Thursday 31 January 2013


Source democracyforburma, 30 Jan
U San Win ( Immigration officer of Taung Ngu city ) arrest Mr.christofa ( reporter from Franch ) and go out Burma 30 Jan 13.
Mr.christofa try to record walking for KIA war peace group.-peace march yangon to laiza

photocredit voice

mr.christofa,french reporter

mr.christofa,french reporter

ငိမ္းခ်မ္းေရး အတြက္ ကခ်င္ျပည္နယ္ လိုင္ဇာသို႕လမ္းေလွ်ာက္သူမ်ား အဖြဲ႕ႏွင့္ အတူ လိုက္ပါ သတင္းရယူလ်က္ ရွိသည့္ ျပင္သစ္ သတင္းေထာက္ တစ္ဦးသည္ ေတာင္ငူတြင္ ဖမ္းဆီးခံရၿပီး ျပည္ႏွင္ဒဏ္ ေပးခံခဲ့ရရသည္ဟု The Voice Weekly သတင္းေထာက္က သတင္း ေပးပို႔သည္။

205 Rohingya boatpeople handed out food and water before “allowing” their journey toward Malaysia

Racha Rohingya 'helped on' by Thai Navy
PHUKET: The group of Rohingya refugees discovered off Koh Racha Noi today – numbering 205 in total – were given food and water before being "helped on" in their southbound journey.

On hearing the news of the refugees' arrival, Rawai Municipality quickly dispatched a speedboat with basic provisions. The boat departed Chalong Pier about midday, and on arriving at Koh Racha Noi officers on board discovered that a Royal Thai Navy vessel was already there.

About 10 Thai Navy officers checked the refugees and handed out food and water before "allowing" the refugees to continue their journey toward Malaysia, the Phuket Gazette was told.

Throughout the day the Gazette received conflicting reports about the refugees: some stating that there were only men and boys on the boat; others claiming women and children were also on board, as has been the trend with recent Rohingya arrivals in Thailand.

One of the reports received by the Gazette identified Sarit Chandee, a villager on Koh Racha Yai, saying that the Rohingya were first spotted at sea by local fisherman last night.

Mr Sarit described the boat as having two levels, being only several meters wide and 30m long.

The Gazette has yet to learn whether the hundreds of Rohingya reported earlier today at Koh Phra Thong, on the Phang Nga coast north of Phuket, were also "helped on" – or if they were taken into custody by Thai officials, like the hundreds of Rohingya who have arrived by boat over the past few weeks.

The number of Rohingya coming ashore in Phang Nga has forced officials to relocate hundreds of them to immigration centers in other provinces across Southern Thailand (story here).

State news agency MCOT reported yesterday that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought clarification from a variety of agencies on the plight and options of well over 1,000 Rohingya migrants currently in Thai custody (story here).
350 Rohingya found in Ranong, Phuket
Bangkokpost, 30 Jan

Nearly 350 illegal Rohingya migrants were found crammed inside two vessels entering Thai waters in southern Ranong and Phuket provinces on Tuesday.

In Ranong, a boat carrying about 140 Rohingya migrants was spotted floating about 5.5 kilometres off Phayam island in Muang district about 8.30am by a naval patrol boat.

Naval officers provided the illegal migrants with food and water, a source said. Humanitarian assistance was also provided to help them on the way to their destination.

The Rohingya had to be sent back out to sea as authorities were already struggling with an influx of illegal Muslim Rohingya migrants, the source said.

Several boats carrying Rohingya have illegally entered Thailand via this southern province on a daily basis. In some cases, the Rohingya sunk their own boats to prevent authorities from sending them back out to sea, the source said.

In Phuket, about 200 illegal Rohingya migrants were found crammed inside a vessel searched by marine police and naval officers off Racha Noi island in Muang district Tuesday.

The boat was initially spotted floating between Racha Yai and Racha Noi islands by fishermen on Monday. They provided the migrants with food and water and told the authorities.

They suggested the boat people land on Racha Noi, Phuket's southernmost island, because it was uninhabited. Some of the migrants camped on the island overnight, but most remained on the boat.

A combined marine police and navy team descended on the boat late Tuesday. It was not known where they were planning to take the refugees.

The 200 Rohingya are the latest to reach southern Thailand, following a series of arrests in Songkhla and at sea in Phangnga province this month.

This lifts the total number of illegal Rohingya migrants now in custody to about 1,700.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul will lead a delegation of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) members to meet Islamic leaders and security agencies in the three southernmost border provinces tomorrow. He said the delegation would get first-hand information about the southern violence.

He will also use this opportunity to seek a solution to the Rohingya migrant problem from the OIC and ask the delegation which countries wanted to take in the migrants who had fled from Myanmar's Rakhine state to Thailand.

As those migrants had entered Thailand, the kingdom had to provide them with temporary assistance on a humanitarian basis, he said. Authorities had to work with several international agencies such as Unicef and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to find a solution.

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Campaigners criticise ‘premature’ Burma debt cancellation

Source BCUK, 28 Jan
Media Release from Jubilee Debt Campaign UK

Campaigners criticise 'premature' Burma debt cancellation

$5.9 billion to be written-off and new loans to military dictatorship to begin.

Western countries, in a body called the Paris Club, have agreed to cancel 50 per cent of the debt owed to them by Burma. The World Bank and Asian Development Bank have also agreed to start lending to the Burmese government again. The move comes after the Burmese government signed-up to a set of IMF economic conditions earlier this month.

Burma's external debt is $15.3 billion, much of it from lending in the 1980s and 1990s. The government began defaulting on the debt in 1997, since when few payments to western countries have been made.

Tim Jones, policy officer at Jubilee Debt Campaign, said:
"These agreements allow large amounts of new lending, before any investigation has been made into how past loans did and did not benefit the people of Burma. None of these deals save Burma any money now, but they commit future governments to making payments on debt they inherit. This support for a military dictatorship could bind the hands of a hoped-for future democratic government."

Anna Roberts, Executive Director at Burma Campaign UK, said:
"It is incredible that Burma gets billions of dollars of debt relief when its biggest spending is on the military, an army that is committing crimes against humanity in its war against ethnic minorities. Burma's leaders should be on trial in The Hague not getting special deals on debt relief."

The debt cancellation by the Paris Club will be counted as aid, and be able to contribute to meeting government's aid targets. The $5.9 billion of debt cancellation amounts to 4 per cent of current aid budgets of western countries.

Under the debt cancellation deal, 50 per cent of the debt owed to western countries will be cancelled in two stages. The remaining 50 per cent will be paid between 2020 and 2028. In addition, Norway has agreed to cancel 100 per cent of the debt owed to it, whilst Japan has agreed cancellation of over 60 per cent. In total $5.9 billion of debt will be cancelled, $3.7 billion of which is owed to Japan.

The UK is owed £85 million, so will cancel over £40 million. The debt comes from loans for Burmese companies to buy British exports in the 1970s and 1980s, primarily gas turbine generators and textile equipment.

In addition to the cancellation, the World Bank and Asian Development Bank have agreed a process called arrears clearance, which makes the Burmese government eligible to borrow from them again. This process does not involve debt cancellation, but restructures the debt owed to the institutions to be paid over coming decades.

