‘The Rohingya Alan Kurdi’: Will the world take notice now?

‘The Rohingya Alan Kurdi’: Will the world take notice now?

Updated 1333 GMT (2133 HKT) January 4, 2017

His name is Mohammed Shohayet, a 16-month-old Rohingya refugee whose family fled their home for Bangladesh to escape the violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, only to drown during the journey along with his mother, uncle and three-year-old brother.
“When I see the picture, I feel like I would rather die,” Mohammed’s father, Zafor Alam, told CNN. “There is no point in me living in this world.”
The image has parallels with that of the young Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi, who was found dead on a Turkish beach in September 2015, after trying to flee the civil war at home.
The conflicts the two boys left behind are different, but the desperation of their families to escape is all too familiar.
Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingyas are considered one of the world’s most persecuted minorities. The Myanmar government views them as Bengali immigrants, despite the fact that they’ve lived for generations in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.
“In our village, helicopters fired guns at us, and the Myanmar soldiers also opened fire on us,” said Alam. “We couldn’t stay in our house. We fled and went into hiding in the jungle.”
“My grandfather and grandmother were burnt to death,” he added. “Our whole village was burnt by the military. Nothing left.”
Zafor Alam inside the Leda camp, Teknaf, Bangladesh.

‘The military was searching for Rohingyas’

Zafor Alam said they ran from village to village trying to escape the violence.
Who are the Rohingya?
  • The Rohingya are a stateless Muslim minority in Myanmar’s Rakhine state thought to number about one million people
  • Myanmar does not recognize them as citizens or one of the 135 recognized ethnic groups living in the country
  • Much of this is rooted in their heritage in East Bengal, now called Bangladesh
  • Though many Rohingya have only known life in Myanmar, they are widely viewed as intruders from across the border
  • According to Human Rights Watch, laws discriminate against the Rohingya, infringing on their freedom of movement, education, and employment
  • They are denied land and property rights and ownership, and land on which they live can be taken away at any given time
“I walked for six days. I couldn’t eat rice for four days. I could not sleep at all for six days,” he said. “We constantly changed our location as the military was searching for Rohingyas.”
Alam became separated from his family during the journey and made it to the Naf River which runs between Myanmar and Bangladesh. He says he began swimming and was picked up by Bangladeshi fishermen who took him across the border.
Then, he says he started the process to get his family across to safety.
“I contacted a boatman and asked him to help my wife and sons so that they could cross the river. They were waiting on the other side,” Alam said.
“I called (my family) on December 4. They were very desperate to leave Myanmar,” Alam said. “They were the last words I had with my family. When I was talking to my wife over phone, I could hear my youngest son calling ‘Abba-Abba’ (father-father).”
Just a few hours after that phone call, Alam said his family tried to make their escape.
“When the Myanmar police got a sense that people were preparing to cross the river, they opened fire,” Alam said. “Hurriedly, the boatman took all people on board to escape the firing. The boat became overloaded. Then it sank.”
A day later, on December 5, he learned what happened.
“Someone phoned me and said my son’s dead body was found,” Alam said. “He took a photo of my son by mobile phone and sent it to me. I was speechless.”
“It’s very difficult for me to talk about my son. He was very fond of his father,” he added. “My son was very affectionate. In our village, everyone used to love him.”
Rohingya men inside the Rohingya camp, Teknaf, Bangladesh.

‘Only the river knows’

Alam’s story of his family being torn apart trying to escape is one familiar to many Rohingya families who have made it across the border to Bangladesh. The International Organization for Migration says some 34,000 people have crossed the border in recent weeks and months.
“Only the river knows how many dead bodies of Rohingyas are floating there,” Alam said.
Now at the Leda refugee camp in Teknaf, southern Bangladesh, Alam is struggling to come to terms with what happened.
“I have no one left. My two sons and my wife died. All are finished,” he said.
“We are also suffering here in Bangladesh. There is no house here to live in. There is no food. People who have been living in the camp for a long time, they have given us shelter.”
But at least, it’s a respite from the violence.
“We used to live in constant fear of losing our lives in Myanmar,” he said. “We don’t have any fear in Bangladesh.”
Zafor Alam's 18-year-old sister and 14-year-old brother are both with him in the camp in Bangladesh.

