Saturday 5 October 2019

Myanmar not listening to anyone: Hasina

Source Banglatribune, 30 Sept

Bangladesh now hosts nearly 1.1 million Rohingyas. PIDBangladesh now hosts nearly 1.1 million Rohingyas. PID

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called upon Myanmar to take action to ensure the Rohingyas' safety and security and live-up to previous agreements made with Bangladesh over the return of the refugees.

The premier said this when she was interviewed by Dan Keeler of The Wall Street Journal in New York this week on the sideline of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), reports state-owned agency BSS.

Asked if she would consider forcing the Rohingyas to return to Myanmar, the prime minister told WSJ: "Definitely they should go back to their own country."

But she (Sheikh Hasina) did not suggest Bangladesh would use force to make that happen, the WSJ report said.

She also said the international community seems to be failing in not convincing Myanmar to welcome the refugees back, but added "I cannot blame anybody because Myanmar is not listening to anyone," it continued.

WSJ report quoted her as saying "Bangladesh would continue to host the refugees but that their presence was taking a toll."

"Our land is just 147,000 square kilometres and we have a population of 160 million, so how we can keep these people for a long time? Our local people are suffering, there's a deforestation-a big chunk of our forest in the area where they are living is already gone," she told the newspaper.

The premier laid out a plan to enable the more-than-a-million Rohingya currently taking refuge in her country to return to Myanmar said the WSJ report titled "Bangladesh prime minister urges more cooperation from Myanmar over Rohingya"

Rohingyas escaping from Sittwe ghetto camps, arrested by police on their arrival in central Burma

Source RFA, 26 Sept

Rohingyas escaping from Sittwe ghetto camps, arrested by police on their arrival in central Burma (Yaykyaw village tract of Ngayoke Kaung township, Irrawaddy division)
on the night of 26 Sept 2019.  

Myanmar Police Detain 30 Rohingya Traveling to Yangon For Work, Emigration

They were fleeing poverty and lack of freedom in their native Rakhine state.

Rohingya Muslims apprehended by Myanmar police sit on the floor of the Ngapudaw township police station in Myanmar's Ayeyarwady region, Sept. 26, 2019.

Police in Myanmar's Ayeyarwady region Thursday night apprehended 30 young Rohingya Muslims from northern Rakhine state for failing to have approved travel documents as they headed to the commercial city Yangon to find jobs or to leave the country and look for work abroad, local officials said.

The group intercepted by Ayeyarwady region's Ngapudaw township police at Yaykyaw village tract in Ngayoke Kaung town included 20 women and mostly underage children, and all ranged in age from four years old to 27 years old, with most being around 15 years old, officials said.

Authorities said the Rohingya came from Thetkeibyin and Thaechaung villages in Rakhine's Sittwe township.

"They include nine adult males, one young boy, and 20 females," Yaykyaw village tract administrator Myint Soe told RFA's Myanmar Service.

Authorities at the Ngayokekaung town police station are questioning the members of the group, he said.

"They said they came from Sittwe by boat," Myint Soe said. "They landed at the Ngayokekaung Bridge near Yaykyaw, and then they were all squeezed into a [Mitsubishi] Pajero [SUV] to proceed."

The Rohingya told police that they paid between 500,000 and 700,000 kyats (U.S. $ 3,900-U.S. $5,460) to traffickers who arranged their transportation to Yangon where some of them intended to stay for work and others planned to sail to Malaysia.

Myo Min Tun from the General Administration Department of Ngayokekaung township said the Rohingya, who are prohibited from traveling outside certain areas without official permission, could be charged.

"Currently, the top management decision is to transport them to Ayeyarwady region's capital Pathein after the investigation," he said. "We don't know the laws they have broken or how they will be charged."

"Depending on the investigation, the Immigration Department will decide," he said. "With the rest of the procedures, the Myanmar police force will handle them according to law."

RFA was unable to reach Ayeyarwaddy region social welfare minister Hla Myat Thwe, Colonel Kyaw Swar Hlaing, minister for security and border affairs, or immigration and human resources minister Soe Win for comment.

Various hardships

Authorities in Rakhine state restrict the movement of the stateless Rohingya, who are considered illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and denied citizenship and access to basic rights and services. Those who need to travel must submit requests, even for emergencies.

