Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Weekly Highlights: Apartheid Awaits for Rohingya

    

Apartheid Awaits for Rohingya

Rohingya protest at the Kutupalong refugee camp to mark the first anniversary of their exodus to Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Aug. 25, 2018.

Photo credit: RFA

 

 

Despite the horrific violence, institutionalized discrimination, and curtailment of many basic human rights, the repatriation of Rohingya to Rakhine State is due to start this week, as decreed by the Joint Working Group that consists of officials from the Governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar[1]. This is an extremely premature and dangerous move, as nothing has been done to address the violence and persecution that forced nearly 800,000 Rohingya to flee their homes. Furthermore, with their homes burned to the ground, the living reality of returnees will be segregated, newly built villages, in which freedom of movement is hugely restricted, and access to jobs, essential services, and other aspects of Rohingyas' rights as citizens of Myanmar will be denied.

The intended commencement of return coincides with the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, which has also established an initiative involving the the foreign ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, to visit Myanmar "to discuss the quickest way to help the Rohingya community return to their country." Yet by doing so, not only will this add momentum for a return process that is fraught with danger, but also adds a false layer of legitimacy to the Myanmar government's plans to establish apartheid-like segregation for returning Rohingya. This initiative also has the potential to evade measures to address the root causes of the Rohingya's displacement and hold accountable those who perpetrated crimes against humanity and genocide against the persecuted Rohingya minority. As a statement by civil society organizations in the region states, "ASEAN must not consider the option of voluntary return without addressing the root causes of the displacement and entrenched discrimination of the Rohingya."

The opposition to the repatriation process beginning at this moment is clear. A statement by 42 aid agencies working both in Rakhine State and in the camps in Bangladesh gives a stark warning about premature return, stating the need for freedom of movement, access to essential services such as health and education, and most of all, security. Forcing the Rohingya to return under these conditions would be in breach of customary international law. As the statement by aid agencies warned, "The involuntary return of refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar, where their lives and safety remain at grave risk, is a violation of the fundamental principle of non-refoulement." This is echoed by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, who stated "I urge the Governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar to halt these rushed plans for repatriation, to ensure the protection of the Rohingya refugees and to adhere to their international human rights and refugee law obligations to ensure any returns are safe, sustainable, voluntary and dignified."

Worst of all, these plans for return have not been in consultation with the refugees themselves. If the Governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar had consulted Rohingya refugees, a clear message would have been received: that right now they dare not to go back. Added to this are the living conditions that they would return to. Their homes and villages have been burned or bulldozed to the ground, with plans underway for non-Rohingya residents to move onto this land. For the Rohingya, however, newly built 'reception centers' or 'transit camps' which resemble open-air prisons in which Rohingya cannot move freely to and from, segregated from the rest of the population of Myanmar, are waiting for them. In other words, apartheid.

There is now a deep fear among camp residents in Bangladesh about the prospect of return. One man attempted to commit suicide after he believed he would be forced to return against his will. Speaking to The Telegraph, his wife stated, "My husband said Burma, where we may face rape, murder and other violence again, is unsafe for all Rohingyas and so we should not return." Another refugee also expressed his fear, "The security forces who unleashed genocide-like violence against us are still around there. I can never trust them. There is no guarantee that they will not turn against us again as they did last year. I certainly want to go back to my homeland. But I cannot return until our demands are met."

The plans to repatriate Rohingya refugees are premature, dangerous, contravenes international human rights and refugee law obligations, and are against the express will of the primary stakeholders in this conversation – the refugees themselves. It is not that they never want to go home, but they must be able to return home in safety, dignity, and to be able to exercise their fundamental human rights, including freedom of movement, citizenship, and human security. International actors, such as ASEAN, have a responsibility to protect these most vulnerable communities by pressuring both the Myanmar and Bangladeshi governments to suspend their planned repatriation process. Furthermore, they must apply all possible pressure to the Myanmar Government to address the root causes of the Rohingya's displacement, and bring those perpetrators responsible for mass atrocities to account. 


[1] One year following the 1988 pro-democracy uprising, the former military junta changed the country's name from Burma to Myanmar overnight. Progressive Voice uses the term 'Myanmar' in acknowledgment that most people of the country use this term. However, the deception of inclusiveness and the historical process of coercion by the former State Peace and Development Council military regime into usage of 'Myanmar' rather than 'Burma' without the consent of the people is recognized and not forgotten.

 

LATEST FROM THE BLOG

 

By-Election Losses, Violence and Faltering Trust

By Progressive Voice

 

STATEMENTS AND PRESS RELEASES

 

42 NGOs Warn That Return of Refugees to Myanmar Now Would be Dangerous and Premature

By 42 Non-Governmental Organization

 

ASEAN Leaders Must Push Myanmar to End Rohingya Genocide

By Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK

 

ေကအဲန္ယူ – ကရင္အမ်ိဳးသား အစည္းအရံုး၏ (၆) ၾကိမ္ေျမာက္ ဗဟို အျမဲတမ္းေကာ္မတီ အေရးေပၚ အစည္းအေဝးမွ သေဘာထား ထုတ္ျပန္ခ်က္

By Karen National Union Headquarters

 

Statement on the 6th Central Standing Committee Emergency Meeting Which Was Held on 6 to 10 November, 2018.

