Wednesday 28 November 2012

Suu Kyi: Heavy Lies The Head - Analysis

Source Euroasiaview, 28 Nov

During her recent trip to India, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi visited her alma mater the Lady Sri Ram College, where activists protesting the plight of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar are reported to have told Ms. Suu Kyi "to come out of her cocoon and take a stand on the Rohingya issue." Some political analysts have described the Rohingya issue as a test of Suu Kyi's 'credentials and commitment', her Buddhist faith and even as the true proof of her being worthy of the Nobel Peace prize . It is time to take a step back and look at Myanmar, take in the big picture and focus on Suu Kyi and the challenges that confront her.

Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi

Ms Suu Kyi today, is a popular leader of Myanmar. After winning 43 of the 45 parliamentary seats contested in the by-elections held in April this year, she is expected to gain control of the government after the elections scheduled for 2015; about three years from now. The world has been delighted to see Ms. Suu Kyi in the Myanmar parliament. She is an international symbol of courage and non-violent opposition to the military rule, having struggled bravely for human rights and political freedom while under house arrest for almost 15 of the 21 years from 20 July 1989 until her most recent release on 13 November 2010.

US president Obama, during his first trip abroad post re-election remarked in Bangkok last week, "Democratic transition in Burma is an ongoing process and the process needs to be in the spotlight." Ms. Suu Kyi idolized by her people and the world, has what it takes to leverage this attention and bring about real and lasting change in Myanmar.

However, Ms. Suu Kyi cannot assume that her overwhelming popularity in Myanmar today will remain intact over the next few years and see her through to the elections in 2015. Her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), needs to have a clear understanding of the country's priorities and come to grips with these issues at the earliest. Ms. Suu Kyi, on the other hand, will have to evolve from being a resistance icon to a national leader; a challenging prospect.

According to the International Crisis Group, ethnically, Myanmar is one of the most diverse countries in the world. Consequently, since independence it has experienced a complex set of conflicts between the central government and ethnic minority groups seeking autonomy. Ethnic minorities constitute about one-third of the population and occupy roughly half of the country in terms of area. At present, despite almost all ethnic groups having accepted the Union of Myanmar and their demands being limited to increased local authority and equality within the federal state structure, the country is not beyond strife.

UNHRC data indicates that there are 777,859 refugees, asylum seekers and IDPs of Myanmar- origin displaced to its neighbours. There are a further 1,147,275 persons including 808,075 stateless persons within the country itself. The Myanmar refugee population in India is mainly from the Chin ethnic minority group, with a smaller proportion of Kachins, Rakhines, and Bamars.

Over 140,000 Myanmarese, mostly Karen, Karenni, Mon and Shan, among others are presently confined in camps in Thailand. Many have been displaced since the mid-1980s. In addition, there are probably at least 300,000 refugees outside these Camps in Thailand, including 250,000 Shan refugees. Suu Kyi has visited Mae La refugee camp on the Thai border, telling thousands of people that their plight has not been forgotten. She has also visited the town of Mahachai, outside Bangkok, home to Thailand's largest population of Myanmar migrants.

It is in this country, torn by internal conflict and racked by armed ethnic insurgencies of various scales and intensities that Suu Kyi is trying to make the shift from opposition leader to a party, parliamentary and a national leader. Further as a Member of Parliament, Suu Kyi is now carries the cross of being part of Myanmar's state establishment. Suu Kyi alone cannot solve the complex ethnic problems of Myanmar that have existed for decades. Her ultimate challenge will be to keep the country unified while addressing the demands of the minorities.

She has also to revitalise the grass root-level infrastructure of her party, the NLD. She has to find common grounds with the Military that would support the necessary amendments to the present Constitution without which she cannot assume leadership in the Myanmar.

Suu Kyi's stance on the Rohingya issue has been influenced by three key factors: the public opinion in her own constituency, the collective view of her party, and the mainstream opinion in Myanmar. Incidentally her constituency, the rural township of Kawhmu, is known to have an extremely anti-Rohingya stance. Yet there is a requirement of articulating a coherent policy for the future, policy that diffuses the situation in Rakhine State and allows for humanitarian aid to flow in to refugees.

Staying on the Rohingya issue, Suu Kyi in one of her interviews to the media in New Delhi made three important points. One, the immediate step is for the violence to stop, effect de-escalation of the situation and allow access to humanitarian aid. Second, both communities have resorted to violence hence restrain has to be exercised by all stakeholders. Rhetoric and provocation has not helped either side. Third, was regarding the responsibility of Bangladesh on the issue.

A Danish Immigration Service fact finding mission in 2011 found that the Bangladesh government was concerned about the 'pull factor' related to the Rohingya's exodus to Bangladesh. This was the reason the government did not want to provide support to development activities aimed at improving the living conditions of the Rohingya. A Joint Initiative by five UN agencies to develop for Cox's Bazar, a two-year, $33 million development plan to strengthen education, health, livelihood ect could not get the Bangladesh Government's approval. If Pakistan and Iran were to adopt a similar position on Afghan refugees, their plight would have been akin to the Rohingyas.

Suu Kyi's endorsement of the Rohingya struggle at this stage will not get the Rohingyas what they want but for Suu Kyi anything more than a balanced stance on the Rohingya issue will definitely impact her position adversely in 2015. So let's be fair and grant 'Daw Suu' some political manoeuvre space and her rightful place in Myanmar history.

This article appeared at South Asia Monitor and is reprinted with permission.

By: , is an independent analyst based in New Delhi.. He can be reached at


One Million Burmese Face Thai Deportation

Source Irrawaddy news, 28 Nov

Burmese migrant workers stand in line on the Mae Sot-Myawaddy Friendship Bridge. (Photo: The Irrawaddy

Around one million Burmese migrant workers in Thailand are facing deportation back to Burma unless they complete a procedure to verify their nationality before Dec 14, according to Burmese government and Thai media sources.

Burma has asked for the deadline to be extended but Thailand has so far declined to do so. Labor migration expert Andy Hall told The Irrawaddy that it was unlikely most workers would be able to complete the nationality verification procedure in time.

Burma's Deputy Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security Myint Thein met with Thai Labor Ministry's Employment Department Director-General Prawit Khiangpol in Bangkok on Monday to ask for an extension of the deadline for another six months, but the request was turned down, according to The Bangkok Post.

The Burmese President's Office released a statement on Nov. 23 that said the two countries should work together to provide Burmese migrant workers with official documentation instead of deporting them.

"If the [documentation] process is halted it will have adverse impact on the interest of both countries and workers' rights," the office said. "So, Myanmar will insist on extending the [registration] term."

The Thai government has already extended the nationality verification deadline several times, most recently pushing it back from June 14 to Dec. 14.

