Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Formation of Buddhist-Muslim Fault Line Should Not Be Allowed

Amb. Ufuk Gokcen

Posted: 02/27/2013 1:31 pm

After visiting Myanmar last September, I was of the view that the problems and acts of violence in Rakhine state of Myanmar were the result of resentment and hatred toward the Rohingya minority instead of a religious confrontation between the Buddhist majority and Muslim minority. When I heard about the targeting of houses of Kaman Muslim villagers in the October 2012 violence and reported incitement of anti-Muslim sentiments in Karen State by Buddhist monks, I feared this was an indication of a potentially worrying trend. Then, the recent news that a Muslim religious school was attacked by a Buddhist mob of 300 in Yangon incited by a weekly journal quoting a monk's inflammatory remarks truly made me reconsider my initial conclusion.
This phenomenon does not only occur in Myanmar, recently in Sri Lanka, anti-Muslim sentiments were stirred at a demonstration organized by the radical Buddhist party Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist Strength Force). Demonstrators used slogans similar to the ones used by radical Rakhine Buddhists: "Muslim extremists are threatening the Buddhist race, monks are ready to fight." I was already intrigued by Michael K. Jerryson's informative book on the role of Thai Buddhist monks in a religio-political conflict in Southern Thailand, titled "Buddhist Fury: Religion and Violence in Southern Thailand." However, at the same time, I was encouraged by the open letter co-written and signed by some of the world's foremost Buddhist leaders calling for compassion and expressing their concern about the violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. While the challenge seems to be quite complex, I hope these Buddhist leaders will continue their messages of peace and compassion to the Buddhist communities in these countries.

The Rohingya of Burma are on the edge of disaster. Why won't the world act?

The news last week that around a hundred refugees from Burma had slowly starved to death after 25 days at sea may have shocked those unfamiliar with the current state of affairs in Asia’s newest ostensible democracy. The harrowing  reports more recently of mass rapes, involving torture, in the country’s western Rakhine state will likely have had a similar impact.

Friday, February 22, 2013

More Rohingya Land on Phuket: Police Search for Surin Boatpeople

Friday, February 22, 2013
PHUKET: Eight Rohingya boatpeople have been apprehended on Phuket and police are tonight looking for 14 more said to have landed with them at Surin beach early today.

One group of five men walked along Phuket's coast road from Surin, a five-star tourist destination, to Kamala, north of Patong, when they came off the boat at 4am.

At Kamala they asked a policeman for food and water and he took them to the local police station. Three more Rohingya were found by locals about 10am in Kamala and taken to the police station.

Kamala Muslims visited the Rohingya today, bringing new clothes, food and water. The men told the visitors that they had been on the water for 28 days sailing south from the troubled township of Sittwe.

97 Burmese asylum seekers die after 25 days stranded at sea

According to the 32 survivors, Thailand's navy intercepted their passage and forcibly removed their boat's engine


Burmese asylum seekers rescued by Sri Lanka's navy last week said they floated at sea for 25 days and 97 people died of starvation afterThailand's navy intercepted them and forcibly removed their boat's engine. The Thai navy has denied the allegation.
Thirty-two men and a boy now held at an immigration detention centre near Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, were rescued last Saturday when their dilapidated wooden vessel began sinking while making a perilous journey to Malaysia.
All are Rohingya Muslims who face heavy discrimination in Burma, and say they do not want to return there.

UNHCR calls for urgent action to prevent Rohingya boat tragedies

Briefing Notes, 22 February 2013
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic  to whom quoted text may be attributed  at the press briefing, on 22 February 2013, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
UNHCR is concerned about a rising numbers of deaths in the Indian Ocean involving people fleeing their countries for safety and better lives elsewhere. This includes many Rohingya from Myanmar.
Already in 2013, several thousand people are believed to have boarded smuggler's boats in the Bay of Bengal, among them Rohingya from Rakhine state or from Bangladesh's refugee camps and makeshift sites. Most are men, but there are also increasing reports of women and children on these often-rickety boats making the journey southwards. We estimate that of the 13,000 people who left on smugglers' boats in 2012, close to 500 died at sea when their boats broke down or capsized. While UNHCR is still gathering data from 2012 on deaths at sea, it is clear that the Indian Ocean has become for people fleeing their countries one of the deadliest stretches of water in the world.

