Malaysian Ship With Aid For Rohingya Muslims Docks in Myanmar; Buddhist Nationalist Groups Protest

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Vessel carrying 2,300 tonnes of aid for persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority met by Buddhist protesters.

 

MYANMAR — A Malaysian ship carrying 2,300 tonnes of aid for tens of thousands of persecuted Rohingya Muslims arrived in Yangon where it was met by Buddhist protesters.

Health workers and activists crowded onto the deck of the Nautical Aliya as it docked at Thilawa port near Myanmar’s commercial capital on Thursday carrying food, medical aid, and clothing.

Organisers of the aid shipment said they trust the Myanmar government to deliver the supplies as promised despite its record of discrimination.

“We have to respect Myanmar’s sovereignty,” said Razali Ramli, from the 1Putera Club Malaysia, which helped organise the shipment along with a coalition of non-government organisations. “We hand over the aid in good faith.”

Myanmar’s social welfare minister was among a delegation meeting the ship, which has been at the centre of a rare diplomatic spat with fellow ASEAN member Malaysia.

Outside the docking area, dozens of Buddhist monks and demonstrators waited waving national flags and signs reading: “No Rohingya”.

People protest while Malaysian NGO's aid ship carrying food and emergency supplies for Rohingya Muslims arrives at the port in Yangon. -- Reuters
People protest while Malaysian NGO’s aid ship carrying food and emergency supplies for Rohingya Muslims arrives at the port in Yangon. — Reuters

 

“We want to let them know that we have no Rohingya here,” a Buddhist monk named Thuseitta, from the Yangon chapter of the Patriotic Myanmar Monks Union, told AFP news agency.

Myanmar denies citizenship to the million-strong Rohingya, despite many of them living on its soil for generations.

Buddhist nationalist groups are especially strong in their vitriol, rejecting Rohingya as illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.

Hundreds of Rohingya have reportedly been killed in a brutal campaign launched by security forces in October, which the United Nations says may amount to ethnic cleansing.

The violence started after a series of attacks by armed men on border posts killed nine policemen.

Tens of thousands of Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, bringing harrowing tales of murder and sexual assault.

“We’ve document atrocities, serious crimes that have been committed by Myanmar’s security forces,” Matthew Smith, executive director of the group Fortify Rights, told Al Jazeera.

“We’re documenting killings, we’re documenting mass rape … throats being slit, bodies being thrown into fires, villages burned to the ground.”

Myanmar’s treatment of the Rohingya has sparked criticism from Muslim-majority Malaysia in a rare spat between the Southeast Asian neighbours.

Myanmar initially refused to allow the aid ship into its waters and has barred it from sailing to Rakhine’s state capital, Sittwe.

Al Jazeera’s Yaara Bou Melhem, reporting from Yangon, said the aid will be unloaded and distributed by the government from there.

“What we know is that a plane from here in Yangon will take the aid to Sittwe, which is nearest to the conflict zone … to distribute the aid among both Rohingya and Buddists,” she said.

“There’s no clear indication the aid will reach the Rohingya, because the area has been in lockdown since the renewed fighting began in October.”

The delivery comes days after a blistering report from the UN accused Myanmar’s security forces of carrying out a campaign of rape, torture, and mass killings against the Rohingya.

Based on interviews with hundreds of escapees in Bangladesh, investigators said the military’s “calculated policy of terror” likely amounted to ethnic cleansing.

For months, Myanmar has dismissed similar testimonies gathered by foreign media and rights groups as “fake news” and curtailed access to the region. — Al Jazeera and news agencies

 

1 COMMENT

  1. “Soon the world will witness a remarkable sight: a beloved Nobel Peace Prize winner presiding over 21st-century concentration camps.” New York times prediction all turning to be true.

    Aung San Suu Kyi is undeserving of such an award since for years she has been unconscionably silent on the serious plight of the Rohingya people of Myanmar, ‘one of the most persecuted peoples’ on earth according to the UN. The indigenous Rohingya are victims of an on-going genocide according to human rights groups and international law experts. Every year, tens of thousands of Rohingya flee persecution in Burma and make perilous journeys in rickety boats to seek refuge in other Southeast Asian countries. Many, however, have perished in their pursuit of better lives, while others fall victim to human traffickers.

    Suu Kyi has failed to address the numerous anti-Rohingya/anti-Muslim protests, violence and hatred that has fomented for years among nationalists and extremists.In Suu Kyi’s Burma, Rohingyas still remain stateless without any of the rights enshrined in the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

    The simple begging bowl is one of the very few possessions of a Buddhist monk. It is used to collect alms and symbolizes the Buddha’s teachings. Today Buddha’s land is objecting to its own people against humanity which was part the teachings.

    It is time for United Nation intervention.If this Nobel laureate desn’t values inclusion of either races or ethnicities it is time held her accountable. When nation can held hand together for denounce terror attack, why such a large scale prosecution, deaths and destruction can’t be punishable?Why the nation can’t be subjected arms embargo and economic sanctions?

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