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Genocide is Brewing in Burma

Genocide is Brewing in Burma

This post is courtesy our friends at United to End Genocide, who interviewed Mr. Mohiuddin M. Yusof, President of Rohingya Concern International, to learn more about the current crisis facing Burma’s Rohingya people following the outbreak of deadly violence in Arakan State this past June. You can also take action to stand with United to End Genocide to stop the attacks on the Rohingya people.

Can you talk about what is happening right now in Burma’s Arakan State?

The displaced people and those who are not displaced, but still live in their own homes and villages, are both still suffering a lot. Actually, those law enforcement agencies, security forces and police who have the responsibility to protect the lives of the Rohingya people have become an instrument of ethnic cleansing. This is still true today.

The situation may seem calm, but the inside is burning. The Rohingya people are traumatized. People are in constant fear of persecution.

The situation has not progressed. Protection is very important now. Citizenship rights and other rights are secondary for now; at this critical moment, it is a life and death question. The first step is protection. We need the Rohingya people to be protected. This will not happen until and unless the United Nations arranges a monitoring and protection force. Until that day, there will be no solution.

There also needs to be a UN commission of inquiry in addition to the monitoring and protection force. Everyone is saying that there should be reconciliation, peace and stability, but there’s still violence. Some people and groups don’t want peace. Some don’t want the Rohingya to have citizenship rights. The Burmese President Thein Sein wants to keep the Rohingya population in camps under supervision of the UN and then forcibly send them to other countries for resettlement. They say there is no place for the Rohingya in Burma’s Arakan State. It’s very worrisome.

What should the international community be doing to help the Rohingya?

I want the United States government, European Union countries, non-aligned movement, the Asian countries, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and international non-governmental organizations to put more pressure on the government of Burma to restore peace and promote reconciliation between the Rohingya and Rakhine. People need to be protected. Otherwise, there will be even more bloodshed. All the world governments should put more pressure on the Burmese government with all available means, so that at least the Rohingya people can survive in their own native land.

The world community needs to come forward to save the Rohingya people because they are human beings. We have to restore human dignity and human respect.

If the Rohingya people were to be protected, what would be the next step to secure their rights?

First and foremost, we want our people to survive. Protect them first, then restore all their rights and give them equal opportunities just like all other ethnic national groups in Burma.

The Rohingya are peace-loving people. They want to live in Burma in peace and security, abiding the laws of the country, according to the constitution, but they want guarantees from the local, state and national governments that they will be treated equally. They should have all rights. The Rohingya people want to make sure that they are bona fide citizens recognized as an indigenous people of Arakan under the current Burmese constitution.

How do you feel about the U.S. government’s decision to end sanctions against the Burmese government?

We feel that sanctions removal is not helpful for the Rohingya people, and will not be helpful until all our rights are granted.

Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Some people say that the situation has calmed down and that a solution is available, but this is not true. The problems facing the Rohingya are very complicated. The Rohingya are not only 800,000 people as the Burmese government says in their report. There are 3.5 million Rohingya people worldwide: 1 million live in Arakan State, 500,000 are scattered throughout Burma, and 2 million live in other countries after they were compelled to leave their native land in Arakan State due to a well-founded fear of persecution on the basis of race, religion and language.

So, when we talk, we need to talk about all the Rohingya people. Those displaced outside of the country must have the right to return to Burma and live there with dignity and honor as citizens. We should be allowed to work for the progress and development of Burma to make our country peaceful. We all must endeavor to create an atmosphere of peaceful coexistence in Arakan State where all Burmese citizens can live together peacefully and in happiness.

Rohingya Concern International is a New York-based human rights organization working for the protection and prevention of genocide against the Rohingya people, and the restoration of the Rohingyas’ fundamental rights.

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Photo Credit: UNHCR

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55 comments

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11:39AM PST on Feb 20, 2013

i love reading through the comments here. A muslim president? REALLY? thats the best you could come up with. Be more creative!

8:58AM PST on Dec 7, 2012

Susan Z., it's embarrassing to me that you and I even have the same first name. You're one of the most pathetic, uninformed individuals I have ever come across on this site. Why don't you try educating yourself with some truthful information because wherever you're actually obtaining current event information is totally wrong. I"m just going to assume a few things. You are a right-wing, fundamentalist christian who faithfully listens to Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Feaux News and Pat Robertson. Come on, deny it......

12:50AM PST on Dec 7, 2012

And to think we have a Muslim as the president of this country, scary to me what he has in mind for all of us. He does and goes and says what he wants and cares nothing for doing what he says he will do at all and lies so much that he could have a long nose like penokio. He does not even mind to lie and then later make a statement like he "never said that" because a liar cannot remember what he has said. That is why we should have had the sense "you idiots out there that voted for obama" to have gotten a good , descent and honorable man like Romney as president. This country would be brought back to what it WAS and now we will go down hill from here with obama to more destruction, unemployment, lose of homes, bad economy and horrible future for us all. We have our own problems we cannot save the world.

12:38AM PST on Dec 7, 2012

Cut a piece of the Burmese country out and have these people go there to settle, live and create their own government. Then the UN will help to subsidize these people and protect them until the time they are on their feet (many years of babysitting again another country whew) and tell Yusof that if he makes any problems We will attack Burma as a retaliation of the agreement he has broken to keep the peace, mind his own business in his country and leave these people alone. Violence is the only way to deal with these dictators, kick butt and make them listen and deal with the consequences if they don't. Getting rid of any nationality of group of people is sick and if this was to be allowed then we should get rid of the dictators first as they are the problems most of the time.

4:51AM PST on Nov 25, 2012

Obama blew off working on our huge budget problems to go there. What is more important to the American people?

10:51AM PST on Nov 20, 2012

Who cares what happens in Burma?

10:41AM PST on Nov 20, 2012

copy&paste John B.

9:55PM PST on Nov 17, 2012

Complex history here- though I wonder if population pressure is again one of the main issues.

9:23AM PST on Nov 17, 2012

(cont) I personally believe that if the people of this planet can not learn to see religion for what it truly is, a myth, we are doomed.

9:22AM PST on Nov 17, 2012

Vernon W. writes, "...The truth is that the Muslim religion is NOT a responsible or peaceful religion since each Muslim or Oman can decide for themselves how they wish to interpret the Koran. There is no central control for all Islamists." Really Vernon? You sound as though you think there are any religions which are responsible and peaceful and that most have some "leader on high somewhere" directing its followers. If you look back at history, most wars are caused in part or in whole by religion. There are roughly 40,000 different christian denominations. Keeping in mind, that the bible is the holy book for christianity, realize please that each one of these 40,000 christian denominations interprets the bible just a little bit differently. There is no, one main christian leader somewhere on high that keeps all of these christians in line; no central control so to speak. If we continue allowing evangelical, fundamentalists to invade our government, as is happening today through the conservative movement, it won't be long before non-believers come under attack right here in the US. We are already seeing non-christian but religious peoples coming under attack as Jennifer noted happened in Wisconsin when the sikh church was attacked and many of its members killed. This was an attack which was based solely on the fact that these people were of a different religion. It apparently didn't matter to the attacker which religion they were, they just weren't christian. I per

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