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Monday, November 12, 2018

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages.

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Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction. 

Article 1.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6.

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7.

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10.

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11.

(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14.

(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15.

(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17.

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21.

(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22.

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23.

(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24.

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25.

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26.

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27.

(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28.

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29.

(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30.

Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

Ref: http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

Myanmar's 'Bengali problem' threatens to embroil the region

Reports say Rohingya militancy now involves foreign fighters, amid harsh reprisals by the army

WASHINGTON •In a region that has seen many a miserable exodus, the Naf river separating Bangladesh and a northern section of Myanmar's Rakhine state has become the scene of yet another.

A bedraggled stream of some 90,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled the northern part of Rakhine state into Bangladesh since Aug 25 - stumbling through open rice fields, fleeing attacks by an army not known for its empathy with ethnic minorities and bent on finishing what its commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing calls the "Bengali problem".

With the tinderbox now ignited, there are real fears that Rakhine, after decades of poverty and discrimination against the minority Muslim Rohingya that took a turn for the worse in 2012, is sliding into a potential abyss of grinding ethnic war with far-reaching consequences.

"This seems to be going in the direction of a worst-case scenario - an armed struggle turning into a longer regional conflict," a senior Asian diplomat familiar with the region told me.

The tough response from Myanmar's army, the Tatmadaw, is backed by strident Burmese-Buddhist nationalism feeding off a social media frenzy of often unverified stories of atrocities by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Arsa) - designated a "terrorist" group by Myanmar's government.

The Rohingya have been in Rakhine state for generations, but have long been seen as Bengali immigrants from Bangladesh who want to grab land and Islamise Buddhist Rakhine state. They have been denied citizenship if they identify themselves as Rohingya. Myanmar insists "Rohingya" is an invented ethnic identity. Hence the "Bengali problem" which army chief Min Aung Hlaing last Friday said was a "longstanding one which has become an unfinished job".

There has been little or no serious attempt by successive governments in Naypyitaw to work on a political compromise. Meanwhile, around 300,000 Rohingya from previous waves of refugees live in squalid, festering camps in Bangladesh.

Rohingya refugees reaching for food being distributed near Balukhali in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, on Monday. The weight of the majority in mostly Buddhist Myanmar is against the Muslim Rohingya, says the writer, and the popular call is for the army to
Rohingya refugees reaching for food being distributed near Balukhali in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, on Monday. The weight of the majority in mostly Buddhist Myanmar is against the Muslim Rohingya, says the writer, and the popular call is for the army to do more - and do it decisively. PHOTO: REUTERS

The weight of the majority in mostly Buddhist Myanmar is against the Muslim Rohingya. The popular call is for the army to do more - and do it decisively.

There has been little or no serious attempt by successive governments in Naypyitaw to work on a political compromise. Meanwhile, around 300,000 Rohingya from previous waves of refugees live in squalid, festering camps in Bangladesh.

These developments were long predicted. For years, South Asian security analysts worried that Myanmar's sustained discrimination against the Rohingya would produce a backlash. The Rohingya tried and failed at militancy before through the vehicle of the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO). But now the new Harakah al-Yaqin (Faith Movement), which has switched to the English name Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army , has seized the initiative.

Arsa militants' first big attack against Myanmar security units came last October. The violence was "qualitatively different from anything in recent decades, seriously threatens the prospects of stability and development in the state, and has serious implications for Myanmar as a whole", the International Crisis Group (ICG) warned then.

Some 3,000 Buddhist Rakhine villagers fled to towns. Further south, the state capital Sittwe remains stable. But the Myanmar security forces' reprisals were swift, driving many Rohingya across the border into Bangladesh, which officially complained about the influx.

On the morning of Aug 25 came a bigger attack with Arsa militants killing 10 policemen, one soldier and an immigration officer. Regional security sources told The Straits Times about 200 militants, including a smattering of foreigners, may have crossed over from Bangladesh for the attack.

"There are several credible reports of Indonesian fighters especially from Aceh, and Filipinos, fighting with Arsa but the majority of the outsiders are Pakistanis - that is established beyond doubt," said a regional security source.

