Speech by Nurul Islam, President of the Arakan Rohingya National Organisation, at the protest rally held at 12-2pm, in front of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London on the Rohingya Global Day of Action on 8 November 2012
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,
First of all on be half of the Rohingya Community in the UK I thank you all for joining this protest rally in solidarity with the Rohingya people.
The terrible situation of the Rohingya in Arakan is a manmade tragedy, carried out by the extremist Buddhist Rakhines and masterminded by Thein Sein’s Government and Rakhine Nationalities Development Party with Dr. Aye Maung.
The government could have stopped the onslaught in the beginning, but it has reinforced it. Government police, soldiers and security forces were involved in the killing of the Rohingya, raping of their women, torching and destruction of their homes and villages and committing of other inhuman acts of crimes against humanity. Thus the government has not only manifestly failed to protect the Rohingya people, but also it has been a primary force behind the persecution and destruction of the helpless Rohingya people.
Since June the violence occurred and reoccurred. Over 5,000 Rohingya have been killed and missing, many thousands of homes have been destroyed, hundreds of women have been raped, and more than 110,000 people have been forced to flee their homes. They are starving in homes, villages and displacement camps or under open sky. There is no adequate water and sanitation in the Rohingya camps. They are suffering from diseases and dehydration. Child malnutrition is widespread and some have died. No education is available in the camps. No children could go to school from their village due to lack of security. They are kept in segregation, a new system of apartheid, they have no hope to return to their original places and properties. Now the Rohingya people is destroyed in part, but they intent to destroy the whole community.
The government is lying to the world giving distorted figure of deaths, injured and destruction. Without ensuring peace and security the government is now conducting inquiry to look for so-called illegal immigrants and to implement 1982 citizenship law on the traumatized ‘dying alive’ Rohingya people. This is just another device to further victimize the Rohingyas. In fact, there have been no illegal immigrants in Arakan from Bangladesh. Logically for more than 60 years Arakan/Burma has been a big hell for the Rohingyas, where they are living in sub-human condition. Who will be going to the hell?
Burma opposition leader and democracy icon Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is uncharacteristically silent on the mass destruction and racial extermination of Rohingya. She is reluctant to call a spade a spade lest it will hurt the sentiments of the majority Buddhists. It appears that if the Rakhines were in the situation of Rohingya she would definitely speak out. We believe, she could have stopped or reduced the violence in Arakan by simply admonishing the fellow countrymen to respect the human rights of the Rohingyas.
To all intents and purposes it is an ethnic cleansing, and international crime with international jurisdiction. Given the manifest intention of the government it may be considered a case of genocide. But so far international response is very poor. The powerful countries are still using camouflaged words. They should review their current policy on Burma and come up with more proactive policy. They need to send a clear message to Burma that Rohingya ethnic cleansing is not acceptable. Therefore, we urge upon the international community and powerful nations, particularly the UK government:
1. To put pressure on the Burmese government:
• to stop all violence and intimidation against Rohingyas.
• to repeal the oppressive Burma Citizenship Law of 1982, and to replace it with a new law in conformity with the international law standards and humanitarian principles, and
• to stop current atrocious cruelty under the pretext of looking for so-called illegal immigrants.
2. Support sending UN Peacekeeping Force to Arakan in order to save life of the people and to distribute unhindered humanitarian aids to all victims.
3. Support forming a UN Commission of Inquiry in order to find out the actual facts and bring those responsible to justice.