to our collective responsibilities for the resolution of conflicts and disputes;
intensify regional and international cooperation for the promotion, sharing and implementation of policies and best practices to ensure fairness and justice and for the safeguarding of the interests, livelihood, and general wellbeing of the people;
resolve immediately the plight of the Rohingyas, the South Thailand conflict and the Bangsamoro struggle through mutual consultation and collective effort between all ASEAN governments based on the justice and legitimate rights of the people
engage with the governments of Myanmar, Thailand and Philippines in asserting the principle that the security and situation witin their juridications respectively impacts upon the security and situation of the region as a whole
work with the UN, the international community and civil society groups in protecting, assisting and according the rights of all peoples displaced from their homes by conflict or persecution to justice and fair treatment as expected by the States' own citizens and on principles of universal humanitarian grounds until such times as these same States can guarantee such displaced persons safe return to their homelands and dignified lives therein. This includes respecting the principle of non-refoulement, recognising them as persons seeking asylum and refraining from detaining them as mere undocumented migrants, and allowing UNHCR access to all asylum-seekers who have been detained in order to determine their status;
ratify the 1951 Convention Related to the Status of Refugees, its 1967 Protocol, the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and the 1990 International Convention for the Protection of the Right of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families;
give more attention to women and children in being integral part of the solution
practice and promote values and practices of good governance that give high priority to the building of a culture of integrity, transparency and accountability and that rejects oppressive and corrupted regimes;
put in place measures to enhance regional cooperation to fostering the free flow of peoples across borders and encourage cultural and commercial exchanges within the ambit of sustainable regional growth and development;
ensure that all non-State parties that are crucial to the achievement of all the above - such as the media, corporations and civil society - play positive roles in enhancing understanding and cooperation, rather than animosity and conflicts;
undertake to consult among the member states of ASEAN and to adopt a common position on matters relating to defence that affect or constitute a potential threat to the collective security of our continent;
form nation-wide truth and reconciliation commission in the countries of Myanmar, Thailand and Philippines to rebuild justice and trust among all communities and institutions by addressing and tackling past human rights violation, reviewing all national security cases;
undertake efforts towards Islamic law, especially in Muslim personal/family matters
emphase dialogue, peace talks and negotiations at all levels; and
undertake a paradigm shift in the social, economic and political and administration of South Thailand towards demilitarization.

Friday 16 October 2009

Burmese Pro-Democracy Group Demonstrate at Burmese Embassy in Malaysia

Today about 10:30 am (Malaysian local time), about 35 Burmese Rohingyas led by pro-democracy group, National Democratic Party for Human Rights (NDPHR-South Asia Regional Office in Malaysia), submitted a memorandum to Burmese embassy in Kuala Lumpur, under police watch.

The group were allowed to gather at 300 meters  far from the embassy and show their play-cards, but not allowed to follow more than 3 persons according to the requirement of Malaysian Royal Police (Bukit Aman). The memorandum letter was put into the post-box of the embassy after read by member of NDPHR(exile), Mr.Sadek followed by Mr.Habib.

photo of during they gathered at 300 meters far from the embassy
Standing at 300 meters far from the embassy

The Royal Malaysian authority shown their unfair interference upon the matter of Burmese that neglects the ASEAN’s current initiatives and developed strategy calls of democratization in Burma.

The memorandum is as follow;
Ref: NDPHR (SEA-R) 1990/2009/003
Date: Oct 16, 2009
A Memorandum
The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC)
Union of Burma
We, on behalf of the entire Rohingya Burmese people of Arakan State, strongly condemn the SPDC for its brutal behaviors and inhumane treatment towards innocent people of the country.
It is undeniable that your ruling authorities are pushing the country to the worst proportion, installing inhuman pogrom against ethnic minorities, particularly of the Rohingya in western border who are bona-fide ethnic citizen of Arakan and present Burma who have been rooted there before Burma Era.

We are extremely feeling upset on the exercises of SPDC against Rohingya through out forced labor, forced eviction, forced extortion, forced relocation, forced extermination, torture, extra judicial killings, rapes, model village settlement, arbitrary arrest, restriction on their freedom of movement even from one village to another, restriction on freedom of worship, thought, education, marriage, family and economic development and etc.
However, the regime cannot hide reality and it shall never be gone dim forever. Circumstance is alarming that regime must face the judgment over its inhumanity and injustice in relating to the noble objectives of economic sustainability, political stability, educational development, socio-cultural recognition, humanitarian progress and etc.

In the recent month of August and September 2009, the SPDC continued to perpetrate crimes against humanity and war crimes with total impunity, highlighting the urgent need for UN Security Council-mandated Commission of Inquiry into crimes against humanity and war crimes in Burma.

In the two-month period, the followings were documented by general information. They are: over 50 victims of extrajudicial killings by SPDC Army soldiers; at least 42 people subjected to forced labor; an additional 10,000 people forcibly displaced in attacks targeting civilians; at least 109 people subjected to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment; widespread use of torture against 100 civilians in Shan state, three in Northern Arakan State and a foreign citizen in Rangoon; at least seven cases of rape and sexual violence; systematic and widespread persecution of ethnic and religious communities; at least 13 children were recruited as child soldiers, and the use of widespread force labor in border fence constructions at 70 yards from the border demarcation line and deployment of 9 battalions along the borders with India and Bangladesh.

Of the above crimes, we are seriously concern over the unlawful order that was recently released by Township Peace and Development Council (TPDC) authority, U Aung Kyaw Oo followed by departments of Immigration, Police, Municipal and Local groups of Kyauktaw Township-Arakan for urgent relocation of the largest ancestral Rohingya village known as Paitay village (Zailla Fara), consisting of over 800 homes, without any compensation, for the result of their refusal to accept Temporary Registration Card or Foreigner Censorship Card (TRC, identity for alien residents). The first refused groups of 30 Rohingya villagers are detained in Police custody of Kyauktaw Township. Frequently, electric supplies for the village and telecommunications of the town are cut-off. The government authority also ordered to submit the lists of breaded cattle, goads, ducks and chicken. In case of failure to comply, serious action will be taken against them including imprisonment and fine on their consumption of own animals.

In a last decade, at least over 100 villages and historical statues in Kyauktaw, Mrauk-U, Minbya, Ponajuann, Akyab, Maungdaw, Buthidaung, were destroyed and/or removed from their origin including Sandikhan Mosque (1433 AD) in Mrauk-U, Badr Maquaam (A.D 7 Century) in Akyab and coins from Arakan State Museum.
Moreover, mass arrest of Rohingyas in Maungdaw on their way back from praying, continuous attacks on innocent Rohingya villagers by new settlers in Northern Arakan, seizer list preparation of house holds, birds, animals and belongings of the Rohingyas in Arakan State is a total tyranny. In last month, about 70 villagers from Kyauknimaw Village of Rambre Township, were detained and fined by Government authority collaboration with local Rakhaings.

At the same time, the SPDC is keeping negligence to the victims of natural disaster and triggering burden to poor civilians by various means of extortions to support military families and to buy sophisticated weapons, while reportedly misusing international aids and monetary funds in recent year.

The SPDC is also ignoring the calls of international community to set free of all political prisoners and to have immediate democratic changes, while initiating to another Sham election in 2010 without the wills of people and that is forcefully exterminating the members of ethnic minorities with a view to increasing refugee outflows in neighboring countries. This act is a clear regional threat. Based on the refugee phenomena, Middle East and neighboring countries’ economic priority decline the protection of hosting refugees.  It effects in where the largest refugees numbers are hosting therefore, Saudi Arabia renders against their plight and about 3,000 refugees who are nab from Mecca and Jeddah areas are way to deportation without any human rights improvement but the rest of over 300,000 Rohingya refugees occur no where to go. For all these, the SPDC is fully responsible and committing crimes against humanity as well.