Related news

Arakan segregation takes toll on local communities

Source DVB, 25 JanuaryH-Rohingya
A Rohingya child peers into a tent at Ohn Daw Gyee displacement camp outside Sittwe, December 2012. (Hanna Hindstrom)

An angry policeman gestures and shouts in Arakanese. The road is blocked with wooden fences and cords of barbed wire. A local man wrapped in a puffy coat and woollen hat jabs a defiant finger back at the officer.

"They say I can't go through because I am Muslim," mutters Aung Win, a local Rohingya interpreter from Sittwe. "But I am not afraid – I am a Burmese citizen," he says, pulling out a pink identity card.

Sittwe's Muslim quarter, Aung Mingalar, has been cordoned off from the rest of the town since June last year, when the region was swept by its first wave of vicious sectarian clashes that destroyed thousands of homes. Since then, over 7,000 Muslims – mostly from the stateless Rohingya minority – have been trapped inside.

"I've lost everything," says Mohammed Rafi, whose house was torched to the ground on the same day that his father-in-law was hacked to death with machetes. A few days later the police evicted him from his pharmacy in downtown Sittwe market.

"They just told me to leave. I didn't even have the time to gather all my things," explains the 49-year-old. "Now I have no earnings."

Isolated from the economic hub of downtown Sittwe, Aung Mingalar is facing a growing humanitarian crisis. Food supplies are short and prices soaring; the only healthcare facility in the area is barred shut because there are no supplies. Despite fresh pledges of government and international aid, locals insist that the ongoing policy of segregation is a much bigger problem.

"If they gave us the security and allowed us to go the market, then I think that could easily solve the problem," says Rafi. "The Rakhine [Arakanese] can go to the market and they can go to the hospital, but we cannot."

The government claims that segregation aims to protect both communities, yet Buddhists and Hindus are able to travel freely. Even Kaman Muslims, who are Burmese citizens, but share cultural commonalities with the Rohingya community, face restrictions. One Kaman woman told DVB that her brother was arrested and beaten by policemen for trying to leave Aung Mingalar.

The Rohingya have been described as one of the world's most persecuted minorities. They have lived in limbo along the border with neighbouring Bangladesh since 1982, when former military dictator Ne Win stripped them of their Burmese citizenship. Although they have been denied basic rights for decades, locals say they have become increasingly ostracised since last year's violence.

Many nationalists, who consider them illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, have urged Buddhists not to associate with the group and called on the government to enforce permanent segregation. The Rakhine Nationalities Development Party has declared it "impossible" for the two communities to coexist again. Many Arakanese locals, who lost houses or family in the clashes, are equally sceptical, with some suggesting Rohingyas should be relocated to a third country.

But Buddhist communities have suffered under segregation, too. Ma Thein Nu, a local Arakanese woman who trades with Muslims, told DVB that she lives in constant fear of radical nationalists, who don't want the two groups to trade. It follows news that extremists have targeted so-called "Rohingya sympathiser" by publicly shunning or abusing them.

"Twice [a group of monks] stopped me and took over 200 dollars worth of food," she explains. "I am afraid, but I have no other choice. I have to feed my family."

"I have no job to get money for food"

She now trades at Tè Chaung market on the outskirts of the city, where 75,000 uprooted Rohingyas are crammed into makeshift camps – many without toilets or clean water supplies – and survive on small portions of plain rice. They are not allowed to enter downtown Sittwe and very little aid trickles through. Without trade they would struggle to survive.

"Segregation affects both communities economically, but its impact on the Muslim communities is absolutely disastrous," says Chris Lewa, head of the Arakan Project. "It curtails their livelihoods, confines them to squalid camps or ghettos making them dependent on humanitarian aid whose delivery is hampered by security threats on aid workers. [Seven] months on – this is outrageous, unsustainable and inhumane."

A local doctor explains that they have only recently been able to refer ill patients from the camps to Sittwe hospital, after an aggressive lobbying campaign by the Red Cross. "But it is still completely impossible outside the Sittwe area," he says, adding that maternal deaths and stillborn children are commonplace.

According to government figures, an additional 50,000 predominantly Muslim people across Arakan state have lost their livelihoods because they can't travel to work. The fishery sector, which provides jobs for many locals, has been particularly affected. But only those people who lost homes in the violence qualify for aid.

"IDPs [internally displaced persons] are getting some food from the World Food Programme, but the host communities are not getting any assistance from any agencies because they are not registered by the government," explains Abdul, a former electrical engineer, who has been unemployed for nearly seven months.

"I have no job to get money for food," he says. "But I have a brother who is an IDP from downtown Sittwe. He gets enough food for his family, so I have to ask him to provide some for me."

Despite public pledges to improve stability in the conflict-torn state, the government has failed to set a timeline for reintegration. According to Refugees International, they have indicated that it could take up to three years before displaced communities can return. The group warned that separation could become permanent if donors fail to vocalise their objections.

The UN insists that reintegration must form a fundamental part of any rehabilitation strategy in the devastated region. "We need the opportunity for these communities to trade with each other and eventually coexist with each as they have done in the past for many years," says Ashok Nigam, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Burma.

"Clearly security and rule of law is paramount for the government at this point, but it should be implemented in a manner that does not constrain people from moving and earning livelihoods."

The UN Refugee Agency recently warned that over 2,000 Rohingyas have fled Arakan state since the start of 2013 – and more than 13,000 last year. Activists say this number is likely to rise as segregation continues into its seventh month.

"The union government is not interested in reconciling Rohingya and Rakhine people," sighs Aung Win. "They want to divide us for a long time."

Sunday 27 January 2013

96 more Rohingya found at sea, Thailand

Source Bankok Post, 26 Jan

PHANGNGA - Security forces on Saturday rounded up another 96 Rohingya migrants in the Andaman Sea, the fourth group to reach southern Thailand in less than a month, Spring News Agency reported.

The 62 men, six women and 28 children were found in a long-tailed boat floating north of Koh Ra in tambon Koh Phra Thong of Takua Pa district.

All of them were in exhausted condition and some were sick.

The migrants were arrested by a team made up of border patrol, marine police and administrative officers after they had been alerted to the suspicious vessel.

The refugees had left Arakan State in western Myanmar on Jan 1, aiming to come ashore in either Thailand or Malaysia. They wanted to look for jobs after their houses and property had been occupied by Myanmar authorities, Spring News reported, quoting local authorities.

The illegal migrants, who are in poor physical condition, had brought only fresh water and uncooked rice with them during the 26-day sea journey.

Officials gave them food and water before sending them to a temporary shelter in Khura Buri district, where they later received health checkups by medical personnel. Doctors gave saline solution to 12 sickened Rohingya.

Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said earlier that a total of 1,390 illegal Rohingya migrants including children were currently in authorities' custody. Saturday's arrest has raised the total to almost 1,500.

Mr Surapong announced on Friday that Thailand would shelter the Royingya for six months and seek talks with Myanmar and other countries to settle the fate of the illegal migrants.

The decision was reached in talks between the Foreign Ministry and other security agencies amid growing calls for Thailand not to turn the migrants away after they have entered the kingdom.

