Friday 24 February 2017

Kachin and Rohingya activists in diaspora launch an international opinion tribunal on Myanmar's atrocity crimes against their communities at home

Source 23 Feb, maungzarni

Kachin and Rohingya activists in diaspora launch an international opinion tribunal on Myanmar's atrocity crimes against their communities at home 

Media Advisory, February 23, 2017

The Rome-based Permanent People's Tribunal (PPT) will be holding the inaugural session of its first-ever Tribunal on Myanmar at Queen Mary University of London International State Crime Initiative on 6 and 7 March. (

The establishment of this people's tribunal is in response to the requests made by Myanmar's Rohingya and Kachin victims who have made credible allegations that their respective ethnic communities have suffered international crimes at the hands of Myanmar government troops, including crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.

Subsequent tribunal hearings are envisaged in in USA and Malaysia before the jury reach the verdict later this year.

The PPT includes renowned genocide scholars such as Daniel Feierstein, past President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, Dr Helen Jarvis, former Public Affairs Officer at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, Dennis Halliday, former Assistant Secretary of the UN and winner of Gandhi International Peace Award (2003). The Tribunal is in the process of selecting members of the Panel of Jury from amongst a list of public figures whose nominations are based on their established personal integrity, professional competence and concerns for the victims. 

Among the experts who will appear before the PPT will be Dr Mandy Sadan, Associate Dean of Research at School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London & author of Being & Becoming Kachin: Histories Beyond the State in the Borderworlds of Burma (Oxford University Press, 2013), Professor Penny Green of the International State Crime Initiative, and Azril Mohammad Amin of the Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra), Malaysia.

"The gravity of Myanmar's alleged mistreatment of these ethnic communities has been a concern for us at the PPT for a number of years. My colleagues and I are glad to be able to respond positively to the victims' request for a credible moral tribunal on what appear to be international crimes being committed by the government of Myanmar," said Dr Gianni Tognoni, Secretary General of Permanent Peoples' Tribunal.

The People's Tribunal has a long history as an effective means of transforming communities marred by state sponsored crimes. It has convened forty-three times to deliver judgements that have guided societies through such struggles as post-colonialism, globalization, war, and economic injustice. It is renowned for its rigorous selection criteria for its jury members.

Hkanhpa Sadan, the General Secretary of the Kachin National Organization (KNO), representing many in the Kachin diaspora, said, "Our Kachin people have been crying out for justice and accountability since Myanmar government unilaterally ended the 17-year ceasefire with the Kachin Independence Organization nearly 6 years ago. While talking up democratic transition in the media, Myanmar government has been bombing – even using fighter jets and gunship helicopters – our communities in Northern Myanmar, displacing thousands of our people, including women, elderly, children and infants from their own homes." He pointed out that Myanmar is blocking humanitarian assistance and supplies to Kachin war refugees while refusing to permit the UN Special Rapporteur Professor Yanghee Lee access to the area last month to travel to the internally displaced people (IDP) camps where IDP thousands of families are freezing in make-shift camps in the high altitude mountainous, with little food or medical supplies.

Tun Khin, President of Burmese Rohingya Association UK, a participating organization, expresses his appreciation for the PPT staff for the tribunal. "We Rohingyas are grateful that this tribunal effort is materializing at this crucial juncture. Generations of us Rohingya have suffered what we experience as a genocide in our own ancestral lands." He continues, "my grandfather was a proud Rohingya parliamentary secretary in democratic Burma in the 1950's, and in 2017, my family and I are refugees in UK now. We are subject to Myanmar's policy of extermination because of our religion and ethnicity."

On the western frontier region of Rakhine, Myanmar troops have been accused of "very likely" committing crimes against humanity by the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner's team. On 3 February the UN Office of High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a 43-page report of interviews with 200+ persecution-fleeing Rohingya men and women in Bangladesh's refugee camps, which detailed harrowing accounts of rape, gang-rape, wanton killings, arson, helicopter and rocket launcher attacks and other numerous forms of inhumane atrocities against unarmed, peaceful Rohingyas.