MP hits back at official denial of Rohingya

Shwe Maung represents Buthidaung constituency in northern Arakan state. (DVB)
A member of parliament has fired back at claims that Rohingya Muslims do not exist in Burma, after a senior government minister allegedly accused the group of fabricating its history in a parliamentary discussion on Wednesday.
It follows media reports that the Deputy Immigration Minister, Kyaw Kyaw Win, on Wednesday formally denied the existence of a Rohingya race in Burma, referring to a stateless Muslim minority isolated near the Bangladeshi border.
But Shwe Maung, who is a native Rohingya, slammed the allegations, quoted in the English-language version of Burma’s state media outlet the New Light of Myanmar, as historically and factually inaccurate.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Carr rules out Aust asylum for Rohingya

  • AAP
  • February 22, 2013 3:47pm

AUSTRALIA will boost aid by $2.5 million to Myanmar's (Burma's) displaced ethnic communities, but has ruled out an "open door" policy to ethnic Muslim Rohingya seeking asylum in Australia after fleeing sectarian violence.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr, after meeting Thai counterpart Surapong Tovichakchaikul, said Australia ruled out allowing the Rohingya to be part of its resettlement policy after advice by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
"We don't want to give the impression that for Rohingya, (those) desperate people (who) come to Thailand, they have a route to Australia because the settlement, the settlement of this displacement lies in changing policies to (give) effect to changed policies within Rakhine province," Senator Carr told reporters in Bangkok.

Australia to increase Burma's humanitarian aid

Updated 21 February 2013, 23:52 AEST
Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has announced an increase in humanitarian assistance to Burma's Rakhine state, where scores of people have been killed in communal violence.
Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has announced an increase in humanitarian assistance to Burma's Rakhine state, where scores of people have been killed in communal violence.
Minister Carr has announced an extra $2.5 million in funding for sanitation and shelter ahead of the coming wet season.

Eleven more Rohingya refugees arrested

GEORGE TOWN, Feb 19 – 
The police today hauled up 11 more Rohingya refugees at the Teluk Bahang National Park here, bringing the total to 113 since they entered the state illegally two days ago.
They were among 140 Rohingya refugees, who allegedly landed at the Teluk Kampi Beach at Teluk Bahang National Park and the Pantai Acheh Forest Reserve, Balik Pulau, under the cover of darkness.
South-western deputy police chief DSP Lai Fah Hin said the 11 refugees aged between three and 40, who were exhausted and hungry, were held at 1pm today.
“They will be handed over to the Immigration Department,” he said when contacted.
Meanwhile, the Teluk Bahang National Park has been closed until the remaining 27 refugees are found, he added.
The police nabbed 102 of the refugees soon after they landed at the beaches and headed for the forests.
They were said to have arrived in a boat. – Bernama

Pushed from Burma, Stateless Rohingya Flee by Boat

A large chunk of Abdul Rahman’s home is gone, and so is his oldest son, Shakur. The ethnic Rohingya farmer tore down nearly half his home for scrap needed to secure his son’s passage on a boat bound for Malaysia. In the wake of bloody sectarian violence last year that left hundreds dead and forced tens of thousands of minority Muslim Rohingya into camps outside the coastal city of Sittwe, Rahman, 52, insists his people are being “strangled” by a Burmese government that does not want them. While foreign donors have supplied basic food rations, checkpoints manned by armed guards prevent the displaced from returning to the paddies and markets their livelihoods depend on. “Even animals can move more freely,” says Rahman.

57 Rohingya pushed back to Burma

Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh: Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) pushed backed 57 Rohingya to Burma yesterday, said a local elder from border area- Ukiya.

“They were arrested from different border points of Ukhiya-Teknaf area in Cox’s Bazar district on Saturday morning and Friday evening by BGB after being conducted operation.”
A BGB team of Gumdum and Taungbro out-post conducted a drive in border area and arrested 18 Rohingyas on Friday evening and arrested 10 Rohingyas on Saturday along with children, male and female who came to Bangladesh crossing the border on foot, according to Lt. Col. Md. Khalekuzzaman PSC from BGB Battalion 17 in Cox’s Bazar
According to BGB sources, the BGB members of Whykong arrested 26 Rohingyas at Whykong check -post by checking different vehicles in Teknaf-Cox’s Bazar highway on Friday evening and three were arrested on Saturday noon from Whykong border point.