The government will set aside a budget of 12 million baht or 75 baht a day for each of the migrants for a daily allowance.

Bangkok will hold talks with international agencies including the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the International Organisation for Migration, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. It would also approach third countries willing to give the migrants a new home, the minister said.

The Rohingya are a Muslim minority in Myanmar. Most of them live in Rakhine state in the west and face brutal treatment from Myanmar authorities, including the reluctance of Nay Pyi Taw to grant them citizenship.

The current crisis came to light after authorities rounded up more than 900 Rohingya in separate operations in Songkhla as they were waiting to be sent to work in Malaysia.

A police investigation found some Thai army soldiers were linked to trafficking them from Myanmar to Malaysia through Thailand. Two of them based in the southernmost region are being probed in connection with the issue.

Burmese army captures key Kachin rebel outpost

Source  ABC, 27 Jan

Kachin rebels say a key outpost has fallen to the Burmese army.

The Burmese army has captured a key rebel outpost in the conflict in northern Kachin state.

A spokesman for the Kachin Independence Army rebel group says the post fell to the military after coming under heavy artillery fire earlier on Saturday.

"That was the reason it collapsed. Finally we have to abandon that area, that mountain," James Lum Dau, the Thailand-based spokesman for the KIA's political wing, told AFP.

He said it was not clear whether the fighting would now move further towards the town of Laiza, where thousands of civilians are thought to be taking shelter, but vowed that if "Laiza falls, [it] does not mean KIA falls, absolutely".

Some civilians had already started to move, he added, but was unable to give further details.

Rebuke to US

This comes as Burma's Government issued a rebuke to the US over its concerns about the fighting.

Last Thursday, the US embassy issued a statement, saying it "strongly opposes the ongoing fighting" and urged both sides to work towards peace.

But the Burmese Foreign Ministry says the statement implies the army was the sole aggressor and that the comments could cause misunderstanding in the international community.

In a response printed in the state-run English language newspaper New Light of Myanmar, it says the statement suggested "only the Myanmar government and the Tatmadaw (army) launched the offensive" and "did not mention anything about terrorist actions and atrocities committed" by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in Kachin state since June 2011, when a 17-year-long ceasefire between the government and the KIA broke down.

The conflict has resulted in civilian casualties, although the exact number killed is unclear.


Friday 25 January 2013

Rohingya: Only 4 meals in 16 days at sea

Source Phuket Gazette, 24 Jan
All 179 of the refugees were exhausted after surviving 16 days at sea on just four meals of water and uncooked rice. Photo: Kritsada Mueanhawong
All 179 of the refugees were exhausted after surviving 16 days at sea on just four meals of water and uncooked rice. Photo: Kritsada Mueanhawong
PHUKET: The 179 Rohingya taken into custody north of Phuket yesterday survived on four meals of uncooked rice in their 16 days at sea, one of the survivors told officials.

Local fishermen spotted the refugees – fleeing escalating ethnic violence in their native Rakhine State in Myanmar – off the Phang Nga coast at about 11am.

About 30 officers from the Kuraburi District Office, Takuapa Border Patrol Police and Phang Nga Marine Police intercepted the single boat the refugees were travelling in about three nautical miles north of Koh Phra Thong (map here).

"They departed Rakhine State in Myanmar on January 7. They were at sea for 16 days, hoping to reach Thailand or Malaysia in order to find work," Kuraburi District Chief Manit Pianthong said. "They all are exhausted."

"They said they had only four meals of uncooked rice and water since they left the state," he added.

The refugees were taken to Kuraburi Community Hall. Nineteen of them were in need of urgent treatment and were immediately placed on saline drips by medical staff.

"Doctors and nurses were called in to take care of them – some of the refugees have fevers and others have open wounds. Doctors have placed them all on a course of antibiotics," Chief Manit said.

"Officers have to provide them with food, drink and other care before handing them over to Phang Nga Immigration for deportation," he added.

This latest arrival of Rohingya refugees in Phang Nga follows a welfare shelter in Khukkhak (story here), also in Phang Nga, on Monday calling for donations of daily necessities in order to provide assistance to 46 Rohingya women and children receiving shelter there.

Rohingya houses burnt in Buthidaung

Source RARC, 24 Jan

On 23 January 2013 around 10:30pm, at least 2 Rohingya houses were burnt down into aches at Ward No. 1 of Buthidaung Township, Arakan State, Burma, according to a local resident on condition of anonymity.

Fire broke out from electrical engine house which has been operating by the Rakhine national. There is controversy on the breaking of fire in both residents of Rakhine and ethnic Rohingya, while the Rohingya believe that Rakhine conspired to burn down the Rohingya houses from nearby areas, while the Rakhine claim that the fire was broke out from electric sort, he further told.


No any person was injured at the house burning incident, while at least Kyat 80 million worth of wealth were brunt down.
However, the local officials, particularly the members of NaSaKa (Border Security Forces) and other concerned authorities are investigating the real incident. Besides, the losers of these 2 houses are believed to be punished with both imprisonment and fine under the country's penal code.
The owners of these 2 houses are feeling fear of unbearable pressures and punishment without fair investigation, while no Rohingya has chance to make enough income for their survival and family support for the reasons of severe restrictions, imposed against them.##

Monday 21 January 2013

Myanmar tragedy, result of wrong US policies: Iran MP

Source Presstv, 21 Jan
This picture taken on October 11, 2012 shows a Muslim Rohingya child standing outside his tent at the Say Thamagyi Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp, located on the outskirts of Sittwe, capital of Myanmar
This picture taken on October 11, 2012 shows a Muslim Rohingya child standing outside his tent at the Say Thamagyi Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp, located on the outskirts of Sittwe, capital of Myanmar's western Rakhine State.
Iranian lawmaker Mansour Haqiqatpour says the humanitarian disaster in Myanmar is a result of the "wrong policies" adopted by the global arrogance, particularly the US.

"The disaster in Myanmar is the result of the wrong policy of the global arrogance, particularly the US, that has had no outcome but the hatred and displacement of a number of innocent people," the deputy chairman of Iran's Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee said on Monday.

Haqiqatpour went on to criticize the silence of the international community and the so-called advocates of democracy on the disastrous situation of Myanmar's Muslims.
A "humanitarian disaster" is unfolding in Myanmar due to the US meddlesome policies and many "fake advocates of freedom" are justifying the suppressive measures in this country, the Iranian lawmaker said.

Some 800,000 Rohingyas are deprived of citizenship rights due to the policy of discrimination that has denied them the right of citizenship and made them vulnerable to acts of violence and persecution, expulsion, and displacement.

Myanmar's government has so far refused to extricate the stateless Rohingyas in the western state of Rakhine from their citizenship limbo, despite international pressure to give them a legal status.

Hundreds of Rohingyas are believed to have been killed and thousands displaced in attacks by Buddhist extremists. The assaults have been mainly carried out in the western state of Rakhine.

Earlier this month, an Iranian parliamentary delegation visited Myanmar to examine the situation of the Rohingya Muslims and find ways to help them.

"During our stay in this country, we visited camps and different areas particularly Muslim and Buddhist-populated districts and realized that their situation is very dire," said Haqiqatpour, who was a member of the Iranian delegation.

