Rohingya Muslims and western human rights protectors’ cry

Geneva, 12 June-2014(AFP/Arabnews): The thousands of Rohingya Muslims still flooding out of Myanmar’s Rakhine state two years after violence erupted there are facing increasing abuse and exploitation, the UN refugee agency warned Tuesday. Two waves of deadly communal violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine in 2012 left some 200 people dead and around 140,000 displaced, mainly Rohingya.

Rohingya Muslims and western human rights protectors’ cry

A Rohingya Muslim woman cooks a meal in Zedipyin village at Maungdaw, in the northern Rakhine state, in this June 6, 2014 photo. (Reuters)

“Two years after inter-communal violence erupted in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, thousands of people are still leaving by boat from the Bay of Bengal,” UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told reporters in Geneva.

“Reports of abuse and exploitation as people seek safety and stability elsewhere are meanwhile increasing,” he said. He said the desperate refugees faced abuse and exploitation from smugglers and traffickers en route, but also once they reached countries like Thailand and Malaysia.

The UNHCR estimates that more than 86,000 people have left the area by boat from the Bay of Bengal since June 2012, including 15,000 between January and April this year alone.
“People who have made it to Thailand, Malaysia or Indonesia have told UNHCR staff about overcrowded boats that sometimes lost their way or developed engine problems,” Edwards said.

Boats sometimes ran out of food and water, and people who died along the way were said to have been thrown overboard, he said.
Some of those who reached Thailand told the UNHCR they had been taken to overcrowded “smugglers’ camps” in the jungles or hills near the Thailand-Malaysia border, where they were kept for months — “sometimes in cages” — until their families could pay for their release, Edwards said.

“They recount daily beatings and that some people died,” he said, adding that “they spent their days sitting in confined spaces and nights sleeping upright or in foetal position due to the lack of space.”

The stateless Rohingya are considered by the UN to be one of the world’s most persecuted minorities. Many of the displaced have gone without access to health care and other help after attacks on international humanitarian groups by Buddhist extremists earlier this year.

Another reports came a few months ago says like bellow-

According to Amnesty International, Muslim Rohingyas have suffered human rights abuses for decades.Buddhist extremists want to eliminate Muslims from Myanmar and create a pure Buddhist state. Their policy of ethnic cleansing is known as “Burmanization”

Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar are:
1. not recognized officially as citizens of the state;
2. restricted to having two children;
3. not allowed to own property or land;
4. not allowed to travel without official permission;
4. subjected to forced eviction and house destruction;
5. forced as labourers on roads and military camps; &
6. suffer from constant anti-Muslim riots.

In 1978 a Burmese military operation targeted Muslim Rohingya civilians, resulting in widespread killings, rape and destruction of mosques and further religious persecution. 1991-92 Rohingyas suffered forced labour, as well as instant executions, torture, and rape.


2012 Thousands of Rohingya Muslims have been killed since June. entire villages have been razed to the ground resulting in tens of thousands of refugees.

Human Rights Watch witnessed police and troops allowing Buddhist mobs to beat Muslims to death. Some Rohingyas who tried to flee or put out fires at their homes were shot at by the army.

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  1. Myanmar sees the Rohingya as foreigners from neighboring Bangladesh, but the group says they have been living in Myanmar for generations. Left out from the country’s citizenship act, Rohingya Muslims are denied most rights including freedom of movement, living in deteriorating conditions since violent riots in 2012 in Rakhine state between Buddhists and Muslims pushed them out of their homes.

    Their lives have become increasingly desperate since offices of international aid agencies were attacked in Rakhine state in late March, leaving these agencies unable to conduct programs there.

    Analysts say the issue is turning more regional in nature, since violence and conditions in these camps have forced many Rohingya to seek refuge in neighboring countries, escaping in rickety fishing boats to Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and even as far as Australia, causing a wider refugee crisis for this stateless population.
    Both Malaysia and Indonesia have in previous statements criticized Myanmar over violence against Muslims in the country. Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, in an interview with the Irrawaddy magazine in January, said the issue of the Rohingya “impacts all [Asean countries]” and one in which Indonesia has to be “keenly concerned,” because of the potential for terrorism within its borders.

    These religious tensions have already spilled over to Indonesia, where police foiled a bomb attack against the Myanmar Embassy in the country’s capital, Jakarta last May. Suspects confessed that the attack was designed as a reciprocal attack against Myanmar Buddhists, over the treatment of Muslims.
    The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said about 34,368 Rohingya are registered as refugees in Malaysia, along with 7,940 ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, and thousands of others from the country live illegally or awaiting refugee status.

    Western governments, particularly the U.S., are continuing to raise serious concern over the treatment of Myanmar’s Rohingyas. The U.S. House of Representatives in a resolution this week called on Myanmar to end the persecution of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities, the strongest criticism yet against Myanmar’s reformist government.

    Senior officials from the U.S. have also continued to keep the issue high on agenda within conversation with Myanmar government officials, making multiple visits to the country in recent months.
    “While the government continues to make progress on the reform agenda… the situation in Rakhine state is deteriorating,” said Daniel R. Russel, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, in comments to the Journal.

    The Myanmar government should “urgently work toward a durable solution that addresses the underlying causes of conflict,” he added. [ Source : World Street Journal]