Details are murky, but this time some Hindus - a small minority in Rakhine state - also claimed to have been attacked either by Arsa militants or Buddhist Arakanese. "This is a new element, a larger dimension of Islam versus the others," warned the diplomat who spoke to The Straits Times.

There were mass evacuations of Buddhist and Hindu civilians, and this time even wider reprisals from Myanmar's security forces against the Rohingya.

Certainly the conflict has long roots, and the Rohingya identity remains contested. However, arguing over a name has become moot. There are bigger things to worry about now.

The Tatmadaw's harsh reprisals will drive more resentful young men into the ranks of the Arsa, which sources say is fuelled by money channelled mostly from Saudi Arabia through Malaysia, Thailand and Bangladesh, and has become the new militant vehicle of choice for angry Rohingya.

"In the squalid refugee camps in Bangladesh, joining the Arsa is now becoming 'farj' - a religious obligation," Professor Zachary Abuza at the National War College in Washington, DC wrote last week, in a commentary for Radio Free Asia.

Arsa's chief on the ground is Ata Ullah or Hafiz Atharullah, Pakistan-born and raised in Saudi Arabia. According to sources, Ata Ullah has also spent time in Mae Sot in Thailand. The militants are thought to have trained in Bangladesh under Afghan war veterans, some of them Rohingya. The Arsa has also been killing Rohingya they suspect of being government informers. It may also have eliminated members of the RSO who did not agree with armed struggle.

Importantly, Ata Ullah has disavowed international terrorist linkages. But intelligence circles worry about what relationship there may be, now or in the future, between the Arsa and Bangladeshi extremist organisations like the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, Hifazat-e-Islam Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team, some of which dream of a greater Islamic Bangladesh, including parts of north-eastern India and Rakhine state.

"Now that (Arsa) has established its legitimacy and capability with attacks, it is unlikely to face funding constraints," the ICG presciently said in December last year. "It seems to be receiving funds from the Rohingya diaspora and major private donors in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. It may also attract the attention of international groups interested in more than funding."

The Tatmadaw's "clearance" of Rohingya villages - a euphemism for destroying them, as evinced by satellite images and the refugees stumbling into Bangladesh - will play into the hands of radical Islamic groups, analysts say.

"It will encourage fundamentalist forces in Bangladesh," the diplomat said. Bangladesh's government was worried, he said - but could do little because Dhaka does not want a conflict with Myanmar.

"The Myanmar military's default mode is to commit these pogroms," Prof Abuza said. "This is an insurgency that has been created by the Myanmar military."

"My worry," said the security analyst who spoke to The Straits Times on condition of anonymity, "is that this vortex of blood will ebb and flow now, in the region, for at least another 10 years."


The true origins of Myanmar’s Rohingya

The furious debate over when the ethnic group first arrived in Rakhine state will not easily be resolved

A Rohingya man who fled oppression during military operations in Myanmar's Rakhine state at a makeshift camp in Teknaff, Bangladesh on September 26, 2017. Photo: Anadolu Agency via AFP/ Zakir Hossain Chowdhury
A Rohingya man who fled oppression during military operations in Myanmar's Rakhine state at a makeshift camp in Teknaff, Bangladesh on September 26, 2017. Photo: Anadolu Agency via AFP/ Zakir Hossain Chowdhury

The recent visit of Pope Francis to Myanmar provoked a storm of controversy over his decision to avoid using the term “Rohingya”, with some accusing the pontiff of unwittingly emboldening ultra-nationalist forces who refuse to accept the term. Others defended the pope’s blatant omission of the word as sound diplomacy at a delicate juncture.

The highest authority of the Catholic Church eventually used the word “Rohingya” during his visit to Bangladesh, where over 600,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar military-led “clearance operations” the United Nations has said represent a textbook example of “ethnic cleansing.”

The controversy over the Pope’s use of the term in Bangladesh but not in Myanmar speaks volumes about the gap between how the spiraling humanitarian crisis emanating from western Rakhine state is being viewed inside and outside of Myanmar. And the debate over the use of the word “Rohingya” will intensify in the weeks ahead as the two sides begin a repatriation program that will again put the term in a spotlight.