The UN report states," "The testimonies gathered by the team – the killing of babies, toddlers, children, women and elderly; opening fire at people fleeing; burning of entire villages; massive detention; massive and systematic rape and sexual violence; deliberate destruction of food and sources of food – speak volumes of the apparent disregard by Tatmadaw and BGP officers that operate in the lockdown zone for international human rights law, in particular the total disdain for the right to life of Rohingyas."

For decades, the Muslim Rohingya minority in Burma have suffered state crimes that many human rights investigators and scholars conclude amount to crimes against humanity and even a "slow genocide" as stated by Amartya Sen. They have been stripped of their citizenship and rendered stateless; prohibited from travelling even between villages; forbidden from obtaining education or gainful employment; forced into labour; physically brutalized including extrajudicial killings, rape,
and torture; driven from their burning homes and villages; and dehumanized because of their faith & skin colour.

In addition to Rohingya and Kachin organizations in diaspora, International State Crime Initiative at Queen Mary University of London, Burma Task Force USA, JUST and the Centre for Human Rights
Research and Advocacy (Centhra) from Malaysia, USA-based Genocide Watch, South Africa's Protect the Rohingya and Burmese Muslim Association are supporting the tribunal. Cambodia Genocide survivor and genocide prevention campaigner Youk Chhang and Burmese genocide scholar Dr Maung Zarni are also among the tribunal's individual supporters.

Within the United Nations, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, has reportedly said that she will be recommending a UN-mandated Commission of Inquiry on Rohingyas in her official Mission report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, which she is scheduled to present on 13 March.

Myanmar's hybrid government of Aung San Suu Kyi and the military has responded to these serious international crimes allegations first by dismissing them as "fake news" and later setting up its own "national investigation commission" headed by ex-general and Vice President Myint Swe. UN Special Adviser on Genocide Prevention Adama Dieng has officially dismissed Myanmar's national commission as "not a credible option" while Ms Yanghee Lee said, "it doesn't even have the methodology" to investigate the atrocity crimes. Dr Maung Zarni said "Myanmar's own investigation would be like wolves figuring out who ate the chickens."

There has been a concerted activist campaign worldwide for UN member states to adopt a resolution to establish a UN inquiry. UK government has come under strong criticism from human rights campaign groups for privileging its business interests in Burma while ignoring serious allegations of crimes against humanity committed by Myanmar Security troops which the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) says the British Armed Forces are training on human rights and accountability.

//end text//

Media Contacts:

Dr Gianni Tognoni, Secretary General of Permanent Peoples' Tribunal, Rome, Italy

Tun Khin, President, Burmese Rohingya Organization UK

Hkun Htoi Layang, Deputy Secretary, Kachin National Organization 
- See more at:

Thursday 23 February 2017

“Rohingyas would be eliminated from Myanmar.”: A detailed emerging picture of Myanmar Genocidal Violence as extracted from the UNOCHR Flash Report

Source maungzarni, 7 Feb

"Rohingyas would be eliminated from Myanmar."

"Now is the worst it has ever been. We have heard from our grandparents that there were bad things happening in the past too, but never like this." 

- A Rohingya victim from Pwint Hpye Chaung

"(C)all your Allah to come and save you", "What can your Allah do for you? See what we can do?"

- A typical taunt by perpetrating Myanmar soldiers and officers while beating, torturing, raping and killing Rohingyas


The "calculated policy of terror" that the Tatmadaw has implemented in nRS since 9 October cannot be seen as an isolated event. It must be read against the long-standing pattern of violations and abuses; systematic and systemic discrimination; and policies of exclusion and marginalization against the Rohingya that have been in place for decades in nRS, as described in the HC's report to the HRC (A/HRC/32/18). Even before 9 October, widespread discriminatory policies and/or practices targeting them on the basis of their ethnic and/or religious identity had led to an acute deprivation of fundamental rights. The information gathered by OHCHR indicates that the victims of killings, rape and sexual violence, arbitrary detention, torture, beatings and other violations outlined in this report, were targeted based on their belonging to a particular ethnicity and religion. Many victims mentioned that soldiers and officers taunted them by saying that Islam is not the religion of Myanmar; that Rohingyas are Muslim Bengalis; and that Rohingyas would be eliminated from Myanmar.