It is the time to take urgent step to end brutalities of SPDC and promotion of state terrorism.
In these regards, we urge upon the SPDC:
  1. To unconditionally free Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners including ethnic minority leaders like U Kyaw Min (a) Shamsul Anwarul Hoque, MP of NDPHR and member of CRPP;
  2. To unconditionally cease all kinds of brutalities and human rights abuses in Arakan, particularly relocation of villages, model village settlement, forced labors, restriction of movement and etc.
  3. To unconditionally respect the rights of Rohingyas as indigenous people of Arakan and present Burma like other ethnic minorities of different states and issue equal identity card like others;
  4. To stop all kinds of initiatives towards Sham election in 2010 unless comprehensive dialogue with ethnic minorities and other pro-democratic forces both in home and exile;
  5. To urgently allow international agencies in all ethnic minority area, particularly in Rohingya dominated areas of Arakan State with a view to ensure human rights, dignity and economic development;
  6. To reconstruct the relief building for victims of cyclone Nargis in Irrawaddy delta and other effected areas of all over the country;
  7. To urgently return the possessing of Rohingyas and reload their lands as actual owner, removing all new setters.
Executive Committee
National Democratic Party for Human Rights (NDPHR) exile
South East Asia Regional Office
Endorsed by:
  1. Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization, Malaysia (MERHROM)
  2. Rohingya Youth Development Forum (RYDF), Arakan-Burma
  3. Arakan Rohingya Refugee Committee (ARRC), Malaysia
  4. Arakan Rohingya Ulama Council (ARUC), Malaysia
  5. Rohingya Women Team
For more information, please contact:
  1. Habibur Rahman        + (60) 12-2595185 
  2. Mohammad Sadek     + (60) 16-3094599 
  3. Mr. Zafar Ahmed      + (60) 16-6827287 
For Detail Information;
The Paitay village (Zailla Fara) is targeted to be demolished but failed for several times as it is the largest village in Kyauktaw Township and residents of 800 homes. The following listed villages were uprooted in last a decade from Southern Arakan;
Kyaktaw Township                  : Tangadawnn, Khogduk-Falung, kanpaw villages
Akyab (Sittwe) Township   : Takaybyin, Santole, Bodomuhan, Bohorfara villages
Mrauk Oo Township              : Nyaungpinzay, Aungdine, Pongnamraung, Shawegudaung, Mandarapyin
                                                                @ Kwanlon and Sandikhan Mosque-1433
Minbya Township                     : Nala, Sangyi villages
Ponnajuan Township           : Sishudaine village, were demolished and substituted by new settlers and Rohingya villagers were driven into the jungles, and uncountable devastations in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung Townships.

Thursday 15 October 2009

Burmese Migrants Beaten, Arrested in China

Irrawaddy news, 14 Oct 2009
Chinese police have been cracking down recently on illegal Burmese migrant workers with beatings commonplace and about 50 migrants arrested every day, according to sources on the Sino-Burmese border.
The crackdown started around Sept. 25. Several detained migrants have alleged they were badly beaten and were charged 300 yuan (US $44) for their release. Immediately after their release, the Burmese migrants were forcibly repatriated, said the sources.

Ma Grang, a merchant in the Chinese border town of Ruili, said he met with a factory worker named Myo Win and his friend who claimed they were badly beaten by the Chinese police, and have since returned to Burma.  

“They were beaten with batons on their back, legs and chest. I saw the bruises,” said Ma Grang.  “Myo Win was not able to work for a few days.”
He said that Chinese police did not systematically beat up illegal Burmese migrant workers in the past.
“However, this time, they are treating the migrants brutally,” he said.
He added that Burmese migrant workers in Ruili—a border town in southwestern Yunnan Province which lies opposite the Burmese town of Muse—are currently living in fear and dare not go outside their living quarters.

Awng Wa, a source on the Sino-Burmese border, confirmed that the Chinese authorities had increased restrictions on migrating or visiting Burmese people.
In the past, Burmese people could cross the border and stay in Ruili for more than a week at a time. With the current crackdown, Burmese are only allowed to stay on Chinese soil for seven days. Anyone violating the rule is fined 600 yuan ($88), he said.

Sources in Ruili speculated that the police crackdown had been initiated to prevent the flow of illegal Burmese migrant workers into China. Others, however, claimed the Chinese were responding to attacks by Burmese government troops against ethnic Kokang and Han Chinese migrants in Burma in August.
During the Burmese government attacks, about 37,000 ethnic Kokang—who are widely considered to be ethnic Han Chinese—and first-generation Chinese migrants had to flee from Laogai in Burma across the Chinese border. Many Chinese reported that they had lost their businesses as a consequence.

An estimated 90 percent of businesses in Laogai are—or were—owned by Chinese businesspeople. 
Ma Grang said many businessmen in Ruili have suggested that the crackdown against Burmese migrants is a reciprocal gesture because of what happened to Chinese people in Burma recently.

Awng Wa told The Irrawaddy he believed both motives were in play—the Chinese police were cracking down on Burmese in revenge for the Laogai seizure, and to curtail the number of migrants crossing into Yunnan Province, he said.

Saturday 10 October 2009

30 Arakanese Activists Arrested In Kyautaw Township

Source from The Sail, 9 Oct 2009

30 Arakanese activists from Kyautaw Township were arrested by Immigration forces on Oct 07, 2009.

They were identified as Arakanese Rohingya Muslims from Paitay Village, Kyautaw Township, Arakan state.
According to reliable source, they were picked up by immigration forces at around 3pm and detained in police lock-up, Kyautaw Township.

For the causes of Kyautaw Township immigration forced the villager Rohingyas to accept Temporary Registration Card (TRC, identity for Bengali or migrant), 7 Rohingya villagers who refused firstly were detained in immigration lock-up and another followers about 23 were also picked-up from the village. After that the group followed by chairman of Town Peace and Development Council, president of Township Immigration, president of Township Municipal, police chief, noticed the villager Rohingyas to accept Bengali identity, if not the military troops would launch to obey. Tyrannically, the villagers had been ordered to submit the lists of breaded own cattle, goats, chicken, ducks and others, as well as, selling or consumption of it unless permission will be punished to six months imprisonment.
That results, hundred of Rohingyas flee from village and hundred of Rohingya women and children are hiding in Paitay village Mosque. At the moment, electric supply for the village and tele communication in Kyautaw are cut-off.

An activist from the village clarified that they had not claimed ‘Rohingya’ and their detention is not for it, they have no problem to become Burmese but they are not Bengali. They are ethnic citizen from Arakan and they must be treated equally.

The spokesperson for National Democratic Party for Human Rights (NDPHR- exile) in Malaysia has also highlighted that the result of conflicts between immigration and locals in Kyaut Fru Township in last month, the immigration office was burn down. But, it was turn to only Muslims of Kyat Fru and about 70 local Muslims were arrested by Police with corporation of local Rakhines.

30 Arakanese Activists Arrested In Kyautaw Township

 Source from The Sail, 9 Oct 2009

30 Arakanese activists from Kyautaw Township were arrested by Immigration forces on Oct 07, 2009.

They were identified as Arakanese Rohingya Muslims from Paitay Village, Kyautaw Township, Arakan state.
According to reliable source, they were picked up by immigration forces at around 3pm and detained in police lock-up, Kyautaw Township.

For the causes of Kyautaw Township immigration forced the villager Rohingyas to accept Temporary Registration Card (TRC, identity for Bengali or migrant), 7 Rohingya villagers who refused firstly were detained in immigration lock-up and another followers about 23 were also picked-up from the village. After that the group followed by chairman of Town Peace and Development Council, president of Township Immigration, president of Township Municipal, police chief, noticed the villager Rohingyas to accept Bengali identity, if not the military troops would launch to obey. Tyrannically, the villagers had been ordered to submit the lists of breaded own cattle, goats, chicken, ducks and others, as well as, selling or consumption of it unless permission will be punished to six months imprisonment.
That results, hundred of Rohingyas flee from village and hundred of Rohingya women and children are hiding in Paitay village Mosque. At the moment, electric supply for the village and tele communication in Kyautaw are cut-off.

An activist from the village clarified that they had not claimed ‘Rohingya’ and their detention is not for it, they have no problem to become Burmese but they are not Bengali. They are ethnic citizen from Arakan and they must be treated equally.

The spokesperson for National Democratic Party for Human Rights (NDPHR- exile) in Malaysia has also highlighted that the result of conflicts between immigration and locals in Kyaut Fru Township in last month, the immigration office was burn down. But, it was turn to only Muslims of Kyat Fru and about 70 local Muslims were arrested by Police with corporation of local Rakhines.