Myanmar’s citizenship criterion is based on the taingyintha, or “national races”, concept. It is defined somewhat arbitrarily as those ethnic groups that were settled in Myanmar in 1823, a year before the first Anglo-Burmese war in which the British conquered Arakan (as Rakhine was officially known until 1989) and other regions of the country.

The Citizenship Law passed in 1982 made belonging to one of the national races the primary, though not only, criterion for full citizenship. Nine years later, the government issued a list of 135 official national races, and the Rohingya were notably not on it. Arguably, Myanmar’s military-led state erased them from its national history.

Pope Francis is welcomed as he arrives at Yangon International Airport, Myanmar November 27, 2017. Osservatore Romano/Handout via Reuters
Pope Francis is welcomed as he arrives at Yangon International Airport, Myanmar November 27, 2017. Osservatore Romano/Handout via Reuters

Pro-Rohingya advocates, mostly Rohingya themselves and foreigners, claim that they have been resident in Rakhine since as far back as the 8th century. Rohingya detractors, mostly Myanmar, firmly deny this reading of history and assert that they are illegal immigrants who arrived much later, during the British colonial period (1824-1948) or even well after independence from colonial rule was achieved in 1948.

The Rohingya’s critics refer to them as “Bengalis” to indicate their supposed foreign origins and frequently warn that they pose a demographic threat to who they regard as Rakhine state’s truly indigenous ethnic group, the mostly Buddhist Rakhine.

Rakhine state’s history is muddled, to be sure, but the truth likely lies in the middle of both assertions. Importantly, the presence of Rohingya people in Rakhine cannot be reduced to a single group.

Rather, they are more likely the mixed descendants of three groups: those who were already in Arakan before the region became culturally ‘Burmanized’ from the 10th to 14th centuries (they are also probably ancestors of present day Rakhine); slaves taken by Rakhine kings and Portuguese mercenaries from Bengal in the 16th and 17th centuries and workers who migrated from Bengal during the colonial period; and those who migrated from Bangladesh after independence.

In any case, what is now a clearly delineated border between two countries was not so before the British arrived to impose their European ideas of homogenous nation states. Arakan was before the British’s arrival a diffuse frontier area between the Burmese and Bengali worlds without a strongly enforced line of demarcation.

A Rohingya boy jumps over the border fence to enter inside Bangladesh border, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, August 27, 2017. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain
A Rohingya boy jumps over the border fence to enter Bangladesh in Cox’s Bazar, August 27, 2017. Photo: Reuters/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

In certain historical eras, extensive areas of Arakan were under the sway of Bengali rulers; at other times areas in Bengal reaching up to the Bangladesh city of Chittagong were ruled by Rakhine kings.

On the term itself, the anti-Rohingya camp claims that the word first appeared in the 1950s as a political construct to get an autonomous region in the northern part of Rakhine state or, even worse, to make the region part of what was then known as East Pakistan.

Pro-Rohingya advocates, on the other hand, point to the study “A Comparative Vocabulary of the Languages Spoken in the Burma Empire” written by Scottish physician Francis Buchanan in 1799 as proof the term “Rooinga” was in use in the area well before the British consolidated their rule.

In the book, Buchanan asserts that: “The first dialect spoken in the Burman empire derived from the language of the Hindu nation that is spoken by the Mohammedans, who have long settled in Arakan, and who call themselves Rooinga, or natives of Arakan.”

The problem with these conflicting narratives is that both have elements of truth. The term is not an unprecedented invention, as it clearly appears in a document predating the colonial period. But the colonial records don’t show the term anywhere, and it seems that it did not begin to be widely used until the 1950’s.

The solution to the puzzle is probably that the meaning of “Rooinga” in 1799 is not exactly the same as the meaning of “Rohingya” now, even though it referred to some of the ascendants of the present day Rohingya. The term likely derives from the word “Rohang”, which was the Bengali name given to Arakan at the time.