A 24-ton consignment of humanitarian aid to ethnic Rohingya Muslims also arrived in Myanmar from Iran earlier this month. Tehran further plans to set up a camp that can accommodate thousands of Rohingya refugees in the Rakhine State.


Rohingya fears of fresh attack in Maungdaw

Source RARC, 21 Jan
A group of Rakhine extremists have been trying to obtain permission from military officials to stage protest against the Rohingya populations in Maungdaw Township of Arakan State, Burma, according to a local businessman who declined to mention his name.
In the recent day, several groups of Rakhine have migrated from Bangladesh and are getting allocation in Maungdaw Township who are actively involved in liberating Arakan from Burma through the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya people.
On 19 January 2013 at about 7:00pm, around 100 Rakhine people gathered nearby 4 miles of Maungdaw who were planning for immediate protest in the city but the military official dispersed them on the sense.

Military officials have deployed forces across the wards in Maungdaw city from 8:00am to 10:00pm on 20 January 2013. During the time military deployment, Rohingya people were not allowed to move from one place to another.
Following such security enforcement, Rakhine people are constantly threatening the local Rohingya populations that "time is coming for evacuation of the lands. There will be no excuse for the supporters of Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) in the election and the believers of Islam", he added.
Based on the information, entire Rohingya populations are in fear of fresh attack and owing for security forces for their safety. ##

KSA gives $ 1.88 m for Rohingya resettlement

Source Arab news, 21 Jan
Saudi Arabia yesterday announced a contribution of $ 1.88 million toward UNHCR's humanitarian program in Myanmar providing shelter to Rohingyas in Rakhine state.

 A memorandum of understanding to this effect was signed by Yousef Al-Bassam of the Saudi Fund for Development and Imran Riza, UNHCR's regional representative in Riyadh.

 The contribution will enable the UNHCR to provide temporary and permanent shelters for around 75,000 displaced people.
After signing the agreement, Riza highlighted the importance of such assistance in terms of value, timing and significance in improving the living conditions of many of displaced people in Rakhine state.

 On behalf of High Commissioner Antonio Guterres, Riza expressed his highest appreciation and deep gratitude to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, for this generous contribution which clearly reflects the Saudi leadership's response to humanitarian crises.

 The partnership with the Saudi Find for Development involves collaboration with Pakistan in terms of providing permanent shelters to the displaced people.

Sunday 20 January 2013

Hunted Down Like Dogs: RNDP Puts Up A "Bounty" For Every Dead Rohingya

Source Eldersledge, 19 Jan
RNDP Puts Up A "Bounty" For Every Dead Rohingya
(part of The Darkness Visible series)

(This Boy Is Now A Commodity, Sold As A Slave Or Killed For A Bounty)

Rakhine Prime Minister, U Hla Maung Tin, arrived at Pauktaw this morning and made a beeline for the Rohingya refugee camp. Once there the PM fell in line with his party (the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party) by demanding that the Rohingya in the internally displaced peoples' camp sign documents that state that they are illegal immigrants. The documents state that the Rohingya are illegal Bangladeshi immigrants that have no claim to Burmese citizenship. These documents would be used therefore to deport the Rohingya to a country that has shown no interest whatsoever in accepting them. And without actual legal documents to show that they are either Burmese or Bengali, the Rohingya would officially in Burmese courts be "stateless".

When the Rohingya in the camp refused to sign the documents Maung Tin threatened the refugees and left. Maung Tin told the Rohingya refugees that if they did not sign that he would see to it that no aid ever made it through the blockades again (including rice from the foreign aid organizations). The RNDP went further by going to Rakhine villages and camps to pass around word of just what these threats entailed. The RNDP then went on to tell the Rakhine that they would pay one lakh kyats for every Rohingya, or kalar (a slur for the Rohingya), they kill. Together, Maung Tin and the RNDP, are making threats that could lead to a return to the June and October riots that launched their genocidal campaign.

This tactic of "sign or die" has been getting used more and more as the campaign of ethnic cleansing has been amped up. In addition to calling on renewed butchery by the RNDP, the Rakhine extremist have maintained their blockades of Rohingya villages and camps. The RNDP has also begun encouraging Rakhine from Bangladesh and impoverished areas of the Arakan to move into Rohingya villages. By calling the Rakhine "settlers" the RNDP shows that they are intent upon wiping out the memory of these Rohingya villages that were burnt or bulldozed.

With all the actions taken recently by a major Burmese political party to kill and deport an entire minority one might wonder how the outside world is ignoring this? Time and time again Alder's Ledge has brought proof of genocide taking place right now in Burma and yet these same articles fail to show up in mainstream media. So once again I'm sure there are those wondering just how something like that which has been shown above can take place without their media source covering it. I'm sure there are still far to many people with their eyes closed to this subject to understand that genocide is taking place as they sleep.

So imagine for a moment that you are a Rohingya trapped behind barbed wire and military checkpoints. Imagine that your family and friends are starving to death as you pick through the grass for any source of food you can find. Imagine that your government, your homeland, is treating you as though you aren't even human. Now imagine that you aren't allowed to leave... you aren't even allowed to travel to neighboring villages or camps.

All you know is hunger. All you know is pain. All you know is desperation.

Now imagine that the only way out is to flee by boat. Yet to do this you have to sell everything you have and scavenge for something to bribe the boat's owner. Imagine that you have no way to know if this boat will make it to the presumed safety of Malaysia or not. All you can do is hope that the Nasaka don't catch you as you drift off into the night.

Imagine that while you starve to death you are approached by Rakhine who promise they can get you out of Myanmar. Imagine that you are asked to sign a paper in exchange for a promise of a better life. Imagine that you don't realize that this paper will make you a slave and that you will be sold in Thailand or Bangladesh.

But imagine that you stay...
Now try to imagine that the RNDP just visited your village. Imagine that you just heard them proclaim that your Rakhine neighbor can earn cash money just for killing you. You know that your local police don't stop these attacks. You know that the military sides with the RNDP. You know that there is nowhere you can run. Now imagine that you are being hunted... but instead of running, you can only wait for your hunter to strike. You know that you are like a caged animal. You know that there is nowhere in you homeland that you can hide.

This is the life of nearly a million Rohingya trapped in Burma. This is how the government of Myanmar has allowed ethnic cleansing to occur in the Arakan. The Burmese have committed a forced famine, constructed death camps, blockaded entire villages, and permitted the wholesale slaughter of the Rohingya people.

It is a story that would enrage the common citizens of the West. It is a narrative that would sell papers across America and Europe. And it is a tragedy that the West could exploit at a moment's notice. Yet the prospects of Myanmar's untapped wealth have curtailed the actions these crimes demand. Once again the numbers were run and the prospect of economic gain topped the cost of saving lives.

Waiting For Hope : List of Rohingya died from starvation in Kyauktaw, Minbya and Mrauk U

Source Eldersledge, 8 Jan
A Look At The Blockades' Affects
(part of The Darkness Visible series)

(December 03, 2012 Rohingya Children Starving in Burma)

In Burma the blockades still stand. Living testaments to the savagery of a government dedicated to the annihilation of the Rohingya, the police and military still hold back much needed food, water, and medicines. This incredibly disturbing method of warfare is dead set on starving the Rohingya out of existence. And yet for the past few months I have been unable to pinpoint where and how this method was being used.