Tuesday 6 October 2009

The Rohingya Refugees: Victims Of Exploitation

Source from Asian Tribune, 5 Oct 2009
By Kyaw Soe Aung (alias) MSK Jilani*
Nowadays, the Rohingya refugees are not free from exploitation in every moment of their step in countries of their first or second asylum before reaching to a meaningful solution.
It is easy to catch the circumstances in most countries of OIC (Organization of Islamic Conference) as they do not have any mechanism to deal with refugee phenomena, while these are like denying their Islamic obligation. In one word, everyone can realize a thing that was eradicated by the Great Human; the Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) is reappearing in modern form of salvation.
In deed, Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) was the greatest peace maker throughout various agreement including the world first written and 7 Point Agreement known as “Hudaibiah Agreement” signed by both parties of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and Non believers of Mecca .
It is also true that Islam was conquered by character and civilization, not by extremism and egoism. Meanwhile, the actual Islamic believers are modern and thus they never crossed limitation to violate human rights by any means and give dignity towards human beings and every alive.
At the moment, Rohingya refugees are being accused of their connection with extremist group which is undeniably away of exploitation in their marginalized situation. As of truth and authenticity, the Rohingyas are modern from their birth in country of Buddhism and grow in multi-cultural and multi-religious societies but sometimes, extremist groups have been trying to take advantage, initiating to a perfect exploitation with Islamic exploitation and thus they are deserved of international assistances to track out from the circle.
In most option, the Rohingya seek assistances from western government, rather than Islamic world as they have lost their confidence over their brethren with a view to liberating themselves from modern salvation but they don’t deny the temporary shelter and sympathy of both states and general publics of the aforesaid Muslim world. Therefore, they have to burn in cool fire of exploitation into ashes.
In Malaysia, the Rohingyas were underway to whip with rattan for their illegal stay in the country which was exempted by the helps of their Muslim brethren, after getting touch with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which is not necessarily should count in services of Muslim world as many Rohingya refugees had to serve such prosecution of whipping, detention, deportation with UNHCR documentation.
Similarly, no Rohingya got chance to enjoy education facilities for long from their brethren as their government did not allow any NGO to work for the benefit of the unfortunate Rohingya refugees but likely encouraged to engage in odd jobs by means of half payment which has a better example like Harvest Centre Sdn. Bhd, a Christian Church has started a pilot project for the marginalized and refugee children in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur from the year 2004 and mostly achieved it goals to set a clear program to educate such type of children and even to make alive Rohingya child’s name with a popular ‘Fisal Cup” which has been held in every year in Kuala Lumpur.
After this program, a new NGO called Taiwan Buddhist Tzu-Chi Foundation gained supports from the Government of the United States of America (USA) as an implementation partner of UNHCR and that has been running 5 different informal schools from the beginning of 2007 in Selangor Darul Ehsan and Wilayah Persekutuan like Tasik Permai, Tasik Tambahan, Taman Terati, Kampung Pandang, Ampang and Selayang, Kuala Lumpur respectively.
Once, the NGO developed children into read and writeable, new stranger groups are jumping into the honey pots of Rohingya’s future generation to get advantage and to exploit them to stop their hopes. It has already taken over two schools of Taiwan Buddhist Tzu-Chi Foundation from Taman Teratia, Ampang and Kampung Pandan, Ampang with a view to expelling to the supports of USA and to build up strong Muslim group to use in anti-Malay movement in coming decade.
These new stranger NGOs are very busy in mobilizing the Rohingya refugees in Malaysia through their fundamentalist hand like Rohingya Information Center (RIC) to deny resettlement to third country and to boycott working together with non-Muslim Burmese oppositions and others with a full commitment of Islamist which is totally not acceptable to this marginalized Rohingya society; thus they, Rohingya refugees are struggling to liberate themselves from the circle of exploitation and wooing to be resettled in western countries as modern Muslim in order to regain their human rights and justice in multi-cultural and multi-religious societies.
Therefore, the Rohingya refugees in Malaysia appeal to the international community, particularly to the Government of United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Sweden, Canada, Norway, New Zealand, Denmark, German, Italy, Finland and all other European countries to urgently rethink the matter of Rohingya refugees in Malaysia with a view to accepting their resettlement which may be helpful to stop world threat exploitation. The almost 80% of the Rohingya refugees in Malaysia were found active for resettlement to the west by the Arakan Rohingya Refugee Committee (ARRC), Malaysia and National Democratic Party for Human Rights (exile) South East Asia Regional office and thus the extension of real and practical sympathy for these victims of exploitation would be highly appreciated.
* By Kyaw Soe Aung is the General Secretary of NDPHR (exile) Headquarters based in Milwaukee City , Wisconsin State ( USA ), Advisor for the ARRC, Malaysia and Rohingya rights and youth activist.
- Asian Tribune –

Sunday 27 September 2009

China Tells Burmese Junta to Protect Chinese Residents

Irrawaddy news, Sept 26, 2009

BEIJING — China has urged Burma to take better care of Chinese citizens living in a border region where clashes between an ethnic militia and government troops flared last month, the Foreign Ministry said in a rare display of displeasure with the military junta.

China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday that the recent conflict in Kokang, a region in northeastern Burma bordering China, “harmed the rights and interests of Chinese citizens living there,” and it urged Burma to make sure such incidents don’t happen again.

Several days of clashes sent more than 30,000 refugees fleeing into China and prompted an unusual request from China that Burma calm the situation. Burma’s junta said the fighting killed 26 government soldiers and at least eight rebels, but it was impossible to verify that report.

A Foreign Ministry official lodged a formal complaint with the Burmese Embassy on Monday and called on the government to investigate the incident and punish anyone found to have broken the law, the statement on the ministry’s Web site said.

Burma is largely estranged from the West, but China has maintained close economic and diplomatic ties with the junta that have ensured access to the country’s vast mineral wealth. Large numbers of Chinese have migrated to Burma for business, and major state companies are big investors in Burma’s oil and gas industries.
Burma’s border regions have for decades been the scene of fighting between ethnic armies and the military that has displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Friday 18 September 2009

Resettlement—the Black Market

Irrawaddy news, 17 Sept 2009

MAE SOT — Since 2005, when resettlement began, a network of brokers has evolved to assist individuals from Burma who wish to enter the refugee camps and resettle in a third country.
The black market business has helped many to escape Burma— but not always the people who fit the criteria and need resettlement the most.

Residents at the three main camps around Mae Sot, who are waiting for resettlement, blame the influx of “fake applicants” for the long delays they endure. Many claim that the “pseudo-refugees” leave the camps first, deferring the resettlement of real applicants.

Thousands of Burmese refugees follow the American Dream. (Illustration: Harn Lay / The Irrawaddy)
“I see many fake refugees coming into the camp. They pay the brokers and the camp authorities. Then they get resettled first,” said Bo Bo, a resident at Nu Po camp.
He explained how he came to the camp in a large group from Mon State where their land was stolen by Burmese government forces. As farmers, they had been stripped of their entire livelihood. So, with nothing left, they fled to the border.
“We have to wait longer because the brokers help the fake refugees into the camp and they leave first. It’s not fair on us, We remain in the camp with nothing while they continue to run their businesses, often returning to Myawaddy and Rangoon,” he said.

Bo Bo claimed that many fake applicants entered Nu Po camp last year and that 27 had already arrived this month [September]. He explained that two brokers are working in conjunction with the palat (camp coordinator) to get people into the camp and sent quickly to a third country.
It has been alleged that the camp authorities are working in cahoots with the brokers and have become immersed in the corruption and fraud that has sprung up around the resettlement process. Residents claim that brokers pay the palat for their clients’ entrance to the camp, allowing people with no valid refugee claim to enter.
As a result of the black market which unscrupulous Burmese brokers have developed, money has become so important in the camps that new arrivals find it very difficult to settle into their new lives as refugees in Thailand.
“We can’t get into the camp because we have no documents and we were just released from prison,” said Ko Than, a recent arrival in Mae Sot on the Thai-Burmese border.

Having just finished a 20-year sentence for his part in the 1988 protests, and deciding he had no future in Burma, Ko Than came to Thailand to apply for a new life in a third country where he could make up for the time he lost while in prison.

For ex- political prisoners like Ko Than, coming to Thailand with their families and getting safely to the refugee camps is difficult. If they go by taxi they run the risk of being arrested by the Thai police and either sent back to Burma or paying heavy bribes.

In contrast, the bogus refugees, who have traveled to Thailand without a solid refugee claim, have time to prepare for their trip well in advance and save up the necessary amount of cash. Once in the camp, their money will buy them influence and ultimately a better life than the real asylum seekers—and that creates tension and grievances in the camps.
“I do believe that refugees have the right to make money and better their lives, but it’s not fair that opportunists are allowed to buy their way into the camp and take the good homes and rations— more than the democracy activists who have given up everything,” said Kyaw Gyi, a resident of Mae La camp and former political prisoner.

However, not only are “real” refugees losing out as a result of the broker networks, but also the brokers’ customers—the bogus refugees—who often end up stranded in the camps. Many use their life savings to flee the economic woes of Burma, having been promised an easy trip to the West.

Once in Thailand though, it’s often a different story— they’re left in the camp while the brokers flee. With no realistic case for asylum—or any money to get back to Burma—many are left powerless and afraid.
Those who do complain find themselves in trouble and sometimes are evicted from the camp by the camp authorities.  In some cases, the brokers don’t just cause delays in the resettlement of refugees, they steal their chances of it.
Myat Thu, a former All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF) member based in Mae Sot, told The Irrawaddy how friends of his had been accepted to go to the United States but were told at the last minute that they couldn’t go.
“When it came around to leaving, they met with officials who told them people registered with their names had already been resettled in a third country,” he said. “When they tried to prove who they were, the administrators just shrugged and said, ‘That’s the black market.’”
The issue of identity theft has been accepted by resettlement agencies, but people continue to speculate who and what has allowed this problem to occur.

“Substitution is a major problem,” explained a former UNHCR worker who wished to remain anonymous. “No one is sure who is behind it, but it’s very possible that some UNHCR staff members are involved—they have power in the camps and oversee what goes on.
“It’s hard to tackle because everyone is too scared to complain. People in the camps don’t know if they are complaining to the actual people who are involved in the corruption and are worried that everyone will find out,” she said.
“It needs to be stopped though. Every time it occurs they are robbing the real refugees of their chance to resettle,” she added.
The refugee and migrant worker communities in and around Mae Sot have long accused UNHCR staff of being involved in the broker network. There’s no evidence to prove it, but many say they know people who have paid staff to arrange resettlement.