Rohingya refugee children wait to receive food outside the distribution center at Palong Khali refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
Rohingya refugee children wait to receive food aid at Palong Khali refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, November 17, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Navesh Chitrakar

Thus, Rohingya would mean the same as “Arakanese.” It is also likely that the word “Rohingya” was not widely used as an ethnonym until recently and that it was done with a political purpose—as is the case with any ethnonym; ethnic identities are inherently political.

Much has been written about the origins of the Rohingya as an ethnic group, but little has been published about the origins of other groups in Myanmar which are largely taken for granted as national citizens. The Rakhine as an ethnic identity arguably did not emerge until the 19th century. The Rohingya’s problem is their political weakness inside the country and their late emerging ethnic identity.

In any case, underlying the debate on the term is an assumption that ethnic groups are closed, immutable entities that have always been what they are now. But ethnic groups change and evolve, and the concept of ethnicity evolves and changes, too. Both have changed enormously over time in ethnically diverse Myanmar.

The history of Myanmar should be viewed as a long story in which ethnic groups and the concept of ethnicity itself have gradually been solidified and politicized to the point of occupying the central role that they play today.

Anthropologists and historians such as Edmund Leach, F K Lehman and Victor Lieberman have shown that ethnic identities were fluid and ever-changing in pre-colonial Myanmar. It was the British who classified people in boxes, mainly on a linguistic basis, and often discouraged interactions between them, thereby creating hard divisions where there was virtually none until then.

Buddhist monks and others protest as a Malaysian NGO's aid ship carrying food and emergency supplies for Rohingya Muslims arrives at the port in Yangon on February 9, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Soe Zeya Tun
Buddhist monks and others protest against aid given to Rohingya Muslims in Yangon on February 9, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Soe Zeya Tun

Ethnic Bamar chauvinism, ethno-nationalist insurgencies and military dictatorships in the 20th century further hardened those divisions, and the democratic transition launched in 2011 has arguably exacerbated the problem as ultra-nationalist organizations have been freed to spread their exclusionary notions of Myanmar nationhood and anti-Muslim propaganda.

Sociologist Michael Mann has described modern nation states as “cages”, with the shape of the cages dependent on political, institutional, economic and ideological “crystallizations” that were to a certain extent random products of complex and unpredictable histories. Myanmar’s “cage” has come to be made, among other things, of solid ethnic bars.

Rohingya leaders, by asserting their name, are playing by the increasingly rigid rules of the game in Myanmar. They have not created these rules, but the tragic irony is that they have legitimized and encouraged the notion of national races which now ideologically underlies their oppression. Trapped in Myanmar’s cage, it is understandable they feel there is little else they can do to assert their rights.

The denial of the Rohingya to use the name they have chosen for themselves is undoubtedly part of the persecution they have suffered for decades. Conversely, such persecution has pushed them to assert more forcefully their identity and the term itself.

Their right of self-identification is undeniable, but there is a certain fetishism of such rights among pro-Rohingya activists. And the problem at root is not so much the denial of their Rohingya identity as the prevalence of “national races” and communalism in the Myanmar “cage.”

Hosne Ara, 4, a Rohingya refugee who fled Myanmar two-months ago listens to children singing at a children's centre in the Kutupalong refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, November 5, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo SEARCH "POY GLOBAL" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "REUTERS POY" FOR ALL BEST OF 2017 PACKAGES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Hosne Ara, 4, a Rohingya refugee who fled Myanmar at the Kutupalong refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, November 5, 2017. Photo: Reuters/Hannah McKay/File

It is likely that many Rohingya in Rakhine, if not most, would forsake the term if it opened a way to regain their rights in Myanmar. Many have tried to do so when offered the chance. In 2014, the government launched a pilot program of citizenship verification in central Rakhine’s Myebon Township.

In line with the 1982 Citizenship Law, they would be granted citizenship if they could prove that three generations of their ancestors had lived in Rakhine, an extremely difficult process in the remote area where many have been undocumented for decades while others were stripped of theirs by authorities when they were rendered stateless in the early 1990s.