Today that changed.

Thanks to Jamila Hanan, an activist on Twitter, I was able to finally get my hands on some hard facts. The information however is nothing to be celebrated. For the man who sent it out of Burma is still stuck inside living the same hell his Rohingya brothers are suffering through. Aung Aung posted the following information earlier this month.

(Life For The Rohingya Hinges On Every Meal)

There are currently 15 Rohingya villages within the Min Pya area of Arakan, Burma. This is what is being reported out of Min Pya over the last month's time.
  • Tara Auk: 1,570 Rohingya currently living, 30 dead including 9 children. WFP & UN distributed some rice and beans. Still no medicine; many people are dieing of malaria, asthma, cough, fever, and diarrhea.
  • Naga Pyan Ywa: 1,165 Rohingya alive, 20 dead including 8 children and 3 women. Blockaded and starving. No aid can make it through.
  • Nagara Pauktaw: 2,800 Rohingya still living, 48 have died including 11 children. Blockaded by government. Situation is bad, they are desperate. No help can get through.
  • Saung Gyi Pyin: 2,383 Rohingya alive, 15 dead including 7 children. Blockaded. Need food, water, and medicine. Not able to find food.
  • Naw Naw Ywa: 1,067 Rohingya still living, 11 died including 7 children. They are asking for food and medicine.
  • Aung Daing: 2,003 Rohingya alive, 15 died including 6 children. WFP able to deliver some rice and beans. They need medicine and blankets.
  • Thatori Ywa: 894 Rohingya living, 10 have died. Need food and medicine.
  • Samali: 1,952 Rohingya alive, 24 have died including 11 children. WFP provided some rice and beans for only half of them. Most houses burnt to the ground during October massacre here.
  • Peik Thay Ywa: 1,358 Rohingya live here. 11 have died. WFP provided some assistance to those who lost homes in October attacks. The rest are starving to death.
  • Kyein Tuang: 791 Rohingya living, 9 died this month. WFP provided little rice and beans.
  • Tha Dar Ywa: 961 Rohingya still alive, 14 dead this month including 6 children. Have received no aid at all. Starving to death.
  • Lama Ywa: 4,901 Rohingya live here. 46 have died this month alone including 15 children and 5 women. Blockaded by Myanmar government. Can't be reached and can't leave.
  • Sakkya Ywa: 1,581 Rohingya still alive. 15 died this month including 7 children. No help has arrived. They need food and medication desperately.
  • Teint Seik Ywa: 2,090 Rohingya live here. 20 died including 9 children. They are blockaded and can't find any food. They desperately need food and medication.
  • Hara Praing: 955 Rohingya alive. 11 died this month alone. No medication at all. They need food and medicine.
All these villages are starving to death due to the blockades the government of Burma has put in place. Out of this region the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party has been able to get 61 to leave Burma. Since Rohingya are forbidden to move from village to village without permission the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party is able to offer them a sense of false hope. This allows the RNDP to deport the Rohingya and achieve their aim of an ethnically pure Rakhine state.

(July 5th, 2012 Hungry Then, Starving To Death Now)

In the Mrauk U area of Arakan, Burma there are 12 Rohingya villages. Aung Aung was not able to reach a handful of them due to the restrictions on communication. Of these we know only what has occurred in 8 of them over the last month's time. 
  • Zula Fara at Yanthay: Rakhine mobs attacked here in October killing 61. There are currently 2,421 Rohingya here. Last month 73 died including 22 children. WFP gave some rice and beans. Due to blockade there is no access to medicine and food is scarce.
  • Ziza Ywa at Naga Kuay: there are 734 Rohingya, 8 died last month. All are in desperate need of food and water. No medicine here.
  • Ziza Ywa Gyi: 695 Rohingya here, 7 died last month. Have received no aid. Need food and medicine desperately. Most are nearly starved to death.
  • Kun Baung: there are 1,500 Rohingya here. 11 have died including 5 children. Must get some food, medicine, and blankets immediately or more will die this month.
  • Sithay: 525 Rohingya are here, 11 died this month including 6 children. Most Rohingya here have only rice gruel and broken rice grains to eat. Starving to death.
  • Amauk Taung: 560 Rohingya, 10 died this month. They need food, blankets, and medicine.
  • Pothalun: there are 1,574 Rohingya here, 17 died including 9 children. Most Rohingya here are surviving on rice gruel. If no food or medicine arrives many will die this coming month.
  • Kaing Daw: 1,105 Rohingya live here, 13 died last month including 7 children. They desperately need food and medicine.
All Rohingya in Arakan are banned from moving from one place to the next. Going out and looking for food will result in death or imprisonment. The WFP and other aid groups have only provided aid to one village in this area. The outside world that is helping seems to think that only the refugee camps need aid. Yet in reality those who are suffering in their homes, in their villages near by, are starving to death due to the blockades. The Rohingya in these villages can't go to the camps. The blockade is meant to keep them in place so that they will die where they are at. In affect, their homes are now their concentration camps.

Na Sa Ka and the RNDP are the only source through which Rohingya can travel anywhere. The Myanmar government however does not grant travel to the camps or to another village where food might have been rumored to exist. Instead the RNDP and Burma government find boats for the Rohingya. Then they send them out to sea without food, water, or medicine. These floating prisons are meant to kill as many Rohingya as the RNDP can trick into risking their lives at sea. They get them into the boats by telling them that they are going to Malaysia or some other foreign country.

(Any Hope Of Food Get Attention In Starving Villages)

There are 22 villages in the Kyawtaw area of Arakan, Burma. In those 22 villages are 4,989 Rohingya who are starving to death. Due to the blockades and restrictions on communication, Aung Aung was unable to contact any of them except one. 605 Rohingya in Napukan Ywa were able to report that they were starving since food ran out last week. In addition to this we know that WFP provided a little food to 7 burnt villages ( Sancar Taung, Apauk Wa, Shwe Hlaing, Guppa Taung, Ambari, Ywa Nyar, and Radana Pun Taung Pway). The rest of the 15 villages are starving to death without aid or medicine.

Around 200 Rohingya in Kyawtaw area fled to the mountains last month. They were soon after arrested and taken into custody by the Myanmar government. Nobody knows what will happen to them. But it is safe to say that they will most likely end up dead.

(Anything That Can Be Ate Is Being Cooked Just To Survive)

It is clear that the genocide in Burma is entering its final stages. The government is prepared to starve those they cannot kill outright. Children and women are being used in human trafficking and as sex slaves by the Myanmar officials. Men are being sent out in boats to die at sea by the RNDP. Those who are trapped in their villages are just waiting to die. Either the Rakhine mobs will reform or the Burmese government will wait for nature to take its coarse.

For now we are trapped in a position of waiting. We wait to see if the world will wake up before the clock runs out for the Rohingya of Burma. We wait to see if humanity can be salvaged or if we will watch yet another genocide reach completion right before our eyes.

Bangladesh Coast Guards Drove away 59 Rohingyas

Source Thedaily star, 20 Jan

Bangladesh Coast Guard members drove away 59 Rohingyas who came sailing on three boats up the Naf river on Friday night.