“If you have money the process is a lot easier,” said Ko Myo Thein, a former political prisoner and resident at Umpiem camp. “You can use a broker who will hand money over to staff at the UNHCR, whether you are a real refugee or not. Then your application will be accepted and you will be sent over to America.”
Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Thursday, Kitty McKinsey, the UNHCR senior regional public information officer in Bangkok, said the agency takes the allegations very seriously. “We have a zero tolerance policy on fraud and misbehavior of any of our staff,” she said.

Despite the problems, the resettlement process on the Thai-Burmese border continues to be one of the most successful in the world.
As one NGO worker put it: “The work which has been done here is unprecedented. People are being resettled extremely quickly. There are around 40,000 who have already been resettled in third countries where they are enjoying fundamental rights and freedom from confinement in the camps.”

However, there are still activists, former political prisoners and victims of conflict, languishing in the refugee camps feeling that they have lost out to bogus refugees.

Ko Myo Thein expressed this frustration, saying: “The real refugees remain in the camps, while fake refugees rob them of the happy new lives they deserve. The broker network is to blame for this.”

Saturday 8 August 2009

Plight of the Damned: Burma’s Rohingya

Source from Global Asia, By David Scott Mathieson  
Burma’s Rohingya Muslim minority may be the most blighted ethnic minority in Asia. The blame for treating them so badly is shared far and wide.
But as Burma human rights expert David Scott Mathieson writes, their plight has long been known to the international community. So, why isn’t anything being done to help them?

The images of hundreds of men crammed into rickety boats, emaciated, bloodied and expressing equal parts shock and surprise at having reached land were almost from another time. These forlorn travelers, predominantly ethnic Rohingya Muslims from western Burma, landed in southern Thailand and the Indonesian island of Sumatra late last year as the latest influx from an annual sailing season for people escaping poverty, misery and almost medieval human rights violations in Burma and Bangladesh.

Thailand’s military was accused of towing several boatloads of Rohingya back out to sea after they landed. In late December 2008, hundreds of bodies washed ashore in the Indian controlled Andaman Islands. Survivors told Indian authorities that they had landed in Thailand, been held for two days on a deserted island, and then towed back out to sea with a few sacks of rice and a little water. Other survivors told officials and doctors that during their long journey they had been tortured by Burmese sailors who stopped their vessel. In all, more than 6,000 men are estimated to have made the journey in dozens of fishing boats from Burma and Bangladesh beginning in November 2008. The Arakan Project, a Bangkok-based non-governmental organization, has been tracking the movements of boat people from Western Burma and Bangladesh for several years.

What made this season different was the sharp increase in numbers, double a year earlier, and the media attention that accompanied it. Graphic pictures of Rohingya in detention on Thai tourist beaches appeared first in the South China Morning Post, the BBC and then on CNN, and as international concern grew, almost on cue, more boats began arriving. The international outcry centered on Thailand’s vicious “push-back” policy, which the new administration of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva at first denied, then announced it would investigate. Ultimately, Thai officials blamed media distortion, saying that the Rohingya were economic migrants not refugees and that Thailand could not absorb the problem.

In Thailand, proposals to set up temporary holding centers for the Rohingya to ascertain their status as either refugees or migrant workers were dismissed, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was granted only limited access to the hundreds of detainees in Thai custody. Most of the men were fined for illegal entry, and prepared to be sent back to Burma. This is what all of them fear, given their harsh reception there. They are often imprisoned for illegal departure, even though many have no Burmese identity cards. In their absence, their names are removed from Burma’s draconian household registration system that keeps track of people’s movements, and they are often handed stiff fines.

Regional leaders announced that they would discuss the issue of the Rohingya boat people on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Thailand in late February. A regional solution was clearly needed. Little was done by the regional grouping, however, except to postpone decisions on stemming the flow until a meeting in April of the Bali Process, a multilateral mechanism for discussing human trafficking and smuggling. ASEAN’s failure to adequately address the issue demonstrated a few key facts about the Rohingya: that it was a relatively minor case of illegal human movement affecting Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh and India; the men do not pose a great threat to national security, as some governments contend; and that the blame for all this misery rests squarely inside Burma. So why the harsh treatment and seeming absence of mercy?

All told, the Rohingya number about two million people. Approximately 800,000 remain in Burma and 200,000 in Bangladesh, with 30,000 of them in squalid refugee camps. An estimated half a million live in the Middle East as migrant workers, and 50,000 in Malaysia. Some make it to Japan, while others attempt the even longer sea voyage to reach Australia. They are leaving for good reasons: their living conditions in Burma are atrocious. The Rohingya inhabit the worst position in Burma’s dreadful human rights landscape. The men and young boys risk the dangerous journey across the Andaman Sea to seek employment and to send money back to families barely surviving in their homeland. The distinction between a refugee fleeing persecution and one seeking a better life doesn’t mean much to the Rohingya. And anyway, both are true.

The Rohingya have borne the brunt of the Burmese military regime’s brutal state building for decades. They are an ethnic minority descended from a merging of Arakanese Buddhists, Chittagonian Bengalis and Arabic sea traders. Their dialect is distinct, if Bengali in origin, with smatterings of Persian. Centuries of co-existence with Arakanese Buddhists was bifurcated by British colonialism, when the boundaries of India and Burma were demarcated. As a result, the Rohingya became a people caught between states, with the majority situated in newly independent Burma in 1948.

Burma’s treatment of its Muslim minority has generally been characterized by neglect punctuated by scapegoating. In the 1960s, the military-socialist regime of Ne Win expelled hundreds of thousands of South Asians from Burma during its “Burmese Way to Socialism” nationalization program, similar to the treatment Idi Amin meted out to Asians in Uganda a few years later. The Rohingya have been subjected to particularly harsh treatment, possibly more than any other ethno-religious minority in Burma. While almost every non-Burman ethnic group has staged an armed rebellion against the central government in the past 60 years, fuelling decades of low intensity conflict in which civilians have suffered the most, successive military governments have harbored a uniquely vicious aversion to the Rohingya.

In 1978, the Burmese army mounted a murderous ethnic cleansing campaign they called Operation Dragon King (Naga Min) that drove more than 200,000 Rohingya into Bangladesh. After staying for a year in such squalid conditions that 10,000 of them starved to death because the Bangladeshi authorities withheld food aid, most of the survivors returned to Burma.

The socialist government completed a nationwide census in 1983 in which the Rohingya were not counted, rendering them stateless through exclusion. The 1982 Citizenship Act legalized this exclusion, creating two categories of people, full citizens of Burma, including most ethnic groups, and then “associate” citizens, such as the South Asian and Chinese minorities. The Rohingya were disqualified from either group because they could not prove their lineage as “associates” before 1948. Western Arakan’s isolation and underdevelopment meant that few Rohingya were registered at birth, or had documentation. The Rohingya are officially an alien and illegal community, not listed as one of the 135 recognized “ethnic nationalities” in Burma, and thus the majority of them are not entitled to national identity cards. This stateless status has provided the security forces with impunity to perpetrate routine abuses against Muslims in Western Burma.

In 1991, the Burmese army repeated its pogrom. More than a quarter million Rohingya were driven out of Arakan into Teknaf and Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh. Hundreds were killed as the army slashed and burned its way through villages to force them out. The refugees were not welcomed in Bangladesh and were herded into rank refugee settlements. A few years later most of them were forced back over the border in a violent, United Nations-sponsored repatriation process.
The survivors of this experience, and the remaining Rohingya in Arakan State, have been largely kept alive by foreign development agencies such as UNHCR and the World Food Program (WFP). A stark indicator of living conditions in Western Arakan State is contained in the WFPs recent food security survey in Burma, where more than half of young boys and girls were seriously malnourished, and most households had no independent sources of food.

The Burmese military’s routine abuses against the Rohingya exacerbate the chronic poverty. They are denied travel permission between villages, which limits employment opportunities, education and trade. Permission for even limited travel must be obtained from local military units, and is often denied. Some Rohingya communities are herded into “new villages” where the military can monitor them and also seize their land for military-connected business projects. Forced labor and expropriation of property is a daily reality. Religious persecution is widespread, with many mosques destroyed or ordered to be emptied. Extra-judicial killings are common. This treatment reflects not just the instrumental use of violence to force the Rohingya to leave, but an unofficial policy of discrimination whose ultimate aim is the forced removal of a minority group.

The ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) stayed quiet during the recent drama on the Thai and Indonesian coastlines. Eventually, the junta announced that the Rohingya were not Burmese citizens and had nothing to do with Burma, creating the impression for some that the tragedy involved only Bangladeshis. At the time of the recent ASEAN summit, the regime disingenuously announced that any “Bengali” who could prove that they were born in Burma could return. The exiled pro-democracy movement from Burma was largely silent. Indeed, many exiled opposition activists have also been dismissive of the Rohingya and routinely exclude them from multi-ethnic gatherings. Arakanese Buddhists become apoplectic when the issue of the Rohingya is raised and routinely deny that the Rohingya even exist.
It’s hard to understand the origin of this hatred toward the Rohingya, beneath the excuses of national security, legal measures against illegal immigration, or even nationalism. Racism obviously plays a big part. This was demonstrated by the Burmese Consul-General in Hong Kong, Ye Myint Aung, who in February sent a letter to his fellow heads of mission in which he stated: “In reality, Rohingya are neither ‘Myanmar People’ nor Myanmar’s ethnic group. You will see in the photos that their complexion is ‘dark brown.’ The complexion of Myanmar people is fair and soft, good looking as well… (They are as ugly as ogres).” South Asians are derogatorily referred to as kala (foreigner) in Burma by every other ethnic group, but the Rohingya are even beneath this level of distain.

There are few security reasons that could possibly justify Burma’s treatment of the Rohingya. A short-lived Mujahid rebellion in the early 1950s in Arakan didn’t attract widespread Rohingya support. Contemporary Rohingya armed resistance is small and militarily insignificant, and the political and armed resistance groups are splintered and constantly bickering. Small numbers of Rohingya men who have traveled to the Middle East for terrorism training have evidently not returned with any jihadist designs. There has never been a Muslim-connected terrorism incident in Burma, and as the Australian security analyst Andrew Selth has pointed out, Muslims in Burma are more likely to be terrorized by the Burmese military than to be terrorists.
Since the early 1990s, the militarization of Western Burma has been dramatic, with a rise in the number of army battalions from 3 to 43, the biggest increase in the country. The Burmese army uses the local population to maintain their presence, stealing food, appropriating land and forcing civilians to build camps, excavate roads and carry supplies. The SPDC has been building up its strength to safeguard massive infrastructure projects. In December 2008, the Chinese energy company PetroChina signed a 30-year lease with the Burmese to buy natural gas off the coast of Western Arakan, in the Shwe Gas field; the consortium involves Indian, Thai, South Korean, Chinese and Burmese interests. The gas will be transported across Burma to Yunnan by pipeline, with a second pipeline running beside it that will transport crude oil from the Middle East. Although the majority of Rohingya communities are northwest of these planned pipeline routes, the increased troop presence has adversely impacted their already dismal existence.

Thailand’s so-called push-backs, while shocking, should not have come as a surprise. The steadily increasing numbers of Rohingya arriving in Southern Thailand have sparked a tough Thai deterrence policy. In 2007, hundreds of Rohingya caught near Ranong in southern Thailand were detained to the north in the Thai-Burma border town of Mae Sot. Soon after, over 80 of them were sent back to Burma in an area controlled by the pro-SPDC militia, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA). The DKBA is notorious for its involvement in drug trafficking, illegal logging and extortion of migrant workers. Most of the men couldn’t pay to be smuggled home, so they trickled back into Thailand and were eventually trafficked down to Malaysia.
Thailand has cast the Rohingya as a threat to national security. Military officials routinely accuse the men of being Muslim mercenaries masquerading as migrant workers, coming to Thailand to volunteer with Southern Thai Muslim separatist militants. It is true that some of the smuggling networks are also involved in arms smuggling from Cox’s Bazaar, but no Rohingya has ever been implicated in violent attacks in Thailand, nor been linked with the shadowy separatist cells fighting in Thailand’s deep South. In 2008, former Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej threatened to intern the Rohingya on a “desert island.” This seemed absurd bluster at the time, but he must have been serious. Thai security forces used remote Ko Sai Deang (Red Sand Island) as a holding center for captured Rohingya before they towed them out to sea in late December.

Royal Thai Army officer Colonel Manas Kongpan of the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), who was implicated by a Thai court in a massacre of Thai Muslims five years ago at a mosque, was in charge of the operation. He was unapologetic about his forces’ treatment of the Rohingya, denying any harsh measures and saying Thailand’s policy was in line with international humanitarian practice. “The issue has become a scandal because of a newsman slandering the military and bad-mouthing Thailand,” he told the Bangkok Post. Prime Minister Abhisit has announced an investigation, but there is little likelihood that complicit officers will be punished.

Malaysia is the preferred destination of Rohingya men looking for work. There is a thriving Rohingya community within the large migrant worker population from Burma in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, yet all migrant workers live a precarious existence subject to arbitrary arrests, beatings and intimidation. In Indonesia, the nearly 400 Rohingya who arrived appear to have won a temporary reprieve after Indonesia threatened to send them back. Conditions in the remaining Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh have marginally improved in the past two years, but living standards are still primitive and options slim.

Not all the men in the boats are destitutes fleeing oppression, some are ethnic Bengali’s from Chittagong blending in to get a job in Malaysia or refugee resettlement opportunities in a third country. And a few of the Rohingya must be relatively prosperous to have paid the fees ‑ $300 for the journey from the Burmese or Bangladesh coast to southern Thailand, and later another $500-700 in trafficking fees. The average annual wage in Burma is less than $300, although most Rohingya would earn well below this.

Finally, the Rohingya are not a “forgotten people,” as many headlines described them. They are more a foresworn people. No one wants them, even though the world is well aware of their predicament. In the past 20 years, there has been probably more international attention devoted to the Rohingya than to any other ethnic group in Burma. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, UNHCR, Médecins Sans Frontières and many other groups have been reporting on their plight since the 1991 campaign against them. Their persecution has been a litany of horrors the international community has been well aware of, but helpless or unwilling to rectify.

While Burma is the key to stemming the exodus, other Southeast Asian states need to observe international standards over their treatment of migrant workers. ASEAN’s collective failure to address the root causes of the flight of the Rohingya from Burma will ensure its continuation.

David Scott Mathieson is Burma Researcher for New York-based Human Rights Watch.

Saturday 27 June 2009

Rohingya participates in 45th standing committee meeting of UNHCR

kaladan press, 26  June 2009

Dr. Kamal Hussein, representative of Burmese Rohingya Community in Australia (BRCA), presented a statement (drafted)   on behalf of NGOs across the world at the 45th Standing Committee meeting of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on June 23 in Geneva, Switzerland, U Kyaw Maung, the President of BRCA from Australia said.

The grand opening speech of June 23 meeting was chaired by the Ambassador of Costa Rica who visited Malaysia and Thailand to visit refugees quite recently and gave a speech on the Burmese refugee situation in Asia  and then in other countries, according to Dr. Kamal  from  Geneva.
 “It is a great honor for me, for BRCA, the Rohingya community and also for the Australian team as I have been given the chance to present a statement (drafted) on behalf of NGOs across the world,” said Dr. Kamal.
After attending the meeting, Dr. Kamal told Kaladan News, “We need at least three steps of lobbying for Rohingyas or for any oppressed group in the world, such as meetings and explaining to the policy makers, politicians , NGOs and UN agencies, about what is happening in the community such as oppression, human rights violation etc; we need to go through media and researches to write about what is happening to the community and need to participate for taking action, practical decision and policy drafting: and pursue Governments and United Nations.
 “We sent our representative Dr. Kamal Hussein to participate in UNHCR’s Geneva meetings to raise awareness about the plight of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees across Asia,” according to U Kyaw Maung, the President of BRCA in Australia.

 “BRCA works tirelessly with the cooperation of Refugee Council of Australia and the Centre for Refugee Research UNSW and Amnesty international of Australia to provide stronger support from national and international levels for the Rohingya refugees,” U Kyaw Maung more said.
 “I would like to thank Caritas Australia for helping us,” he added.
 “We, at the BRCA worked hard with the concerned authorities from Australia for resettling Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh in 2008-2009 and are hoping more Rohingya refugees will be settled in future,” he more added.

 “I hope the participation and presentation will help Rohingyas and Burma not only in the NGO forum but also in the government forum.  Now here in the UN, the practical action of the Rohingyas’ plight is about to be decided for the next year and also for the next five years,” said Dr. Kamal.

 The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is currently made up of 70 member States.  The Executive Committee (ExCom) meets in Geneva annually to review and approve UNHCR’s programs and the budget, offer advice on international protection, and discuss a wide range of other issues with UNHCR and its intergovernmental and non-governmental partners.

 NGOs are present at these meetings and offer statements on each of the agenda items.  RCUSA members are actively involved in the drafting of these statements. The International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA), founded in 1962, is a global network that brings together human rights, humanitarian, and development NGOs as an advocacy alliance for humanitarian action. Focusing on humanitarian and refugee policy issues, ICVA draws upon the work of its members at the field level and brings their experiences to international decision-making forums.

Friday 12 June 2009

Brief Situation Report-2009 of Rohingya Refugees in Malaysia On the occasion of World Refugee Day

Brief Situation Report of Rohingya Refugees in Malaysia
 On the occasion
World Refugee Day- 20 June 2009

Compiled by:
Habibur Rahman

 Edited by:
Mohammad Sadek

 Published by:
   (ARRC is a leading Rohingya Refugee Committee, dedicated to advocate the causes of refugees and asylum seekers)

PO Box-11882, 50760 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia E-mail:    Blog: 
© Copy Rights: ARRC
Copying and distribution of the Report for the Wellbeing of Rohingya Refugees is allowed.