CNN is unable to independently verify Zafor Alam’s account, as access to northern Rakhine State is still heavily restricted.
In a written response to CNN, Aye Aye Soe, Myanmar government spokesperson, called the testimony “propaganda” and “false.”
She did confirm that Myanmar military helicopters fired on a Rohingya village on November 12, but said this was a rescue mission aimed at dispersing an “armed mob of suspected perpetrators and collaborating villagers” who ambushed Myanmar troops.
The Myanmar government has repeatedly denied claims of human rights abuses, saying they are only carrying out “clearance operations” against suspects involved in an attack on Myanmar border guards on October 9.
This week, the government made a rare announcement that it would investigate police brutality after a video emerged showing officers beating Rohingya villagers.
On Wednesday, Myanmar’s government published the results of its interim investigation into the recent violence. The report denied accusations of genocide and said the government was still investigating reports of rape, arson and illegal arrests of the villagers in Rakhine State.

‘Nothing has changed’

In September, the government set up the Rakhine Commission, led by Kofi Annan, to look into problems in the region.
Zafor Alam said that the commission is a smokescreen.
“The commission has been formed to deceive the whole world,” he said. “The military drives people out of the villages when the commission visits the area.”
“When the elections took place in Myanmar, I thought as Aung San Suu Kyi won, it would be beneficial for us,” Alam said. “But the dream and the reality is completely different. Since she assumed power, nothing has changed. We are still being persecuted.”
“Aung San Suu Kyi and the military want to eliminate Rohingyas from Rakhine State. She is denying the atrocities committed by the military,” he said.
Amnesty International has released a lengthy report which says the “systematic campaign of violence” against the Rohingya people “may amount to crimes against humanity.” Aye Aye Soe told CNN these claims are “unsubstantiated.”
Myanmar state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi held a meeting with foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Yangon this month to discuss the situation.
Aung San Suu Kyi told the ministers that the government is committed to resolving the issues in Rakhine State, but said that “time and space are critical for the efforts to bear fruit,” according to state newspaper The Global New Light of Myanmar.
But Zafor Alam said allowing the government more “time and space” will only end in more bloodshed.
“I want to let the whole world know,” he said. “The Myanmar government should not be given any more time.
If you take time to take action, they will kill all Rohingyas.”
Source by; http://edition.cnn.com/
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By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized

Myanmar Holds Officers After Video Purports to Show Police Beating Rohingya

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized

How Does the Noble Laureate Turn to Monster?

How Does the Noble Laureate Turn to Monster?

