Press Release

Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN) welcomes the new report published on 20th June 2016 by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) of the United Nations pointing out the gross human rights violations committed against the Rohingya, Kachin and Shan peoples of Myanmar. BHRN fully agrees with the conclusion that these violations could be regarded as crimes against humanity in a court of law.

We are concerned that the new government led by the State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi is not giving any sign of working to remedy that situation, particularly regarding the situation in Rakhine State and the plight of the Rohingya minority.

On 17th June 2016, the Burmese envoy to the United Nations in Geneva suggested that the international community should use “Muslim from Rakhine State” instead of the term “Rohingya”. The new NLD government has been engaging in a diplomatic campaign to persuade foreign governments and the international community to avoid using the word “Rohingya” on the basis that the word is inflammatory.

While it is highly debatable that the roots of the conflict in Rakhine State lie in a mere semantic controversy, there is little doubt that the attempts to erase the word “Rohingya” constitute in themselves a denial of the right of selfidentification. BHRN believes that the attempts to banish the term “Rohingya” from public discourse amount to a denial of collective identity and, as such, constitute a breach of fundamental human rights norms.

We believe that the term “Muslim from Rakhine state” is inadequate because Islam is a religion, not an ethnic group, and because it ignores the identity of the people of Kaman ethnicity who have been living in the state for centuries. Kaman communities have shared much of the plight of Rohingya people since 2012, and we believe that an all-encompassing term like “Muslims from Rakhine State” is as potentially harmful to their identity as it is for the Rohingya.

Moreover, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi claimed during the visit of the US Secretary of State, Mr John Kerry, that she wished to avoid “emotive” terms unacceptable to opposing parties: while Rakhine Buddhists object to the term “Rohingya”, Rohingya people themselves can’t accept the term preferred by the former, “Bengali”, implying that they are foreigners from Bangladesh.

We believe that the argument put forth by Aung San Suu Kyi establishes a false equivalence between both positions, and that the right of the Rohingya people to self-identification overrides any possible “offence” which it may cause to others who, in any case, are not labelled under such term. But the reasoning also smacks to disingenuousness considering that the NLD government is not putting any effort in preventing extremists and hardliners from using the term Bengali.

We also call the NLD government to lift all restrictions on domestic and international aid in Rakhine state. The NLD government should prioritise the improvement of the dire living conditions of the people interned in IDP camps since 2012. The lack of adequate healthcare, appropriate food supplies and potable water in those camps is nothing less than a protracted humanitarian crisis.

The citizenship verification process launched recently by the NLD government is also a matter of concern. It is deeply problematic because it is based on the 1982 citizenship law. According to the UN, the 1982 Citizenship Law produced nearly 1.1 million stateless people in Burma, which is the largest stateless population living in a single country in the world. The law arbitrarily predicates citizenship on indigeneity, labelling as “national ethnic groups” those who had settled in Burma before 1824. Combined with a twisted reading of history, which denies the presence of Rohingya people in Rakhine before that date.

The draconian Citizenship Law should not have any place in a truly democratic country. We urge the democratically elected NLD government to draft a new citizenship law based on international standards and human rights norms. If the NLD government wishes to live up to the values it claims to hold, we urge it to take meaningful measures to restore the human rights that the military regime took violently from the Rohingya people, and to promote peaceful coexistence between the different communities that make up the rich ethnic tapestry in Rakhine state and Burma at large.

Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)

Media Enquiries
Please contact:
Kyaw Win
Executive Director of the Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)
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T: +44(0) 740 345 2378


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10 February, 2018

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February 07 2018, 21:44
MONOLOGUE FOR TWO:
HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST
KYAW WIN