This report was compiled by Habibur Rahman, the General Coordinator of ARRC, and was edited by Mohammad Sadek, the Program Coordinator of ARRC, while special review was performed by Muhammad Saifullah, the youth activities and education Training Affairs Secretary of the National Democratic Party for Human Rights (NDPHR) exile, South East Asia Regional Office.
This report was encouraged by area based Rohingya Refug Communities in Malaysia and overseas Rohingya organizations and representatives, especially Kyaw Soe Aung the General Secretary of NDPHR (exile) USA Headquarter, with an aim to advocate the plight of forgotten Rohingya refugees in Malaysia to get equal access in every quarter including their resettlement  to third countries to find permanent solution.
ARRC Coordinating Committee expects that the Rohingya refugees may extend their helpful hands to serve the causes of their Rohingya both in home and exile, if they were resettled in third countries that based on situation prefer.
 Coordinating Committee
Arakan Rohingya Refugee Committee (ARRC)
Dated: June 12, 2009

Brief Situation Report of Rohingya Refugees in Malaysia 
On the occasion of World Refugee Day 2009
Rohingya refugee who took refuge in Malaysia for years, fallen into legal limbo as they are accessed unlike other refugees. The UN Refugee Agency practices prioritization towards non-Rohingya refugees, while Muslims refugees are stunted as prima-facie refugees. Exploitation of Rohingya refugees with verbal tasks is going on for the result of continuous engagements of so-called implementation partners.[[1]]

In general, neither they are protected on close ground nor insisted under UNHCR mandate. Resettlement for decade based Rohingya refugees is yet to be referred; the host therefore, gave two options whether repatriation or resettlement.[[2]]

Office instantly registered about 30,000 of non-Rohingya refugees and resettled 6,000 to signatory countries in a year (2008), where no significant numbers of Rohingya refugees were included in both processes. [[3]] Significantly, this 30,000 is double larger group than present number of Rohingya refugees in Malaysia, while Rohingyas are untruly defined as a large group. Although repatriation is not yet suggested for them, policies[[4]] show discriminative and tension of instigative is bringing amongst refugees.

Rohingya refugees were categorized to recognize as prima-facie refugees and thus not issued mandated refugee card. They are also recognized as illegal immigrants by Malaysian authorities within the boundary of its Immigration Act and legislation. They have already reached to 3rd generation without any legal status under any legislation for the results of disposing of Rohingya refugees into non-signatory country, Malaysia.

UNHCR Policy towards Rohingya Refugees:
Photo: ARRC, Security guards put pressure and awaiting outside UNHCR compound)
Photo: ARRC, Security guards put pressure and awaiting outside UNHCR compound)

As for the overall strategy, in cooperation with the Government of Malaysia, UNHCR is promoting and supporting group based temporary solutions in respect of the Rohingya Muslim population from Myanmar and persons of concern from the Indonesian Province of Aceh, based on their links to Malaysia. For all other persons of concern, who are categorized as in need of international protection those who have no links to Malaysia, UNHCR is working on resettlement solutions in third countries[[5]].

UNHCR officials have come to say something to the Rohingya refugees that both party need to have trust building process in order to reduce misunderstanding between each of UNHCR and Rohingya refugees [[6]], but some staffs say, Rohingyas are not considered in vulnerable group who do not know to deal with UNHCR professionally[[7]], when a group of Rohingya refugee representatives approach to the office gate to submit an open letter to the office. During this time, one[[8]] of the staffs wanted to apply Internal Security Act (ISA)[[9]] against refugees with a view to disperse group representation which denied by responsible UNHCR official.

In most cases, where UNHCR intervened to stop deportation proceedings, the authorities respected the principle of non-refoulement[[10]]. But UNHCR try utmost to maintain silence on the matter of Rohingya refugee detainees with a view to draw attention of Malaysian authorities to gain sympathy for refugees. Anyway, the Government authorities do not care on the issue in respect of Malaysian Laws and regulations.
Sometimes, UNHCR Malaysian staffs forced the Rohingyas in detention camps to accept voluntary deportation to Thailand for early release but never afforded any financial assistance to return from border or to pay agent fees[[11]].

Treatment in UNHCR Office:
(Photo: ARRC, poor Rohingya refugees are hiding over roadside to escape beating of security guard at UNHCR)
(Photo: ARRC, poor Rohingya refugees are hiding over roadside to escape beating of security guard at UNHCR)

The Rohingya refugees are the worst victims of discriminations and marginalization[[12]] at the UNHCR office. UNHCR does not allow Rohingya refugee to enter UNHCR compound without fixed appointment. Those who do not leave UNHCR premise without response are handed over to police.[[13]] Those who managed to enter, were kept sitting up to 5:00 PM. During the time of interview, refugees are threatened by UNHCR Staff. Sometimes, staffs engage interpreter to have talks with applicants to proceed under table payment for UNHCR services[[14]].

Photo: ARRC, beaten up and torn up the shirt by UNHCR Security Guard, police report available)
Photo: ARRC, beaten up and torn up the shirt by UNHCR Security Guard, police report available)

Sometimes, Rohingya refugees are forcefully returned, ignoring their problems by the security guards as per the suggestion of UNHCR officials. In some occasions, guards also beat up[[15]] the Rohingya refugees with various kinds of verbal abuses. Tensions between UNHCR local staffs and Rohingya refugees are likely increased since some office staffs were terminated.[[16]]

It is obvious that the agency has stopped the registration of Rohingya refugees from 
early 2006, saying that Malaysia is keen to provide temporary shelter for Rohingya because of their religious belief, as signatory countries are non-Muslims.
 (Irani Refugee Committed Suicide in 2004)
                                                        (Irani Refugee Committed Suicide in 2004)

Background information about Malaysia’s stance:
Malaysia is not a signatory to 1951 Convention Relating to the status of Refugees/ 1967 Protocol and has no constitutional, legislative or administrative provisions dealing with the right to seek asylum or the protection of refugees. Despite acceding to the Convention on the Rights of Child (with 8 reservations) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), none of the articles potentially relevant to refugees or asylums seekers in these treaties have been the subject of enabling legislation or administrative practice.

Any person who enters or remains in Malaysia illegally is liable to prosecution under the Immigration Act 1959/63 (Act 155), which may result in indefinite detention without judicial scrutiny, corporal punishment in the form of whipping with a Rotan[[17]] cane across the buttocks or back, fine and deportation. The vast majority of persons of concerns fall into the category of “illegal immigrants” under Malaysian Laws, which provides no legal method to differentiate those in need of international protection from other migrants. Thus, asylum seekers and refugees alike are at constant risks of arrest, detention, prosecution, imprisonment, caning and deportation; some cases are resulted in refoulement in the past.

Policy of Malaysian Government:
Government of Malaysia does not recognize refugee or political asylum in the country. It is allowing refugees to stay in Malaysia on humanitarian ground that only to let them chance to resettle in third country, while the agency is allowed to tackle its refugees and asylum seekers or persons of concern.

Relating to Rohingya refugees, Malaysia announced to issue IMM-13[[18]] in the year 2004 to find an alternative solution for them as they are denied by Burmese authority and thus try to encourage UNHCR to provide temporary protection card as refugees, who later may get chance for resettlement in third countries or to collect data of these people to repatriate them to Burma, when the government manage to agree with regime.

Treatment of Refugees and Asylum Seekers:
There were periodic reports of ill treatment of undocumented migrant workers and asylum seekers in detention camps and during deportation. Conditions in detention camps, including the provision of adequate medical care, food and clean water, failed to meet international standards. Fears that conditions could worsen due to increased overcrowding mounted after the government announced plans in July to arrest and deport over 1.2 million suspected illegal immigrants by the end of 2005. Concerned about the planned mass deportations included the lack of fair individual assessment procedures for detained migrants, serious weaknesses in fair trial safeguard for those prosecuted under the immigration Act, and inadequate protection for more vulnerable detainees, including women and children [[19]].

Very visible prosecutions are going against Rohingya refugees and asylum seekers as in most cases, UNHCR do not intervene to get release of Rohingya with an implication of their links with Malay people on their religious background.

Since early 2006, UNHCR has stopped registering of Rohingya refugees with a view to reduce refugee populations or to find temporary settlement in Malaysia in aversion their race and religion in the office. Following this, tens of thousands of Rohingya have live without any document in Malaysia for who no effective advocacy group is found yet, beside some self benefiting NGOs using the cases of Rohingyas.
Since March 2005, the Attorney General started prosecuting refugees who are detained based on offences under the Immigration Act.

Following the announcement of Malaysia about Imm-13 (temporary visit pass or work permit) for Rohingyas, the UN Refugees’ Agency cutoff its supports and providing misinforming to the world to reduce paying attentions, as the agency is trying utmost to solve the problem by alternative way of absorbing them into Malaysia’s work forces.