"The testimonies gathered by the team – the killing of babies, toddlers, children, women and elderly; opening fire at people fleeing; burning of entire villages; massive detention; massive and systematic rape and sexual violence; deliberate destruction of food and sources of food – speak volumes of the apparent disregard by Tatmadaw and BGP officers that operate in the lockdown zone for international human rights law, in particular the total disdain for the right to life of Rohingyas."


All of the eyewitness testimonies the team gathered referred to violations allegedly perpetrated by either the Myanmar security forces (Tatmadaw, Border Guard Police and/or the regular police force, operating both separately and through joint operations) or by Rakhine villagers (either acting jointly with security forces or at least with their acceptance). Worryingly, the team gathered several testimonies indicating that Rakhine villagers from the area have recently been given both weapons and uniforms, which bodes ill for the future relation and trust between the two communities.

What does a typical Myanmar Government's "area clearance operation" look like? 

"When the team analysed the 111 testimonies gathered from the most affected villages - Yae Khat Chaung Gwa Son, Kyet Yoe Pyin, Pwint Hpyu Chaung, Dar Gyi Zar and Wa Peik - a clear picture emerges of how the Myanmar security forces' so called "area clearance operations" are conducted, as well as of the violations they generate:

Interviewees from these villages, as can be seen also in previous chapters, typically reported that large numbers of armed men (often from both the Tatmadaw and the police, sometimes accompanied by Rakhine villagers) would arrive at once in the village. As is confirmed by satellite imagery analysis, they would proceed to destroy many houses, mosques, schools and shops, typically by RPGs (that interviewees call "launchers") but also by simply using petrol and matches as detailed above. Fields, livestock, food stocks would also be deliberately burned, destroyed or looted.

They would separate the women from the men. Men who did not manage to flee would be severely beaten, often with their hands tied to their back, often with rifle butts or bamboo sticks, or kicked with boots. Many men, especially those in a specific age range (teenage to middle age) would also be taken away, with their hands still tied, by military or police vehicles and not heard of again.

Women would be rounded up, and either told to stay inside a school or other building or outside in the burning sun. Many would be raped or experienced others forms of sexual violence, often during strip searches, either during round-ups or in homes.

Simultaneously, those fleeing would be shot at with rifles and RPGs, and in Yae Khat Chaung Gwa Son, Dar Gyi Zar and in Kyar Gaung Taung, also from helicopters.

There were also many reports of summary executions, either by shooting at point blank range or by knife, including of babies, toddlers, children, women and elderly people.

In some villages, only very few houses are reportedly still standing. According to testimonies, there are no or few men of working age left, and the women and children who could flee have done so. According to the testimonies the team gathered, some who were too old or too poor to flee are still trying to survive among the ashes and the wreckage, lacking food.

Interviewees who were still in touch with relatives in their home villages reported that the "area clearance operations" continue, with continued regular presence of the security forces in the villages (although the burning of homes seems to have ceased since December, replaced in some cases by destruction by other means)."

From p.38, 3 Feb 2017 UNOCHR Flash Report

This testimony from a woman from Pwint Hpyu Chaung is indicative of what the residents of the hardest hit villages experienced:

"While we were sleeping, it was 2 or 3 a.m., I did not notice that the military surrounded my whole house. They suddenly entered. They carried both rifles and knives. One used a knife to cut some rope in my house. My brother and my sister-in-law's husband had their hands tied behind their backs with that rope. They were first beaten with rifle butts. They were beaten so harshly that my brother was about to die, it was so horrible to watch. When they were beating my brother and my sister-in-law's husband, we were close to them, we were also lying down. Whenever they were crying we were also crying. My oldest son and my (11-year old) daughter were beaten too.