Thailand started the so-called Nationality Verification process in 2009 requiring all migrant workers to verify their nationality with their home country and be issued temporary passports, after which they are granted a two-year Thai work permit.

There are verification centers in Bangkok, Samut Sakorn, Samut Prakan, Surat Thani, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Tak and Ranong.

More than two million Burmese are estimated to be working in Thailand, around one million of which remain unregistered, according to the Burmese government.
Andy Hall, a migration expert at Mahidol University in Bangkok, said around 300,000 Burmese registered workers had not yet verified their nationality, while unregistered workers were not eligible for this procedure under Thai law.

Both groups face deportation, he said, unless Burma and Thailand could agree on a new system of migrant worker registration and an extension of the nationality verification deadline—but Thailand has so far stuck to its current plans.

"The approach of the [Burmese] government is commendable, but Thailand has been very unreasonable," Hall said, adding that large-scale deportation of Burmese workers by Thai authorities is now looming.

"They [Thai officials] said they're going to ramp up the deportation process next year," he said. "At least one million are at risk of deportation … it should be an issue of concern to the international community."

If Thailand does not extend the deadline, Burma has asked that all migrants are sent back through formal channels to prevent exploitation, he added.

Most Burmese migrants are employed as cheap laborers in Thai fisheries, garment factories, the construction industry or work as domestic servants.

Many are forced to pay off Thai police in order to obtain legal documents or remain employed, while illegal, unregistered workers are at risk of exploitation and abuse by employers, according to labor rights advocates.

Monday 26 November 2012

Terrorized, starving and homeless: Myanmar's Rohingya still forgotten

Source CNN, 26 Nov
By Dan Rivers, CNN
November 26, 2012 -- Updated 1109 GMT (1909 HKT)

Myanmar's minorities fight for survival

  • Rohingya are a stateless Muslim minority living in Myanmar's Rakhine state
  • Thousands have been forced to flee the region amid persecution from Buddhist majority
  • They are driven to refugee camps where conditions are extremely poor
  • U.S. President Barack Obama raised the issue during his recent visit to Myanmar

Sittwe, Myanmar (CNN) -- It's been three years since I reported on the plight of the Rohingya Muslim people of western Myanmar and neighboring Bangladesh.

We called our documentary "A Forgotten People," and it looked at appalling incidents where boatloads of refugees fleeing poverty and persecution arrived in Thailand only to be towed back out to sea and abandoned by the Thai security forces. Hundreds died or went missing.

WATCH: The Forgotten People: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Since then, the Rohingya have remained off the political agenda in western countries.

But now that's changing. U.S. President Barack Obama addressed their plight during his recent visit to Yangon. The lukewarm response he got in the auditorium was nothing to the vitriol he got online. Even mentioning the name Rohingya is controversial for some in Myanmar.

The Rohingya are stateless with nowhere to go. Driven by fear many are congregating in huge makeshift camps on the edge of the Rahkine town of Sittwe.The Rohingya are stateless with nowhere to go. Driven by fear many are congregating in huge makeshift camps on the edge of the Rahkine town of Sittwe.
Respiratory tract infections, diarrhea and malnutrition are on the increase as refugees in the camps have no access to hospitals and get no medical care. A small number of volunteers visit on an occasional basis, but they tell us there is no way they can see everyone who needs help.

Saulama Hafu is 5 years old and extremely malnourished. There is nothing but rice to eat in the camp. Inadequate diet and terrible sanitary conditions have left her dangerously ill.
Two foreign doctors visit this camp not far from Sittwe. They are here unofficially and do not want their faces shown. NGOs are having great difficulty getting permission to come in and help.

Tens of thousands of Muslim Rohingya are forced to live in apalling conditions after fleeing from their homes.
A girl wearing "thanaka" on her face carries her brother. The traditional cosmetic made form tree bark is used as sunscreen, insect repellent and antiseptic. After nearly half a year in the camps doctors are afraid more an more children are at risk of acute malnutrition.
Stateless, little hope
Myanmar's displaced detail violence
Behind the violence in Myanmar
Buddhist vs. Muslim unrest in Myanmar
Obama's historic visit to Myanmar

READ: Obama lauds Suu Kyi, praises Myanmar

We have come to Rahkine to report on the latest threat to the Rohingya. What we have found is shocking. The Rohingyas are among the most persecuted people on the planet. In both Myanmar and Bangladesh -- where they have a deep-rooted heritage dating back to when it was known as East Bengal -- they are not officially citizens and are denied passports, access to health-care, education and decent jobs.

Each country claims the Rohingya is the other's problem. In July this year, the Bangladeshi government ordered three international aid organizations to stop helping Rohingya who were crossing the border from Myanmar.

READ: What's behind violence in Myanmar?

In Myanmar, their perilous situation has become markedly worse in recent months. Mobs of Buddhist Rahkine extremists have been torching whole Rohingya villages. Hundreds have died and more than 100,000 people have been forced to flee, according to humanitarian groups.

But there is nowhere for them to go. So driven by fear many are congregating in huge makeshift camps on the edge of the Rahkine town of Sittwe.

I was expecting the camps to be grim -- but I wasn't prepared to see children starving to death. This isn't journalistic hyperbole. The two western doctors working unofficially here have watched several children perish before their eyes -- not from a rare tropical disease or an untreated chronic condition, but simply from malnutrition.

I find it sickening and outrageous that this is happening in a land of plentiful food in 2012. Perhaps I am naïve or too idealistic. I should probably know better, I should have seen enough of the world's misery and violence to be unaffected by a wide-eyed kid too fatigued to swat the flies from her eyes. But this one broke my heart.

She's not alone.

I should have seen enough of the world's misery and violence to be unaffected by a large eyed kid too fatigued to swat the flies from her eyes. But this one broke my heart.
Dan Rivers

An assessment in August by Refugees International found that "2,000 acutely malnourished children who were at a high risk of mortality."

Thousands of kids like Saulama Hafu are starving to death.

International aid agencies are beginning to wake up to the scale of the problem. The United Nations has just launched an appeal for US$41 million. Tents, wells and latrines have been installed in some of the camps, but according to Refugees International, camp facilities are "unacceptable and fall well below international standards" and "are a direct manifestation of a funding gap." They say water and sanitation facilities in particular are "wholly inadequate, resulting in life-threatening illnesses."

Many Rohingya are surviving on a cup of rice each day and little else. It's not enough for breast-feeding mothers to sustain their babies. It's not enough for adults. It's not enough for little Saulama, whose skeletal body is as light as a doll's. She looks like a famine victim but she is starving to death in a camp surrounded by paddy fields full of rice. There's a busy market a couple of miles away, but her mother is effectively imprisoned here. This is a man-made crisis that could be ended immediately, with political will.