Agency’s commitment through short term assistances to some vulnerable cases is not enough and most cases of widowers, handicappers, cripples, aged, are not fallen into its expectation.
The Malaysian government does not pay clear attention to the suffering situation of them and consider as like as illegal immigrants under its Immigration Act. The government also believes that the Rohingyas’ are person of concern to the UNHCR and waiting for resettlement in a 3rd country or UNHCR is only refugee agency in taking care of all possible responsibilities.

Casually, the problems of Rohingya refugees remain unsolved, usually therefore, the host’s frequently discuses for repatriation into origin of persecution.[[20]] As well as, the agency is keen to agree on such repatriation, rather than finding durable solution. [[21]]

Salient Points:
Arrest, Detention and Deportation:
Photo: ARRC-Visitor Entrance of Sungai Buloh Prison
Photo: ARRC-Visitor Entrance of Sungai Buloh Prison

Recognition as illegal can remove any time from its territory and removing under deportation act.[[22]] Therefore, refugees in Malaysia are subjected to untold sufferings. At least 300 refugees are arrested in a month, consisting of baby, children, pregnant women and women, sick, and aged. Instant fleeing into jungles and bribery and then reports of misbehaviors activities by Rela or authorities is continued.

Photo: ARRC: Raid killed a Rohingya in Salayang)
Photo: ARRC: Raid killed a Rohingya in Salayang)

Even though UNHCR card holders are not acquainted from punishment of cane whipping, their trial process are kept pending for UNHCR intervention which is longer period than illegal immigrants in order to prove undocumented refugees or/illegal immigrants to bring charges of imprisonment and punishment of cane whipping. They have to face charges, if no intervention is met from UNHCR.

Coercion reports of over crowding, malnutrition food and inappropriate drinking water proved inhumane treatments. Detainees also face threatening, routinely beating, separation from family. The detention camps are not accorded with international standard and no medical NGOs are accessed and thus continue or infected tuberculosis and mold as latest H1N1. The conditions were proved[[23]]  in local newspaper NST. And latest dead continue affects of H1N1 in Juru detention camp, Penang.[[24]]
In most cases, refugee detainees themselves come to agree constantly for deportation in order to escape from such horrific conditions.

According to the USCR Survey Report 2007, refugees who were detained would be met full interview and those passed were eligible for resettlement.[[25]] No reflection was made yet towards Rohingya refugee detainees until writing of the report. Rohingya refugees have no alternative way to get release from detention center or deport into other territory or Burma. So, they are officially handed over to human trafficking agents[[26]] after immigration received official withdrawal from UNHCR. Due to failure of legal intervention by its custodies, immigration also committed to take advantage on their conditions.

Compare to previous year, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has stopped the registration of Rohingya refugees from early 2006. And thus most of the victims are found Rohingya refugees in every quarter, while agency continued to provide services and to register non-Rohingya Burmese refugees under the term of vulnerability and no linkage with Malaysian society. Currently, hundreds of undocumented Rohingya refugees are kept pending for UNHCR intervention in various detention centers of Malaysia.
Rohingya children below 16 years are estimated to about 6,000 and out of 90% are engaged in collection of recycle materials[[27]] or child labor in Malaysia. The government does not have policy to accept any suggestion made by various local NGOs or Refugee Project holders including UNHCR’s refugee children in public schools.
Currently, UNHCR-Tzuchi[[28]] Education Center has opened 4 new informal education sectors for 233 Rohingya children but UNHCR is untruly claiming about 600,[[29]] while about 5,000 are still languishing in such circles. In fact, the Rohingya refugee children are deprived of recognized education, which does not bring hope for their future.

However, UNHCR had come to denote that 3,600 Rohingya refugee children in Malaysia, are not getting a basic education due to financial and bureaucratic obstacles.[[30]] The children need to learn how to read and write. They must know how to count. They must know science and geography. What future will our Rohingya children have without knowledge? More than 70% of Rohingya children are of school age.[[31]]
Being uneducated, the Rohingya refugees are not eligible [[32]] for resettlement, while other side say, UNHCR supports for education is to settle down the refugees in Malaysia and to make easier to access in public schooling. [[33]] In many occasions, UNHCR say, we give priority towards educated refugees[[34]] to resettle in USA.

UNHCR and implementation partners try to believe that refugee children will be allowed to go to public school if the refugees receive Imm-13. But, the government has repeated that the Imm-13 is not travel permit or permanent resident and it card holder children are allowed to learn in private sector only. Thus, today Imm-13 holder Sabah children are not allowed to go to public school [[35]] as well.

Photo: ARRC: - Govt. Hospital Registration Fee
Photo: ARRC: - Govt. Hospital Registration Fee

The Rohingya refugees are facing serious difficulties in getting medical facilities in every health center, clinic or hospital. For the matter of undocumented, they are completely gone into dire situation. UNHCR card holder refugees are given 50% offer by Malaysian Government but the rest 50% are charged as Europeans, comparatively different from regular fees.[[36]]

In many cases, although refugee themselves pay deposit for registration of medical treatment, but the sick refuges are handed over to authority for un-payable of the rest amount of 50%. Medication facilities go delay to prove referral from UNHCR.

Because of UNHCR’s intentional referral and medical officer’s confirmation, many cases of medications are remained incomplete, some lost their lives.
Perception is that medical expenses are unbearable for Rohingya refugee in their low income. Due to financial hardship, many Rohingyas are suffering psychological problems and malnutrition.

ACTS[[37]] has set up free clinic for refugees in Brickfield[[38]] area. However, it is quite a far from the Rohingya’s living area; and ACTS does not have good equipment to diagnosis diseases. Early proposals to set up free clinic in areas of Rohingya refugee resides, was putting in discussion only. [[39]]

Recently, numbers of recognized refugees or UNHCR card holders were expelled from their work sectors as their documents are not recognized by the Malaysian Government’s Legislation. As per the procedures, at least 25 UNHCR Card holding Rohingya refugees were shifted by immigration from a work sector of Nilai-2 on April 28, 2009. [[40]] Their arrest clarified that refugees are the genuine victims of illegal immigrants. [[41]]
(ARRC: 12 years of child is cleaning drainage)
(ARRC: 12 years of child is cleaning drainage)

According to Immigration Act, the employers are not free from charges for employing with UNHCR document holding refugees on the basis of understanding. This information is spread out in across the country. Following this, at least 50 Rohingya refugees were terminated from their work sector in Subang Lama and thus refugees are passing lives in fear and tear in finding sources of income for their survival.
 In all walks of the life of Rohingya refugees, victimization is continued as they cannot show any kinds of legal documents.

Living Condition:
A group of Rohinyga, hiding in jungle side to escape arrest)
A group of Rohinyga, hiding in jungle side to escape arrest)

Mostly, the Rohingyas face problem to rent house as they do not have legal document. Sometimes, house owners get warning from concerned authorities, for renting houses to illegal immigrants. Some, who managed to rent a house, bring numbers of Rohingya refugees to stay together in congested rooms. Rohingyas also need to pay fees to broker to arrange rental house.
In many occasions, the Rohingya refugees try to house in jungle side, but reluctant to show their houses in dirty place to prove their civilization.

Social Condition:
(PHOTO: Habib: beaten up by locals, Rohingya still in coma for more than 9 months)
(PHOTO: Habib: beaten up by locals, Rohingya still in coma for more than 9 months)

The Rohingya refugees have to maintain their sociality separately as local do not recognize them or authority do not allow them to practice their culture and tradition.
Although, Rohingyas are Muslim by religion, their marriage registrations are kept behind the bar with a view to a distinct role between locals and foreigners.
Sometimes, hospital authority hands over new born child to immigration for their failure to pay hospital bills or show legal passport. It is true that many local staffs do not interest to provide service for Rohingya refugees in hospitals. Such mothers also face annihilation for taking child in refugee life. [[42]]

(PHOTO: ARRC: A Rohingya asks for rights)
(PHOTO: ARRC: A Rohingya asks for rights)

Besides, Rohingya refugees are not free from the attacks of goons. Often robe, beat up[[43]], hijacked[[44]] and even extort money without any condition.
Mohammed Salim, son of Osman Gani, a recognized Rohingya refugee of UNHCR was handed over to police by UNHCR staff as whilst he was awaiting to get response from official for his appeal of protection and humanitarian assistance, after escaping from assassination.

After detail studies about the situation of Roghingya Refugees in Malaysia, note able recommendation has come to find a permanent solution, resettling them to third countries because the Rohingya are not wanted in South East Asia by the influence of Burmese military regime in ASEAN nation.