Min Aung Hlaing (L) and Aung San Suu Kyi (R) shake hands after their meeting at the commander in chief’s office in Naypyidaw, Dec. 2, 2015. (Photo: AFP)
Ro Mayyu Ali
RB Opinion
January 3, 2017
Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1991’s Noble Peace Laureate, has clicked open the folder of the military junta’s genocidal plan against the Rohingya minority in her country, Myanmar. Now, the password is in her hands and she has been designing its contents in the most ugly and cowardly way she could. Myanmar, one of the least-developed countries in South-east Asia is known to most of the people in western world as the country where U Thant (from 1961 to 1971), the third Secretary-General of the United Nations and Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1991’s Noble Peace Laureate were born. To others they know it as the richest nation in natural-resources in the ASEAN region, where there were elongated Military Junta’s administration for decades.
However, under the country’s paranoiac Military Junta administration, Suu Kyi was detained for 15-years of house-arrest due to her democracy movement in Myanmar. In 2010, she was released and has toured many political and organizational havens in the world. In short, she is the only person from Myanmar who has been highlighted to the world in regards to the paranoiac practices of her country’s Junta administration. At the same time, she has drawn a package of motivated attention from the western world on her country as well as demonstrated some good courage and strength in order to reach her goal of Civilian Democracy in Myanmar. “Please use your liberty for ours” hailed Suu Kyi, during her house-arrest detention.
Nevertheless, being a de facto icon for Human Rights and Democracy in Myanmar, she has never highlighted her country’s most persecuted Rohingya minority. Moreover, she has most often behaved pathetically when she is asked about Rohingya people. In that regard, she has faced several types of worthy criticisms and denigrations even from her colleagues and the western world that have stood on her side for years. “Her stance against Rohingya crisis is cowardly stupid” assailed ——, one of her Noble Laureate colleagues.
Myanmar’s Rohingya minority is one of the most persecuted ethnic groups in this 21st century and has been for decades. For the last 40 years, the mass elimination and targeted violence against the Rohingya and other Muslims have been relentless. More than two dozen operational campaigns have been directed against Rohingya to ethnically cleanse them.
In the 2015 general election, Aung San Suu Kyi led the National League for Democracy to win a landslide victory. Now Myanmar is being ruled by what is considered the country’s first civilian democratic government. In this administration, Suu Kyi’s official position is State Counsellor. She plays as a role of State Head when she visits abroad. Previously, her NLD’s triumph kicked out the country’s long ruling Junta’s administration during 2010 general election in Myanmar.
On 9 of October, 2016, three BGP outposts in Maungdaw and Rathidaung townships were attacked by a militia group. Following the attack, Myanmar Army and Police Force have conducted a clearance operation in Maungdaw Township. Under this pretext, the Myanmar Army and Police have killed more than (450) Rohingya people, set fire to more than (2000) shelters, raped and gang raped (300) women and minor girls and arrested (700) people and exiled (50000) Rohingya to Bangladesh. It has taken place during the 8-months-old Suu Kyi-led civilian democratic administration in Myanmar. The chaos, insecurity and tension in Maungdaw are going from bad to worse.
Moreover, the scale of civil war is increasing like wild fire during this democratic administration, as well. This involves the world’s longest civil wars which are ongoing in Myanmar and consist of incredibly harsh occupation of ethnic peoples. “The situation is escalating, the Burma Army is deploying more and more troops,” said Lieut, KIA spokesperson. “Aid blockades have been used by military as a political tool since the conflict began, but in recent months, it’s worse,” says La Rip, director of the Kachin Development Group based in Laiza, Kachin State. Indeed, aid blockades and rape incidents against minorities are two of the main tools of the Myanmar Army when there is conflict. Sadly, air attacks have been used significantly by Myanmar Army, not only against Armed Groups and civilian areas in Kachin State but also against the unarmed Rohingya minority in Maungdaw.
In fact, both the Myanmar people and International Community have waited a long time for Suu Kyi to address the problems of minorities in her country. To the dismay of Rohingya, it is Suu Kyi who chooses herself to participate in those Military Junta’s genocidal campaigns against Rohingya. Yet, they have been suffering the worst of human and civil rights violations.