Trying to get to the land in Teknaf upazila, 45 of them were stopped near Jelepara at Shahparir Dweep when the members were patrolling the area around 9:00pm.

Thirty-three of them were males, 10 females and two children, said Lieutenant Badruddoza, officer-in-charge of the Teknaf contingent of the Coast Guard.

In another drive, a team of coastguards held 14 Rohingyas -- 1 male, 5 females and 8 children -- near Kerontoli in Teknaf around 9:15pm as they were heading to the shore on a boat.

The coastguards provided all the Rohingyas with food and water before sending them back to Myanmar on the three boats two hours later, said Badruddoza.

According to Coast Guard data, as many as 1,585 Rohingyas have been sent back to the country since June 11 last year.

The highest number of Rohingyas expelled from Bangladeshi territory in one month was 970 in June last year, when sectarian violence broke out in the Rakhine state of Myanmar.

Saturday 19 January 2013

Thai Military warns against setting up Rohingya camp

Source Bankokpost, 18 Jan

BANGKOK - Thailand would have to shoulder full responsibility for the wellbeing of the Rohingya refuges if a camp was up for them in this country, Supreme Commander Thanasak Patimapakorn warned on Friday.

"It is up to the government to decide whether or not a Rohingya refugee camp is to be established," Gen Thanasak said.

"In terms of humanitarian assistance, we'll initially provide them with food and shelter in accordance to regulations, but in the long run they'll have to leave.

"Foreign countries want Thailand to help the Rohingya, but they don't offer to help us with it."

He called on all relevant agencies to jointly find a solution to the Rohingya problem.

The supreme commander said Thailand was merely a transit point for the Rohingya migrants, not their intended destination. They were not invading the country, he added.

Rohingya migrants are being held at Thung Lung police station in Songkhla's Hat Yai district. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, who is in charge of national security, said the Rohingya migrants must be transported to other countries. It was a very delicate issue, he added.

"The international community might see Thailand as being cruel if we turn away from them, but we must protect the country's interests at the same time," Mr Chalerm said.

He said the Foreign Ministry is now taking care of the problem.

"The Interior Ministry won't come into play if there's no need to set up a refugee camp in the country," Mr Chalerm said.

He said the best way to handle the problem is to send the migrants off to other countries. But they must not be deported back to Myanmar or Thailand would suddenly find itself on the end of a stream of criticism.

The issue has not been discussed with the government of Myanmar, according to the deputy premier.

Sunai Phasuk, senior researcher on Thailand in Human Rights Watch's Asia division, said so many Rohingya people are migrating because they have been denied citizenship in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Mr Sunai is urging the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to press Myanmar into granting citizenship to the minority ethnic group.

However, it might be difficult to pressure Bangladesh, which is controlled by a totalitarian regime, he added.

Asked about the UN's proposal for a Rohingya refugee camp in Thailand, Mr Sunai said it was more likely such facility would be located in Malaysia or Indonesia.

Wisut Binlaatah, director of the Sheikhul Islam Office in the South, said the Rohingya refugees will be assisted in two phases.

First, the Thai public will be asked to donate food and clothing. In the long term, the office will call on the Thai government to encourage Myanmar to address its ethnic conflicts.

Unless the situation settles and there is peace in Myanmar, Thailand should not look to sending them back, Wisut added. He also asked other Muslim countries to offer asylum to the Rohingya.

Post Today photo

Villagers in the southern province of Pattani have donated food and other supplies to the to Rohingya refugees, who an ethnic war in Myanmar.

The head of shelter for families and children, Takorn Hemwichian, said 22 Rohingya, 18 men and four women, have been offered accommodation there. They were captured after being smuggled into Thailand through tambon Padang Besa, Sadao district of Songkhla province.

Mr Takorn said that the building's existing guestroom was not large enough to accommodate all of the refugees, so they had to build another one.

He admitted that staff initially had some problems in communicating with the new arrivals, but a Myanmar worker had now been hired as an interpreter.

Local peoplehave been donating food to the shelter. However, the refugees were not accustomed to Thai food. Instead, Mr Takorn is asking the people to give cash which could be used to buy what they could eat.

One Rohingya woman said that her husband had been taken by soldiers in Myanmar and she had no idea of his fate. She is now left with their seven children to care for.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Manasvi Srisodapol said on Friday the Rohingya people who were smuggled into Thailand will be subject to Thai laws but will be treated in accordance with international human rights standards,

Mr Manas, the Department of Information director-general, said the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the UN refugee have offered their assistance.

The government also intends to consult with Muslim leaders on how to best address the problem in the long-run, he said.

Friday 18 January 2013

Iran delivers humanitarian aid to Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

Source Iranradio, 17 Jan
Iran delivers humanitarian aid to Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

Iran's consignment of humanitarian aid for ethnic Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar has been delivered to the refugees in the country.

According to Press TV, the shipment includes foodstuff, tents, blankets and other basic commodities, and was distributed among the Rohingya Muslims following the arrival of Iran's parliamentary delegation in the city of Sittwe in the Western state of Rakhine.

The Iranian parliamentary delegation, led by deputy head of Iran Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, Mansour Haqiqatpour, arrived in Myanmar on Tuesday.

During meetings with local officials, Haqiqatpour extended messages of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Iranian government, Majlis and nation to Myanmarese Muslim refugees.

The representatives of Iran's Foreign Ministry, Imam Khomeini Relief Committee and the Iranian Red Crescent Society also accompanied the Iranian parliamentary delegation in this visit.

Hundreds of Rohingyas are believed to have been killed and thousands displaced in attacks by Buddhist extremists. The assaults have been mainly carried out in the state of Rakhine.

Myanmar's army forces have reportedly provided the extremists with containers of petrol for torching the houses of Muslim villagers.

Thursday 17 January 2013

RSF: How long will the Burmese Media Spring last?

Source RSF, 17 Jan
How long will the Burmese media spring last ? Read a 19 pages report of RSF on Burmese Media Spring via the link here..
Reporters Without Borders is today releasing a report entitled "The Burmese Spring" about the rapid progress that freedom of information has made in Burma, but also about the limits of this progress and the dangers it faces.
The international community is witnessing an unprecedented democratic transition in this Southeast Asian country after half a century of military dictatorship. But, as things stand, the possibility of the reforms being perverted cannot be ruled out.
For 25 years, Reporters Without Borders was on a blacklist that prevented it from visiting Burma. Imprisoned journalists such as Win Tin, one of the symbols of the fight for freedom of information, and Democratic Voice of Burma's video-journalists could only be supported from a distance during this period.

Reporters Without Borders was finally taken off the blacklist on 28 August 2012, allowing it to visit Burma and observe the initial results of government reforms easing restrictions on the media.
"There has been historic progress for the media and the ground covered by the government has been striking, as evidenced in the recently announced revision of the repressive laws affecting the print media," Reporters Without Borders said. "The release of imprisoned journalists and the end of prior censorship represent the start of a new era for Burma's journalists.

