Burma Times: 05 June 2015
Director General Emphasizes the Need for a Roadmap with Immediate, Short, and Long Term Goals at the Ministerial Contact Group Meeting
Kuwait City. The 42nd OIC Council of Foreign Ministers’ conference was held in Kuwait City on May 27 and 28, 2015. Delegates from numerous member states of the OIC spoke about the rights of Rohingya in Myanmar and the crisis involving Rohingya victims of human-trafficking in Southeast Asia during the main event. At the side event, the Ministerial Contact Group discussed the current situation in Arakan, progress in the international stage, and the challenges. Several Foreign Ministers expressed their perspectives for handling the crisis at Andaman Sea and the urgent situation in Arakan including the IDP camps.
OIC Special envoy, HE Dr. Syed Hamid Albar, presented his view, emphasizing the diplomatic engagement with Myanmar Government and Arakan state officials. He also stressed the importance of interfaith dialogue. Director General of Arakan Rohingya Union, Dr. Wakar Uddin, described the situation on the ground in Arakan and in Naypyitaw, and pointed out that the major force to solving the Rohingya issue essentially lies with the international community that has evidently made some tangible progress, but more needs to be done. Dr. Uddin emphasized the need for addressing the root cause of the crisis at Andaman Sea and Thai-Malaysian border. “Despite frequent negative statements by the Government of Myanmar, we would like to think that the government is sincere in devising a realistic roadmap to find a permanent solution to the problems faced by Rohingya people in Arakan; and it should include immediate, short-term, and mid-term/long-term goals that should be addressed by the Government of Myanmar in coordination with the international community. Some of the specifics outlined by Dr. Uddin are as follows:
- Rescue all the Rohingya refugees adrift at Andaman Sea by the Government of Myanmar and assist in their safe return to their villages in Arakan
- Provide unfettered access by the international and national humanitarian workers to the IDP camps and villages of all the affected people
- Make the public health care facilities accessible to Rohingya residents from villages and towns, and allow the international health workers to provide healthcare to all in Arakan
- Void the regional administrative rule in Northern Arakan state that is the instrument of major human right violations such as restrictions on freedom of movement, worship, marriages, and denial of basic education and healthcare, confiscation of lands, and numerous other violations.
- Release all the Rohingya political prisoners, those detained on false accusation of inciting violence, and those arrested arbitrarily
- Return of the IDPs to their homes without pre-conditions
- Provide full Government security for the IDPs and vulnerable Rohingya villages
- Allow Rohingya to rebuild and renovate mosques, religious schools, homes, and businesses
- Return the confiscated lands to the original Rohingya farmers, and stop the practice of leasing Rohingya’s farm lands back to the owners
- Remove the settlement units (NATALA) of Buddhist Bengali Rakhine (Maghs) from Bangladesh and elsewhere in Arakan from Rohingya farmlands.
- Amend the 1982 Citizenship law (in a manner that does not hinder the re-instatement of equal and full Citizenship of Rohingya), and allow Rohingya to self-identify themselves, officially re-instate the ethnicity of Rohingya
- The Government of Myanmar reposition itself to neutrality and assume the role of true facilitator for peace in Arakan
- Revamp the Rakhine Action Plan, abandon the segregation policy, and develop strategies of integration the Rohingya, Kamen, and Buddhist Rakhine communities
- Government of Myanmar takes strong initiative for rebuilding the affected areas of all communities in Arakan
- Repatriation of Rohingya refugees and displaced Rohingya persons from Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India, and other countries
- Economic, social, and educational development in Arakan state for all communities
Dr. Uddin also stressed that the prioritization of the categories of the goals are based on the current needs and situation on the ground, and the Government of Myanmar, in coordination with the international community, may address some of the objectives with more expediency, if it is truly dedicated to bringing peace and stability in Arakan state and wishes the fledgling democracy in Myanmar to flourish.