Sydney, September 30, 2017
The Burmese government using its military and Buddhist extremist vigilantes is orchestrating a well organised plan to totally get rid of the indigenous people of Arakan in Myanmar known as Rohingyas.
For decades, it has denied them citizenship, access to health, ownership of land and freedom of movement.
Buddhist extremists have been in denial to even acknowledge their presence in Burma and from time to time have violently attacked them.
Some Rohingyas have taken up arms to defend themselves against decades of discrimination and repression and last month attacked several police posts in Arakan.
Using this as a pretext that they are fighting terrorists, the Burmese military has embarked on a programme for the total genocide of Rohingyas in Myanmar and clear them out of Arakan once and for all.
The military in collaboration with non-Muslim vigilantes who they have fully armed have embarked on a step by step operation to terrorise the Rohingya population of Arakan by setting fire to their villages, then firing on those who run for their life.
They have employed gang rape of women as a tactic to instill fear in the Rohingya population so that they cannot even think of coming back to their ancestral land.
Refugees flee to Bangladesh
These atrocities have continued now for more than a month where half the Rohingya population of one million have fled empty handed to Bangladesh including 250,000 malnourished children and almost 55,000 pregnant and lactating women.
While there has been universal condemnation of these tactics by the Burmese military, those who are in authority have not come up with any plans to save these people or alleviate their misery.
In the face of inaction by UN and those in power, the Burmese military continues burning of Rohingya villages and turning them out of Arakan.
Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid from Burma Task Force USA has been on the ground in the Bangladeshi refugee camp areas for a week and has described the pathetic situation of the refugees urging the world to make representation with their governments to take action.
Eyewitnesses, photographs and multiple reports show that Rohingyas villages continued to be burnt and that Myanmar security forces continue to plant internationally-banned anti-personnel mines on the border that are blowing up Rohingya people fleeing to Bangladesh.
Oliver White, UNICEF Australia senior policy adviser, who has just returned from Bangladesh, said unless life-saving assistance is delivered in a strategic and orderly manner to the Rohingya camps “the threat of death from malnutrition, diseases like cholera and measles, frustration-driven rioting and escalating levels of sex and gender-based violence will see this crisis become a catastrophe.”
“We are talking about massive numbers of people who are arriving starving, with sick and wounded children, needing sanitation and shelter on a huge scale.”
The UN supported by world powers needs to provide safe havens for Rohingyas remaining in Myanmar and develop a marshal plan to bring the refugees back to their ancestral land providing them safety and security.
The Myanmar government should be forced to provide the Rohingyas with full citizenship rights and stop racial discrimination and religious persecution in Myanmar.
Zia Ahmad is Managing Editor, Australasian Muslim Times, a monthly web-based newspaper published from Sydney, Australia. The above article, which appeared in the October 2017 issue of the publication, has been reproduced here with the permission of Mr Ahmad.
The suffering Muslims in Myanmar
(Picture Courtesy: Australasian Muslim Times)