"The information ministry's announcement on 28 December that the publication of privately-owned dailies will be permitted from next April is evidence of a commitment to pursue the reforms. But we are now waiting for these promises, especially the creation of independent dailies, to be realized."
Although censorship has been lifted, the censorship bureau, called the Press Scrutiny and Registration Division (PSRD), has still not been disbanded and still wields a great deal of repressive power because it can still suspend any weekly that publishes "forbidden" content.
In the absence of a law providing the media with effective protection, there is a real danger of journalists censoring themselves after decades of government censorship. Officials have not shed their repressive tendencies, as witnessed by the many legal proceedings against privately-owned weeklies in 2012.

The report draws attention to the dangers of media sector transformation without an appropriate legal framework, to the specific problems of exile media that have returned to Burma, and to the lack of adequate media coverage of the humanitarian crisis in the western province of Arakan.
Reporters Without Borders calls on the Burmese government to curb lawsuits against the media and to support the rapid repeal of repressive laws and adoption of a media law that respects freedom of information.

It encourages the Burmese media to increase their interaction with the various journalists' associations and unions in order to revitalize the media sector and defend its interests.
And finally, Reporters Without Borders urges the international community to condition its assistance on respect for fundamental freedoms, especially freedom of information.
Download the report : "The Burmese Spring"

"Test of Media Liberalization"

    The tension in the western state of Arakan has continued after another outbreak of violence on 21 October and the days that followed. The clashes between Arakan’s ethnic Rakhine and (Muslim) Rohingya communities were triggered by the discovery of the body of a young Rakhine woman, who had apparently been raped and murdered, in the village of Maung Taw on 29 May. The inter-communal clashes subsequently spread throughout the state and prompted the government to send troops that still have not managed to restore order.

    The lack of reliable information about the violence, the poor and often biased media coverage and the reporting restrictions imposed by the government constitute new threats to freedom of information in Burma and pose a major challenge to the Burmese media.The government has appointed a commission of enquiry into the clashes, which have resulted in many deaths and a great deal of destruction. 

    Meanwhile, with the help of French journalist Sophie Ansel, Reporters Without Borders is publishing an interview with Habib Habiburahman, a Rohingya cyber-dissident who is a refugee in Australia. Habiburahman has stayed in direct contact with the Rohingya community in Burma and, since June, has been providing information about their situation and the attacks on certain villages.

    RSF: What is your evaluation of the media presence in Arakan? 
    Habib Habiburahman: Until recently, no Burmese or foreign journalist had been able to do any thorough reporting on the situation in Arakan. From the Burmese viewpoint, our ethnicity has always been a taboo that was encouraged by the military government. The military sidelined us from the Burmese ethnic landscape and kept us penned up in villages from which we did not have the right to leave for decades. 
    For the most part, the Burmese media have refrained from doing any analytic or investigative reporting on what is happening in Arakan, either from fear amid a climate of extreme violence, or out of ignorance of our ethnic group, which has always been kept apart from the others, or because of a taboo in a country largely opposed to the idea of the existence of the Rohingyas, or for strictly partisan reasons.
    The Burmese media would rather cover the ethnic conflicts in the states of Shan or Kachin than in Arakan. Also, the poverty, illiteracy, segregation and discrimination in which Rohingyas grow up prevents any possibility of a Rohingya working for a Burmese news organization and thereby helping to address the lack of coverage.
    Many pressure groups discourage investigative reporting in Arakan. Government directives  circulate. The Rohingyas live in fear, they are under threat and are not free to talk openly.
    than in Arakan. Also, the poverty, illiteracy, segregation and discrimination in which Rohingyas grow up prevents any possibility of a Rohingya working for a Burmese news organization and thereby helping to address the lack of coverage.
    Many pressure groups discourage investigative reporting in Arakan. Government directives circulate. The Rohingyas live in fear, they are under threat and are not free to talk openly.

    RSF: Can journalists interview Rakhines and Rohingyas with complete independence?
    Habib: Most of the state is closed to foreigners and those who go there to cover the situation expose themselves to danger. They can easily meet Rakhines but access to Rohingyas is controlled and disapprovedof. Some have tried and a few videos and interviews with Rohingyas have emerged from Arakan. The few interviews come mainly from Sittwe, which is one of the places you have to go through to get to the touristic site of Mrauk U and which is therefore one of the cracks in the wall through which information can filter out. Other areas are completely cut off.Journalists are closely watched in Arakan and must take the utmost care, both for their own safety and the safety of their sources. The Rohingyas who dare to speak are risking the worst once the journalists or international observers have left. 

    The others censor themselves or are afraid to identify themselves as Rohingyas. This is not the case with Rakhines, who journalists can interview without any problem. What’s really worrying is the widespread, controlled disinformation about the situation in Arakan. The figures reported by the local and international media are those provided by a regime that has always oppressed us. 
    I am dismayed by the way the media blindly give credence to a regime, which in our state continues to be the dictatorship it has always been.
    If there is a democratic process, it is in the seven Burmese regions but not in the seven states where the ethnic minorities live. It is absurd that international observers report figures without giving credence 
    to the figures reported by those Rohingyas who are following developments on a daily basis and who are compiling the most detailed reports possible. If independent journalists cannot go to the villages, to the victims, without being watched on or threatened, isn’t that a sufficient alarm signal that they are trying to hide something?
    This is why we are relaying information on behalf of the Rohingyas. The figures we have reported are those to which we have had access. They are indeed disturbing but they reflect only the regions in Arakan that we have been able to contact. 
    Many villages have disappeared without our being able to obtain any information about them. The inhabitants of each torched village should be tracked down. Investigators should speak to all those who are still alive and who remember this tragedy, who remember those they have lost and are still losing.

    RSF: What is the biggest problem as regards getting verified information?
    Habib: The biggest problem is that even if photos or videos have been shot by someone with access to a camera, how can they get the information out ? The computers in the Muslim areas have been confiscated, phones bought in Arakan have been blocked and a Muslim with a mobile phone is immediately arrested.

Thailands Muslim Chief pleads for help for Rohingya

Source Thai Financial Post, 17 Jan
BANGKOK, 17 January 2013 (NNT) â€" Thailand’s Muslim Chief has shed tears during his visit to hundreds of Rohingya migrants, who were recently apprehended during the raids on hidden camps in the far South.

Chularatchamontri Aziz Pitakkhumpol, the spiritual leader of Muslims in Thailand, on Wednesday, traveled to the Padang Bezar checkpoint in Sadao District of Songkhla Province, where more than 300 Rohingya Muslims are being detained.

More than 800 Rohingya migrants have recently been found hidden in secret camps along the Thai-Malaysian border region. They are under detention at various state facilities in the southern border province.

Mr. Aziz, accompanied by members of the Central Islamic Council of Thailand, the Songkhla Central Islamic Council and the Thai-Pakistani Friendship Association, also offered 300,000 baht in cash to be used for food, medicines and necessities needed by all detained Rohingya.

While shedding his tears, the Muslim spiritual leader said that he would not want to see the Rohingya to be pushed back to Myanmar, where their fate will be still be quite harsh.

He also pleaded for state collaboration with the third country, where the Rohingya wish to travel to.

Meanwhile, Pol Col Krissakorn Pleetanyawong, Deputy Commander of Songkhla Police, revealed that at least 10 Thai and Myanmar nationals have been charged for their involvement in the trafficking of the Rohingya, with arrest warrants already issued for 3 more suspects.