I asked Saulama's age, thinking that she looked like a toddler. My own daughter is three and is considerably larger, so I guess perhaps she was two. I was appalled when her mother told me Saulama is five-years old. In the west, she'd be in her first year of school. Here, she could be in the last year of her life. She's so thin she can barely walk. Her limbs are pitifully emaciated. After six months in this camp, she looks like she can't go on.

The doctors have not been given visas to help here, so they can only get the most basic supplies. The Myanmar government is reluctant to allow aid workers to help people who don't officially exist. But the reality is that there are an estimated one million Rohingya in Western Myanmar and at least a tenth of them have been driven from their homes.

Yet driving around Sittwe, away from the camps, you rarely see a Rohingya in the town center. When we asked a Rohingya driver to bring us back from the camps to our hotel to sort out a problem with our camera, the hotel manager was furious. He told us in no uncertain terms not to use a Muslim driver again and said people had seen the driver come into the hotel and had complained. It is apartheid of the most extreme form.

Near Sittwe University, which sits amid several Rohingya villages and camps, RohingyaS on foot, bicycle or scooter are forced to pull off the road when Buddhist Rakhine students are leaving classes. Sharing the same stretch of tarmac as a Rohingya is unacceptable for many Rahkine Buddhists; heaven forbid a Rohingya should attempt to board the same bus or eat in the same restaurant.

Violence is something I condemn completely, but don't forget that violence has been committed by both sides, this is why I prefer not to take sides.
Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung Mingalar is the last neighborhood of Rohingya living inside the town of Sittwe; the rest of population is now under canvas or tarps out in the countryside. This island of Rohingya houses is now effectively a ghetto surrounded by barbed wire.

The soldiers that patrol the area are supposed to protect the Rohingya from further attacks by hostile locals, but videos taken by Rohingya purportedly showing an outbreak of violence in Aung Mingalar in June show the troops doing little to put out fires set in Rohingya homes. The Rohingya fear more attacks here, but can do little to stop the gangs of extremists who they say were orchestrated by a local Rahkine nationalist party.

The spokesman for that party denies involvement, but has open contempt for the Rohingya, flinching when I even mention the term. He says it's a recently made up word, and that the Rohingya are simply Bengalis from neighboring Bangladesh. Ominously he goes further. He doesn't just want to kick all Rohingya out. He wants all Muslims out of Rakhine state, including officially recognized ethic groups like the Kaman. The anti-Muslim sentiment has spread across Myanmar, with protests outside a mosque in the main city of Yangon.

The International Crisis Group report on the situation is deeply worrying, while Human Rights Watch has also completed some important work, highlighting the atrocities, with satellite photos showing the vast areas of destruction.

What has disappointed many is that Nobel laureate and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi took a long time to speak out clearly to uphold Rohingya rights and condemn the extremists. She recently told Indian Broadcaster NTV: "Violence is something I condemn completely, but don't forget that violence has been committed by both sides. This is why I prefer not to take sides and also I want to work towards reconciliation between these two communities. I'm not going to be able to do that if I'm going to take sides."

Suu Kyi elaborated further, saying: "There's a quarrel whether people are true citizens under the law or whether they have come over as migrants later from Bangladesh. One of the very interesting and rather disturbing facts of this whole problem is that most people seem to think as that there was only one country involved in this border issue. But there are two countries. There's Bangladesh one side, there's Burma on the other and the security and the security of the border is surely the responsibility of both countries."

But in the past she has referred to Rohingyas with the pejorative term "Bengalis" suggesting some should not be recognized as citizens in Myanmar.

The whole issue has tarnished the glow of fast-paced reform in Myanmar. While the rest of the country is enjoying freedoms not experienced in 60 years of military dictatorship, in Rahkine State the ethnic cleansing is continuing with impunity. It demands the attention of the international community, for the sake of children like Saulama... before it's too late.


Obama Sending the Wrong Message to Burma

Source Care2, 25 Nov
Obama Sending The Wrong Message To Burma

Despite ongoing grave abuses against ethnic groups, last week President Obama became the first U.S. president to visit Burma. While important reforms have begun in Burma, a presidential visit was a reward too far and sends the wrong message.

U.S. policy of lifting economic pressure and restoration of full diplomatic relations with the government of Burma following some economic and political reforms has failed to bring any relief to those lacking humanitarian aid in Kachin state or to prevent further violence and abuses against other ethnic groups, particularly recently against the Rohingya.

Some 75,000 people remain displaced in Kachin and Shan states with limited access to urgently needed international aid. At least 180 Rohingya have been killed and over 100,000 displaced as the government has tacitly or overtly supported abuses and the devolution of communal violence into systemic, largely one-sided, targeting of the Rohingya.

Rather than acting to quell violence and protect civilians, Burmese officials have promulgated hatred and even encouraged a policy that amounts to ethnic cleansing at the highest level. President Thein Sein asked the United Nations to arrange for 800,000 Rohingya to be placed in refugee camps or removed entirely from Burma.

A change of course is needed, first to avert the most immediate threat of further systematic violence against Rohingya and, second, to reintroduce the threat of consequences in the dialogue with Burmese authorities. The first can be done through pressuring the Burmese government to do more to grant humanitarian access to displaced populations, revise citizenship laws and to protect Rohingya as well as through the deployment of UN mandated observers in order to investigate the violence, deter escalation and ultimately hold perpetrators accountable.

The second can be done by reiterating the fact that sanctions have not been removed, but rather suspended and can be put back in place if egregious human rights abuses continue.

President Obama raised the Rohingya issue publicly in the main speech of his visit saying there is"no excuse for violence against innocent people," but it is unclear if he went any further in private conversations with President Thein Sein. The threat of a return to sanctions or other consequences was also absent, with only generic references that the "flickers of progress that we have seen must not be extinguished." Ahead of his trip Obama provided yet another reward by lifting the import ban on Burma, though he at least maintained the ban on gems, the material most closely linked with abuses in ethnic areas.

If Obama was really standing with the people of Burma, he would not have gone on this trip. But since he did, there was no excuse for him to not visit ethnic groups suffering under the policies of the Burmese government and advocating for the deployment of United Nations mandated observers in Rakhine state where Rohingya have been overwhelmingly targeted in recent weeks.

As decade long abuses continue and new ethnically motivated violence threatens to spread, the United States should recognize that the incentives offered to this point, and especially a Presidential visit, bring a special responsibility to use U.S. leverage to avert further catastrophe.

In the aftermath of previous mass atrocities and ethnic cleansings, the world pledged, "never again." Instead of rewarding "flickers of progress" by dining with those enabling the killing and displacement of the Rohingya and other ethnic groups in Burma, Obama should have been standing on the side of the oppressed, calling for an end to the violence and threatening to pull back U.S. support for the Burmese government if the ongoing abuses are not immediately addressed.

