By S.Kalam 19 June 2015
Burma Times: Australia- I’m a Rohingya student, the native of Arakan State. I’m here to share about my experiences as a refugee in the hope that this will raise awareness about human rights violations which my Rohingya people badly experience in the hand of Burmese brutal President Thein Sein.
My race, both historically and internationally known as Rohingya or Rooinga, is the last remained Indo-Aryan family who settled in Arakan state since much of antiquity. The coins used in the Kingdom of Mrauk Oo in 1554 witnessed that Rohingya was existed there. However, today I’m going to tell you about the denial of Rohingya existence by Burmese government and its adopted militarized some politicians, extremist monks comprised Rakhine radicals and Rakhine racist-politicians that lead the Genocide on Ethnic Rohingya which is being run systematically by the Burmese central government.
Before I start, let me define the term Genocide which means as an act committed with intent to destroy in whole or in part of a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.
To begin the crisis of Rohingya in Burma (which is now called Myanmar), since 1962, the General Ne win staged a coup and a policy of Myanmarisation was implemented as an ultra nationalist ideology based on the racial purity of the Burmese ethnicity. In 1978, the initial push of the military’s ethnic cleansing campaign was launched under the operation Naga Min or Operation King Dragon. The sole purpose of the above brutal operation was to remove us [the Rohingya nationals] from our mother land, Arakan, and to send a message either to leave the country or risk death. This resulted a widespread rape, arbitrary arrests, desecration of mosque, destructions of Rohingya owned villages, and confiscation of land and property. In the wake of this violence, a quarter of a million fled to Bangladesh.
Additionally, our Citizenship was denied since 1982 in which year a discriminatory Burmese Citizenship Act 1982 was enacted particularly aiming at expulsion of Rohingyas from western Burma. The freedom of Rohingya’s movement was severely restricted and the entire Rohingya community was started to be deprived of their citizenship rights. We are also subjected to various forms of extortion and arbitrary taxation, land confiscation, forced eviction, house destruction and financial restrictions and a series of ban— marriage, movement, higher education, religious functions, etc.
On top of the above mentioned discriminatory policies, in 1991, a second operation called Pyi Thaya means “Operation Clean and Beautiful Nation, was Launched with the same ethnic cleansing purpose, resulting further state-sanctioned discrimination and another over 200,000 fled into Bangladesh, and in 1994, Rohingyan citizenship cards were confiscated and replaced with the ‘Temporary Residential Cards’.
Since 2005, another genocidal policy was enacted only for Rohingya in Arakan state which restricted Rohingya to refrain from conception of more than two children and some were restricted to marry.
In 2006, Rohingyan started to use mobile phone, but the government restricted the users and imprisoned them, these restrictions are still being continued till today.
In 2009, a senior Burmese envoy to Hong Kong branded Rohingya ” ugly as ogre” and a people that is alien to Burma.
However, in 2012, over 140,000 Rohingyas were put in IDP camps after the state-backed violence had taken place. In this 2012, above one hundred thousand of PEOPLE fled from Arakan State due to mass destruction, burning Rohingya alive, killing Rohingya. They[ state-backed Rakhine thugs and brutal Burmanized armies] indulged with their g mischievous desire such as by cutting off the breast of infant’s mother, cutting out the abdomen, cutting the brains into piece and confiscation of land, burying people in mass graves.
Furthermore, in Burma Census 2014, the Burmese government banned the ethnical term Rohingya and has been forcing them to be registered as Bengali.
The destruction of Rohingya property, killing, raping and torturing as well as depriving the Rohingya have not stopped since 1962 until today. Rohingya has only three options for themselves which were created by Burmese authorities: either flee away risking death, or stay in the land in starvation with numerous restrictions, such as no rights to—study, practice religion, business, work, moving from a village into another or finally be killed brutally. In this sense, I would like to refer to,
Article 6 (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights referred that the right to life of every human being shall be protected by law. Which means that nobody should be arbitrary killed by a state AGENT, by starvation, epidemics, poverty and similar natural or human-made disaster or by ordinary crime. If a state fails to provide adequate legal protection of the right to privacy on the horizontal level, this may lead violation of their International obligations.
Here, I would like to ask international community regarding Rohingya crisis: is the current atrocious situation facing by Rohingya strictly opposition to article 6.1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or…
Recently in May 2015, there were about 8000 Rohingya stranded at sea. Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia pushed back the boats; on those boats Rohingya were on starvation and was in critical situation. On the basis of the critical situations faced by boat people who tried to approach to those countries as mentioned above, I would like to express, how they felt when these countries try to do the same as Burma acts to them. They fled from Arakan because the Temporary Residential Cards confiscated on March 31 this year, and Rohingya PEOPLE are intolerably suffering more than before.
However, it is a quite grateful as the human rights speaker, and many people from different region and organizations never stop rising their voice for Rohingya. So, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all of you.