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Events

  • The ROHINGYA crisis : 6 Months on

    The ROHINGYA crisis : 6 Months on

  • Religious Intolerance in Burma

    Religious Intolerance in Burma

  • Human Rights and Violence In Regional ASEAN

    Human Rights and Violence In Regional ASEAN

  • PERSECUTION OF MUSLIMS IN BURMA

    PERSECUTION OF MUSLIMS IN BURMA

World News About Burma

  • Silently, Burma is now expelling Rohingyas from its detention camps
  • Myanmar orders Rohingya to leave tense border zone
  • As the monsoons approach, the Rohingya refugees are desperate for hope
  • Humanitarian access worsening in Myanmar: UN official
  • Too many are looking away from Burma’s ethnic cleansing campaign
  • Amal Clooney to represent two Reuters journalists detained in Myanm
  • Burmese soldiers accused of escalating violence against northern minorities
  • U.N. chief 'shocked' by top Myanmar general's comments on Rohingya
  • Lawmakers call for pressure on Myanmar over Pyongyang ties
  • Australia condemns Myanmar violence and says offenders 'must be held to account'
  • UN genocide adviser: Indications Myanmar cleansing Rohingyas
  • Myanmar urged not to drag out case against Reuters reporters
  • Myanmar building military bases over Rohingya villages: Amnesty
  • I Saw a Genocide in Slow Motion
  • Former Rohingya MP, Aung Zaw Win, arrested in Myanmar
  • Rohingya demand help as Rakhine atrocities continue
  • The Genocide the U.S. Didn’t See Coming
  • MP calls for Aung San Suu Kyi to be stripped of Freedom of Dundee
  • Myanmar must take back Rohingyas with dignity: Lisa Curtis
  • Lisa Curtis: US will work towards the safe return of Rohingya
  • Silently, Burma is now expelling Rohingyas from its detention camps

    Over 700,000 Rohingya have been forcibly expelled from their ancestral lands in that country by a volatile mix of military aggression and religious persecution, with the country's government largely turning a blind eye or worse.

    State-sponsored violence has led to a massive exodus of the Rohingya from the country, a great human wave of refugees who have no choice but to flee for their lives before the onslaught . . . .

    www.washingtonexaminer.com


  • Myanmar orders Rohingya to leave tense border zone

    TOMBRU, Bangladesh: Myanmar security forces have resumed loudspeaker broadcasts near its border with Bangladesh ordering Rohingya Muslims to immediately leave a strip of no-man's land between the two countries, refugees said on Sunday (May 20).

    Around 6,000 refugees from the persecuted minority have been camping on the narrow stretch of land since fleeing a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar's west last August . . . .

    www.channelnewsasia.com


  • As the monsoons approach, the Rohingya refugees are desperate for hope

    Exhausted parents dragging toddlers through water and mud, babies carried in the arms of siblings little older than themselves, and horrifyingly tiny graves of children who did not survive the journey.

    This is the confronting scene we witnessed in January at the Rohingya refugee settlements surrounding Cox’s Bazar on our visit to South-East Bangladesh as co-chairs of the parliamentary friends of Unicef.. . . .

    www.theguardian.com


  • Humanitarian access worsening in Myanmar: UN official

    Ursula Mueller, assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and deputy emergency relief coordinator, concluded her six-day mission to the country on Sunday. She visited several conflict-torn ethnic areas of Myanmar including western Rakhine state, northern Kachin state and northeastern Shan state.

    “When you cut that humanitarian lifeline, there is a very real human impact,” she said. . . .

    www.aa.com.tr


  • Too many are looking away from Burma’s ethnic cleansing campaign

    The writers insist that Buddhists must speak out about atrocities against the Rohingya, no matter how painful. “Like many around the world, we have been horrified by reports of widespread atrocities committed by Myanmar security forces ,” the letter says. “These have included mass rape, arson, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings that had included the sadistic murder and torture of young Rohingya children and infants . . .

    www.washingtonpost.com


  • Amal Clooney to represent two Reuters journalists detained in Myanm

    Prominent human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has joined the legal team representing two Reuters journalists detained in Myanmar. A court in Yangon has been holding preliminary hearings since January to decide whether Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, will be charged under the colonial-era Officials Secrets Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison . . .

    www.reuters.com


  • Burmese soldiers accused of escalating violence against northern minorities

    Human rights atrocities and potential war crimes have been stepped up against other Burmese minorities while the world has been distracted by the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims, a new United Nations report has revealed . . .