Read more:

Friday 23 November 2012

Naypyidaw's dirty little tricks at "peace building"

Source Dr.zarni blog, 22 Nov
I often hear experts and peace-brokers, local and international, as well as 'donors' talk optimistically - and sometimes excitedly - about the Burmese regime's ceasefire deals and peace-making processes.

They often delude themselves into thinking that the generals need technical advice (often touted formula of DDR - Disarmament, De-mobilization, and Re-integration), financial assistance, political support, encouragement and you get the drift.  

Well-trained in psch-war ops, these 'peace-makers' from Naypyidaw know how to stroke your ego, entice you with things that you lust after, or simply abuse and manipulate your genuine desire to help end Burma's nasty civil wars of 60 plus year.  

Even if we naively and incorrectly assume that peace builders and support groups are high-minded and lack any hidden personal, organizational or national agendas expertly and 'donorly' involvement doesn't have much potentials to bring peace dividends in the current set up.  

The verifiable fact in the Burmese context is that the the generals and ex-generals don't embrace peace either intrinsically worthwhile goal in and of itself or as a corporate value.  They feel they can impose on resistance groups 'peace' on their own terms. 

The generals are only managing conflicts strategically and tactically for their own strategic goals of domination and eventual annihilation of any resistance groups, armed or non-violent and of control of land, above and under-ground resources, trade and strategic routes.  

On one hand, Naypyidaw's smooth-talking, but essentially dishonest and highly corrupted ex-intelligence officers like Aung Min, President Thein Sein's peace minister, talk peace, push for snap ceasefire deals and pose for the media - for propaganda's sake.

On the other hand, their men in General Staff and Special Operations Bureau - the bad cop -- are expanding and reinforcing their front line positions.  Further, the Naypyidaw's Army is emptying, as a matter of strategy, Kachin land of non-combatant communities, thereby creating a major burden and pressure on the Kachin fighters in the form of 100,000 Kachin war refugees, who need to be housed, fed and protected.  
That obviously brings down the number of Kachin troops that can engage in actual battles with the advancing Naypyidaw troops.

So, Naypyidaw troops forcing the Kachin communities to flee to KIA's command centers is part of Naypyidaw's nasty strategy towards these communities who supported voluntarily the founding of the Union of Burma as a post-colonial country and defended the Union in the fragile and early days of Burma's independence when the ethnically Burmese Troops were incapable of defending the Union from the Communists and later the Karen military assaults.

Thursday 22 November 2012

Crises in Kyauktaw and Myebon towns of Arakan

By NDPHR(exile),
Kyauktaw town
21 Nov: A group of five military personnel walking around the town-centre were attacked by Rakhine mob in the afternoon around 14:30pm. The confrontation was began from blaming of the non-Buddhist military forces for protecting and helping the Rohingya. The mob said these soldiers are son-in-laws of Rohingyas so that they attacked harshly. A military personnel has been died on the spot and the rest other escaped with injuries. But the authority has arrested no Rakhine so far.
20 Nov: From the evening, eight acres of paddy field around the pound of Auk Paiketay (fishing village) were burnt down by Rakhine people.

From the evening around 19:00pm of 16 Nov, more than 5,000 Rakhines surrounded the fishing village of Rohingya and asking the military guards to leave from the village. They entered through walking form various sides of the villages and began attackings of the village. They loudly announced to cleans by setting fire of the remaining all Rohingya villages across Southern Arakan. As a result of aggressive actions, additional military forces are deployed there that forced Rakhines leaved the village the following morning 7:00am.
In Foeyda village, Rakhines confronted against the military forces therefore the forces opened fires several warning shots..
Again from the evening of 17 Nov, thousands of Rakhines are surrounding the Fishing village and the attacks would be developed by night, they told.
Myebon town
19 Nov: Two Rohingya youths from Taungbo Quarter going for fishing in the afternoon, were brutally beaten up by a group of Rakhine in the farming field of Alaypaine Quarter (Central Quarter). The two Rohingya fishermen were found dead in the filed.
The members of Rakhine party RNDP followed by local high ranking authority hold talks with the displaced muslim people. The authorities said that the Rakhine people do not want to stay together with muslim people so that all muslim people of the town have to choose voluntary relocation to the other area is only option.
The muslim people reiterated about how they were ambushed and about thousand of their houses burnt down in all the three villages of Alaypaine Quarter, Kartarthwar Quarter and Taungbo Quarter where about 30 muslims killed on the night of 23 Nov soon after the local Rakhine leaders plus monks approached to enhance to trust over its neighbour Rakhines.
The displaced homeless muslims therefore replied the authorities that they too are no longer safe nor willing to stay there any more and they sought relocation to Sittwe town or central Burma.

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Maungdaw south burning just after US President Obama departure

Source Kaladanpress, 19 Nov

Maungdaw, Arakan state: A group of Rakhines from Kanbay Natala –news shelter villager- together with Burmese border security force (Nasaka) are setting on fire to Horsara under Zaw Matet village tract – a Rohingya village, today, according to a village elder.

"The Horsara village is situated near the Maungdaw- Aley Than Kyaw highway and beside a new shelter village (natala) and Nasaka outpost under Nasaka area number 7. The Nasaka always harass the Rohingya villagers and the travelers on this road. With them, the new shelter also giving trouble to Rohingya community who pass this point."

"The village has more than 58 houses and the Nasaka personnel have already driven out from the village with open fire, then the Rakhines set on fire the village at 20:00 hour after listening the news at 20:00 hour from Burma broadcasting service.

In the news, there was US President Barak Obama speech which mention about Rohingya that become angry the Rakhine where they set on fire the village and the security force didn't do any things while set on fire but, fire on Rohingya when they tried to save their village, said a victim from the village.

"For too long, the people of this state, including ethnic Rakhine, have faced crushing poverty and persecution. But there's no excuse for violence against innocent people," Obama told a packed audience for a speech at Yangon University.

"The Rohingya … hold within themselves the same dignity as you do, and I do. National reconciliation will take time, but for the sake of our common humanity, and for the sake of this country's future, it's necessary to stop incitement and to stop violence."

Thein Sein, in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week, promised to tackle the root causes of the problem, and Obama said he welcomed "the government's commitment to address the issues of injustice, and accountability, and humanitarian access and citizenship".

The massage of radio made angry the Rakhine and its supporter, set on fire the Rohingya village to show the reaction of Obama statement, said a student from Maungdaw south.

"The Burmese president—who previously told the UN it should take responsibility for finding homes in third countries for the Rohingyas. But on November 16, condemned the "senseless violence" between the Muslim Rohingya community and Rakhine Buddhists, and blamed the unrest on extremists. Therefore, the performance of President on Rohingya community is not stable and increased security measure across the Arakan State after giving international pressure. But, it does not ensure the security of Rohingya community."

