26 APRIL 2015
26th ASEAN SUMMIT KUALA LUMPUR CONVENTION CENTRE
Dear Chief Editors,
Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM) welcomes the ASEAN delegates for the 26th ASEAN SUMMIT 2015 held in Kuala Lumpur. MERHROM thank the Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak and the Foreign Minister, Datuk Seri Anifah Aman for taking up Rohingya’s plight during the ASEAN SUMMIT 2015. Ethnic Rohingya faced prosecutions from Myanmar government since 1942, before the Independent of Myanmar. Ethnic Rohingya were made Stateless in our own homeland by the Myanmar government. We faced gross human rights violations inside Myanmar for over 60 years. The United Nations announced that the Rohingya is the most prosecuted ethnic in the world. Rohingya issue is no longer an internal problem of Myanmar but it has become the issue in ASEAN region as well as International issue.
The International Human Rights Organizations as well as Experts on Rohingya’s plight categorized Rohingya situation in Myanmar as Slow Burning Genocide as we faced systematic prosecutions from the Myanmar government for a very long period. Due to systematic prosecutions, estimated 2 millions of Rohingya forced to flee Myanmar and thousand of us died either in Myanmar, in the ocean or in transit countries. In 1978 Myanmar government launched Nagamin Operation on ethnic Rohingya. Estimated 300, 000 Rohingya forced to flee Arakan State to Bangladesh and 40,000 Rohingya died.
The gross human rights violations towards ethnic Rohingya continues until now in Arakan State and across Myanmar. As a result Rohingya continuously fled the countries and seek refuge mainly to Malaysia. There is no change for the Rohingya situation despite of many visits from the Human Rights Special Rapportuers, United Nations Envoys, World Leaders and International Organizations.
The Myanmar government aim to eliminate ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar. The government has confiscated Rohingya’s Nationality Card and the Family List. The government then issued a White Card to the ethnic Rohingya. The Rohingya refused to accept the White Card as it is issued for the temporary resident. In the White Card the Rohingya identity has been change to Bengali. Those who refused to accept has been arrested, beaten, tortured and killed. The Rohingya have to accept the White Card for the sake of their security.
Recently the Myanmar government confiscates the White Card and they were given another temporary paper with immigration stamp. We do not know what is the plan of the government, and what will come next for us.
The government also created 2 child policy for Rohingya family in order to reduce the population of Rohingya. This is another form of Genocide.
Rohingyas are dying day by day not only by the systematic prosecution by the Myanmar government but also with different ways and policies put in place to eliminate Rohingya from Myanmar.
Rohingya in Malaysia.
Malaysia is not party to the 1951 Refugee Convention or the Refugee Status Protocol 1967. However Malaysia becomes a transit country for Rohingyas to seek refuge as there is an office of United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kuala Lumpur. The Malaysian government has allowed the refugees to stay temporarily until the UNHCR process our Resettlement to a third country. Though our status in Malaysia is temporary but the fact is we are already exist in Malaysia for the past three decades.
Malaysia is not only a transit country for Rohingya but also other ethnics from Myanmar as well as from other countries. Malaysia became a transit country for 150,460 refugees and asylum seekers who registered with UNHCR in Kuala Lumpur as of November 2014. This number will grow bigger and bigger if there is no step taken to stop the Myanmar government from its systematic prosecutions towards ethnic Rohingya.
Our Expectations from the 26th ASEAN SUMMIT 2015.
The root cause of the problem is the systematic prosecution towards ethnic Rohingya by the Myanmar government. The solution to the Myanmar refugees and asylum seekers who scattered in the ASEAN countries is to INTERVENE directly with the Myanmar government. The Myanmar government must stop producing a large number of refugees and asylum seekers over the years for its neighboring countries.
Even though the ASEAN countries adhere to the non interference policy among its member state, the ASEAN Leaders also must recognized that now we are ONE COMMUNITY, ASEAN COMMUNITY. Therefore the ASEAN member’s state must actively engage with the Myanmar government to stop the gross human rights violations towards its ethnic groups.
This year Malaysia is the Chairman of the ASEAN. We hope Malaysia will play an important role to engage with the Myanmar government to resolve refugee issues. Malaysia is in right position to engage with Myanmar government as Malaysia is a home to 139,200 Myanmar refugees and asylum seekers.
We believe only the ASEAN can resolve our issues as refugees from Myanmar have become major issue within ASEAN especially Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.
While the ASEAN leaders engage with the Myanmar government to resolve the issues of refugees and asylum seekers, we hope the ASEAN member states will continue to protect refugees and asylums seekers in the spirit of ASEAN COMMUNITY.
Human lives must be given the first priority before anything else if we call ourselves as a develop nations. We must contribute in whatever way to save Rohingya from the continuous Genocide. ASEAN cannot reach its goals until and unless Rohingya’s plight is resolved.
Zafar Ahmad Bin Abdul Ghani
Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM)
Tel No: +6016-6827287