    www.telegraph.co.uk


  • U.N. chief 'shocked' by top Myanmar general's comments on Rohingya

    U.N. chief Guterres said in a statement on Monday he was “shocked” at the comments, and urged “all leaders in Myanmar to take a unified stance against incitement to hatred and to promote communal harmony”. . .

    www.reuters.com


  • Lawmakers call for pressure on Myanmar over Pyongyang ties

    WASHINGTON >> The Trump administration has slapped sanctions on companies across the globe to punish illicit trade with nuclear-armed North Korea, yet Myanmar, which is suspected of acquiring ballistic missile systems from the pariah state, has escaped the full force of the “maximum pressure” campaign . . .

    www.news-herald.com


  • Australia condemns Myanmar violence and says offenders 'must be held to account'

    Australia has told Myanmar that international observers must be allowed into the isolated Rakhine state to monitor the situation of Rohingya still living there, and to supervise the return of any of those who have fled and wish to come back. . .

    www.theguardian.com


  • UN genocide adviser: Indications Myanmar cleansing Rohingyas

    UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. adviser on preventing genocide said Tuesday that all information he has received indicates the Myanmar government intended to get rid of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state and possibly even destroy them “which, if proven, would constitute the crime of genocide”. . .

    www.washingtonpost.com


  • Myanmar urged not to drag out case against Reuters reporters

    YANGON (Reuters) - Some international observers urged Myanmar on Wednesday not to drag out legal proceedings against two Reuters journalists, as they appeared in court for the 10th time since they were arrested in December and accused of possessing secret government papers . . .

    uk.reuters.com


  • Myanmar building military bases over Rohingya villages: Amnesty

    Security forces have bulldozed houses and started constructing at least three new security facilities in Myanmar's western Rakhine state, said Amnesty International's Remaking Rakhine State report, which was published on Monday . . .

    www.aljazeera.com


  • I Saw a Genocide in Slow Motion

    Sometimes Myanmar uses guns and machetes for ethnic cleansing, and that’s how Sono Wara earlier lost her mother and sister. But it also kills more subtly and secretly by regularly denying medical care and blocking humanitarian aid to Rohingya, and that’s why her twins are gone . . .

    www.nytimes.com


  • Former Rohingya MP, Aung Zaw Win, arrested in Myanmar

    Aung Zaw Win, a major property tycoon and former MP for the Union Solidarity and Development party, was arrested at Yangon international airport on Wednesday as he was about to leave on a business trip to Bangkok . . .

    www.theguardian.com


  • Rohingya demand help as Rakhine atrocities continue

    MORE THAN 100 women were gang-raped. One was raped in front of people she loved and later killed. Even a woman eight months’ pregnant was raped.

    Sultana Razia, a Rohingya teacher from Chittagong, exposed such atrocities perpetrated against her . . .

    www.nationmultimedia.com


  • The Genocide the U.S. Didn’t See Coming

    Barack Obama was determined to open up to Myanmar. Now the country’s military is slaughtering its most vulnerable ethnic group. Could the United States have prevented it? . . .

    By NAHAL TOOSI March/April 2018

    www.politico.com



  • MP calls for Aung San Suu Kyi to be stripped of Freedom of Dundee

    Dundee West MP Chris Law has said it is time for Myanmar leader Aun San Suu Kyi to be stripped of the freedom of the city over her country’s treatment of Rohingya Muslims . . .

    Mr Law and other members of the International Development Committee were . . .

    www.thecourier.co.uk

  • Myanmar must take back Rohingyas with dignity: Lisa Curtis

    Myanmar has to take back the Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh after ensuring their security and dignity, Deputy Assistant to US President Donald Trump Lisa Curtis says on March 3, 2018. In the Reuters file photo, Rohingya refugee children fly improvised kites at Kutupalong refugee camp near Cox's Bazar . . .

    www.thedailystar.net
  • Lisa Curtis: US will work towards the safe return of Rohingya

    Lisa Curtis, deputy assistant to US President Donald Trump and senior director for South and Central Asia at the National Security Council at the White House, has lauded Bangladesh for its extensive humanitarian support to the persecuted Rohingya refugees from strife-torn Rakhine state of Myanmar . . .

    www.dhakatribune.com

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