Rohingyas and Malaysian activists have gathered in Jalan Ampang in Kuala Lumpur, not far from the Myanmar Embassy, for a protest following harrowing reports of violence against the Rohingya community in Arakan state in Myanmar.
The protesters gathered from 11am in front of the Tabung Haji headquarters near the Ampang Park LRT Station.
This was the memorandum submitted to the Myanmar Embassy by Mapim (Majlis Perundingan Pertubuhan Islam Malaysia or Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organisations):
30 August 2017
Aung San Suu Kyi
State Counsellor of Myanmar
Mr Htin Kyaw
President of Myanmar
HE Zaw Myint
Ambassador of Myanmar to Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Stop the military operation and genocide of Rohingya population
We, from the Malaysian NGOs listed below, are seriously concerned pertaiining to the current Myanmar military operation in Rakhine state. The supposedly targeted operation to crackdown on insurgency group, is now indiscriminately victimising the Rohingya ethnic.
Reported random bombing and destruction of villages in the township of Maungdaw , Buthidung and Ruthidung has resulted in cleansing the Rohingya villagers from their homes, forcing them to flee for safety. The operation is a brutal collective punishment on the innocent civilians.
This is undeniably an operation not to hunt down insurgency militants but to wipe out the Rohingya. After less than a few days of operation, dozens of villages are burnt to ashes , thousands are seeking refuge, hundreds are killed including women and children. The operation is executed with impunity with heavy army artillery including fighter helicopters and IPG launchers. The attacks are rampant and spare no one: children, women, the old and sick.
We are registering our strong protest against the way the Myanmar government is resolving the current situation. The arbitrary arrests, indiscriminate killing, force eviction, rampant burning of villages of the Rohingya population are clearly a violation of international law and human rights.
We condemn the Myanmar military for conducting the repeat of a brutal operation in northern Rakhine. From UN reports, the miltary stands accused of a litany of human rights abuses against the local Rohingya population, which include extrajudicial killing, sexual assault and arson.
Humanitarian organisations estimate that as many as 17,000 Rohingya Muslims have been displaced from their homes in northern Rakhine state since the counterinsurgency operation began in October 2016 until March 2017.
Now, since the recent operation started on 25 August 2017, there will be more fleeing for safety in the jungles and crossing the Naf River to Bangladesh. The lastest information on the ground depicts that more than 25 villages have been destroyed, more than 20,000 have fled from their burnt houses, the biggest madrasah in the town of Mirula completely destroyed, more than 500 killed.
Even these attrocities executed by the military and armed vigilantes are being re-directed to the Rohingyas. Officials and government-owned media have the audacity to allege that all these were done by the Rohingya militants themselves.
We abhore this distorted version of the current narrative. The Rohingyas are defenceless, and they have become the victims of years of persecution.
We are shocked to receive reports of aid workers prohibited from attending to the needs of the victims and foreign and independent journalists blocked from the military zone, while others have been harassed for reporting on the alleged abuses.
We are perturbed by the Myanmar government denying the human rights abuses of troops the raping of women and the burning of houses though it has been confirmed by the UN Yanghe Lee report.
We are gathering news that the military has expanded its area of operation so even more people are experiencing aattacks, raids, looting and arrests.
From what has been declared by the executive secretary of the Rakhine state government, Tin Maung Swe: “We must protect our national interests and these Muslims are not part of that. We don’t care what you foreigners think. We must protect our land and our people, humanitarian concerns are a secondary priority.”
This is a clear signal the situation will get worse since the Myanmar government is adamant about wiping out the Rohingya, going against the call by the international community for the Myanmar government to halt the persecution of the Rohingyas.
We are shocked to know that the Myanmar government has begun arming and training a “regional police force” comprised of non-Muslim residents from the troubled townships in northern Rakhine. The government’s decision to arm civilians has stoked fears of another bloody conflict in a region of Myanmar already reeling from a wave of inter-religious violence that left hundreds dead and 140,000 displaced in 2012.
As warned by the International Commission of Jurists, “establishing an armed, untrained, unaccountable force drawn from only one community in the midst of serious ethnic tensions and violence is a recipe for disaster.”
The recent military operation is evidence of this worry becoming a reality since Rohingya Muslims in northern Rakhine State are already feeling the full force of the Myanmar military.
We regret you offering no words of stoping the violence, and your deafening silence on the brewing sectarian conflict and the military brutality inflicted upon the Rohingya population reflects your stand that there is no future of peace for the Rohingyas and the region.
We call on the Myanmar government:
- to immediately stop the military operation and the arming of the Rakhine civilians that have targeted the Rohingya people.
- to adhere to the Asean Human Rights Declaration to protect the human rights of all people irrespective of race, religion and creed.
- to resolve the status of the Rohingya by resuming their citizenship and to allow equal treatment and opportunity to participate in the national development of Myanmar.
- to respect and submit to the resolutions passed by the UNHRC to allow the fact-finding mission to gain access to the affected areas.
- to restore peace in the affected areas, disarm the vigilante groups amongst the Rakhine people and to allow the displaced victims to return to their homes safely.
- to compensate all the losses suffered by the population and to rebuild the homes and villages destroyed by the attacks launched against the Rohingya civilians.
- to allow humanitarian organisations into the affected areas to assist in the rehabilitation of the displaced people in the whole of Rakhine state.
- to stop all extrajudicial killings and arbitrary arrestd and to allow an independent investigation to bring to justice those involved in the crimes against humanity and violations of human rights.
- to give access to the fact-finding team to collate evidence on the ground in Rakhine state as mandated by the UNHRC.
Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid
Pas Humanitarian Affair & Relief Centre -Pas Relief
Secretariate for the Asian Assembly of Muslim Scholars (Shura)
Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organisations
Persatuan Permuafakatan Majlis Ayahanda-Ayahanda Malaysia (Permas)
Kelab Putera 1 Malaysia
Asean Coaliation for Justice and Peace
Persatuan Serantau Muslim
Universal Justice Network
Persatuan Sahabat Cakna Trengganu
Aqsa Working Group Indonesia
Teachers Working Group Indonesia
international Relief and Humanitarian Outreach, Malaysia (IReach)
Yayasan Amal Foundation
Malaysian University Graduates Assembly, Malaysia (Haluan)
Ulama Association of Malaysia
Rohingya Ulama Council
United World Rohingya Union
Malaysian Comunity Care Foundation
Muslimah Ukhuwwah Association, Malaysia (Salimah)
Cambodia Developement And Justice Association
Masjid Network Thailand
Federation of National Muslim Students Malaysia (PKPIM)
Persatuan Peduli Dhuafa dan Pengupayaan Masyarakat.
Baitul Latif Social Service Centre
Center for International Muslim Minority Affairs
Persatuan Teras Kebajikan dan Pendidikan Melayu