Myanmar Army Inciting Violence Between Rohingyas and Rakhinese, Say Activists

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SITTWE , MYANMAR – JULY 17 : Rohingya refugees seek shelter from the monsoon rains inside the Sittwe IDP camp . (Photo by Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

During the last week, disturbing developments such as instigation to sow new discord between Rohingyas and Rakhine people have taken place both in Rakhine state

Clarion India

NEW DELHI – More than two dozen worldwide organisations supporting hard-pressed Rohingyas have expressed concern over the propaganda war allegedly being stepped up by the Myanmar Army to create enmity and incite violence between Rohingyas and residents of Rakhine state.

In a joint statement, the activist groups said that Rohingyas wanted to live in peace with the Rakhinese, a Southeast Asian ethnic group in Myanmar (Burma) forming the majority along the coastal region of present-day Rakhine state, earlier known as Arakan state.

“But the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Army) is trying to instigate more conflicts between Rohingya and Rakhine people, and destroy peaceful co-existence”, reads the statement.

During the last week, disturbing developments such as instigation to sow new discord between Rohingya and Rakhine people have taken place both in Rakhine State.

“In Rakhine state, the Tatmadaw is trying to destabilise the relationship between two communities. It puts the life of the 600,000 remaining Rohingyas in Rakhine state in grave danger, as well as all the Rakhinese living there”, the Rohingya rights defenders said.

Tun Khin, president of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation United Kingdom, one of the signatories of the statement, has also come under attack through fake Facebook accounts during the last few days. Several accounts with Tun Khin’s name and photo have been published, where Tun Khin is portrayed as levelling accusations at the commander-in-chief of the Rakhine Army, including taking funds from international bodies and governments.

The activists said, “Tatmadaw is trying to instil discord between our two people. The Tatmadaw is trying to portray a false narrative to Rakhine people about our leaders and the Rohingya.”

The Rohingya rights organisations urged the international community to bring this up urgently with the Burmese government. According to them, the international community also needs to step up its efforts for justice for the Rohingya, and all groups in Myanmar suffering under the Tatmadaw.

“It is not enough for international governments, just to call on Myanmar to end all abuses against civilians. It must be reinforced by action. The genocide against the Rohingya is ongoing, and the Rakhine people are being subjected to war crimes and crimes against humanity. “

The organisations alleged that the international community had been talking for years about the need for reconciliation and greater understanding between the two communities in Rakhine state, but providing little practical support for such efforts.

The statement points out that the only price the Tatmadaw has paid for genocide of the Rohingya has been a small number of soldiers being banned from enjoying holidays in the EU and USA.

“The international community has taken no action at all in response to the military onslaught against Rakhine people and killing of Rakhine civilians”, it alleged.

The Rohingyas, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency.

Signatories of the joint statement are:

  1. Arakan Rohingya Development Association – Australia
  2. Australian Burmese Rohingya Organisation
  3. British Rohingya Community in UK
  4. Burmese Rohingya Association in Queensland-Australia
  5. Burmese Rohingya Association Japan
  6. Burmese Rohingya Community Australia
  7. Burmese Rohingya Community in Denmark
  8. Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK
  9. Canadian Burmese Rohingya Organisation
  10. Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative
  11. European Rohingya Council
  12. Free Rohingya Coalition
  13. Los Angeles Rohingya Association
  14. Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organisation in Malaysia
  15. Rohingya Action Ireland
  16. Rohingya American Society
  17. Rohingya Arakanese Refugee Committee
  18. Rohingya Association of Canada
  19. Rohingya Community in Norway
  20. Rohingya Community in Netherlands
  21. Rohingya Culture Centre Chicago
  22. Rohingya Human Rights Initiative
  23. Rohingya Human Rights Network (Canada)
  24. Rohingya Refugee Network
  25. Rohingya Society Malaysia
  26. Rohingya Organisation Norway
  27. Rohingya Women Development Network
  28. Rohingya Women Welfare Association
  29. Swedish Rohingya Association

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