Rohingya Update: 15th - 21st February, 2013
Today, our source in Arakan has detailed the constant persecution the Rohingya face from the authorities. In North Maungdaw around the Nga Ku Ya village, the police and NaSaKa continue to loot, rape and torture the Rohingya. Both the police and NaSaka have destroyed the village exclaiming: “This is not your land and country, go away where you can. At first Maundaw Kalla ywar (another Rohingya village) was destroyed and now it is your turn!".
Our source had explained that it is the NaSaKa who had began the brutal force against the Rohingya and together, the NaSaKa and the police have already arrested 150 men and over 100 women in the area. Furthermore in the Naku Ya village, the NaSaKa have extorted money from 100 people – an ongoing problem created under false pretenses exploiting every last penny from the Rohingya, making survival harder to achieve with each day they face.
In other news, the Deputy Immigration and Population Minister of Burma, Kyaw Kyaw Win has denied the existence of the Rohingya during a parliamentary session which took place yesterday (20th February). During this, Win had expressed his feeling towards this matter twice more while he was answering questions of other Arakan representative MP’s (Maung Nyo of Sittwe and Daw Khin Saw Wai of Yathedaung who had expressed their own anti- Rohingya views). This represents the type of prejudice and influential opinion which is shared amongst the parliamentary members of Burma, under the rule of Thein Sein, who is now deemed to represent a reformed democratic Burma.
The Rohingya continually try to escape the terror in Arakan, risking their lives on endless voyages to seek refuge in other countries. On Saturday (February 16th), 31 Rohingya men and 1 boy were rescued by the Sri Lankan army on the country’s east coast - this is the second batch of refugees to end up on the shores; the first batch was rescued earlier this month. It has been reported that around 98 men died whilst on board and their bodies were pushed off after being at sea for two months. It was said that the boats were headed towards Australia or Malaysia to seek asylum; there were other boats heading towards that direction but have been lost at sea. Sri Lankan police have informed the Myanmar embassy, who are of course refusing to accept that the refugees belong to Myanmar.
Bangladesh continue to push back
Yesterday (February 20th) in Bangladesh, Cox Bazaar, 57 Rohingya were forcibly pushed back to Arakan. They were arrested at different points in the areas of Ukeya and Teknaf. The Bangladesh Border Guards had arrested a total of 28 men, women and children on Friday and Saturday caught crossing the border into Bangladesh from Arakan on foot. A further 26 were arrested at Whykong check -post on Friday and then another three were arrested at the Whykong border point on Saturday. The 57 refugees had been rounded up and reluctantly sent back to their death ridden homeland.
Nobel Peace Prize winners attest to recognition of Rohingya
On a brighter note, the recognition of the Rohingya as people of Burma has been expressed by Jose Ramos-Horta and Muhammed Yunus. The respected Nobel Peace Prize winners have expressed their concerns over the lack of recognition the Rohingya receive from the Burmese government. Ramos- Horta and Yunus believe the government are wrong in not realising the facts of the existence of the Muslim minority in Arakan dating back to the 8th century. They further went on to criticize the 1982 citizenship law which denies the Rohingya as citizens and reinforced the need to amend these laws and also to ensure the protection of the Rohingya. Their comments speak volumes, especially when compared to their still silent Nobel Peace Prize counterpart Aung San Suu Kyi.