By Karen National Union Headquarters

 

ကရင္ျပည္နယ္ ဘားအံျမိဳ ႔နယ္ တန္(၄၀၀၀) ဘိလပ္ေျမစက္ရံုု ႏွင္႔ ပတ္သက္ျပီး သတင္းထုုတ္ျပန္ေၾကျငာခ်က္

By Karen Local Community

 

Statement on the Opening of the Vacant, Fallow & Virgin Land Management Central Committee for Applying VFV Lands

By Land in Our Hands

 

ေျမလြတ္ေျမလပ္ႏွင့္ေျမ႐ိုင္းမ်ား စီမံခန္႔ခြဲမႉေကာ္မတီ အမည္ျဖင့္ ၂၀၁၈-ခုႏွစ္၊ ေအာက္တိုဘာလ (၃၀)ရက္ေန႔တြင္ ထုတ္ျပန္ခဲ့သည့္ ေျမလ…

By Land in Our Hands

 

Joint Statement to ASEAN Leaders: ASEAN must not consider the option of voluntary return without addressing the root causes of the displacement and entrenched discrimination of the Rohingya

By Progressive Voice and 11 Civil Soceity Organizations

 

Myanmar: UN Expert Pleads for Rohingya Returns to Stop, Fears Repeat Abuses May Await

By United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner

About Progressive Voice

 

Progressive Voice is a participatory rights-based policy research and advocacy organization that was born out of Burma Partnership. Burma Partnership officially ended its work on October 10, 2016 the same day that Progressive Voice was formally established. For further information, please see our press release "Burma Partnership Celebrates Continuing Regional Solidarity for Burma and Embraces the Work Ahead for Progressive Voice."

     


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

FBR: UPDATE: Fighting Displaces More than 400 Villagers in the Last Month


Editor’s Note: A previous version of this report went out which was an incomplete draft of field notes that could be seen to misrepresent the situation in Shan State. FBR has teams of RCSS/SSA-S and Ta’ang and we are friends with both organizations. We apologize for any misunderstanding. The correct version is below.

UPDATE: Fighting Displaces More than 400 Villagers in the Last Month

13 November 2018

Shan State, Burma

The Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army-South (RCSS/SSA-S) has defended itself against attacks by the Burma Army, despite being a signatory of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA). Along with clashes against encroaching Burma Army units, the RCSS/SSA-S has also had clashes with the Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), due to territorial disagreements in northern Shan State. This past July the TNLA aligned with the Shan State Progressive Party/Shan State Army-North (SSPP/SSA-N) to combat both the Burma Army and further territorial advances by the RCSS/SSA-S from the south.

This past July the TNLA aligned with the Shan State Progressive Party/ Shan State Army-North (SSPP/SSA-N) to combat further territorial advances from the south. The TNLA has also claimed in the past that the RCSS/SSA-S has fought in the interest of the Burma Army against other EAO's.

More than 180 civilians were displaced from their homes in Thienni Township in northern Shan State due to fighting between local EAOs. Soldiers from the TNLA and the SSPP/SSA-N clashed with troops from the RCSS/SSA-S.

According to the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the fighting took place between Mai Na and Kawng Wing villages. Villagers from Man Kyawng, Mai Na and Kawng Wing villages fled to safety in Man San Village.

Last month, fighting between these same two groups displaced over 300 villagers in neighboring Namtu Township.

Civilian Steps on Landmine Amidst Fighting in Muse Township

A force of about 300 soldiers from the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) clashed with Burma Army forces at Loi Lem Mountain in Kutkai Township.

The clash began at 1700 on Nov. 1 and continued the following day at 0700, leaving one TNLA soldier wounded, three Burma Army soldiers dead and local civilians fleeing south into Kutkai Township.

Mr. Maran Brang Tawng, a 70-year-old villager from Kawng Lim Village, triggered a landmine while he was out tending his cattle on Loi Lem Mountain on November 1st. He was wounded and two of his cattle were killed.


Love one another
Unite for freedom, justice and peace
Forgive and do not hate each other
Pray with faith, Act with courage
Never surrender

The Free Burma Rangers’ (FBR) mission is to provide hope, help and love to internally displaced people inside Burma, regardless of ethnicity or religion. Using a network of indigenous field teams, FBR reports on human rights abuses, casualties and the humanitarian needs of people who are under the oppression of the Burma Army. FBR provides medical, spiritual and educational resources for IDP communities as they struggle to survive Burmese military attacks.

For more information, please visit www.freeburmarangers.org

© 2017 Free Burma Rangers | Contact FBR

To unsubscribe from this email list, please respond to this email with the word REMOVE in the subject line, or send email to mailadmin@freeburmarangers.org.