The detained Rohingya said 44 people were aboard the boat when they departed Sittwe, though only 30 of them disembarked after authorities intercepted them at a jetty..

Tin Hlaing, a Muslim from Thae Chaung village, said the detained Rohingya had left Sittwe three days ago, and that their family members are now worried about their safety.

"Their family members are now gravely concerned about them," he told RFA, adding that the Rohingya who left the Rakhine villages were seeking a better life in Yangon or elsewhere.

"They are going through various hardships with a scarcity of job opportunities and restrictions on their movements," he said. "As a result, they were seeking ways to find a better future. These people planned to travel to Yangon to make a better living. Most of them intended to go abroad later."

Tin Hlaing said others tried to stop the group from leaving, but they refused to listen.

"They didn't accept our suggestions because they felt the pressure of their hardship and joblessness," he said.

A brutal military-led campaign of violence targeting Rohingya communities in Rakhine state in 2017 left thousands dead and drove more than 740,000 others across the border to Bangladesh where they now reside in sprawling displacement camps. An estimated 600,000 still live in the state where some are confined to internally displaced persons (IDP) camps.

The crackdown was in response to deadly attacks on police outposts by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), a Muslim militant group that conducted the armed assault on the same day that a commission headed by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan called for an end to restrictions on the Rohingya minority in Rakhine state.

But Rohingya leaders say that the civilian-led National League for Democracy (NLD) government has made almost no progress with implementing the commission's recommendations that the Rohingya be granted basic rights, such as access to health care and education, citizenship, and free movement.

First step to citizenship

Rakhine state government spokesman Win Myint said he had no information about the detained Muslims, but that officials were issuing National Verification Cards (NVCs) to Rohingya who qualify for them as the first step to attaining Myanmar citizenship.

Many Rohingya oppose the NVCs because they believe that the documents stigmatize the Muslim ethnic group.

"They can apply for citizenship only after they receive the NVC cards," Win Myint said. "After an assessment, we will grant citizenship to people who qualify to become citizens, [and] we will issue different ID cards to those who don't qualify."

Rohingya eligible for citizenship will have the right to free movement, he added.

Win Myat Aye, Myanmar's minister for social welfare, relief, and resettlement, and vice chairman of the government's Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement, and Development in Rakhine (UEHRD), was not available for comment.

Myanmar and Bangladesh have tried twice to repatriate Rohingya refugees who fled during the 2017 crackdown, but their efforts failed after no one showed up at the border for re-entry processing.

Most of the refugees have said that they will not return to Rakhine state unless the government can guarantee their safety, grant them citizenship, and allow them freedom of movement.

Reported by Kyaw Tun Naing for RFA's Myanmar Service. Translated by Ye Kaung Myint Maung. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.


Source Forsea, 25 Sept

Representing, a grassroots network of Southeast Asia's democrats and rights activists, Muang Zarni spoke at the international conference "Tackling Insurgent Ideologies 2.0," held in New Delhi and co-hosted by Facebook and India's Observer Research Foundation, August 8-9, 2019.

Maung Zarni, speaking on the panel entitled Rohingyas: Stateless, Marginalised, Radicalised?, International Conference on Insurgent Ideologies, co-sponsored by Facebook and Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi, August 8, 2019

As the title suggests the conference was primarily about the threats, perceived, projected or real, that governments around the world feel about rebellious groups. For the discourse of 'insurgency" rests on the Pavlovian notion being that states, (that is, an assemblage of national organisations and ideologies designed to control population, resources and territories, under the veneer of 'governments') are the sole and legitimate dispenser of organised violence towards groups and communities.

Both in the old colonial or so-called post-colonial times, any community that rightly challenges, either violently or through peaceful means, are typically dismissed as "rebels" "rioters" "dacoits" "destructive elements" "insurgents", or worse since 9/11, "terrorists".

In spite of the fact that the overwhelming majority of post-colonial states, usually in the so-called "developing world", are run by either outrightly authoritarian regimes with trappings of democratic institutions (as evidenced in the member states of the Association of South East Asian Nations or ASEAN) or semi – or quasi-democratic leaderships.