And then they shot and killed my brother and my brother-in-law. This happened just outside our house. When they were shooting, a bullet grazed my daughter's skin too. Then they dragged their bodies away. We never found their bodies.

I cannot tell you what I am feeling inside. The military was kicking us with their boots, my husband was lying down as if he was dead, spreading his hands wide. The military thought he was dead, so they brought bamboo sticks and threw them on top of him.

We were very scared. We fled to my father's house which is located just next door. But by this time another group of military came and they set the house on fire. All of us were trying to flee, but then they called my father out from all us women and children. We told our father, please don't go, they will kill you. They asked us women and children to go away, so we left, and then they took our father from us. They took him, his hands were tied with a rope. Then they set the house on fire.

Then we fled into the forest, by this time the house was burning. When we came back we were looking for our father, and then we found his body totally burned, together with three other bodies. It was my other brother who is alive and who is here in Bangladesh, he was the one who went to the house, and he found our father and our uncle lying on his shoulder, his uncle's son was also there, burned. Maybe they held each other tight, that could be why they seemed to be hugging in their death, my brother said (p.40)."

- A mother of 8 and 11 year old children from Pwint Hpyu Chaung village

The aforementioned excerpts are from UNOCHR Flash Report released on 3 Feb 2017, which detailed systematic and unprecedented atrocities committed against Rohingyas in Northern Rakhine State by Myanmar government's troops (and armed local Rakhine). 

SOURCE: Report of OHCHR mission to Bangladesh -- Interviews with Rohingyas fleeing from Myanmar since 9 October 2016

- See more at:

Myanmar Authorities Seize Rohingya-Owned Farm Lands

Source Rohingyavision, 22 Feb

Myanmar Authorities Seize Rohingya-Owned Farm Lands

by Rohingya Eye & Rohingya Mirror

February 22, 2017

Maungdaw – The Maungdaw Township administration seized many acres of Rohingya-owned farmlands in southern Maungdaw last week in order to set up a model Hindu village, reports say.

The Maungdaw Township administrator and his team put up red flags on the Rohingya lands the village of Kyauk Pandu locally known as Shitaaf in the southern Maungdaw and ordered owners to stay away from the lands.

U Aye Myint, a human rights activist based in Maungdaw, view the move by the township administration to seize the Rohingya-owned farlands and setting up a model village on them is to create animosity and hostility between the local Muslims and the local Hindus.

"They have set up many illegal Rakhine settlements on the lands belonged to the Rohingyas in the past. It has created hostility between the people. Now, they are trying to create to animosity between Muslims and Hindus by setting up a Hindu village on the Rohingyas' lands. Now, the government under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi is still implementing the same old 'Divide and Rule Policy'", said U Aye Myint, while speaking to Rohingya Vision TV.

Some owners of the lands confiscated are:

  • Mubarak (50), s/o Izhar Meah – 3 acres of his lands confiscated
  • Abu Bakkar Siddique (45) – 1 acre of his land confiscated
  • Sayedullah (50), s/o Abdu Jalil — 3 acres of his lands confiscated
  • Abdu Salam (55), s/o Iman Ali — 4 acres of his lands confiscated
  • Abul Kasim (45), s/o Hala Meah — 1 acre of his lands confiscated
  • Habiullah (40), Sayedur Rahman — 1 acre of his lands confiscated
  • An acre of a mosque-owned land
  • Hashimullah (35), s/o Ghani Meah — 2 acres of his lands confiscated

"At a time when we all are facing severe political and economic crises, the government is confiscating our farmlands which are our lifelines. These seizures of our farmlands could lead us to face starvations and deaths," said a Rohingya farmer in southern Maungdaw.

In a separate event taking place, the Myanmar Border Guard Police has temporarily resumed travel access for the Rohingya people in Maungdaw today (on February 21), a permission that is effective only for 14 days.

It has been learn that the police will raid Rohingya villages and force them to accept the NVC (National Verification Card) if they don't agree to accept it within these 14 days. Approximately, 30 people at the village of AlayThanKyaw (locally known as Haishshu Rata) in southern Maungdaw have been forced to accept the NVC so far.

