The Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO) immediately calls upon media outlets throughout South Asia to be responsible and ethical in their coverage of the violence which is taking place in Manipur and other parts of North India. Recently, media outlets are reporting the convenient and sudden presence of Rohingya people in Manipur. Manipur, has seen violence and instability since May and the internet shutdown has continued despite court orders to the contrary. The media is now reporting that the Rohingya and Rohingya camps have also been found in other situations of violence in North India over the last two months, conveniently placing the blame for the violence and attempting to connect the violence to the Rohingya.
The coverage lacks credibility and continues to generate cycles of genocidal violence and enforced genocidal policies against the Rohingya people. The Rohingya people continue to face extreme lockdown measures in their respective environments. In Arakan, movement is restricted and has gradually gotten worse over the last 15 years. Rohingya are housed in internally displaced persons camps and cannot freely move about the country, let alone the Arakan. They have no identification documents or paperwork to be able to obtain citizenship in the country where they are from. For the Rohingya who are described as “fleeing” the Arakan, they are victims of human trafficking operations which are run by armed groups and the Myanmar junta. They are arrested by the military council before they can even leave Myanmar and are in turn prosecuted for being trafficked.
In Bangladesh, the Rohingya, absent traffickers, and smugglers, have no way of leaving the camps in Cox’s Bazar. They are not permitted to work, even despite recent food ration cuts which are now down to $8 USD per month. The Rohingya who are trafficked and smuggled have risked their lives on perilous boat journeys to Indonesia and Malaysia. Some have made it, others have not.
Over the last three months, violence has surfaced in different parts of North India. The violence in Manipur is caused by multiple factors, some of which can be directly attributed to India’s engagement with the genocidal military junta in Myanmar. The junta has, with the aid of other foreign powers, such as China and Russia, used weapons to attack and lay siege against its own citizens whether they are Rohingya, Chin, Karen, or Kachin. The junta’s biggest export to the international community has been refugees and has proven its expertise at murdering its own civilians.
ARNO calls upon the media, particularly outlets in South Asia, to stop scapegoating the Rohingya for the problems in the region and particularly in India. While the situation for the Rohingya continues to slip into hopelessness and while the Rohingya remain “stateless” we have no reason to commit acts of violence or align ourselves with any group that chooses violence. The Rohingya people emphasize their intentions to go back to their homeland in the Arakan, instead of having to shuffle around South Asia and expose ourselves to further persecution. The Rohingya condemn all acts of terrorism that have been committed against our own people and other innocent civilians in Myanmar, India, and everywhere in the world.
Instead of blaming the Rohingya, the people and the media in Asia should question why their governments continue to engage with the junta regime and should question what are the root causes of these issues, particularly during these upcoming sensitive election cycles. Further, for the violence to stop, hate speech and other forms of polarization must be addressed. The Rohingya people understand how hate speech can fuel violence and cause genocide to take place.
ARNO once again echoes the calls for all members of the UN Security Council to take action in repatriating the Rohingya safely back to Burma in a voluntary, safe, and dignified manner. Further, the UN Security Council should immediately impose an arms embargo and stop all aviation fuel to the junta.