Press Release: 28 May 2020
Approximately one year ago ARNO wrote an open letter to Mr. Knut Osby, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar, to stop using the derogatory term “Ku Lar” to refer to Rohingya on maps produced by the Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU). The open letter also requested the United Nations apologize for the use of this derogatory term. The open letter to Mr. Osby can be found here:
To date, there has been no official apology, and as of May 10, 2020, ARNO notes that English and Myanmar language maps on the MIMU website continue to label villages “Ku Lar.” Myanmar language township maps using this term were posted as recently as May 6, 2020. As ARNO previously noted, terms such as this are considered hate speech and are part of the rhetoric which continues to fuel genocidal operations by Myanmar security forces against the Rohingya peoples.
Another extremely disturbing development is that MIMU has recently removed from its Maungdaw mapping database the names of over 20 Rohingya villages burned down in 2017 — in accordance with updated lists of villages in the January 2020 Gazette of the Myanmar government’s General Administration Department.
This official erasure of Rohingya villages from the records is a further step in the government’s genocide of the Rohingya, and is a clear violation of the International Court of Justice Order for Provisional Measures which directs Myanmar to preserve all evidence of genocide.
It is truly shocking that MIMU is complicit in this.
MIMU’s function is to provide “information management services to strengthen analysis and decision-making of the humanitarian and development community in Myanmar.” Its continued use of racist terminology and compliant erasure of Rohingya villages seriously compromises the integrity of this function.
ARNO requests MIMU donors to urgently investigate these matters, and suspend funding for MIMU operations until they are overhauled to ensure they are not uncritically serving the Myanmar government’s hegemonic agenda in the ethnic states, including genocide against the Rohingya.
**Screenshots of evidence from MIMU website
For more details, please contact:
Dr Mohammad Habib Ullah +1-4438158609 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org