Even if they could prove their ancestors’ presence, they had to accept being branded as “Bengali”, not “Rohingya”, on their national identification cards. All Rohingya in Myebon have been confined to a camp since the wave of sectarian violence in 2012, and most took part in the program.

Only 97 of almost 3,000 were granted citizenship under the scheme’s terms. But those who won citizenship soon discovered that their situation remained unchanged: they were still confined to the camp and could not even go to the hospital. Citizenship, for them, came without the rights they had naturally envisioned.

One woman who received her citizenship told this writer that her father had been a well-respected police officer in the town and that her family had previously enjoyed good relations with Muslims and Buddhists alike. Four years after being confined to the camps, she still hadn’t come to terms with the fact that none of that mattered anymore.

Her story had been erased from the Rakhine community, as the history of the Muslims in Rakhine state is now being erased from the country in a mass exodus across the border into Bangladesh. The tragedy of the Rohingya – one Pope Francis appeared publicly to overlook in Myanmar – is not so much the denial of their collective history as the erasure of such personal lived histories.


Who Says Buddhists Are Killing (Bengali)Rohingya Muslims? Buddhists Are Simply Defending Them From Slaughter Since 1947

Who Says Buddhists Are Killing (Bengali)Rohingya Muslims? 

Buddhists Are Simply Defending Them From Slaughter Since 1947

 on Sunday, 17 September 2017


There's a big misconception about the violence in Burma that has caused severe casualties to both (Bengali)Rohingya Muslims and Burmese Buddhists. Therefore it is important that a fair assessment to this issue is done to shed light on the grey areas and enlighten those who are clueless on the subject.

The Rohingyas(Bengali)are a Muslim minority who migrated from Bangladesh and reside in Myanmar. The community procreated in large numbers within a very short period of time without any family planning and considerations to limited resources, because of which the native community in the area has became a minority and deprived of their own lands that were grabbed by increased population of Bengali(Rohingyans).

According to Bengali(Rohingyas), they are indigenous to Rakhine State, while the Burmese historians claim that they migrated to Burma from Bengal primarily during the period of British rule in Burma, and to a lesser extent, after the Burmese independence in 1948 and Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.

General Ne Win's government, in 1982, enacted the Burmese nationality law, which denied citizenship to the Rohingyas honoring the opinion of vast majority of Burmese. (96%) The decision also came as a result as the Rohingyas were rebelling the government for several decades with the support of external forces, mainly from separatists movements and extremist groups including Al Qaeda.

The (Bengali)Rohingya insurgency in Western Myanmar was an insurgency in northern Rakhine State (also known as Arakan),  waged by insurgents belonging to the (Bengali)Rohingya ethnic minority. Most clashes have occurred in the Maungdaw District, which borders Bangladesh.

Try watching this video on www.youtube.com(Bengali)Rohingya extremists attacking Rakhine Burmese Neighborhoods


Watch until 3 minutes and you will know who is attacking who. Rohingya (Bengali)extremists attacking Rakhine Burmese Neighborhoods in town of Maung Daw. Rohingyas, illegal immigrants from Bangladesh terrorizing Rakhines, natives of Burma. The town of Maung Daw, where Rohingya outnumber Rakines by 5 to 1. Rakhines suffered property damages, personal injuries and several deaths.r enable JavaScript if it is disabled in your browser.

Local mujahideen groups were rebelling government forces From 1947 to 1961, in an attempt to have the mostly (Bengali)Rohingya populated Mayu peninsula in northern Rakhine State secede from Myanmar, and have it be annexed by East Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh). In late 1950s they lost most of their support and surrendered to government forces.

The modern (Bengali)Rohingya insurgency in northern Rakhine began in 2001 although Shwe Maung, the then MP of the Rohingya-majority, rejected claims that new Islamist insurgent groups had begun operating along the Bangladeshi border.

Latest incident that got reported was in October 2016, where clashes have erupted on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border, with (Bengali)Rohingya insurgents linked to foreign Islamists suspected of being the perpetrators.