The Rohingya villagers now become homes less and haven't able to stay and the Maungdaw authority didn't recognized IPDs to this Rohingya. Where will they go, they will not allow to enter their village by Nasaka. The UN staffs also didn't able to give any help to this people as there are so many Rohingyas IDPs in Maungdaw but no get any support from any NGOs or any Organization, said a NGOs staff from Maungdaw.

Speech by US President Obama at Yangon University

Source Rohingyablogger, 19 Nov

Office of the Press Secretary
Obama speech at University of Yangon - DVB Live

For Immediate Release November 19, 2012
Rangoon, Burma

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. (Applause.) Myanmar Naingan, Mingalaba! (Laughter and applause.) I am very honored to be here at this university and to be the first President of the United States of America to visit your country.

I came here because of the importance of your country. You live at the crossroads of East and South Asia. You border the most populated nations on the planet. You have a history that reaches back thousands of years, and the ability to help determine the destiny of the fastest growing region of the world.

I came here because of the beauty and diversity of your country. I have seen just earlier today the golden stupa of Shwedagon, and have been moved by the timeless idea of metta — the belief that our time on this Earth can be defined by tolerance and by love. And I know this land reaches from the crowded neighborhoods of this old city to the homes of more than 60,000 villages; from the peaks of the Himalayas, the forests of Karen State, to the banks of the Irrawady River.

I came here because of my respect for this university. It was here at this school where opposition to colonial rule first took hold. It was here that Aung San edited a magazine before leading an independence movement. It was here that U Thant learned the ways of the world before guiding it at the United Nations. Here, scholarship thrived during the last century and students demanded their basic human rights. Now, your Parliament has at last passed a resolution to revitalize this university and it must reclaim its greatness, because the future of this country will be determined by the education of its youth.

I came here because of the history between our two countries. A century ago, American traders, merchants and missionaries came here to build bonds of faith and commerce and friendship. And from within these borders in World War II, our pilots flew into China and many of our troops gave their lives. Both of our nations emerged from the British Empire, and the United States was among the first countries to recognize an independent Union of Burma. We were proud to found an American Center in Rangoon and to build exchanges with schools like this one. And through decades of differences, Americans have been united in their affection for this country and its people.
Above all, I came here because of America’s belief in human dignity. Over the last several decades, our two countries became strangers. But today, I can tell you that we always remained hopeful about the people of this country, about you. You gave us hope and we bore witness to your courage.
We saw the activists dressed in white visit the families of political prisoners on Sundays and monks dressed in saffron protesting peacefully in the streets. We learned of ordinary people who organized relief teams to respond to a cyclone, and heard the voices of students and the beats of hip-hop artists projecting the sound of freedom. We came to know exiles and refugees who never lost touch with their families or their ancestral home. And we were inspired by the fierce dignity of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, as she proved that no human being can truly be imprisoned if hope burns in your heart.

When I took office as President, I sent a message to those governments who ruled by fear. I said, in my inauguration address, “We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” And over the last year and a half, a dramatic transition has begun, as a dictatorship of five decades has loosened its grip. Under President Thein Sein, the desire for change has been met by an agenda for reform. A civilian now leads the government, and a parliament is asserting itself. The once-outlawed National League for Democracy stood in an election, and Aung San Suu Kyi is a Member of Parliament. Hundreds of prisoners of conscience have been released, and forced labor has been banned. Preliminary cease-fires have been reached with ethnic armies, and new laws allow for a more open economy.

So today, I’ve come to keep my promise and extend the hand of friendship. America now has an Ambassador in Rangoon, sanctions have been eased, and we will help rebuild an economy that can offer opportunity for its people, and serve as an engine of growth for the world. But this remarkable journey has just begun, and has much further to go. Reforms launched from the top of society must meet the aspirations of citizens who form its foundation. The flickers of progress that we have seen must not be extinguished — they must be strengthened; they must become a shining North Star for all this nation’s people.
And your success in that effort is important to the United States, as well as to me. Even though we come from different places, we share common dreams: to choose our leaders; to live together in peace; to get an education and make a good living; to love our families and our communities. That’s why freedom is not an abstract idea; freedom is the very thing that makes human progress possible — not just at the ballot box, but in our daily lives.

One of our greatest Presidents in the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, understood this truth. He defined America’s cause as more than the right to cast a ballot. He understood democracy was not just voting. He called upon the world to embrace four fundamental freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. These four freedoms reinforce one another, and you cannot fully realize one without realizing them all.

So that’s the future that we seek for ourselves, and for all people. And that is what I want to speak to you about today.

First, we believe in the right of free expression so that the voices of ordinary people can be heard, and governments reflect their will — the people’s will.

In the United States, for more than two centuries, we have worked to keep this promise for all of our citizens — to win freedom for those who were enslaved; to extend the right to vote for women and African Americans; to protect the rights of workers to organize.

And we recognize no two nations achieve these rights in exactly the same way, but there is no question that your country will be stronger if it draws on the strength of all of its people. That’s what allows nations to succeed. That’s what reform has begun to do.

Instead of being repressed, the right of people to assemble together must now be fully respected. Instead of being stifled, the veil of media censorship must continue to be lifted. And as you take these steps, you can draw on your progress. Instead of being ignored, citizens who protested the construction of the Myitsone dam were heard. Instead of being outlawed, political parties have been allowed to participate. You can see progress being made. As one voter said during the parliamentary elections here, “Our parents and grandparents waited for this, but never saw it.” And now you can see it. You can taste freedom.

And to protect the freedom of all the voters, those in power must accept constraints. That’s what our American system is designed to do. Now, America may have the strongest military in the world, but it must submit to civilian control. I, as the President of the United States, make determinations that the military then carries out, not the other way around. As President and Commander-In-Chief, I have that responsibility because I’m accountable to the people.

Now, on other hand, as President, I cannot just impose my will on Congress — the Congress of the United States — even though sometimes I wish I could. The legislative branch has its own powers and its own prerogatives, and so they check my power and balance my power. I appoint some of our judges, but I cannot tell them how to rule, because every person in America — from a child living in poverty to me, the President of the United States — is equal under the law. And a judge can make a determination as to whether or not I am upholding the law or breaking the law. And I am fully accountable to that law.

And I describe our system in the United States because that’s how you must reach for the future that you deserve — a future where a single prisoner of conscience is one too many. You need to reach for a future where the law is stronger than any single leader, because it’s accountable to the people. You need to reach for a future where no child is made to be a soldier and no woman is exploited, and where the laws protect them even if they’re vulnerable, even if they’re weak; a future where national security is strengthened by a military that serves under civilians and a Constitution that guarantees that only those who are elected by the people may govern.
On that journey, America will support you every step of the way — by using our assistance to empower civil society; by engaging your military to promote professionalism and human rights; and by partnering with you as you connect your progress towards democracy with economic development. So advancing that journey will help you pursue a second freedom — the belief that all people should be free from want.

