The Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO) emerged in 1998 as a broad-based organisation of the Rohingya people with a pledge to promote ‘Rohingya unity’ and to realise the hopes and aspirations of the Rohingya people. ARNO is a diplomatic and advocacy organization made up of Rohingya leaders. It is based in the United Kingdom.
ARNO is working with credible Rohingya socio-cultural, political and civil society organisations world-wide as well as other like-minded non-Rohingya organisations, including ethnic groups of the Union of Myanmar. It maintains close working relations with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), European Parliament/Union, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Fortify Rights, Burma Campaign U.K. and many other human rights and humanitarian organisations around the globe. It is also working with academics and educational institutions or universities. In addition, ARNO is actively working together with the Brussels-based Euro-Burma Office (EBO).
ARNO was a leading founder member of the Arakan Rohingya Union (ARU) formed in 2011 under the auspices of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Euro-Burma Office (EBO).
The flag of the ARNO is rectangular in shape and its standard aspect ratio (height to width ratio) is 3:5. In the centre of the flag, with a green background, there is a Muslim coin inscribed with the Kalema (the confession of faith in Islam) and the names of four Pious Caliphs that was issued in the Mrauk-U dynasty (1430-1784), the most glorious era of the Arakan kingdom. The coin was adorned with two stalks of Rohang followers. The green colour represents peace, the coin represents the Muslim rule and influence in the kingdom of Arakan, and the Rohang flowers represent the beauty and fragrance of the Arakan landscape.
The Objectives of the ARNO
- To achieve the Right of Self-determination of the Rohingya people within the democratic and Federal Union of Myanmar.
- To reinstate all democratic rights and freedoms of the Rohingya people, including their full citizenship rights, ethnic rights and collective rights in the Union of Myanmar.
- To improve the living conditions and to seek better protection of Rohingyas and other Muslim communities living in Myanmar and in their places of refuge.
General Principles of the ARNO
Solidarity, integrity, discipline, transparency and accountability are the ideals of the organization
Policies and Programmes of the ARNO
With a view to achieving these objectives the Arakan Rohingya National Organisation has the following policies and programmes, in brief:
- The Rohingya are one of the two major indigenous peoples of Arakan; they are one of the many ethnic nationalities of the Union of Burma/Myanmar as well as an integral part of Myanmar’s ethnically diverse society.
- The Rohingya people inhabit Arakan and other parts of the country. Due to genocide, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, the majority of the Rohingya population is in diaspora in Bangladesh and other countries. Nevertheless, the contiguous area between the Kaladan River and Naf River in North Arakan is the Traditional Homeland of the Rohingya.
- The struggle of the Rohingya people is for the emancipation of their people. It is also to safeguard the ‘Rohingya ethnic identity’ and develop their group consciousness of that identity, and oppose any plan that may dissolve or impair it.
- The Rohingya identity is a genuine, essential, and inherent characteristic; it is transmitted from parents to children. The dispersal of the Rohingya people, through disasters befalling them, must not make them lose their Rohingya identity and their membership in the Rohingya community, nor should they negate it.
- We oppose the settler colonialism that has been carried out in the Rohingya territory of North Arakan by appropriating Rohingyas’ land and forcibly expelling them from their homes in the most inhuman manner. The increase in Buddhist settlements, known as Natala model villages, aimed at reducing the population of the Rohingyas and replacing them with Buddhists, is a dangerous scheme causing serious demographic changes. These settlements are illegal and unacceptable.
- Bangladesh is our immediate neighbouring country, which practically shares the tragic experiences besetting the Rohingya people. For many decades, the atrocity crimes upon the Rohingya have had a direct effect on her, particularly the humanitarian sheltering, despite various constraints, of over one million Rohingya refugees — including the recent exodus of about 700,000 within a span of three months from 25 August 2017. We are grateful to the Bangladesh Government, people, civil society, and army for their great sacrifice and compassion.
- Rohingya people possess the legal right to their homeland and have the right to determine their destiny in accordance with their wishes and entirely of their own accord and will within the democratic and Federal Union of Myanmar.