FBR: Fighting Displaces More than 400 Villagers in the Last Month


Fighting Displaces More than 400 Villagers in the Last Month

13 November 2018

Shan State, Burma

Over the past six months an ethnic armed organization (EAO), Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army-South (RCSS/SSA-S) has fought both against the Burma Army, despite being a signatory of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), as well as other EAO's. Fighting between the RCSS/SSA-S and the Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) has been ongoing since the signing of the NCA in 2015 and is mainly due to territorial encroachment into the north by the RCSS/SSA-S.

This past July the TNLA aligned with the Shan State Progressive Party/ Shan State Army-North (SSPP/SSA-N) to combat further territorial advances from the south. The TNLA has also claimed in the past that the RCSS/SSA-S has fought in the interest of the Burma Army against other EAO's.

More than 180 civilians were displaced from their homes in Thienni Township in northern Shan State due to fighting between local EAOs. Soldiers from the TNLA and the SSPP/SSA-N clashed with troops from the RCSS/SSA-S.

According to the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the fighting took place between Mai Na and Kawng Wing villages. Villagers from Man Kyawng, Mai Na and Kawng Wing villages fled to safety in Man San Village.

Last month, fighting between these same two groups displaced over 300 villagers in neighboring Namtu Township.

Civilian Steps on Landmine Amidst Fighting in Muse Township

A force of about 300 soldiers from the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) clashed with Burma Army forces at Loi Lem Mountain in Kutkai Township.

The clash began at 1700 on Nov. 1 and continued the following day at 0700, leaving one TNLA soldier wounded, three Burma Army soldiers dead and local civilians fleeing south into Kutkai Township.

Mr. Maran Brang Tawng, a 70-year-old villager from Kawng Lim Village, triggered a landmine while he was out tending his cattle on Loi Lem Mountain on November 1st. He was wounded and two of his cattle were killed.


Love one another
Unite for freedom, justice and peace
Forgive and do not hate each other
Pray with faith, Act with courage
Never surrender

The Free Burma Rangers’ (FBR) mission is to provide hope, help and love to internally displaced people inside Burma, regardless of ethnicity or religion. Using a network of indigenous field teams, FBR reports on human rights abuses, casualties and the humanitarian needs of people who are under the oppression of the Burma Army. FBR provides medical, spiritual and educational resources for IDP communities as they struggle to survive Burmese military attacks.

For more information, please visit www.freeburmarangers.org

© 2017 Free Burma Rangers | Contact FBR

To unsubscribe from this email list, please respond to this email with the word REMOVE in the subject line, or send email to mailadmin@freeburmarangers.org.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi stripped of AI's highest award.

https://www.amnestyusa.org/press-releases/aung-san-suu-kyi-stripped-of-amnestys-highest-honor/

Monday, November 12, 2018

CNN--Roger Stone associate announces on Youtube he expects to be indicted by Mueller team in next couple of days.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgYarfilMr4

Why people flee Honduras--conditions much like BURMA.

https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2018/11/07/why-are-so-many-people-fleeing-honduras I once knew a graduate student from Honduras. 11-12-2018

Urgent: Bangladesh – Don’t force Rohingya back to Burma!

Dear friend

The government of Bangladesh has announced that on Thursday it will start sending Rohingya refugees back to Burma.

Rohingya refugees say they don't want to return, they are terrified of being forced back to Burma.

The UN say that genocide against the Rohingya is continuing, and UN aid agencies say conditions in Burma are not safe for Rohingya to return.
 
 "It is an ongoing genocide that is taking place at the moment"
United Nations Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar

Please take action now.
The government of Burma has built giant new prison camps, which it calls reception centres, for Rohingya refugees who return. They are hoping that if they can show Rohingya are returning then there will be less pressure from the international community.

Rohingya who return will have no freedom, no citizenship and will be living in constant fear. Government officials have described the 700,000 Rohingya who fled the military offensive last year as terrorists.

With the government and military in Burma still refusing even to admit they did anything wrong, let alone change policies towards the Rohingya, the government of Bangladesh fears Rohingya will never voluntarily return. Now it appears they are willing to force them to return.

Please email Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, asking her not to repatriate any Rohingya back to Burma until it is safe for them to return and they agree to do so.

Bangladesh must not force Rohingya back to Burma where they face genocide!

Take action now and please share with friends.

Thank you for your support.

Mark Farmaner
Burma Campaign UK
 
Help support the campaign - donate today!
Share
Tweet
Forward
Our mailing address is:
Burma Campaign UK
28 Charles Square
London, N1 6HT
United Kingdom

Add us to your address book


We hope you want to stay in touch but if you no longer want to receive our emails, you can unsubscribe here.   

Click here to update your subscription preferences. 

You can read our recently updated Privacy Policy here, which has additional information on how we use your information and how you can opt out. 

This email was sent to icfab8888.peacefulway@blogger.com

View this email in your browser