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Where Now For The Rohingya?

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US President Barack Obama announced to the world on Thursday morning that the US would finally ease the last of their economic sanctions against Burma that had been in place since the unrest from ethnic clashes in 1988. This was followed swiftly with a meeting between Burma's premiere, President Thein Sein and the head of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Antonio Guterres. As detailed of the meeting emerged late on Thursday afternoon it appeared that President Thein Sein had offered two 'solutions' to the UN - that either the Rohingya be deported to 'third-countries' who are willing to host them, or that Burma would simply hand over the Rohingya to UNHCR jurisdiction in Arakan - regardless, Sein expressed emphatically that "it is impossible to accept these Rohingyas who are not our nationals". Further to this, on Friday, Secretary of State for the US, Hillary Clinton met with President Thein Sein to congratulate him on his efforts for progressing the transformation of Burma from military-led to a democracy. And amidst such high level communication from arguably the US Number 1 and 2, no mention of the unfolding story of the systematic abuse of Rohingya human rights.

A Stateless Silenced Injustice: The Rohingya

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They are branded as one of the most persecuted communities in the world by the UN and referred to as the Palestine of Asia, yet nobody knows their name.

The Rohingya people have been subject to a programme of state sponsored ethnic cleansing by the Burmese government. Despite their existence in Burma dating as far back at the 8th century, Rohingyas are condemned as ‘non-citizens’ and ‘illegal immigrants.’ Targeted as a result of their religion and race, the Rohingya suffer oppressive levels of discrimination in face of the Rakhine Buddhist majority. Land confiscation, forced labour and denial of very basic human rights including education, marriage and healthcare are characteristic of everyday reality for the Rohingya people.

Concentration Camps and Systematic Rape - Rohingya Under Persecution

A joint group of Police, Lun-Htin (Security Forces), Sa-Ra-Pha (State Affairs Security) and local Rakhine thugs raided Maung Ni Village of Maung Daw, Arakan, Burma this morning during dawn raids whilst many were still sleeping. Arriving to the Rohingya majority village armed with weapons, almost every man from the village was rounded up and hurled onto four large trucks. Many resisted, unwilling to leave behind their wives and children and as such received heavy beatings by the local thugs and armed militia. A local man said ‘blood was dripping like rain all along the way from the trucks on which Rohingya men were taken away.’ The men have been taken to an unknown location and this is not the first such occasion of reports of men being taken away to concentration camps. According to the people in Arakan, the authorities have plans to do more such barbaric killings in other villages too.

Championing Rohingya Human Rights at the House of Lords

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Restless Beings were honoured to be invited to a briefing at the British Parliament, the topic being ‘’Stateless, Marginalized & Persecuted, The Rohingya People of Burma’’.

The aim of the briefing was to raise awareness of the human rights abuses of the Rohingyas and to set forth a dialogue of how to campaign to make a difference to the situation.

The briefing was centred around an esteemed panel consisting of Rt. Hon The Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead, BROUK president Tun Khin, Chris Lewa- the Co-ordinator for the Arakan Project and Benedict Rogers from Christian Solidarity Worldwide. Amongst the audience were other members of parliament, including Rt. Hon The Baroness Uddin and various representatives of different charities including Human Rights Watch, Refugees International and HART.

Bangladeshi views on the Rohingya refugees

 

The UN claims that around 90,000 Rohingyas have been displaced in the last few weeks due to the violence in the Rakhine state of Burma. However, with their own staff and other international NGO staff being pulled out of the country due to the horrific levels of violence, they are unable to asecrtain the real extent of the violence. 
 
Amidst the desperation, the...

Rohingya - The Forgotten Refugees.

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Since the clash between the Rakhines and the Rohingyas surfaced 3 weeks ago, it has shown no signs of improvement let alone ending; the violence ferociously continues as its estimated over 6000 Rohingya people have died with cases of deaths every day of both Rakhine and Rohingya, 12,000 displaced and an immeasurable amount of homes still continue to be burned down (though according to the Rohingya Blogger, it has stopped in the Sittwe and Maungdaw township). The Nasaka, the Bumese Border Force, are left to their own devices under the rubric of National security, they have had a long run in their part in making the lives of the Rohingya a living hell. However, their crimes have taken a new height since these clashes began, aiming to systematically rid the Rohingya and make them leave Arakan, a plan which had succeeded in 1992 when a similar incident resulted in the mass exodus of the Rohingya.

Protest in London Exposes Plight of the Rohingyas

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Over sixty protestors united in response to the horrific abuse of human rights against the Rohingyas outside the Embassy of Mayanmar on Wednesday, 13 June.

Both in English and Burmese, protestors chanted ‘Free Free Rohingya’ and ‘Peaceful coexistence in Arakan!’ amidst speeches made by members and supporters.  The Rohingya community and their supporters from across the UK united at the protest against the persecution of Rohingya in Mayanmar also known as Burma.

The Ethnic Clash Between Rakhines And The Rohingyas

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The mainstream media call it a sectarian clash, between Buddhists and Muslims but the trouble is significantly more deep rooted. The escalated clash was a result of an ongoing struggle between the Rakhines (Arakanese Buddhists) and the Rohingyas. The clash as the mainstream media would say started with the murder of a Buddhist woman last month which led to the bus attack by the Rakhines (on the 3rd June) in the western part of the Arakan state which carried 9 Rohingyas. From this, the clash escalated as hundreds of homes were burnt and hundreds of people died in the process, creating uproar especially in the Sittwe, Ramree, Maung Daw and Buthidaung Townships.

Rohingya In Depth - Interview with Maung Tun Khin

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From face value, Tun Khin is indistinguishable in our multicultural society, but he is one of the few Rohingyans who settled in the U.K after experiencing the persecution of hardship imposed on his people first hand in the Arakan state in Burma. Though he has only been living here for a few years, he has wasted no time is trying to voice the injustices of the Rohingyas in hopes that change can happen. Tun Khin is the president of the Burmese Rohingyan Organisation UK (BROUK), who with other Rohingyan people have been working relentlessly in raising awareness of the daily injustices the Rohingyans continually face in Burma and for the scattered rohingya refugees in places such as Maylasia, Thailand and especially Bangladesh. I sat down with Tun Khin and asked about his experiences of injustice as a Rohingyan but also what progress has been made in spreading the message of the Rohingyan people.  

The Rohingya Cultural Gathering

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Earlier this week, the Burma Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK) held a cultural interchange gathering at the Burma Campaign Office in Old Street, London. Every month the Burma Campaign Office holds these gatherings for all the ethnic groups of Burma to come together and learn about the different cultures. They believe that together the ethnic minorities of Burma are stronger, as Nant Bwa Bwa Phan (Burma Campaign Office volunteer) said at the start of the gathering "Burma is all of ours".