Read the related report: Border Guards Arrest Rohingya Figureheads for Skipping NVC-Related Meeting

[Edited by M.S. Anwar]

To send reports and feedback, please email to:

Monday 20 February 2017

US accepts Rohingya refugees from Indonesia

Source TheJakartapost, 13 Feb

US accepts Rohingya refugees from IndonesiaIn crisis -- In this Dec. 2, 2016 photo, Mohsena Begum, a Rohingya who escaped to Bangladesh from Myanmar, holds her child and sits at the entrance of a room of an unregistered refugee camp in Teknaf, near Cox's Bazar, a southern coastal district about, 296 kilometers (183 miles) south of Dhaka, Bangladesh. "They drove us out of our houses, men and women in separate lines, ordering us to keep our hands folded on the back of our heads," says 20-year-old Mohsena Begum, her voice choking as she described what happened to the little village of Caira Fara, which had long been home to hundreds of members of Myanmar's minority Rohingya community. In refugee camps in Bangladesh, survivors of a wave of violence that has swept Myanmar in recent weeks say government forces have targeted minority Rohingya villages, burning many to the ground, killing the innocent and raping women. (AP/A.M. Ahad)

The refugees from Myanmar whose boats washed ashore in Aceh two years ago, have passed interviews conducted by the US Consulate in Medan, North Sumatra, with the assistance of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Juha P. Salin, US Consul for Medan confirmed the transfer of Rohingya refugees to America, adding that the process would be conducted gradually.

"These cases are being processed continually and those who have the approved travel documents can travel to the US," said Salin.

He refused, however, to confirm the number of Rohingya refugees who had been permitted to resettle in the US.

Trump had ordered a fourmonth hold on allowing refugees into the US and a temporary ban on travelers from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, which he said would protect Americans from violent Islamists.

The executive order has been blocked by the lower courts, but immigration authorities have continued to conduct raids across major cities in America.

The Ambassador to Indonesia Joseph R. Donovan has reassured Indonesia that the executive order will not affect the American value of religious tolerance.

"Both Americans and Indonesians are very tolerant people at their core and I believe that these values that we share, the importance of tolerance and respect for religious beliefs, particularly other people's religious beliefs, are the kind of values that will prevail in both of our societies," Donovan said earlier.

(Read also: Rohingya refugees in Indonesia worried by Trump presidency)

The resettlement process for Rohingya refugees in Indonesia began in November after the US Consulate in Medan started to interview the 184 Rohingya Muslims, stranded in Aceh.

The process, however, did not involve Rohingya refugees stranded in Medan for a longer period of time.

About 800 Rohingyas are currently staying in Indonesia, all of whom have been granted refugee status by the UNHCR.

According to a Rohingya refugee who was not included in the resettlement process, at least three had already flown to the US in the resettlement program.

Yudi Kurniadi, the head of North Sumatra Immigration Office, said Trump's policy had not affected the asylum applications of Rohingya refugees because Myanmar was not on the list of Trump's banned countries.

"Several Rohingya refugees were sent to the US this month. This was the first batch since the inauguration of Trump as US President," Yudi told The Jakarta Post.

Yudi said the refugees from the province sent to the US over the past few months were only those from Myanmar. Some others had been sent to Australia and Canada.

Medan hosts 2,089 refugees, 390 of whom are from Afghanistan, 363 from Sri Lanka, 490 from Myanmar, 283 from Somalia, 279 from Palestine and 129 from Iran.

Their destination countries include the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

In Makassar, South Sulawesi, Zarida, another refugee from Myanmar currently living in the city, is also scheduled to be sent to the US on Feb. 14.

Zarida has been staying in Makassar since 2013. The city hosts 1,900 refugees from the Middle East and 60 from Myanmar.

Ramli, the head of the South Sulawesi immigration office, said Zarida's departure to the US was facilitated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

"She passed the verification process and so she will be sent to the US on Feb. 14," said Ramli.

