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Joint Statement on the Official Report of the Rakhine (Arakan) Investigation Commission

By 10 Rohingya organizations  •  May 3, 2013

We the undersigned organizations reject the 186-page official report dated 22 April 2013 of the Arakan Investigation Commission as follows:

1. The Rakhine Investigation Commission formed on 17 August 2012 by President Thein Sein included representatives from various religious and political parties and democracy groups except Rohingya representatives, who have been actual and potential victims of deadly violence and genocidal attacks. Haji U Nyunt Maung Shein and U Tin Maung Than, the two prominent Muslim leaders were purged from the Commission seeing that they were most insistent on the truth.

2. It is a biased report favouring Rakhines, their hostile views and arguments towards Rohingya people. It purposely suppresses the core fact of the problem that the Rohingya people have long been subjected to institutionalized persecution, ethnic cleansing and genocidal onslaughts at the hands of the government and state sponsored non-state actors, particularly the extremist Rakhines.

3. The Inquiry Commission has lost its credibility since it has been manned with people who either directly or indirectly supported, involved or publicly put fuel on crisis. The commission member veterinary doctor Aye Maung (MP), leader of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP), is the main mastermind in the violence and ‘Rohingya ethnic cleansing’, who graphically described his Rohingya annihilation plan in Rathedaung Rakhine Conference held on 25-26 September 2012. Nearly every understanding or recommendation of the Commission translates the view of the RNDP.

4. The Commission, despite comprising of scholarly people, has largely distorted Rohingya historicity dubbing them ‘Bengalis’ and depicting them migrant community with no historical roots in Arakan, although they are a people developed in Arakan from peoples of different ethnical backgrounds over the centuries with their Muslim settlements dated back to early 8th century.

5. The previous parliamentary government recognized the ‘Rohingya’ as one of the many ethnic groups of the Union of Burma with their language programme relayed thrice weekly from government Burma Broadcasting Service (BBS), Rangoon. In spite of that the Commission has deliberately ignored this documented fact and used the term ‘Bengali’ supporting the fierce contention of the Rakhine promoting ‘Rohingya ethnocide’ aims at turning Arakan into a Muslim-free Rakhinized region.

6. The Commission report falsely elevates the position of Rakhine as ‘prime nation’ and relegates the Rohingya as ‘sub-nation’ thus promoting the government’s current plan to segregate Rohingya under its ‘neo-apartheid policy’. It describes the Rohingyas as low-class and uncultured hardworking people, who produce more children and want to seize the arable lands of the lazy Rakhines. It is insulting that the commissioners felt irritated by the repeated telephone calls from ‘dying-alive Rohingyas’ giving accounts of their sufferings emotionally for redress.

7. The Commission never called for the accountability of the government and its agencies, state sponsored non-state actors or Rakhine extremists for June-October 2012 deadly violence or carnage, and for their decades of Rohingya persecution, tyranny, exclusion and xenophobia that reduce them to the present state of helplessness, without basic freedoms like freedom of movement, religion, education, marriage, right to business, right to work etc.

8. The Commission never pointed out the hostile environment and impossible situation created by the administration with the oppressive functionaries and government agencies like NaSaKa border security force, police, Lon Htin and army and Rakhine terrorists for a peaceful living of the Rohingya. As a result, half of their population of 1more than 1.5 million people have had left their homeland of Arakan to escape persecution. They are living in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, USA, Canada and other countries.

9. The Commission never hinted the tragedies of the Rohingya boat people arising out of the continued large-scale persecution and crimes against humanity against Rohingya community in Arakan although the problem becomes a concern of the UN, OIC, EU, ASEAN and international community.

10. The report made no mention of the statement of President Thein Sein as well as the demand of the RNDP leader Dr. Aye Maung to deport Rohingya people to a third country, which reflects and promotes official ‘Rohingya ethnic-cleansing policy’ of the government.

11. The Commission ignored to call for amendment of the world most repressive Burma Citizenship Law of 1982. Its recommendations lack the spirits of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and international human rights and humanitarian laws.

12. The report extremely distorted the number of deaths and extent of destruction of the Rohingya and Kaman Muslims whereas there are reports of several mass graves of Rohingya dead bodies; and the credible human rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated that it has uncovered 4 mass graves in North Arakan. Likewise an AlJazeera documentary film released after the violence confirmed that crimes of genocide have been committed in Arakan against the Rohingya.

13. The report stayed away from mentioning that the police, Lon Htin, NaSaKa and army took part in the killing of the Muslims and torching their houses. The report mentions about the imposition of section 144, but lamentably it fails to tell the tangible truth that the curfew has only been applied on the Rohingyas or Muslims while the Rakhine terrorists, including armed cadres of the Arakan Liberation Party/Army (ALP/ALA), were allowed to carry on the genocidal onslaughts and mass destruction against the Muslims.