However Rohingyas have stayed in Burma for several generations and account for nearly 4% of Myanmar’s population.

On the other hand the incident where brutal rape and murder of a Rakhine Buddhist woman by Muslim men, followed by the killing of Rohingya Muslims (as retaliation) sparked the communal riots between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims. This was not exactly a one sided massacre, but a communal riot with victims from both sides.

The issue became more severe when (Bengali)Rohingyas started killing monks too. Often by beheading them. At least 19 such monk killings were reported within a couple of months where monks started to take the side of the native groups who were fighting the (Bengali)Rohingyas. 

Now the question every one of us must be asking is, why do Muslims kill Christians? Why do Muslims kill Muslims? pretty much everywhere in the world. None of the Buddhists we know did/ does / wants to kill Muslims, at least not because of any religious reasons. But in Myanmar we find low tolerance towards proselytism, this means there’s no problem with any religion you may have, as long as you stick to it and don’t attempt to convert others. The Christians have learned their lesson a long time ago although they continue to do it without being aggressive about it, the Hindus never had such ambitions, the Buddhists never engage in that, but the Muslims…Well…Well...Well

On the other hand (Bengali)Rohingyas communities tend to be highly conservative of inter-faith marriages where they punish and sometimes kills their women in case they marry someone outside (Bengali)Rohingyas. While they are ready to marry Buddhist women and convert them to Islam. This doesn’t sit well with some conservative factions of the Buddhist majority, for obvious reasons.

Christians and hindus, the 2nd and 4th largest communities, by population, are integrating just fine despite many Christian ethnicities engaging against the Buddhist Bamar (Kachin, Chin, Karen, etc), the disputes are historical, territorial and resource-based, never religious. Also, insulting religion, ANY religion, for whatever reason, is illegal in Myanmar and would land you in jail in a matter of hours. And that’s actively enforced, probably for good reason.

(Bengali)Rohingyas Muslims were welcomed as guests in the beginning according to historians. There was little or no problem at the beginning. Problems such as rebelling did happen later but an agreement was reached and they disarmed in early 60s. Although minor conflicts occurred among both communities, nothing serious occurred until about 5 years ago where Muslims gathered in numbers and walked the streets killing the minority natives in their areas. Which is why Burmese Buddhists started counter attacking the Muslims who were killing their brothers and sisters in Rohingyas lands. Below video is self explanatory to the fact that how Muslims gathered in hundreds to attack Minority Buddhists in  Rakhine State.

Therefore, it is critical that one needs to understand that Buddhists do not kill Muslims but the natives are responding to the rebels who are virtually on a ethnic cleansing mission is Rakhine State. If Buddhists were at fault, they should probably be attacking Christians too. At least some type of discrimination against Christians which is the 2nd largest religious community in Burma which has never happened.

It must also be noted that no one should be linking the unrest to religious war. Its a political war where natives trying to protect their life from insurgents belonging to a migrated community. Who are not only trying to procreate at a disturbing rate but also trying to convert natives to their faith forcibly by direct and indirect means. To make it worst, they are promoting (Bengali)Rohingyas men to marry Buddhists but has banned (Benfali)Rohingyas women to marry Buddhists. Its a riot the Rohingyas started by attacking Buddhists and other way round as it is evidently true to anywhere else in the world. It is (Bengali)Rohingyas who kill people Chanting Allahu Akbar and not a single Buddhist because Buddhists can't possibly justify killing according to their teachings. But their survival has become a priority which compel them to fight back.

Buddhists in Burma have seen (Bengali)Rohingyas rioting against them for more than half a century for no apparent reason except the need to create a separate Islam region in Burma with the funding that come from extremist organizations and middle east in addition to the support they have from neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh. Its as the last resort they have opted to deal with the obvious problem they have at hand. It was simply a question for Buddhists weather they were willing to die at the Hands of Muslim separatists or  try to prevail by fighting back.

Read more at http://www.religionmind.com/2017/09/who-says-buddhists-are-killing-rohingya.html#l0i1pEAhuiWABfGe.99

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