“The ongoing violence in Myanmar’s west is in danger of ‘getting out of hand’,” says Vijay Nambia, the UN secretary-general’s special advisor on Myanmar. The latest reprisals against Rohingya fits into a long pattern of Crimes against Humanity. And the more recent actions of Myanmar government in Northern Rakhine State reveal how they are turning their final gear to eliminate all of the Rohingya in the country. “Construction of (7) new Buddhist Villages in Maungdaw has been approved by Union Government in this year,” said U Ye Htut, Maungdaw District Commissioner to the government’s handpicked reporters during their recent visit in Maungdaw. Perhaps, it is Suu Kyi’s own doing in the place of addressing Rohingya problem when she is in power. Thus, we have no doubt about Suu Kyi’s cunning sense and that she understands very well about the principles and charters of the Geneva Conventions, the Universal Declaration for Human Rights and Association of Southeast Asia Nations and so well of Myanmar’s Citizenship Law and the rule of law. So, she’s calculatingly using some sly tactics during this latest campaign against Rohingya. At this time, it is carried out in the norm of international demagogy. What she has inspired from western world is now being immorally used against Rohingya. The orchestrated twists and propaganda are well used. Blockades of advocacy sources are strictly applied. Journalists and reporters are banned from going to monitor the scale of violence in Maungdaw. Rohingya houses continue being demolished. All Muslims who hold White Card (temporary ID card) will be trapped now to receive a NVC (National Verification Card) instead.
In addition, Rohingya are going to be damaged more than ever. Even if Suu Kyi is unable to be above the Defense Service she’s caught as the main mastermind of this latest pogrom against Rohingya. Since 29 of December, again, Aid Groups such as INGOs and Agencies were not allowed to go to Northern Maungdaw, as she invited ASEAN Foreign Ministers to represent the handling of the violence in Rakhine State. The four-hour-long gathering was seeking to have a result of humanitarian assistance approval. “Since 29 of December, we’re going to proceed to the Area Clearance Operation for (44) village tracts in Northern Maungdaw. It’s not good for security if they go to work there,” says U Ye Htut, Maungdaw District Commissioner. The flow of humanitarian assistance to northern Maungdaw has lasted just for one-full-week where it was allowed to resume again on 19 of December. For being the Noble Laureate, no more documentation is necessary for her to be regarded as a wicked. The honors she earned previously have lost their meaning.
“Rape is used in my country as a weapon against those who only want to live in peace and who only want to assert their basic human rights. Especially in the areas of ethnic nationalities, rape is rife. It is used as a weapon by armed forces to intimidate the ethnic nationalities and to divide our country,” told Suu Kyi to Nobel Women’s Initiative in 2011. But that defender of Human Rights exits no more. And the people’s hope for peace in Myanmar seems nothing more than day-dreaming. Now, she behaves like a monster. Today, she herself laughs out loud saying that accusations of rapes against Rohingya women were just “fabrication”. And now she technically adds fuel to Myanmar Military in order to commit more rape in her country. Nothing matters to her the way she is now.
It is this type of Suu Kyi’s ugly stupidity that has damaged the image of other Noble Peace Laureates. Her face with the world’s great honor is apparently inverted and wrong-side-up. “The military has been briefing her on every important issue. She knows everything,” said U Zaw Htay, a spokesman for Suu Kyi, about the military campaign. Of course, she is driving the car now. She manages where it goes and stops and how to handle and repair anything else.
“Her true colors are being shown based on how she thinks of Rakhine state, and those colors are very concerning,” said Matthew Smith, chief executive at Fortify Rights. No matter, whether it is ‘Genocide’ or ‘Crime against humanity’ against Rohingya in Myanmar, but everything is the open now. Indeed, there should be urgent action against such inhumane and immoral catastrophes on a particular group of people. The longer it takes to take action, the worse it will becoe. “She’s not only failing to prevent atrocities but she’s also denying atrocities are occurring.” Smith added.
What is going on against Rohingya is not well-recognized yet in a concrete judiciary step. But the race-hunting of the Myanmar government has subsequently turned to its final step. Myanmar achieved its independence on 4 of January, 1948. And now, it is being ruled by its first civilian democratic government. But still, there is no peace for people, no rights for minorities and no freedom for Non-Buddhist faiths.
Myanmar is a racist house with its racist hardline Buddhists. And now it is heading towards a more deep-rooted racial future. The situation continues on like wild fire.

– See more at: http://www.rohingyablogger.com/2017/01/how-does-noble-laureate-turn-to-monster.html#sthash.9hfd6oM4.dpuf

By Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia ( MERHROM) Posted in Uncategorized