It’s not enough to trade a prison of powerlessness for the pain of an empty stomach. But history shows that governments of the people and by the people and for the people are far more powerful in delivering prosperity. And that’s the partnership we seek with you.

When ordinary people have a say in their own future, then your land can’t just be taken away from you. And that’s why reforms must ensure that the people of this nation can have that most fundamental of possessions — the right to own the title to the land on which you live and on which you work.

When your talents are unleashed, then opportunity will be created for all people. America is lifting our ban on companies doing business here, and your government has lifted restrictions on investment and taken steps to open up your economy. And now, as more wealth flows into your borders, we hope and expect that it will lift up more people. It can’t just help folks at the top. It has to help everybody. And that kind of economic growth, where everybody has opportunity — if you work hard, you can succeed — that’s what gets a nation moving rapidly when it comes to develop.

But that kind of growth can only be created if corruption is left behind. For investment to lead to opportunity, reform must promote budgets that are transparent and industry that is privately owned.

To lead by example, America now insists that our companies meet high standards of openness and transparency if they’re doing business here. And we’ll work with organizations like the World Bank to support small businesses and to promote an economy that allows entrepreneurs, small businesspeople to thrive and allows workers to keep what they earn. And I very much welcome your government’s recent decision to join what we’ve called our Open Government Partnership, so that citizens can come to expect accountability and learn exactly how monies are spent and how your system of government operates.

Above all, when your voices are heard in government, it’s far more likely that your basic needs will be met. And that’s why reform must reach the daily lives of those who are hungry and those who are ill, and those who live without electricity or water. And here, too, America will do our part in working with you.

Today, I was proud to reestablish our USAID mission in this country, which is our lead development agency. And the United States wants to be a partner in helping this country, which used to be the rice bowl of Asia, to reestablish its capacity to feed its people and to care for its sick, and educate its children, and build its democratic institutions as you continue down the path of reform.
This country is famous for its natural resources, and they must be protected against exploitation. And let us remember that in a global economy, a country’s greatest resource is its people. So by investing in you, this nation can open the door for far more prosperity — because unlocking a nation’s potential depends on empowering all its people, especially its young people.
Just as education is the key to America’s future, it is going to the be the key to your future as well. And so we look forward to working with you, as we have with many of your neighbors, to extend that opportunity and to deepen exchanges among our students. We want students from this country to travel to the United States and learn from us, and we want U.S. students to come here and learn from you.

And this truth leads me to the third freedom that I want to discuss: the freedom to worship — the freedom to worship as you please, and your right to basic human dignity.
This country, like my own country, is blessed with diversity. Not everybody looks the same. Not everybody comes from the same region. Not everybody worships in the same way. In your cities and towns, there are pagodas and temples, and mosques and churches standing side by side. Well over a hundred ethnic groups have been a part of your story. Yet within these borders, we’ve seen some of the world’s longest running insurgencies, which have cost countless lives, and torn families and communities apart, and stood in the way of development.

No process of reform will succeed without national reconciliation. (Applause.) You now have a moment of remarkable opportunity to transform cease-fires into lasting settlements, and to pursue peace where conflicts still linger, including in Kachin State. Those efforts must lead to a more just and lasting peace, including humanitarian access to those in need, and a chance for the displaced to return home.
Today, we look at the recent violence in Rakhine State that has caused so much suffering, and we see the danger of continued tensions there. For too long, the people of this state, including ethnic Rakhine, have faced crushing poverty and persecution. But there is no excuse for violence against innocent people. And the Rohingya hold themselves — hold within themselves the same dignity as you do, and I do.
National reconciliation will take time, but for the sake of our common humanity, and for the sake of this country’s future, it is necessary to stop incitement and to stop violence. And I welcome the government’s commitment to address the issues of injustice and accountability, and humanitarian access and citizenship. That’s a vision that the world will support as you move forward.

Every nation struggles to define citizenship. America has had great debates about these issues, and those debates continue to this day, because we’re a nation of immigrants — people coming from every different part of the world. But what we’ve learned in the United States is that there are certain principles that are universal, apply to everybody no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter what religion you practice. The right of people to live without the threat that their families may be harmed or their homes may be burned simply because of who they are or where they come from.

Only the people of this country ultimately can define your union, can define what it means to be a citizen of this country. But I have confidence that as you do that you can draw on this diversity as a strength and not a weakness. Your country will be stronger because of many different cultures, but you have to seize that opportunity. You have to recognize that strength.

I say this because my own country and my own life have taught me the power of diversity. The United States of America is a nation of Christians and Jews, and Muslims and Buddhists, and Hindus and non-believers. Our story is shaped by every language; it’s enriched by every culture. We have people from every corners of the world. We’ve tasted the bitterness of civil war and segregation, but our history shows us that hatred in the human heart can recede; that the lines between races and tribes fade away. And what’s left is a simple truth: e pluribus unum — that’s what we say in America. Out of many, we are one nation and we are one people. And that truth has, time and again, made our union stronger. It has made our country stronger. It’s part of what has made America great.

We amended our Constitution to extend the democratic principles that we hold dear. And I stand before you today as President of the most powerful nation on Earth, but recognizing that once the color of my skin would have denied me the right to vote. And so that should give you some sense that if our country can transcend its differences, then yours can, too. Every human being within these borders is a part of your nation’s story, and you should embrace that. That’s not a source of weakness, that’s a source of strength — if you recognize it.

And that brings me to the final freedom that I will discuss today, and that is the right of all people to live free from fear.

In many ways, fear is the force that stands between human beings and their dreams. Fear of conflict and the weapons of war. Fear of a future that is different from the past. Fear of changes that are reordering our societies and economy. Fear of people who look different, or come from a different place, or worship in a different way. In some of her darkest moments, when Aung San Suu Kyi was imprisoned, she wrote an essay about freedom from fear. She said fear of losing corrupts those who wield it — “Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it, and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”

That’s the fear that you can leave behind. We see that chance in leaders who are beginning to understand that power comes from appealing to people’s hopes, not people’s fears. We see it in citizens who insist that this time must be different, that this time change will come and will continue. As Aung San Suu Kyi wrote: “Fear is not the natural state of civilized man.” I believe that. And today, you are showing the world that fear does not have to be the natural state of life in this country.

That’s why I am here. That’s why I came to Rangoon. And that’s why what happens here is so important — not only to this region, but to the world. Because you’re taking a journey that has the potential to inspire so many people. This is a test of whether a country can transition to a better place.

The United States of America is a Pacific nation, and we see our future as bound to those nations and peoples to our West. And as our economy recovers, this is where we believe we will find enormous growth. As we have ended the wars that have dominated our foreign policy for a decade, this region will be a focus for our efforts to build a prosperous peace.