Zarida was first discovered as an undocumented immigrant four years ago in the city.

She was later verified and granted refugee status under the supervision of the IOM.

US begins to resettle Rohingya refugees, transferred from Indonesia Myanmar not subject to Trump's executive order

150 Rohingya families get Malaysian relief

Source Prothom, 15 Feb

Malaysian relief distribution at Kutupalong Rohingya camp.

Malaysian volunteers distributed relief goods among 150 Rohingya families in Cox's Bazar on Wednesday.

Malaysian parliament member Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahim led the 25-member delegation arrived in Chittagong in relief-laden ship Nautical Aliya.

District administration sources said the volunteers reached Kutupalong camp of unregistered Rohingya in Ukhia upazila around 11 am and distributed relief among 50 refugee families (5-6 membered each).

International Organisation of Migration and Red Crescent Society jointly assisted in the relief distribution.

The Malaysian team reached another unregistered Rohingya camp set up in Balukhali of Ukhia at 12:30pm and distributed relief among 50 more families. 

The team distributed relief to another 50 unregistered Rohingya families in Leda camp at Teknaf upazila of Cox's Bazar.

Every packet of relief goods had 35 items including rice, lentil, sugar, grain, edible oil, blanket and medicine to provide food for two months for a family.

The relief distribution coordination committee chief and Cox's Bazar district ADC, Saiful Islam Majumdar, said 15 thousand more Rohingya families would be given relief in turns.

Monday 6 February 2017

'Food flotilla for Myanmar' not just a humanitarian mission but stop atrocities against Rohingyas

Source 5 Feb 2017, astroawani

PORT KLANG: The 'Food Flotilla For Myanmar' on board the 'Nautical Aliya' which departed from Malaysia for Myanmar is expected to arrive in Yangon, Myanmar on Feb 8.

The mission organised by the Malaysian Consultative Council of Islam Organisations (Mapim), Kelab Putra 1Malaysia and Turkiye Diyanet Vakfi Foundation (TDV) from Turkey will see the vessel 'Nautical Aliya' carrying 200 volunteers and 2,300 tonnes of food and medical supply for the ethnic Rohingya in Myanmar.

The mission is not just to provide humanitarian aid but accompanied by a message - that of to stop the atrocities against the ethnic Rohingya.


Following is the transcript of an interview with MAPIM President Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid by BERNAMA journalist Anis Nabilla Md Wazilah who is part of the mission.

BERNAMA : What is the 'Food Flotilla For Myanmar' mission about?

MOHD AZMI: The mission is to send humanitarian aid plus put forward a message to the communities around the world about the atrocities against the ethnic Rohingya in Myanmar and to stop such acts of violence.

BERNAMA : Apart from supplying food, what else will the volunteers do during the mission?

MOHD AZMI: We have plans to provide medical assistance to about 5,000 people affected by the ongoing conflict. As for the food supply, we expect to assist about 20,000 to 30,000 refugees.

We also hope the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh will give us the necessary approval to ensure the mission is successful.

BERNAMA: What are the challenges expected during the mission?

MOHD AZMI: We took about three months to plan the mission and delegation involved in the mission. The challenges were to secure a ship for the mission, manage the approval process from Myanmar.

Many discussions and meetings were held, the biggest challenge was to source for funds, we even had to delay the mission due to lack of funds and we felt guilty about it but 'God Willing' the mission could be carried out now.

Careful preparations had gone into setting up the mission and we took into account various aspects, like technicalities on the ship, ever changing weather throughout the journey, etc.
BERNAMA : What is the hope of the mission?

MOHD AZMI: Certainly our hope is not only to provide humanitarian aid to those affected but to carry out programmes that can benefit the ethnic Rohingya who are suffering.

The 'Food Flotilla for Myanmar' is just one aspect of the Humanitarian aid because there are other areas that need to be looked at, like defending the rights of the ethnic Rohingya and not allow them to be killed or forced out of their homeland, that is our objective. - BERNAMA