Interviews Rohingya refugees, saffron revolution monks and SPDC defectors.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) returned this week from a fact-finding visit to the Bangladesh-Burma border and is now calling on the international community to intensify pressure on Burma’s military regime.
During the five-day visit, CSW gained access to two camps for unregistered Rohingya refugees on the Bangladesh-Burma border in which people were living in dire conditions where malnutrition and disease were evident.
CSW received first-hand accounts of the oppression of Muslim Rohingya people in Burma, including the denial of full citizenship rights, severe restrictions on freedom of movement, marriage and religion, forced labour, rape, land confiscation, arbitrary arrests, torture, extrajudicial killings and extortion on a daily basis. One Rohingya spokesman told CSW: “The regime is trying to take away our identity. We will not be there in the very near future. Our prime concern is that we must not be eliminated …We are a people on the brink of extinction.”
Three defectors from the SPDC’s border security force, the ‘Na Sa Ka’, confirmed reports of systematic persecution of the Rohingya. One defector told CSW: “Throughout my life in the Na Sa Ka, I was used to this system of arresting Muslims, asking for money, torturing them, every day. We only arrested Muslims, not Rakhines.”
CSW also interviewed Buddhist monks who participated in the ‘Saffron Revolution’ protests in September last year, and received reports of blatant vote rigging in Arakan State during the referendum on a new constitution held on 10 May this year.
Mervyn Thomas, CSW’s Chief Executive, said: “The evidence obtained during our visit to the Bangladesh-Burma border is entirely consistent with the evidence we have gathered over many years from other parts of Burma. The genocidal and illegal military regime is committing every possible human rights violation with impunity, including gross violations of religious freedom affecting Christians, Muslims and Buddhists, and has persistently ignored the will of the Burmese people and the international community for too long. It is time that the United Nations set out specific benchmarks for progress, such as the release of political prisoners and an end to the crimes against humanity perpetrated throughout the country. We also believe a case against Burma’s Generals should be referred to the International Criminal Court.”
Notes to Editors:
For the full report on CSW’s Bangladesh visit please click here.
For CSW’s recent press releases and more information on Burma please click here.