( Nopparat Chaichalearmmongkol Nopparat Chaichalearmmongkol)

UN, 20 nations join Thailand to help Rohingya
Source The Nation January 17, 2013 1:00 am

Envoys hold conference to organise support; UNHCR granted permission to visit refugees

Envoys of more than 20 countries yesterday joined a teleconference that was held to address the grievances of and get help for more than 850 Rohingya people. These illegal migrants were arrested in Thailand's South earlier this month.

The conference focused on immediate assistance and the legal procedures involved.

At the teleconference were representatives of various countries including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Australia, the United States, New Zealand as well as the European Union.

In a related development, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) disclosed it had already received the Thai authorities' permission to access these Rohingya refugees.

"The Thai authorities have agreed in principle to give us access," said Golam Abbas, UNHCR's Representative ad interim in Thailand. "We would like this to happen as soon as possible, so that we can jointly look at their immediate humanitarian and protection needs."

"If there are people seeking asylum among the group, they should have access to a mechanism to assess their material and protection needs. This could be through Thailand's existing Provincial Admissions Board or another agreed arrangement. We are ready to provide our support and expertise as needed," he said.

Some 115,000 Rohingya people remain internally displaced within Myanmar's Rakhine state following inter-communal violence in June and October last year. The Rohingya are a Muslim minority in Myanmar.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said Tuesday her government would provide humanitarian care for the refugees and instructed the Foreign Ministry to work with the UN on the issue.

The UN said it welcomed public assurances from Yingluck that the group would receive temporary assistance in Thailand in respect of the principle of non-refoulement. This principle states that under international customary law, no one should be sent back to a place where his or her life and freedom could be endangered. UNHCR has sought access to this group, and cannot confirm their number or identity without first talking to them.

Thailand's Chularatchamontri, the country's Muslim spiritual leader, visited the arrested Rohingya in Songkhla yesterday. With tears in his eyes, he urged authorities to contact a third country where the migrants could get jobs and humanitarian assistance.

"Please don't send them back to Myanmar," he said.

The Burmese Rohingya Association Thailand, at the same time, called on the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRC) to prevent any deportation of the Rohingya.

"We have never agreed with deportation. Sending the Rohingya back is like sending them to hell," NHRC commissioner Niran Pitakwatchara said.

He also expressed concern that the Rohingya refugees might fall victims to human traffickers.

"We will consult with relevant authorities in a bid to prevent violation of the Rohingya people's rights," Niran said.

Speaking separately, Mamadjorkhid from Myanmar said he could not feel any human dignity in his homeland.

"Soldiers always harassed us. They were always taking away whatever we had in hands or farms," the 24-old-man said. He has now settled down in Thailand's Ranong.

Nobihuzon, 40, said he felt he had no future while living in Rakhine. "Many neighbours felt the same way. So, we pooled the money to buy a fishing trawler and started our boat trip," he said.

It took him more than 20 days to reach Thailand, where he had now lived for more than 22 years.

"I can live without fear now. I have already got myself registered as an alien worker," Nobihuzon said.

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Malaysia Rounds Up 383 Burmese Nationals

Source Irrawaddy news, 16 Jan
Two boats carrying 354 men, women and children, who are supposedly from Burma, landed in Malaysia on Tuesday night, where local police rounded them up for being illegal immigrants, Malaysian newspaper The Star reports. The boats came from Bangladesh and Arakan State in Burma, and landed on Cenang Island in northwest Malaysia. "One of the boats had 143 passengers comprising 94 men, 18 women and 31 girls. The other had 211, comprising 207 men and four boys," a police officer said. Another 29 Burmese nationals were nabbed by police near the Thai-Malaysian border on Tuesday.

Rohingya status awaits UN meet

PM taps navy to head off illicit migrant 'surge'

Source Bangkok post, 16 Jan

The government plans to consult with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) before deciding on the status of nearly 850 detained Rohingya migrants, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra says.

A Rohingya migrant receives a health examination at a detention centre in Songkhla's Sadao district. TAWATCHAI KEMGUMNERD


The government will not return or relocate the Rohingya migrants for the time being, Ms Yingluck said after yesterday's cabinet meeting.

She said the Foreign Ministry would discuss the matter with the UNHCR before taking action.

"First thing is we have to take care of them. Next is to discuss [the plan of action] with the UNHCR," she said. "We will have to discuss it with [Myanmar] and a third-party country."

Surapong Kongchanthuk, an expert on stateless people and migrants for the Lawyers Council of Thailand, urged the government to ask the UNHCR to verify the status of the migrants.

He said once the migrants are verified as refugees it will be easier to relocate them to a third-party country.

"And if they want to be sent back home, their safety must be guaranteed," he said. "They shouldn't be left at the border to find their way home because they will end up victims of the traffickers."

He also called on the government to find out whether the migrants were victims of human trafficking.

The prime minister yesterday instructed navy commander Surasak Rounroengrom to head off the influx of Rohingya migrants. More than 840 Rohingya migrants have been rounded up in three raids in Songkhla's Sadao district over the past week.

Ms Yingluck said some of the migrants might join the southern insurgency rather than seek asylum in a third country.

Adm Surasak said the navy would step up operations to keep the Rohingya migrants from coming ashore.

Vice Adm Tharathon Jitsuwan, commander of 3rd Naval Area, said it is part of the navy's job to curb smuggling of contraband goods, drugs and illegal migrants.

Naval interceptions of illegal migrant vessels will result in the migrants being returned to their country of origin or to a third-party country, he said.

"We do provide them with humanitarian assistance," he said.

Several women and children are among the detained migrants.

The migrants use Thailand as a transit point to seek jobs or asylum elsewhere, and are often exploited by human traffickers, he said.

He said the 3rd Naval Area was working closely with the Internal Security Operations Command Region 4 and police to look out for human trafficking networks.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung said authorities were investigating the influx of Rohingya migrants.

Immigration staff would be held to account if they were found to be involved in human trafficking, he said.

Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanathabut, secretary-general of the National Security Council (NSC), said the Department of Special Investigation and immigration authorities are also looking into the surge of illegal migrants.

The case is not yet considered a human trafficking crime, he said.

Lt Gen Paradorn said the Social Development and Human Security Ministry is being asked to help because women and children are among the migrants.

In the past, most Rohingya migrants have been men, he said.

Meanwhile, two more Rohingya men were rescued yesterday while wandering in the woods along the Songkhla-Satun border.

The pair were found by locals who took them to a mosque in tambon Chalung in Songkhla's Hat Yai district. The men did not have any belongings.

They told local authorities they were originally in a group of 30, including women and children.

They said they split from the group two days ago after being abandoned and robbed by the people who brought them into the country.

It is believed the group was abandoned after authorities stepped up security following the arrest of the other three groups.

Police yesterday issued a warrant for the arrest of Sarok Kaewmaneechote on a charge of providing Rohingya migrants with accommodation. The suspect was identified as the owner of a house in Padang Besar municipality where 139 migrants were detained on Sunday.

Police are still hunting for two men in connection with the Rohingya migrants.