Sunday, February 12, 2017

Myanmar Conducting Textbook Ethnic Cleansing on Rohingya

A London-based political analyst disclosed details of an “11-point Ethnic Cleansing plan” adopted by the Myanmar government and said the killings of Rohingya Muslims in the Southeast Asian country is part of the state-initiated plan.
“Anyone who sees these points will know that the government of Myanmar is conducting textbook ethnic cleansing on the Rohingya Muslims,” Riaz Karim, the director and co-founder of the Mona Relief Organization, said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.
Karim is a consultant for Veritas Consulting of London, UK. He is also a commentator for a number of media outlets around the world and a political expert on Yemen and the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
Following is the full text of the interview:

Tasnim: As you know, the Rohingya Muslim minority in western Myanmar has long been a victim of systematic violence and religious discrimination. The members of the 1.1 million population in Rakhine state have limited rights and are classified as illegal immigrants rather than citizens. Reports of violence and massacre of the Rohingya Muslims have prompted international human rights groups to call for urgent foreign intervention. According to media reports, Myanmar’s government has responded to the Rohingya people with gruesome acts that the UN says may amount to crimes against humanity and has already pushed more than 66,000 Rohingyas into neighboring Bangladesh. Many are living in makeshift camps where there is not enough water or sanitation facilities for the growing number of refugees. What is your assessment of the ongoing tragedy in the Southeast Asian country?

Karim: What is happening in Myanmar has tainted our humanity.  Let’s be clear about one thing, this is not an 'intercommunal, interethnic or interreligious conflict', this is a state-led, state-sponsored, state-initiated and state-spread ethnic cleansing operation.

Let’s take a step back… The Rohingya trace their origins in the region to the fifteenth century when thousands of Muslims came to the former Arakan Kingdom. Many others arrived during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when Bengal and the Rakhine territory were governed by colonial rule as part of British India. Since independence in 1948, successive governments in Burma, renamed Myanmar in 1989, have refuted the Rohingya’s historical claims and denied the group recognition as one of the country’s 135 ethnic groups. The Rohingya are largely identified as illegal Bengali immigrants, despite the fact that many Rohingya have resided in Myanmar for centuries.
The Rohingya used to have citizenship rights up until 1982 when they government passed a law which basically removed those rights, and ever since then they have been struggling to get that right back but however hard they try, their rights have been steadily reduced over the years.
Firstly, Both the Myanmar government and the Rakhine state’s dominant ethnic Buddhist group, known as the Rakhine, reject the use of the label “Rohingya,” a self-identifying term that surfaced in the 1950s and that experts say provides the group with a collective, political identity.
Though the etymological root of the word is disputed, the most widely accepted origin is that “Rohang” is a derivation of the word “Arakan” in the Rohingya dialect and the “ga” or “gya” means “from.” By identifying as Rohingya, the ethnic Muslim group asserts its ties to the land that was once under the control of the Arakan Kingdom.
As an example, even the past UN secretary General Ban Ki Moon refused to address them as Rohingya. That says something, doesn’t it?
The state has an 11-point Ethnic Cleansing plan that was adopted in 1988 which clearly state the following:
1. The Muslims (Rohingyas) are not to be provided with citizenship cards by identifying them as insurgents.
2.  To reduce the population growth of the Rohingyas by the gradual imposition of restrictions on their marriages and by application of all possible methods of oppression and suppression against them.
3.  To strive for the increase in Buddhist population to be more than the number of Muslim people by way of establishing Natala villages in Arakan with Buddhist settlers from different townships and from out of the country.
4.  To allow them temporary movement from village to village and township to township only with a form that is required by the foreign nationals for travel, and to totally ban them traveling to Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State.
5.  To forbid higher studies (university education) to the Rohingyas.
6. No Muslim is to be appointed in government services.
7.  To forbid them from ownership of lands, shops, and buildings. Any such properties under their existing ownership must be confiscated for distribution among the Buddhists. All their economic activities must be stopped.
8.  To ban construction, renovation, repair and roofing of the mosques, Islamic religious schools and dwelling houses of the Rohingyas.
9. To try secretly to convert the Muslims to Buddhism.
10.  Whenever there is a case between Rakhine and Muslim the court shall give the verdict in favor of Rakhine; when the case is between Muslim themselves the court shall favor the rich against the poor Muslim so that the latter leaves the country with frustration.
11. The mass killing of the Muslim is to be avoided in order not to invite the attention of the Muslim countries.
Anyone who sees these points will know that the government of Myanmar is conducting textbook ethnic cleansing on the Rohingya Muslims.