The idea of peacefully resisting and "talking back"- let alone waging an armed revolt – would earn the resisters the honour of being labeled "insurgents" and their anti-oppression cries "insurgent ideologies".

Those who vehemently oppose the repressive – and often racist, bigoted and economically predatory – call attention to Myanmar's Rohingya people as the most terrorised by their own government.

At home, the State of Myanmar led by the coalition government of Aung San Suu Kyi and the murderous Tatmadaw, or the Burmese military, subjects the Rohingya to "the on-going genocide", as former Attorney General Mr Marzuki Darusman, the Chair of the recently completed United Nations Fact-Finding Mission, describes the Rohingya persecution.

Any Rohingya in diaspora or in refugee camps who has survived periodic waves of genocidal violence and destruction by their own Burmese state since 1978, have been suffering the double-wammy of being characterised as "traditional and non-traditional security threats" by other states, particularly in Myanmar's Southeast Asia and South Asia neighborhoods. That is, through the racist and/or paranoid lens of these national security regimes in Asia, Rohingyas are one-step away from – if not already – embracing radical Islamicist – read "terrorist" – ideologies while serving as drug mules, agents and recruiters in sex- and human-trafficking sydicates, or simply petty thieves, rapists and robbers.

"They are forced to lead sub-human lives, with no freedom of movement, no prospect for third country resettlement, no Internet, no electricity, no proper schooling or livelihood opportunities." Daily life of Rohingya refugees at Balukhali Camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh on February 02, 2019. Photo: Sk Hasan Ali /

Additionally, these survivors of Myanmar genocide, for instance, in Bangladesh's refugee camps, where they are forced to lead sub-human lives, with no freedom of movement, no prospect for third country resettlement, no Internet, no electricity, no proper schooling or livelihood opportunities are seen as "destroyers of the natural environment" and the contagious disease carriers, and hence, a great public health risk to the host Bengali society. Alas, refugee bodies are non-traditional threats, if they are not yet blowing themselves up!

I heard with my own ears from the co-panelist, a known Hindu nationalist, spitting out utter nonsense about the murderous Rohingyas in Western Myanmar, citing the Amnesty International's highly discredited report.

To most people's dismay, the Bangladesh High Commissioner to India had a final word – one million Rohingyas in Bangladesh are going to radicalise and pose a grave threat to his country and the wider Asian region – speaking as the first-day's closing keynoter.

Post- Holocaust, the world we live in has morphed from the one that has commonly elevated the moral stature of the Jewish survivors of the Nazi genocide into the one which has long emptied out the anti-genocide rallying cry – Never again! – while further demonising and preemptively criminalising the survivors of Myanmar's genocide.

Human rights activists and democrats across Southeast Asia who have generally been by-standing while Myanmar commits a full-blown genocide ought to step up to their plate and ensure that the victims are not doubly-persecuted.

Maung Zarni

Muang Zarni speaks at the international conference "Tackling Insurgent Ideologies 2.0," held in New Delhi and co-hosted by Facebook and India's Observer Research Foundation, August 8-9, 2019.

* Opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect FORSEA's editorial stance.

Banner Image: JANUARY 26 2018 – Muslim Rohingya waiting the foods in the refugee camp at balukhali Bangladesh. – Photo: HAFIZIE SHABUDIN /

Maung Zarni

Posted by Maung Zarni

Dr Maung Zarni is a scholar, educator and human rights activist with 30-years of involvement in Burmese political affairs, Zarni has been denounced as an "enemy of the State" for his opposition to the Myanmar genocide. He is the co-author (with Natalie Brinham) of the pioneering study, "The Slow Burning Genocide of Myanmar's Rohingyas" (Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal, Spring 2014) and "Reworking the Colonial-Era Indian Peril: Myanmar's State-Directed Persecution of Rohingyas and Other Muslims" (The Brown Journal of World Affairs, Fall/Winter 2017/18).

End the Rohingya crisis now, Dr M tells international community

NEW YORK (Bernama): Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has sounded the clarion call for the international community to put the Rohingya crisis squarely on its radar with a view to resolving it quickly.
Speaking on his first engagement since arriving in New York for the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), he said it was clear that the Myanmar government was unwilling to take any action to resolve the crisis.

Read more at…/end-the-rohingya-crisis-now-sa…