Here in Southeast Asia, we see the potential for integration among nations and people. And as President, I have embraced ASEAN for reasons that go beyond the fact that I spent some of my childhood in this region, in Indonesia. Because with ASEAN, we see nations that are on the move — nations that are growing, and democracies that are emerging; governments that are cooperating; progress that’s building on the diversity that spans oceans and islands and jungles and cities, peoples of every race and every religion. This is what the 21st century should look like if we have the courage to put aside our differences and move forward with a sense of mutual interest and mutual respect.

And here in Rangoon, I want to send a message across Asia: We don’t need to be defined by the prisons of the past. We need to look forward to the future. To the leadership of North Korea, I have offered a choice: let go of your nuclear weapons and choose the path of peace and progress. If you do, you will find an extended hand from the United States of America.

In 2012, we don’t need to cling to the divisions of East, West and North and South. We welcome the peaceful rise of China, your neighbor to the North; and India, your neighbor to the West. The United Nations — the United States will work with any nation, large or small, that will contribute to a world that is more peaceful and more prosperous, and more just and more free. And the United States will be a friend to any nation that respects the rights of its citizens and the responsibilities of international law.

That’s the nation, that’s the world that you can start to build here in this historic city. This nation that’s been so isolated can show the world the power of a new beginning, and demonstrate once again that the journey to democracy goes hand in hand with development. I say this knowing that there are still countless people in this country who do not enjoy the opportunities that many of you seated here do. There are tens of millions who have no electricity. There are prisoners of conscience who still await release. There are refugees and displaced peoples in camps where hope is still something that lies on the distant horizon.

Today, I say to you — and I say to everybody that can hear my voice — that the United States of America is with you, including those who have been forgotten, those who are dispossessed, those who are ostracized, those who are poor. We carry your story in our heads and your hopes in our hearts, because in this 21st century with the spread of technology and the breaking down of barriers, the frontlines of freedom are within nations and individuals, not simply between them.
As one former prisoner put it in speaking to his fellow citizens, “Politics is your job. It’s not only for [the] politicians.” And we have an expression in the United States that the most important office in a democracy is the office of citizen — not President, not Speaker, but citizen. (Applause.)

So as extraordinary and difficult and challenging and sometimes frustrating as this journey may seem, in the end, you, the citizens of this country, are the ones who must define what freedom means. You’re the ones who are going to have to seize freedom, because a true revolution of the spirit begins in each of our hearts. It requires the kind of courage that so many of your leaders have already displayed.

The road ahead will be marked by huge challenges, and there will be those who resist the forces of change. But I stand here with confidence that something is happening in this country that cannot be reversed, and the will of the people can lift up this nation and set a great example for the world. And you will have in the United States of America a partner on that long journey. So, cezu tin bad de. (Applause.)

Monday 19 November 2012

Burma And The Rohingya People: An Open Letter To President Obama – OpEd

Source Albany tribune, 18 Nov

Dear Mr. President,

I am somewhat puzzled by your decision to visit Myanmar, which has the worst records of human rights in our planet. As an overture to your trip, your administration has recently lifted import restrictions on Myanmar, broadly authorizing Myanmar-origin goods to enter the United States for the first time in almost a decade. So, you can understand why like so many other concerned human rights activists, I am at a loss to understand your rationale for the trip.

I am sure your administration is well aware of Myanmar government's apartheid policy and its monumental crimes against its own people, esp. the Rohingya, who remain the worst persecuted people in our time. The root cause of the Rohingya people lies with the 1982 Citizenship Law, which is at odds with scores of international laws. This law, formulated during the hated dictator Ne Win's era, has effectively made the Rohingya people stateless in their ancestral homeland. President Thein Sein's quasi-civilian government promised reform from its criminal past, but, sadly, continues to follow the footsteps of its evil predecessors and ignore the calls from the international community to reform or revoke that age-old racist and highly discriminatory law.

The Myanmar government, a member of the United Nations, continues to deny human rights of the Rohingya people, ignoring all of the thirty Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is guilty of practicing a slow but steady genocidal campaign against the unarmed Rohingya civilian population, which has resulted in forced exodus of nearly two million Rohingya people who live as unwanted refugees in many parts of our world, including countries like Thailand and Bangladesh. While this figure of 2 million – nearly half the Rohingya population – may not sound too large to you, but just reflect for a moment that this is equivalent to forced expulsion of 170 million of the U.S. population.

Surely, such a gross racism and bigotry has no place in our time! And yet, such evil twins have become the defining characteristics of today's Myanmar and its chauvinist Buddhist population. It is no accident that a Myanmar diplomat U Ye Myint Aung working in Hong Kong called the dark brown-complexioned Rohingya people "ugly as ogres." How would you, Mr. President, who is equally dark brown, have felt if such hateful comments were made about you, your wife and your children? Just take a look at the postings by racist Burmese and Rakhines in the Internet to understand the depth of ugliness of today's Myanmarism. It is no accident either that Suu Kyi, through her appalling silence, endorses the current extermination campaign against the Rohingya.

Mr. President, the United Nations defines ethnic cleansing as the 'purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas.' As the never-ending episodes of violence clearly demonstrate what the Rohingyas are facing is nothing short of ethnic cleansing by fellow Rakhines that is participated by state security forces, politicians, and government officers.

Ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people has truly become a national project in today's Myanmar that enjoys wide support from within the Buddhist population. In recent months, the Rakhine Buddhist terrorists and their patrons and partners-in-crime within the government – central and local – have uprooted more than a hundred thousand Rohingya people, let alone torched hundreds of Rohingya villages and townships. Muslim parts of the most of the towns and cities within the Rakhine state have simply been wiped out, as if they are bombed out places reminiscent of the Second World War. With homes, shops, schools, businesses, mosques, crops and cattle burned down, the Rohingya people are forced to either risk the high seas to seek a shelter anywhere or settle for segregated prison-like concentrations camps outside Sittwe (Akyab) in the Rakhine state. Regrettably, the Government of Bangladesh continues to deny them shelter. In recent days, hundreds have died in the Bay of Bengal. Thousands have also died as a result of the latest genocidal campaign.

Deemed stateless by the ultra-racist 1982 Citizenship Law, where will the Rohingya go and who will shelter them? What excuse does the world community, especially the powerful nations like the USA, have to stop this greatest crime committed by the Myanmar government and its racist elements within the society in our time?