Tasnim: Earlier in January, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed deep concern over the plight of Rohingya Muslims, calling on the secretary-general of the United Nations to take immediate actions to help end the suffering of the people. What is your take on that? Why are the international community and some Muslim countries keeping silent on the sufferings of Muslims in Myanmar?

Karim: The Rohingya reside on important land which is along the coast bordering Bangladesh. There are many plans to redevelop that area, one key development has been the building of a deep sea port to take in oil tankers which will then send oil up the new pipeline to China, which shortens the route. Oil tankers from the Middle East will be docking there, the pipeline started pumping just recently I think in 2013/14.

There are many business opportunities to be had in Myanmar and many oil exploration opportunities also both on and off shore. Countries all around the world want to get a share of the Myanmar pie and that includes the US, hence the state of Myanmar wants the Rohingya out of there as soon as possible in order to take advantage of the potential economic boom.
There is money in chaos, peace doesn't make any money for anyone, Minister Zarif was absolutely correct, only Muslim countries which genuinely care about the welfare of fellow human beings and Muslims are raising their voices. With Iran being one of them, just as they do for the Palestinians and other Muslims around the world.
The Rohingya Muslims are the most persecuted people in the world and yet we only hear a handful of countries even raise the issue because we live in a world where profits take precedence over humanity.

Tasnim: A video showing Myanmar police beating Rohingya civilians has recently surfaced, amid widespread reports that Myanmar security forces were setting homes on fire and killing, raping and arbitrarily arresting Rohingyas. This is while the government of the Southeast Asian country denies the allegations of growing violence against the minority. As you know, Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. What’s the use of having a Nobel prize? Why does not she make an appropriate move to prevent the tragedy in her country?

Karim: Latest attempt to remove them has been focused around the township of Maungdaw which borders Bangladesh. It was triggered by an attack on a border guard police post which did kill some police officers, it is almost as if the Myanmar government were waiting for something like that to happen.
So now, they have an insurgency, it is exactly what they wanted and they were ready to make the most of this opportunity, their 'Clearance Operation' as it has officially been named has consisted of burning down entire villages, raping literally hundreds of women in front of their husbands and children, throwing people into fires, including children, shooting fleeing villagers dead from their helicopters.
There have been 6 Rohingya Muslims who according to the State of Myanmar died in custody everyone knows they died from torture, people who have managed to be released have told of horrific torture. 
Almost 500 Rohingya men and boys now in prison from this recent Clearance Operation, and it is likely that at 99% of them had nothing to do with any insurgency and it is also very likely that all have been tortured and are still being tortured now.
The torture is not just for information or otherwise, it is for sadistic pleasure, as the Rohingya are so hated they are considered sub-human by many of the military and police, some of the tortures are so horrific that they cannot be mentioned on here.
As for Aung San Suu Kyi, the only way she could garner support for her political aspirations was to appease the military and its support base, this is exactly what she did, she traded her humanitarian values for political aspirations.
Many analysts, humanitarians, and human rights organizations have called on her to give back her peace prize and the money that came with it, because she has time and again portrayed a "Jekyll and Hyde" persona when it comes to the Rohingya.
In order to keep her political base happy Suu Kyi will not do anything about the plight of the Rohingya Muslims, in fact, the ongoing "Clearance Operation" of the Rohingya Muslims is state-sponsored and initiated of which Suu Kyi is a part of.
The very first step for Myanmar government to take is to mention the Rohingya by their rightful identity and until such time they don't do that, the Rohingya will remain a persecuted stateless people who nobody wants.

No comments:

Post a Comment