14. Waves of deadly violence carried against the Rohingyas and Kamans were preplanned by the RNDP, of course, with the backing of the administration under the pretext of rape and murder of a 28-year old Rakhine woman Ma Thida Twe. Most of the issues raised by the Commission as the causes of violence were irrelevant as well as unfounded.

15. The Commission did partiality by endorsing the make-believe story of the government which stated that Ma Thida Twe was raped and murdered by what they called three Bengalis. But according to highly credible person of the Commission, there was no trace of rape found by the doctor who performed post mortem of her corpse; but the doctor was forced to sign the official post mortem report. Moreover, there was no mention of the ‘suicide in police custody’ of the principal accused Mr. Htet Htet who happened to be a Rakhine, not Rohingya or Bengalis.

16. It is a concocted allegation of the Commission that an excess number of 5,603 refugee families with 30,338 members had to be repatriated from Bangladesh in 1978. International community was well aware that the repatriation was done under strict scrutiny on both sides the borders, and that the refugees had resisted the forced repatriation for lack of congenial atmosphere for their safe return to Arakan. The question naturally arises is who would be going to the hellish Arakan where the human right situation of the Rohingyas were dire.

17. The report said that “in 1988 Ma Ra Waddi monastery at Maungdaw was burned down by Bengalis and the abbot had escaped away; the monastery was torched by the Bengalis for three times”. It is baseless information aims at inciting public sentiment against the Rohingyas.

18. The Commissions reported some imaginary and nonsense information like Rohingyas attacking Rakhines, destroying Buddhist monasteries and committing rape of their women. It also said that “in 1998, more than 5,000 people led by Rohingya Liberation Organization (RLO) suddenly entered Maungdaw and tried to occupy the town by destroying Buddhist monasteries, torching Rakhine quarters and killing every single Rakhine, but the police could control the situation through resistance.” In reality there was no party by the name of RLO; and also there was no information, record or report of such plot or attack among the general public and in the media. The allegation is a blatant lie and politically motivated. It is surprising that, although there have been numerous cases of killing of Rohingya, rape of Rohingya women and girls, destruction and torching of their houses, looting of their properties and extortion on daily basis, committed by the extremist Rakhines, police and security forces, the biased and bigoted Commission did not mention a single such incident. This lie proves that the Commission is contemptible and its report is a rubbish piece.

19. There was no incident on 8th of June 2012 that the Rohingyas chanted slogan “long live Muslilms, kill all Rakhines”. This is concocted report promoting hatred against the Rohingyas.

20. The Commission reported that 246 Rakhines and 1589 Rohingyas were arrested since violence, But it is regretted that Commission did not investigate how and why these Rohingyas had been arrested and also it did not say anything about the jail killing, the squalid condition and inhuman and degrading treatment and torture of the Rohingya inmates.

21. The Commission’s recommendations to double the security forces and take effective measures to prevent so-called illegal immigrants from Bangladesh is just a false alarm intended to distract attention from the main issue of Rohingya genocide. For the Rohingyas, increase in armed and security forces means increased crimes against humanity against them. It is important that repressive functionaries should not be augmented if they do not maintain law and order situation to ensure security, justice and equality without discrimination.

22. There are no Rohingya illegal immigrants in Arakan, which has long been a big hell and concentration camp for the Muslims. In fact, Rohingyas have been systematically expelled or have had to leave their homeland since 1942 Muslim massacre in Arakan. In contrast, tens of thousands of illegal Bengali Rakhine Buddhists are regularly invited and settled down on the confiscated lands of the Rohingyas. The whole northern Arakan is now dotted with Buddhist settler villages. But the Commission is silent about it.

23. However, we welcome some forward-thinking recommendations, including recommendations to address the dire humanitarian situation in Muslim displacement camps provided that they are truly, humanely, immediately and timely implemented.

24. Last but not least, we call for an immediate UN Inquiry Commission to conduct a prompt, full and impartial investigation of all allegations and take appropriate action against those responsible.

Signatories to this joint statement:

1. Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO)
2. Burmese Rohingya Organisation United Kingdom (BROUK)
3. Burmese Rohingya Association Japan (BRAJ)
4. Burmese Rohingya Community in Australia (BRCA)
5. Burmese Rohingya Association Deutschland (BRAD)
6. Burmese Rohingya Community in Denmark (BRCD)
7. Burmese Rohingya Community in Netherlands (BRCNL)
8. Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand (BRAT)
9. Rohingya Community in Norway (RCN)
10. Rohingya Society Malaysia (RSM)

For more information, please contact:

Tun Khin: + 44 788 871 4866 
Nay San Lwin + 49 179 653 5213 

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This post is in: Press Release

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