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Rohingyas Call On EU to Support UN Commission of Inquiry on Burma

By National Democratic Party for Human Rights (In Exile), Arakan Rohingya National Organisation, Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK, Burmese Rohingya Association in Japan, Rohingya Community in Norway, and Rohingya League for Democracy in Burma  •  August 10, 2011

Over a period of many years the Burmese military dictatorship has been persistently violating international law. Grave human rights violations and abuses have been committed across the country. They are widespread, systematic and consistent against the ethnic peoples particularly in northern Arakan State and Eastern Burma that amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes under the terms of Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court.

The Rohingyas of Arakan in Burma are one of the most persecuted, underrepresented and voiceless peoples in 21st century. The Burmese regime has deprived them of citizenship rendering them ‘stateless in their own country’. Rape and sexual violence, murder, destruction of settlements, expulsion and other inhuman acts — like severe restrictions on their freedom of movement, education, marriage and criminal atrocities–have been committed against them with intent to destroy this minority Muslim community from their ancestral homeland of Arakan.

The Rohingyas are not tolerated in Burma because of their ethnicity and religion, and also for their skin and South-Asian appearance. Racist disdain for the Rohingya by the Burmese authorities was exemplified recently in Burmese diplomatic correspondence which characterized the Rohingya “as ugly as ogres”. This ought to be beyond the tolerance of international civil society.

In April 1994, following attacks by Rohingya rebels, the Senior General Than Shwe ordered Gen Win Myint, the commander of the Western Regional Command (later SPDC’s Secretary 3) to carry out indiscriminate killing against the Rohingyas: It was testified by U Aung Linn Htut, a former Intelligence officer who served as a senior diplomat at the Burmese Embassy in Washington that Than Shwe ordered Gen Win Myint, the commander of the Western Regional Command (later SPDC’s Secretary 3) “Eliminate them! Don’t even leave an infant alive! They are just kala [a degrading term for people of Indian descent], not human! Sentence them to the maximum imprisonment!” Then the army rounded up more than 400 people, including civilians, and as soon as they received their orders from the GHQ office, they killed them all. Later the woodcutters from Buthidaung had spotted a mass grave with iles of human skeletons in Mayu hills. But on information, the human remains were immediately removed by the army. This systematic killing may amount to an act of genocide.

Mr Quintana, the first UN Special Rapporteur to visit northern Arakan State in February 2010, expressed his deep concern about the systematic and widespread discrimination faced by the Rohingya. The report titled “Crimes against Humanity in Western Burma: The situation on Rohingyas” released in June 2010 by the Irish Centre for Human Rights (ICHR) affirms that international community has the responsibility to protect the Rohingyas, to respond to the allegations of Crimes against Humanity and to ensure that violations and impunity do not continue for another generation.

Following the deeply flawed national elections of 2010, attacks against ethnic minorities in eastern Burma have escalated with extra judicial killing and torture, rape, forced labour and forced portering. In February 2011, the regime also rejected 16 separate requests for investigations into human rights abuses made by the UN Human Rights Council as part of the Universal Periodic Review. These inhuman actions of the Burmese regime have created internally displaced persons (IDPs), outflows refugees across the international borders and humanitarian crises posing threat to regional instability having dimension in the perspective of internationalism.

We strongly support the recommendation, in March 2010, by the UN Special Rapporteur Mr. Quantana to establish a Commission of Inquiry into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Burma. We call upon the international community and UN Member States, including EU and ASEAN, to support the commission of inquiry in the interest of international peace and security, and for the protection and promotion of democracy and human rights in Burma.

As the European Union prepares to draft the next UN General Assembly resolution on Burma, EU members must agree to include the establishment of an inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity.

National Democratic Party for Human Rights (In Exile) NDPHR (In Exile)
Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO)
Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK)
Burmese Rohingya Association in Japan (BRAJ)
Rohingya Community in Norway (RCN)
Rohingya League for Democracy Burma (RLDB)

For more information please contact: Tun Khin +44 788 871 4866

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This post is in: Crimes Against Humanity, Press Release

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