Citizens International

Letter to ASEAN Secretary General in Support of Rohingya Muslims

20th June 2012

Dr Surin Pitsuwan
Secretary General , ASEAN
70A Jalan Sisingamangaraja ,Jakarta 12110 Indonesia
Via Facsimile: +62 21 739 8234

Dear Secretary General,



We , from the Secretariate for the Ulama Assembly of Asia  ( SHURA ) and Malaysian Consultation Council of Islamic Societies (MAPIM) , view with grave concern the current skirmish that is triggered by sectarian violence in Arakan , Myanmar between Rohingya Muslims and Rakhines.

The killing of 10 Muslims on the 3 rd June 2012 in Taungup by Rakhines has turned into a full fledge community clash as a result of the government  not serious in handling the issue amicably. Even within the curfew period enforced in  Maungdaw since June , 8th ,2012, sources are diseminating reports that the Rakhines are allowed by the police to burn houses of the Rohingyas.

According to reports the current tension is now escalating , and we regret that the authorities are compounding the violence by not acting against the Rakhines for their continued atrocities.

We are even much more concern that the security personnels in Maungdaw are involved in the  killing of  Rohingyas when police personnel open fire at a group after Friday prayers. The police are also reported to have allowed Rakhines to  set on fire houses and shops belonging to Rohingya community in already more than 40  villages . The security are aggravating the tension  when they open fire at the villagers who tried to help put down the fire that were burning a village , Sawmawna.

The Sawmawna village- three mile Nasaka gate – under Myothu Gyi village tract was set on fire by Rakhine racist which as we receive the report is still burning.

The source also reported the security force – Army, police, Hluntin and Nasaka- fired to the air near the village of Pandawpin, Nyaung Chaung, Myoma Khayoungdan and MyothuGyi to stop the Rohingya who want to help the village “Sawmawna”.

We condemn the burning of a mosque that was reported executed  by the Rakhines racists mob while the security personnel only stood by .

Worst , an Act 144 was imposed to restrict the movement of Rohingyas to even protect their properties while the Rakhines are free to move and continue the atrocities .

We are following closely the news of the atrocities as it unfolds and will not be only distant observers while the injustice is perpetrated.

We are calling for an international interference if the situation is not resolved and if the tension is evolving into the reigniting of  the 1942 massacre .

We demand that the police officers who are failing in their responsibility to protect innocent civilians and those who are indirectly working hand in hand with the Rakhines gangsters  to exterminate the Rohingya , be discharge and action taken to persecute them if found guilty of conniving with the attackers.

The Rohingya Muslims have been living under constant fear since the introduction of the Citizenship Law in1982. Reports of abduction , torture , rape , extrajudicial killings are an open secret. The restrictive law has resulted in the present discrimination and the fanning of hatred against Rohingya labelled as  foreigners , when in fact it has been historical proven that Rohingya is a legitimate citizen of the independent Burma. They are decedents of the Arakan Muslim civilization since the 7th century.

The anti Muslim sentiment under the “Burma for Burmese only” campaign has allowed the Rakhines and the Burmese nationalist to connive and slaughter 100,000 unarmed Muslims in April 1942. The depopulation of Rohingya and simultaneous populating of Rakhines in Arakan has since evolved into a systematic ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya , most cases in a brutal way.Records of Muslim properties being ransacked : shops, houses and mosques were looted, destroyed and burned  , are indisputable .

The continued  pursued policies of exclusion and persecution against Rohingyas while some hardhearted Rakhine academic and politicians are engaged in racist and xenophobic plans to marginalize and exterminate them , are still the order of the day .

Despite some recent reforms towards democratization, civilianized military government of U Thein Sein , has so far no change of attitude towards Rohingya and has created hostile climate in North Arakan. The government continues to treat them as aliens using this oppressive nationality law in a random manner.

As for the  Rohingya problem , the 1982 citizenship law promotes Burmanization or Rakhinization aims at exterminating the Rohingya population from Arakan.

It is with these facts , which are the underlying root cause of the present tension and violence that we demand the government of Myanmar take appropriate measures to protect the vulnerable Rohingya community and find ways to compensate them for the lost of their properties , homes and land .

We urge the ASEAN Secretariat to initiate an emergency meeting to facilitate a solution to resolve the plight of the Rohingya. A political reform must be framed for a lasting solution to resume the citizenship of the Rohingya and the return of all Rohingya refugees to their homeland in Arakan. They must be given their legitimate rights as citizens of Myanmar and subsequent social and economic rights to be able to co-exist as equals with other citizens.

We call on the ASEAN Secretariat to take appropriate measures at the regional level and not allow the situation in Myanmar to deteriorate further less we will witness another country in the region with civil violence and bloodshed.

Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid
Secretary General
Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic NGOs.
Suite 1 , Level 5 , Perak Techno Trade Center , Taman Mer Jaya , off Jelapang , Ipoh , Perak , Malaysia
Tel : +60194744856

Abdul Ghani Samsudin
Secretariate for the Ulama Assembly of Asia
World Association of Muslimin Ulama , Malaysia

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