There is no confusion over this report as the organization done comprehensive research which is totally true from the right angel and the concerned refugee quarters would take appropriate measures to have an independent investigation to the issue in order to strengthened security measure for the Rohingya refugee under international protection Standard.
Raymond Hall, UNHCR Regional Coordinator for Asia has summed up the terrible plight of Rohingya refugees.[[45]]

To the Government of Malaysia:
  • To take step to advocate the plights of Rohingya to the world in order to reduce refugee phenomena in Malaysia through equal burden sharing under their resettlement to third countries;
  •  To ensure the protection and human dignity of Rohingya refugees as they are the worst victim of human rights violations;
  • To address the plight of Rohingya refugees in every regional event, particularly in ASEAN, while mounting pressure on Burmese military regime for urgent democratization in the country.
To United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
  • To regularize new registration of undocumented Rohingya refugees without further delay as it recommended by various human rights and refugee concerned quarters which is not yet taken step by frontier UNHCR;
  • To immediately and unconditionally remove the marginalization of Rohingya refugees and to speed up steps to ensure refugee rights for Rohingya refugees;
  • To schedule the cases of Rohingya refugees for resettlement to third country as equal as other non-Rohingya refugees in every quota;
  • To ensure the protection and human dignity for Rohingya refugees, extending more effective and international protection mechanism;
  • To strengthen appropriate relationship with Arakan Rohingya refugee Committee (ARRC), the only dedicated refugee organization to create actual working environment for the welfare of Rohingya refugees in finding permanent solution for their long standing problems;
  • To cease all kinds of hypocrisy and misconducts of office staffs and staff members of implementation partners in getting funds and its utilizations with planned way theories.
To the international Community:
  • Appeal to put pressure on Burmese military regime to have democratic changes in the country , starting from freeing Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners including U Kyaw Min (a) Mr. Shamsul Anwarul Haque, the leader of Rohingya ethnic minority, MP of National Democratic Party for Human Rights (NDPHR) and member of Committee Representing for People’s Parliament (CRPP);
  • To increase supports and assistances for Rohingyas in all over the world is in general and to liberate Rohingya refugees from Malaysia with appropriate measures is in particular;
  • To make space in resettlement quotas for Rohingya refugees in Malaysia;
  • To set up effective mechanism to investigate misconducts and abuse of UNHCR in Malaysia and bring the staffs into account for necessary action that only to keep the UN Agency’s efficiency and transparency;
  • To accept/recognize the representation of Arakan Rohingya Refugee Committee (ARRC) to every quarter in finding permanent solution for the long-standing plight of Rohingyas.
Thank you
Coordinating Committee
Arakan Rohingya Refugee Committee (ARRC), Malaysia
 Dated: June 12, 2009

[1] In the 3rdmeeting on March 19, 2009, new protection officer of UNHCR Mr. Alvin Gosaga quoted that resettlement is not depend on proposal of refugees, Representative or UNHCR but depend on stakeholder parties. Therefore, implementation partners were accused in engaging of temporary solution for Rohingya refugees.
[2] The Star, on April 9, 2009, Malaysia.
[3] Note from the speech of Mr. Alan Vernon, new representative of UNHCR Malaysia at Selangor Kuala Lumpur Chinese Assembly Hall, on February 13, 2009 and The Daily Malay Mail, Spotlight on Plight of Refugees on Feb.23, 2009, p-11.
[4] The policies continued to resettle non-Rohingya refugees who are able go back to home country without fear as they are recognized as national ethnic groups.
[5] UNHCR Kuala Lumpur, 31 March 2005: UNHCR’s view on the concept of effective protection as it relates to Malaysia.
[6] Note from Mr. Alan Vernon, New Representative of UNHCR’s speech on February 13, 2009 at Selangor Kuala Lumpur Chinese Assembly Hall.
[7] Outgoing Protection officer Ms. Cecile Fradot spoke to refugee representative over telephone in front of Royal Malaysian police and Special Brach on 25 February 2009. She rarely excuse for problems, faced by Rohingya refugees in the past at various meetings with Rohingya refugee representatives.
[8] Haji Ibrahim Mohammed Amin, the current security officer of UNHCR who served in Bukit Aman (Malaysian) Police asked duty officer of police to apply ISA against Rohingya refugees.
[9] ISA is a law that applies for the security of country; particularly the act was applied against communist in 1970s and against the movement of oppositions in the recent year.
[10] Abid UNHCR’s view …p-1.
[11] Salim Ullah, 15 years of Rohingya refugee said, who was detained for 3 times in Malaysia. Every time, he was encouraged by UNHCR Malaysian staff to volunteer it, and that way, he was repeatedly victimized by policy of UNHCR.
[12] Mr. Stephen Smith, the Foreign Minister of Australia, seriously concerned about marginalization Rohingya in Bali Process on 14-15 April 2009, The Brisbane Times, 15/4/2009.
[13] Mr. Mohammed Salim, who was victimized by local goon, approached to UNHCR and waited to get swift response but official handed over to police to take action under police act. Police set free him from Brickfield police station, while he explained his odds and vulnerabilities.
[14] Mr. Abdullah (not real name), an old Rohingya refugee confirmed to Arakan Rohingya Refugee Committee (ARRC) that interpreter needs money to make successful application of financial assistance.
[15] The Sail, April 15, 2009
[16] A local male staff from Field Service Team (FST), [currently removed the unit], was terminated in the end of December 2008; and a female staff from Refugee Status Determination Unit, was terminated in early January 2009 with corruption reports and misconducts.
[17] As per the Holy Quran and Hadith, apply for illegal intercourse between boy and girl without getting marriage.
[18] IMM-13 is a temporary visit pass. It does not entitle the permission to work, or to become permanent resident/citizen in Malaysia. It holders are being displaced and wrangled for many times in Sabah State.
[19] Malaysia: Annual Report Entry-May 2005, Amnesty International Malaysia, Power by Journal, generated on January 27, 2007.
[20] Sinar Harian on April 9, 2009.
[21] Refugees are not always able to return safely home or to remain in the country where they received asylum. There are situation in which resettlement to a third country the only safe and viable durable solution for refugees: (Refugee Resettlement Watch).
[22] A letter of Immigration Ref: IM101/HQ-E(S)/803/09/15/08, p-1.
[23] The New Straight Times, dated September 23, 2008.
[24] The Star, May 29, 2009
[25] US Committee for Refugee Survey Report 2007, published in The New Fortune Monthly, August 2008, Vol. 1, Issue-2, Kuala Lumpur..
[26] Millennia Muslim Magazine, January 2008.
[27] The New Fortune Monthly, Vol.1, Issue.4, October 2008
[28] Taiwan Buddhist Tzuchi Foundation, an implementing partner of UNHCR, is running 4 informal sectors from January 2008. The Burmese pro-democracy opposition groups feel upset for the services of China in strengthening Burmese military regime, while UNHCR is merely assigning it as agency’s partner.
[29] Noted from the statement of Ms. Ellie Al Daqqa, the head of UNHCR Community Development Unit, shows so-called sympathy over Muslim and her encouragement brings to a model of conspiracy.
[30] UNHCR article written by Yante Ismail: Hope for Malaysia’s home learning Rohingya refugees? http://, dated 14 July 2006.
[31] Abid, UNHCR article, dated 14 July 2006.
[32] Abdullah (not real name) who applied for resettlement to UNHCR was replied by Ms. Zakiah, a Local staff for UNHCR resettlement Unit. It is clear that uneducated are misinformed, while educated are accused of emotional access.
[33] Outgoing protection officer Ms. Cecile Fradot, said in a meeting of Migrant Working Group on 22-24 September 2008.
[34] Uneducated are misinformed, while educated are accused of emotional access.
[35] A local NGO called Berneo Chid Aid Society, provides basic school facility to Pilipino refugee children in Sabah but fail to get admission in public schools.
[36] Malaysian locals have to pay RM 1, but the Rohingyas have to pay RM 25, if the person holds UNHCR ID Card. In case of UNHCR Paper or undocumented, has to pay RM 50 without any condition.
[37] Kampulan ACTS Sdn Bhd is a local NGO which is an implementing partner of UNHCR for medical facilities.
[38] Brickfield a place, situated in Southern Part of Kuala Lumpur, where mostly non Rohingya refugees reside. Non-Rohingya coordinators are engage for every facility who often underestimates the Rohingyas.
[39] UNHCR and NGOs do not pay attention to the needs of health services for Rohingya. Some say, donation comes from non-Muslim groups, so need to give priority to donors proposal. Rohingya should approach Malay society or Mosques to get such facilities.
[40] The Sail, a web blog http//
[41] Ms. Siti Rohizah, a mother of 13-months old child and Rohingya refugee, reported to ARRC on 8-6-2009 that her husband together with 10 others were arrested from KNM project in Kuantan, when they were searching for livelihoods for themselves and family members, are being detained in Kemayan camp. Basically, UNHCR or any other quarter do not provide foods and shelter for any refugees in Malaysia. So, the poor lady is struggling to alive with her innocent child.
[42] Authorities think that refugee women might not be practice mother nature, while men would not get marriage or /…..
[43] The Sail,
[44] Abid.
[45] Gred Trode, “No home, littile hope,” South China Morning Post, March 10, 2009 and Human Right Watch report “Perilous Plight” dated May 26, 2009.