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Rakhine Crisis: Myanmar state counselor calls on ASEAN for support

Rakhine is home to roughly 1.1 million stateless Muslim Rohingya who live in squalid refugee camps after being displaced by communal violence with Rakhine Buddhists in 2012

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Rakhine Crisis
Aung San Suu Kyi. Wikimedia
  • Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday asked member states of a regional economic and security organization for “constructive support” in resolving the Rakhine Crisis
  • Rakhine is home to roughly 1.1 million stateless Muslim Rohingya who live in squalid refugee camps after being displaced by communal violence with Rakhine Buddhists in 2012 that left more than 200 people dead
  • “We are working to build understanding, harmony and trust between communities while standing firm against prejudice, intolerance, and extremism,” Aung San Suu Kyi told the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

Oct 04, 2016: Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday asked member states of a regional economic and security organization for “constructive support” in resolving the Rakhine crisis in the country’s troubled western Rakhine state.

Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto national leader, is trying to drum up regional support for an advisory commission on Rakhine which she created in late August to review conflict resolution between majority Buddhists and minority Muslim Rohingya in the restive state. It will also look at humanitarian assistance, development issues, and strengthening local institutions.

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Buddhist nationalists and political parties in Rakhine oppose the appointment of three foreigners to the commission, including former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who chairs the body and have called for its disbandment.

“We are working to build understanding, harmony, and trust between communities while standing firm against prejudice, intolerance, and extremism,” Aung San Suu Kyi told the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the body’s Inter-Parliamentary Assembly which is meeting on Sept. 30-Oct. 3 in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw. “In doing so, we ask for the constructive support of our regional neighbors.”

“Progress in every field will not be possible overnight, but we are determined to persevere to bring about positive change in Rakhine state as in other areas of our country affected by conflict,” she said.

Rakhine is home to roughly 1.1 million stateless Muslim Rohingya, considered illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, who face persecution and are denied basic rights, including those of citizenship and freedom of movement. Their plight has drawn condemnation from the international community.

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About 120,000 Rohingya live in squalid refugee camps after being displaced by communal violence with Rakhine Buddhists in 2012 that left more than 200 people dead.

Rakhine Crisis
Emergency food, drinking water and shelter to help people displaced in Rakhine State. Representational image. Wikimedia

The Buddhists and the state’s dominant Arakan National Party (ANP) believe that the three foreign members of the advisory commission will side with the Rohingya and turn the issue into an international one. The commission’s six other members are Myanmar citizens.

Annan, who was heckled by protesters during the commission’s first visit to Rakhine in early September, later told reporters at a press conference in the commercial capital Yangon that the body’s mandate is to provide recommendations to the government on measures for finding solutions to the state’s complex problems in accordance with international standards, and that it will remain “rigorously impartial.”

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The commission must submit a report on its findings to the Myanmar government in 12 months.

A previous investigative committee was formed just after the outbreak of communal violence in 2012, but the suggestions it provided in a subsequent report were not implemented.

(BBG Direct)

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Over 7,000 people granted National Verification Cards (NVC) in Rakhine State of Myanmar

Aung San Suu Kyi has prioritized three main tasks for Rakhine - repatriation of refugees who have crossed over to Bangladesh and providing humanitarian assistance effectively; resettlement and rehabilitation; and bringing development and lasting peace to the region

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Displaced Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine. Wikimedia.

Myanmar, October 29, 2017 : More than 7,000 people have been granted national verification cards (NVC) in Myanmar’s Rakhine since an authentication process started on October 1, authorities said on Sunday.

The process is one of the recommendations proposed by an advisory commission on the state, led by former UN chief Kofi Annan, reports Xinhua news agency.

Using biometric methods for the national identity system, the process is being carried out in areas where stability returned to normalcy, U Aung Min, director of the Rakhine State Immigration and Population Department, said.

National verification process is the first step toward scrutinizing citizenship in accordance with the 1982 Citizenship Law, the officer said, urging local people to hold national verification cards as long as they live in Myanmar under the 1949 and 1951 Union Citizenship Acts.

Meanwhile, Myanmar has formed nine private sector task forces to join the mechanism of Union Enterprises for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development (UEHRD) in Rakhine, chaired by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

ALSO READ UN Report on Rohingya Hunger Crisis Suspended on Order of Myanmar Government

The newly established mechanism aims to allow the government and all local and international organizations to work in all sectors and all strata of society for the development of the state.

Suu Kyi prioritised three main tasks for Rakhine – repatriation of refugees who have crossed over to Bangladesh and providing humanitarian assistance effectively; resettlement and rehabilitation; and bringing development and lasting peace to the region.

The government is also ready to implement a national verification and repatriation process in accordance with agreed criteria set out in a joint statement between foreign ministries of Myanmar and Bangladesh in 1992. (IANS)

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‘No Choice But to Accept’: Myanmar Hindus Face Forced Conversion In Refugee Camps

Hindu ladies who are living there told that they are being asked to remove sindoor and break their bangles. A large number of ladies are allegedly compelled to surrender their Hindu customs.

