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Rohingyas: caught in a crisis of existence
by Rohingya Human Rights
2014-11-08 12:44:57
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Rohingyas: caught in a crisis of existence
By Nurul Islam

The Rohingyas are not originally from Bangladesh. They are the children of the first settlers of Arakan, which is part of Burma(Myanmar). Their ancestors lived in Arakan since the time immemorial. Many writers claim their ethnic origin to be from Arab traders who settled in Bengal and Arakan 785–957AD. They claim that the Rohingya ethnic ancestry is a mixture of those Arab traders and local population and the language is similar to the dialect Chittagong with a slight variation because during this period Arab traders began to settle both in Arakan and Chittagong of present Bangladesh. Inter mixture with the local population led to the first Chandra-Rohingyas of Arakan.During this time, in both Arakan and Chittagong, the influence of Sanskrit, Pali, Arabic, Persi, and  Portuguese combined together eventually formed the Chandra-Rohingya dialect which is similar to the Chittagonian.

Inspite of extermination campaign against the Arakanse Muslims when the British occupied the territory in 1824, 30 percent of the population was Muslim, who are now known as Rohingya. After Burma was declared as an independent state by the colonial British administration in 1948,sadly,the territory of Arakan,with a sizable of population was let to remain as part of Burma.The  British governance planted the seed of today`s trouble for the Rohingya people who had collaborated with the regime during the world war II against the Japanese and were abandoned when the country was declared Independence.During the war, it is worth noting that the Buddhist majority Rakhines of Arakan collaborated with the Japanese army, embittering the relationship between the two major groups Rohingya and Rakhine. The Rohingyas are one of the most persecuted people on our planet simply because of their religion, it is Islam, and ethnicity ,which is similar to many of south Asia.The world community need to advocate for and restore their integration as citizens of Myanmar on an equal footing.

1498955006cf5770_400Recently, the government of Myanmar put forward a new Rohingya plan to the United Nations. Under that plan, the oppressed minority in Rohingya will be left with two alternatives. The first is to take Bangladeshi citizenship, thus securing a right of citizenship, and then under the law of 1982 they can later take Myanmar citizenship. Those who decline will be held in camps under frightful conditions.At first sight, the first option might be regarded as the Myanmar government making citizenship available to Rohingya Muslims. However, according to the insight from activists interested in Muslims and the people of Rohingya, in fact, this seems to be a plan to expel the Muslims of Rohingya from the country entirely. Rohingya Muslims who take advantage of this law to take Bangladeshi citizenship would then be regarded as foreigners in their own land. In order to be regarded as citizens again, they will need documents proving their histories. Yet most of the Rohingya people who live in camps have no documents referring to their pasts, or else these were destroyed in the uprisings of 2012. The passage to citizenship will therefore be impossible. The Myanmar government would shortly thereafter send these people to camps, on the basis that they are ‘foreign,’ or else expel them from the country entirely. Those people who take Bangladeshi citizenship would also not be recognized by Bangladesh because they were not born in that country. At the end of the day, this law is actually not binding at all on Bangladesh. Meanwhile, those of the Rohingyas, who refuse to take Bangladeshi citizenship, would be taken from the towns and villages where they live and sent to refugee camps as detainees. Under the new plan, these people will be swiftly expelled from the country, and the Myanmar government may apply to the U.N. to send these people overseas as refugees. The problem is that the U.N. does not recognize these oppressed people as refugees. Under the plan in question, one million Rohingyas will face that terrible end. A new UN draft resolution calls on country to abandon plans to force Rohingya Muslims to identify as ‘Bengali’ – term used to brand them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. The resolution –also urges Myanmar to grant the largely stateless Rohingya“access to fullcitizenship.”“Almost every General Assembly resolution on Burma  in the past decade has called for action on the Rohingya and the Burmese government has not only ignored these calls, but stepped up repression,” Mark Farmer, director of the rights group, told the AA.The U.N. has previously described the Rohingya as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities. They face severe restrictions on freedom of movement and live in fear of arbitrary arrests and violence in the predominantly Buddhist country.

Around 140,000 are confined by armed guards and checkpoints to squalid camps on the outskirts of the Sittwe, the capital of northwestern Rakhine state, after mob attacks on their villages in 2012 forced them to flee their homes. Since then more than 100, 000 have fled Myanmar on overcrowded, rickety boats. The Rohingya have ironically seen their lot worsen under President Thein Sein’s government, as new freedoms have emboldened Buddhist extremists.
The government wants to register Myanmar’s roughly one million Rohingya as part of an “action plan,” and says those who register as Bengali will have the chance of obtaining citizenship. Those who refuse will face possible detainment and deportation. The U.N. resolution, drafted by the European Union, urges the government to “allow self-identification” for the Rohingya and to allow them “freedom of movement and equal access to full citizenship.”

After a visit to Rakhine, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on human rights, Yanghee Lee, stated July 26 during a press conference at Yangon International Airport that she was “repeatedly told not to use the term ‘Rohingya’ as this was not recognized by the government.”But she countered that “the rights of minorities to self-identify… is related to the obligations of States to ensure non-discrimination against individuals and groups.”The resolution is now before the General Assembly. Even though it is non-binding it is hoped it will add to pressure on Myanmar’s government ahead of a visit to Burma  by United States President Barack Obama for a regional summit to be held by mid November, 2014. 

If the existing horrible situation of Rohingya in Burma continue, one day all the Rohingya people  will be exterminated from their ancestral land Arakan, Burma and in no longer the entire Rohingya people will be disappeared  from the horrendous Horizon. To rescue and  salvage this rootless Human Generation from terminating for ever, stern   pressurizing of the world community on Myanmar to drop its nontransparent and illogical "Rohingya Identification Plan" is a call of the time and sagacious mankind of the Globe. We also urge upon the international community, ASEAN, EU, USA, Australia and neighbouring countries to protect the defenseless Rohingya people in Burma before it is too late

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