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Rohingya Update: Fears of Further Rakhine Staged Violence & Terrorism

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It has now been two months since the initial communal violence erupted in Northern Arakan (Rakhine state). The Government has imposed a curfew to contain the violence but the order is used to further intimidate and harass the Muslim Rohingya community. The Rakhines are taking out full advantage of the curfew and the Rohingya have become victims of this order and are heavily punished under it. Contrastingly,  the Rakhines live very normal lives under the curfew, yet we have sources that they are antagonising the situation so as to prolong the curfew order so that the Rohingya become further crippled and controlled.

Update: Rohingya Villages Under Fire Once Again

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In the past 24 hours, reports have been pouring out from Arakan about fresh attacks on Rohingya villages. A number of sources have contacted us from on the ground and these reports can now, sadly, be confirmed.

Throughout June and early July, the Rohingya were under increased pressure and facing violence by Rakhine and Burmese authorities. Now after relative calm and following the visit of UN Special Rapporteur, violence once again rages through Rohingya villages. On Sunday, 5th August, Rakhine mobs attacked 3 Muslim villages in Kyauktaw town, at the upper reaches of the Kaladan River.

Post UN Special Rapporteur Arakan Visit: Arrests, Torture & Extortion Continue (03.08.12)

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The following is an update from our sources in Arakan, Burma.

UN special rapporteur Tomas Quintana visited Maungdaw on 1st of August. He met with some Maungdaw locals amidst other Government officials. The local Rohingya Muslims could not have a chance to explain their grievances but Quintana told them that he understood the sentiments hidden inside. He may have possibly talked to two UNHCR local employees in Alay Thangyaw sub-town,12 miles south of Maungdaw and they could have explained a lot of what has actually happened.

Voice the Rohingya of Burma Campaign

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Restless Beings is an international human rights organisation that has been championing the human rights of the Rohingya for the last couple of years. Recent weeks of violence and systematic attacks against the Rohingya have highlighted the decades of abuse and marginalisation they have faced by the Burmese state. Despite being described by the UN to be ‘one of the most persecuted communities in the world’, the majority know little of their struggle.

Rohingya Repressed for UN Visit - Aid being blocked and looted at Arakan ports (31.07.12)

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Our sources have updated us with information that Northern Arakan has been made into a concentration camp where Rohingya are kept and cut off from all the other regions. Upon hearing of the UN visit, preparations are being made to ensure that the Rohingya are seen to be free, but in fact the control over them is just increasing, with further reports of police and state authority attacks against them. In areas where there are a great number of military personnel, the Rohingyas are given a little more freedom to move freely and are able to purchase some food goods, however at an extortionate price which of course is unaffordable.

Demo for Rohingya Human Rights at London Olympics 2012

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As apartheid gathered steam in the late 1960’s, South Africa was expelled from the International Olympic Committee and did not appear at another Olympic Games for more than three decades. The international Sporting boycott of South Africa is often quoted as one of the key drivers behind South Africa ending its abhorrent racial policies.

Fast forward 40 years, July 28, 2012 the day after a spectacular opening ceremony and with the world’s eyes on London, Restless Beings held a peaceful, vibrant demo outside London’s Excel centre where several Burmese athletes were competing. The aim was simple, to raise awareness for the discrimination, barbaric human rights abuses and state sponsored ethnic cleansing being inflicted upon the Rohingya communities by the Burmese government.

Latest news from within Arakan, Burma (26.07.12)

Meetings were held in Maungdaw and Buthidaung central monasteries where Buddhist monks and Rakhine civil society members attended to discuss how to the Muslims from getting daily food supplies, mainly rice. It was agreed that all food supply lines for the Rohingya Muslims should be cut. To achieve such objectives, Buddhist monks are playing a leading role to block the flow of rice and other food items to the Rohingya community.

VIDEO: Burma's Rohingya - The Human Story

This film has been created by Restless Beings using its extensive network of sources on the ground in Myanmar, Bangladesh and Malaysia and was filmed between 16th-22nd July 2012.

Until now, the mainstream media has failed to report on this issue from inside Myanmar as there are security concerns of filming there.  Restless Beings has put together this film to demonstrate the type of harsh treatment the Rohingya are subjected to in Arakan state of Burma.  The second objective of the film is to show the international media community that it is possible to obtain footage and report fairly without bias.

Rohingya - The Human Story

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Amidst the recent violence in Arakan in Burma, Restless Beings called a Press Conference to bring to light the human stories behind the relatively unheard and unseen Rohingya community.

The evening started with an introduction from the Restless Beings Co Founding Directors- Mabrur Ahmed and Rahima Begum about the Stateless Rohingya project which was launched in 2010 and the recent campaign to raise awareness in this state of emergency since last month. 

The Rohingya Unrest Continues

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In the last week, though the arson attacks have stopped, the communal and state sponsored violence very much continues; our sources tell us how thousands of Rohingyas are being arrested in the Maungdaw township and being taken to the Buthidaung Jail where they suffer continuous tortures - 40 prisoners were taken out from the cells to be beaten severly morning and evening time. It was also learnt that in this over populated jail the Rohingya receive one meal a day in comparison to their Rakhine ‘jailmates’ who receive 2 meals a day. The Rohingya have little or no clothing, they are having to rip up Longhi’s (male south asian skirt) to share amongst each other, in order to cover themselves. The Rakhine officials keep displaced Muslims in jail, not allowing them to return home. As the death toll is continually on the rise, the bodies are dumped without handing over them to relatives, which means that the number of those dead are uncertain, speculative estimations are having to be made based on those missing.