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Refugee camps near Cox's Bazar.
Refugee camps near Cox's Bazar. wikimedia
  • The article is based on the facts and data published by dailymail India, on Myanmar Hindus.

Myanmar Hindus who fled to Bangladesh border seeking refuge are now facing new troubles in the Relief Camps.

Reportedly, some organizations are forcing conversion on Hindus living in the Refugee Camps in Bangladesh. Most of the victims are helpless women and the young girls of Hindu community who have no choice but to accept, to survive in the immediate situation.

The Relief Camps are situated in Cox’s Bazar, a Muslim majority area situated at the border of Bangladesh.

Myanmar Hindu women forced to Convert

Hindu ladies who are living there told that they are being asked to remove sindoor (a customary vermilion red powder worn by married women) and break their bangles. A large number of ladies are allegedly compelled to surrender their Hindu customs and read namaz (Muslim prayer) 5 times each day.

One such woman is Puja Mullick who was forced to convert a month ago. She has experienced torture for about three weeks, Now she is known as Rabia.

Another woman Rica Dhar alias Sadia narrating the August incidence told ‘they entered all the Hindu residences and attacked. First, the mobile phones were taken away and then men were tied and beaten brutally. My husband worked as a goldsmith’.

‘They took away all my jewellery and began beating me. All Hindus were identified and taken to a nearby hill. They were then killed in a row. Only eight women were allowed to stay among them… mostly young and beautiful’.

Puja Mullick (alias Rabia) in red saree and Rica Dhar(alias Sadia) with her baby.
Puja Mullick (alias Rabia) in red saree and Rica Dhar(alias Sadia) with her baby. dailymail

Puja is originally a Hindu who was seeking shelter after the situation worsened in Myanmar. Be that as it may, conditions flipped around her life.

lost her husband in the attack which took place in the last week of August, probably around the time when the conflict grew.

She told that her husband was not killed by the armed forces, it was a group of men clad in black, whose faces were hidden, possibly she meant the Radical Islamists.

Role of Local Authorities

Around 500 Myanmar Hindus have been driven out from their own houses. They have entered into Bangladeshi territory and are scattered in different parts of this district.

As per the dailymail, when Bangladesh officials were asked about the issue of forced conversion, they gave assurance to investigate the matter and give punish whosoever is behind all this.

Myanmar hindu camps at Bangladesh border.
Myanmar hindu camps at Bangladesh border.

Though all the refugees are living in different camps among their religion or community, even then also the conditions are tough.

One cannot guess what has been happening to those Myanmar Hindus who have been suffering it since past few months.

Is it bad to talk about Hindus in this country?

There is an open discussion on every subject in India then, why is this issue being cornered?

Indian media and political leaders debate about other religions all day, but when it comes to talking about Hindus, no one is interested.

What is the future of Myanmar Hindus? It has become very important to talk about this subject.

The elite media houses are only exposed to certain issues only, they have already sold themselves to different ideologies, that is why they do not give any coverage to Myanmar Hindu issue.

As a mindful individual, everyone should come forward and raise their voice against the torture and injustice done to Myanmar Hindus.

 

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Radical Islamist Outfits in Myanmar are Killing Innocent Hindus

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A Hindu woman in Myanmar. Wikimedia

On September 25, Myanmar Police found a mass grave containing dozens of dead bodies of Hindus, in the conflict-torn Rakhine state. The police confirmed that the grave had total 28 dead bodies, out of which 20 are women and 8 men, including six dead bodies of boys who were under the age of ten.

Hindu Villages burned in myanmar
Houses are on fire in northern Rakhine state, Myanmar.  VOA

The Conflict Zone 

The Rakhine region is dominated by the Radical Islamist Rohingyas, who are targeting the Hindus and other peaceful communities over there. They have been carrying out the attacks on the Hindu villages since a month. Recently, about 500 Hindus left their villages in the Rakhine state and now are living in a camp near Bangladesh border.

The Rakhine state of Myanmar.  VOA

Rohingya Militants have completely destroyed the Northern Rakhine village and have brutally attacked villagers.

The Growing Tension

The Rohingya Muslims are in the clash with the majority Buddhist. Since, October last year, Myanmar forces are in the direct clash with the ARSA. The internal conflict is growing bigger and bigger and does not seem to stop. The rage between the two is said to have been aggravated after, The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) ravaged police posts.

The ARSA is also said to have links with Radical Islamist organizations and Militants in other parts of the world.

Why left out?

The ongoing conflict in the Rakhine region has killed dozens of Hindus and displaced many. But unfortunately, no one has come forward to condemn atrocities on Hindus. It seems that the left liberators and the social activists are quite choosy about their issues of concern and killings of Hindus does not matter to them. (VOA)