- The Rohingya diaspora population has the right of return to their ancestral homeland of Arakan with full security. We insist on the internationally guaranteed right for Rohingya refugees to return to their homes from which they were expelled. Repatriation should be safe, with dignity and honour.
- The Rohingya masses, whether in the homeland or in their places of refuge, comprise one national front. They have material, spiritual, and historical connections with Arakan. All means of information, education and training will be adopted in order to build and improve the capacity and consciousness of the Rohingya community and to acquaint them profoundly with their homeland, problems, history and culture.
- The regime continues obliterating and erasing the Islamic cultural heritage and Muslim entity by distorting historical facts, destroying age-old villages, archaeological remains monuments, mosques, madrassas, and Muslim graveyards in Arakan and across the country. They are engaged in statistical genocide in an effort to make our people look small and insignificant, as part of a malevolent design to deny us of our rights and prepare the minds of the peoples of the world for the appalling consequences of genocide. We shall leave no stone unturned to preserve the Rohingyas’ history and cultural heritage and to maintain and reveal their actual population figure.
- Preservation and growth of Islamic values and culture, and the Rohingya cultural heritage without prejudice to the preservation and growth of other religious and indigenous cultures in our homeland.
- To encourage better cooperation between Rohingya and other Muslim communities and to work together with all Muslim leaders of the country for better protection of the Muslim minorities in Myanmar.
- The unity of the Rohingya people is indispensable. The Rohingya movement requires the achieving of total national unity among the different groupings of the Rohingya people in order to face the challenges dynamically and to continue the movement with renewed vigour.
- Rapprochement and cooperation with the Buddhist Rakhine community, upholding the principle of ‘peaceful co-existence’ among all peoples and communities of Arakan and the Union of Myanmar.
- We believe in the principles of justice, freedom, federalism, self-determination, human dignity, and in the right of all peoples in Myanmar to exercise them, including the recognition and protection of the rights of ethnic minorities –their culture, education, freedom to worship, and economic, political and human rights.
- We assign priority to peaceful resolution of conflicts and political problems by political means through mutual respect, recognition, dialogue, negotiation in good faith, accommodation, and compromise.
- It is well known that the Rohingya women and girls have borne the brunt of oppression by the Myanmar security forces. The soldiers and officers of the regime in systematic campaigns have most horrendously abused and raped them. We salute the female Rohingyas’ courageous efforts to survive, even as refugee widows and orphans. For the future, we support the rights of Rohingya women and girls to education, health and economic empowerment, in a new atmosphere of utmost respect and absolute safety and security.
- As the flow of dangerous narcotic drugs out of Myanmar, with its still powerful military’s full involvement, posts a terrible threat to all people of Asia and the world, we oppose this deadly trade. We will educate our youth about the dangers of drugs (including HIV/AIDS infection) and firmly obstruct any such narcotics trafficking through our land.
- We call for a halt to the present grievous ravaging of the forests of our homeland by greedy exploiters and Myanmar soldiers. For our future generations’ heritage we pledge to protect our environment, including forests, rivers, wetlands, and coastline ocean. We shall save our land from unsustainable logging, killing of endangered species, all forms of pollution, and overfishing, to preserve a green haven for our children and the world.
- Any investment and development, including creation of special economic zones, in our land must only be done with the wishes and welfare of our people in mind with their full informed consent and oversight. Future development must be sustainable, appropriate, clean, and beneficial to the common people.
- To enlist the support of the international community — the UN, OIC, EU, ASEAN, other world bodies and governments, NGOs, human rights and humanitarian organizations — towards improving the living conditions of the Rohingya and finding a comprehensive solution to the Rohingya problem.
- To carry out socio-cultural, economic, healthcare and welfare activities and educational programmes in order to alleviate the suffering and improve the humanitarian situation of the Rohingya and other Muslim communities in Myanmar.
- To disseminate information and encourage research and documentation particularly on matters relating to Rohingya issues and problems, historicity and culture, human rights violations, genocide and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya people.
Dated: April 2018