But we cannot satisfy with those kinds of overt kindness of international community over us. I believe nobody from the honorable speakers would feel satisfaction as the Government of Myanmar denied every international concern and denied the obligations to protect the people in its territory by framing it in other ways. In this fact, they[Burmese regime] manages to confront the world by showing many unacceptable reasons to keep their relationship such as by giving a notion of entering democracy, on the other hand, enjoys torturing Rohingya mentally and physically.
It is really important to observe how the Burmese brutal regime led by President Thein Sein paved genocidal path to eliminate Rohingya from international sight quoting that ‘the word Rohingya be omitted from agenda of the meeting’. From that, you may have a little bit of idea of how we are being brutally treated in the Territory of Myanmar.
However, we sacrifice our life as it is seen in the picture because we don’t want to accept another ethnic name instead of Rohingya because we are ethnically Rohingya. Today, our hope become weak as the international obligations does not seem to be existed in real practice, to save the human, based on the conventions of human rights or universal rights or any customary law of basic human rights.
Nevertheless, we Rohingya practice peace movement by pursuing the United Nations, and other Governmental Organizations, Regional Countries and Communities to implement the laws on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which already exist in article 1-19.
The right to life is the supreme human rights from which no derogation is permitted, even in a time of war or public emergency. The arbitrary deprivation of life prohibited in Article 6 (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 4 (1) of the American Convention of Human Rights and Article 4 of African Charter of Human and People’s Rights. On the other side, European Convention of Human Rights prohibits the intentional deprivation of life, in the Article 2.
Rohingya want justice from the United Nations and all its SECTOR, and all other IGO, NGO, GO and MNC, we wants the advisory opinion from the ICJ. That’s is our hope, wish and dream to have justice with the existed law. But I can imagine the door of law is very expensive, living in poverty could not pay expensive lawyer, therefore the questions here is, which country had once ask the advisory opinion from ICJ for Rohingya? This is very questionable because we all could be Rohingya if the situation of this world remain vulnerable and ignorance. Following the history of what happened in Rwanda, Somalia, Burundi, Combodia, Ethopia, Guetemala and now Rohingya.
Such as, Article 2 of the International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights obliges all States Parties to respect all the Covenant’s right and to ensure for all individuals without any discrimination. States must refrain from practicing torture under all circumstances, even in the national emergency.
Moreover, in the International Law, Torture is a violation of the right to physical and mental integrity and present a direct attack on the core of the human personality both treaties based and customary. Here, as I have presented some pictures as the evidence of how we are treated in the Arakan State, you may think where is the international law? As you can imagine now, the torture takes place by physically or mentally on whole Rohingy community inside Arakan.
“Torturing and killing Rohingya brutally has become the pride and honour for Burmese ethnocentric Buddhists and Rakhine extremists.”
About 4 millions of us including exiled ones, Rohingya, face torture and unprecedented troubles in several ways issued by Burmese consecutive military rulers and quasi-military rulers. None knows how the Rohingya community inside and outside Burma make lives amidst several restrictions.
Article 1 of the United Nations Convention against Torture defines torture as acts of public officials which intentionally inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering in order to fulfill a certain purpose.
In the case of Rohingya, the purpose of Myanmar is to kill Rohingya, letting them die in starvation, to abolish the evidence of crime and history, and to deprive Rohingya from the state. Other forms of ill treatment which is equally prohibited by the Convention against Torture, article 7 and 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Article 5 of the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, Burma is continually perpetrating against Rohingya.
“Unimaginable ill treatments have been organized by President Thein Sein’s administration since 2013, during the census enumeration and after, even by giving outdated medicine or poison as medicine to thousands of Rohingya sick persons.”
So, as a victim, I can feel that this world is still not secure by the law existed because the charters and articles still remain in BOOKS and papers; because States do not really abide by or take the Laws as their obligations.
In Conclusion, being a Rohingya, as I have a experience, I don’t want this world to continue with unaccountability. I want justice in every corner of the World, and I believe this can happen when Rohingya get their birth Rights from the existed charters.
Generally, all know that people extend their future by predicting and analysing the past, therefore today is not today but the prevention of Rohingya genocide will be a future analysis for many race of this world.
That is also a fact that the International States must combined against Genocide and should not waste time, it could bring a new history for the world to follow-up the step of Rohingya to knock the door of international.
Therefore, I would request to all the human right speakers and government officials, and public and media to combine, and bring Justice for the Rohingya by following the charter of International Conventions on Genocide and other similar conventions where the definition has on prevention against torture for a race or religion.
To conclude, Humanity understood as the collection of human beings. Accordingly, Myanmar perpetrates crimes against Rohingya mounted to crimes against humanity. The current crimes of Burmese President Thein Sein’s administration against Rohingya should be opposed by those who have the common belief that all human are equal in dignity.
Thank you very much.
Note: The article was written by S.Kalam, a Rohingya student from Australia and was edited by Ibrahim Shah, the Chief-Editor of Burma Times online newspaper in English section.