Rohingya: Testing Democracy in Myanmar

José Ramos-Horta
Muhammad Yunus

One of the fundamental challenges of a democracy is how to ensure the voice of the majority does not trample the essential rights of the minority. In the founding of the United States this was addressed by the Bill of Rights, some form of which is integrated into most democracies today.

Even as we applaud and rejoice in the new freedoms enjoyed by the Myanmar people, the country's newly elected government must face this challenge as they evolve from autocratic rule into a democratic state. The tragedy of the Rohingya people, continuing to unfold in Rakhine State in the country's western corner, on the border of Bangladesh, will be its proving ground.

Deputy minister denies existence of Rohingya during parliamentary session

Members of parliament attend the opening of the Lower House session in Naypyidaw on 4 July 2012. (Reuters)
Burma’s Deputy Immigration and Population Minister Kyaw Kyaw Win denied the existence of the Rohingya ethnic group in Burma during a parliamentary session on Tuesday.
According to a back page report in today’s The New Light of Myanmar, Kyaw Kyaw Win made the statement twice in response to questions from MPs Maung Nyo of Sittwe and Daw Khin Saw Wai of Yathedaung, who also used the opportunity to unleash their own anti-Rohingya comments in front of the lower house.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

NaSaKa Raped Rohingya Girls including Minors in Maungdaw

On 12:30 am of 19th February,  a mass rape of Rohingya innocent girls including minors was committed by 19  Burmese Border Security Force(NaSaKa) in Du-Den  village tract in Maungdaw north.  The NaSaKas came at the pretext of searching for the murderers of a Rakhine man from near by Myo Theik Village tract, who was murdered by unknown criminals wearing uniform of NaSaKas, thought to be members of Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) last week.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Rohingya is fined 650,000 Kyats for No Reason

On the night of 1st February at arounf 9pm, Bogyi Wei Pyo Thet, a three star ranking head officer of NaSaKa regional sub camp-24 stationed in Kyien Chaung under the village tract of Bali Bazar, guarded by Aung Than Kyaw, a general staff and other NaSaKa personnel, raided on the home of Aby Tayub s/o Yunos(34 yrs) hailed from Kyien Chaung (Bali Bazar), under the pretext of criminal investigation while they really wanted to extort money on any fabricated or alleged charge. Though they tried to enter the home and arrested Abu Tayub, they failed and return empty handed. However, he on the following day, had to pay them 650,000 Kyats in order to escape from any further undesired move by the authority.

Two Rohingya arrested in Northern Maungdaw

On 2nd February at 9pm, Lieutenant commander of NaSaKa region-5 Nakura, northern Maungdaw, accompanied by ten fellow NaSaKa personnels raided two Rohingya's home in Aukpuma (Kansae Bil)  and arrested ZaKariya s/o Noor Ahmed (52yrs) and his nephew Md Osman s/o Sayad-ul Amin (21yrs) under no commitment of criminal act.
They soon after raiding, had looked for Md Rafiq s/o Abolu hailed from Zee Pyin Chaung (Jeemaung Khali) under village tract of Lett Ya, who used to stay in his father-in-law Zakaria's home. However as he was not found coincidentally, they began destructively investigating everything in the home to find if there was any unlawful commitment. When this didn't help them penalize the two homes, they then turned blind eyes to hols Zakariya on behalf of son-in-law. And Osman was held simply because they found an oversea's mobile number on his pocket. They victims are still under detention in the NaSaKa custody in Ngakura.

Friday, February 1, 2013


Yesterday at around 4pm local time, Maulana Hashim, director of KumirKhali Jamiah Madrasa  and Maulana Dayed Alam son of Amir Hamza were handed over to NaSaKa HeadQuarter stationed at Kyee Kan Pyin locally known as Hawar Bil by Bomo Aung Myo Zaw Tey, a lieutenant commander of regional NaSaKa camp no-4 KumirKhali (Lett Ya) deliberately accusing them that they had organized the villagers not to support the operation (so-called unjust bangalisation operation). The authority also managed their puppets to depose evidences against them.