 Mr. President, please, read US photographer Greg Constantine's recently released book "Exiled to Nowhere: Burma's Rohingya" to understand their human stories. He relates the story of 20-year-old Kashida who had to flee to Bangladesh with her husband. The Burmese authorities had denied her permission to get married, but when they discovered she had married in secret and was pregnant they took away all her family's money and cows and goats. They forced Kashida to have an abortion, telling her: "This is not your country; you don't have the right to reproduce here." What atrocity and what brutality, and yet no relief for this unfortunate people! Rape has become a weapon of war to terrorize this people.
President Thein Sein is guilty of speaking with a forked tongue. He reneged on his agreement with the OIC. He is averse to international observers and an independent UN Commission of Inquiry. He likes to hide his regime's crimes. He is not serious about securing the lives and properties of the non-Buddhist Rohingya people.


Last Friday, 3,000 Rakhine Buddhist terrorists surrounded the village of Paik Thae in Kyauktaw Township to evict the Muslim inhabitants. On Saturday morning some 200 security forces and Burmese Army soldiers entered the Muslim village of Anaryme in Pauktaw and ordered the Muslim villagers to leave their houses and the village. They have evicted these Muslims from their homes so that the security forces and soldiers can live in them. How can our generation allow such crimes of forced eviction?


As I write on Saturday, 50 ponds in Rohingya villages of U Hla Pe and Rwa Nyo Daung in Buthidaung Township have been found to be poisoned by Rakhine terrorists. It was aimed at killing the Rohingyas of those villages who depend on those ponds for drinking water.
Dear Mr. President, the list of such daily abuse, harassment, persecution and slow but steady genocidal campaign to wipe out the Rohingya and Muslim identity of Arakan and Myanmar is long and simply unacceptable. It needs to be stopped. Your visit to Myanmar should not and cannot be interpreted as an endorsement of the devious policies of the Thein Sein government which wants to push out the Rohingya minorities one way or another.
I, therefore, urge you to press President Thein Sein for genuine democratic reform, national reconciliation and restoration of human rights, and an end to genocidal campaign against the Rohingya and grant them citizenship on par with other ethnic nationalities.

I urge you to insist that if the Myanmar government is desirous of a friendly relationship with the USA, it must allow safe, timely and unhindered access of international media and rights groups across the Rakhine (Arakan) state to monitor and thus, act as a deterrent to any future pogrom against the Rohingya minorities. It must support UN peace-keeping forces being sent to Arakan for the purpose of preventing final solution of the Rohingya problem. It must also allow the UN to conduct unbiased inquiry and to send independent international observers to the troubled region. Like the Rohingyas in the Rakhine state, some 90,000 people have also been internally displaced in the Kachin state who are denied humanitarian aid by the Thein Sein regime. Therefore, you must stress the urgent need to allow international aid to reach the Rohingya and other affected minorities for security conditions that would allow them to return to their homes safely. The Myanmar government must also compensate the victims.

 In 1994, Rwanda witnessed genocide in which more than half a million Tutsis were killed. The Clinton administration did not act quickly enough after the killing began and failed to call the crimes by their rightful name: genocide. Four years later, President Clinton and the First Lady Hilary Rodham Clinton visited the capital city of Kigali to apologize for the international community's failure to stop the genocide. I pray and hope that we shall be spared of a repeat of that sad episode of American indecision to come to the rescue of an endangered people.

 Mr. President, the Rohingyas are victims of genocide in Myanmar. No linguistic camouflage of the yesteryears can hide this ugly truth. Please, have the moral authority to call a spade a spade, and stop this genocide, failing which, I am afraid, the Rohingyas will be an extinct community. Simply put, the human rights of the Rohingya and other affected minorities cannot take a backseat when they face extermination. It would be the greatest crime under your watch! Please, stop the extinction of the Rohingyas of Myanmar.

Habib Siddiqui

Saturday 17 November 2012

OIC says Rohingya face 'genocide' in Myanmar

Source interaksyon, 17 Nov

DJIBOUTI -- The world's top Islamic body called Saturday for the international community to protect Muslims in Myanmar's unrest-hit Rakhine state from "genocide" as US President Barack Obama readied for a landmark trip to the country.

"We expect from the United states to convey a strong message to the government of Burma so they protect that minority, what is going on there is a genocide," said Djibouti Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, who is the acting chairman of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

"We are telling things how they are, we believe that the United States and other ... countries ... should act quickly to save that minority which is submitted to an oppressive policy and a genocide," he said.

Burma: CSW Urges President Obama to Encourage Further Reform

London, 17 November, (

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) urges US President Barack Obama to raise constitutional and legislative reform, religious freedom and the need to end conflicts and begin a peace process with ethnic nationalities, during his official trip to Asia on 17 November, which will include a visit to Burma.

CSW is also calling on President Obama to press for the release of all remaining political prisoners in Burma. According to media reports, earlier this week the Burmese government released more than 450 prisoners as a goodwill gesture ahead of President Obama's visit, however there are concerns that no political prisoners are among them.

Reuters reports that President Obama is expected raise the issue of ongoing ethnic violence in Burma's Rakhine State "directly with the leadership". US Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), along with 20 other members of the Senate and House, have written a bi-partisan letter to President Obama urging him to underscore current human rights atrocities in Burma that threaten future peace and stability.

CSW urges President Obama to press the Burmese government to intervene decisively to end the violence in Rakhine and Kachin states and allow unhindered access for international aid and humanitarian assistance to the affected areas. A peace process and political dialogue between the government and ethnic nationalities must be established in ethnic states where there are ongoing conflicts. Religious freedom is also a concern in the predominantly Christian Chin State, where the Chin are often discriminated against or ill-treated on the dual basis of ethnicity and religion. A recent report by the Chin Human Rights Organisation outlined a decades-long pattern of religious freedom violations, including more than 40 separate incidents of torture or ill-treatment.

The Burmese government should also be encouraged to continue with constitutional and legislative reform in the interests of democracy, including the repeal of the 1982 Citizenship Law, which effectively stripped the Rohingya of their citizenship and rendered them stateless.

Mervyn Thomas, CSW's Chief Executive, said, "We welcome President Obama's visit as a valuable opportunity to deliver some very clear and key messages to the Government of Burma: that the reforms already underway deserve recognition and encouragement, but that there is still a very, very long way to go. Until the conflict in Kachin State and the violence in Rakhine State end; until there is a genuine peace process with ethnic nationalities, involving a political dialogue to find a political solution to decades of civil war; until the citizenship of everyone born in Burma is respected and protected; until all prisoners of conscience are released; and until there is freedom of religion or belief for all people in Burma, we cannot speak of true and lasting change."

CSW's Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas further added, "The situation is fragile, and we urge President Obama to use his visit to promot e peace and human rights for all the people of Burma. We welcome the letter by members of the US Congress, and hope that the President will take up the issues raised as a priority during his visit. There are two dangers at the moment: premature euphoria, and entrenched cynicism – both of which could undermine the chance of genuine change in Burma. President Obama has a unique opportunity to really make a difference for the people of Burma who have suffered so much for so long."