By Haroon Yousuf, France, The Stateless Rohingya (TSR) Article
Rohingya are an indigenous people of Kingdom of Arakan. After the Burmese occupation from 1784 to 1826, British had ruled Burma with the merge of independent Arakan from 1826 to until the Burma became independent country in 1948 and Rohingyas and Rakhines as whole have accepted this merger with the Burmese government and the father of the nation General Aung San, the first President of Burma SAO Shwe Thaike, the first Prime Minister of Burma U Nu, U Ba Swe like icons had announced proudly that Rohingya are one of the indigenous ethnic groups of Burma and they have equal status of nationality.
After these statements from the visionary leaders, things were changing slowly for Rohingya in a bad possible way. The capital of Arakan was “Akyab” put under the administration of Sittwe and the state name was changed to Rakhine State sharing the same name of the sister community of Rohingya as well as Rangoon is no more Rangoon. Since the fall of Burma to the grip of Dictator Ne Win in 1962, discriminatory policies based on colour language and religion flourish. The 1982 Citizenship Law has striped Rohingya of citizenship rights including all basic human rights. Rohingya civilians are banned to in governmental offices or posts, e.g. military, police, teacher, bank, hospital, etc. In the recent memory, the last remaining right – voting right was taken way during the 2015 General election which becomes the first ever Muslim free election despite Rohingya have participated and elected Rohingya members of parliament throughout the Burmese history.
The decades of discriminatory policies and anti-Rohingya Rohingya propaganda have produced so much bigots in Burma who are the main force behind the current state of Rohingya in post-military regime governance.
A retired general considered to be a moderate and reformist president following more than 5 decades of military rule, he oversaw the first genocide in the 21st century against the world’s most persecuted people, Rohingya. Although he has taken steps in opening up the country to international market, he has also unlocked to openly commit the genocide in the country’s one of the most impoverished state, Arakan. The acts of genocide were allowed to conduct with full impunity by his armed forces and and supported Rakhine to lead the campaign. Although he and his party were defeated by Aung San Suu Kyi in 2015 General Election, he leaves the legacy of nearly 140,000 Rohingya displaced, more than 150,000 forced from the country, hundreds killed, bulldozed thousands of Rohingya villages and disfranchisement of Rohingya.
Thein Seinthe General
Dr. Aye Chan
As a former history professor of Kanda University of International Studies – Japan, he has written several pieces which could count among the transcripts of genocidal plans, that includes a book titled “Influx viruses, the illegal Muslims in Arakan” addressing Rohingya people “illegal” and “Viruses”. As much as his writings are inflammatory and racist in nature, he has propagated the hatred of Rohingya and Muslim in general throughout the Burma especially in Arakan where Rakhine are brainwashed with rising Anti-Rohingya sentiments. He was invited to return to Burma when Thein Sein came into power. Since then he becomes a force of denial of Rohingya existence in Arakan as well as disturbance of the peaceful coexistence and development of both communities.
Dr Aye Chan, former political prisoner from Burma
As a self-proclaimed “Buddhist Bin Laden”, he spearheads the recent anti-Muslim violence across the country, particularly in Meiktila hwere hundreds of Burmese Muslims are killed and many burned alive and dragged behind motorbikes, and thousands uprooted from their homes. Despite sentenced to 25 years for his involvements in anti-Muslim violence and hate speeches in 2003, he was pardoned by Thein Sein in 2012 during an amnesty. Within few months of his release, the campaign of genocide against Rohingya unfolded in Arakan, and he takes social media to spread lies, hatred and violence against Rohingya. In the height of the campaign, he has rallied to support the call of Thein Sein to deport all Rohingya to a third country. When he was featured on the front page of Time Magazine as “The Face of Buddhist Terror”, the president has defended him condemning the magazine. A few months before the end of Thein Sein’s regime, he has successfully lobbied to pass four controversial race and religion laws especially targeted for Rohingya and Muslims. He continues to spread hatred and violence via Facebook and his organization – MaBaTha, acronym for “The Patriotic Association of Myanmar”.
Min Aung Hlaing
Rose to prominence in 2009 following a military offensive campaign against Myanmar Nationalities Democratic Alliance Army in Kokang located in the northern part of Shan State, he was replaced General Shwe Mann as the Joint Chief of Staff of the Army, Navy and Air Force in June 2010 and subsequently the Commander-in-Chief of Tatmadaw (Myanmar Armed Forces) in March 30, 2011. Since becoming the Commander-in-Chief, he has carried out numerous offensive attacks on ethnic minorities in the eastern and the northern parts of the country, and claimed that the military has the responsibility to protect Buddhism. When three posts were attacked in October 9, 2016, his forces are conducting series of human rights of abuses against Rohingya in north Maungdaw Township. Hundreds of soldiers are deployed in the township who are committing rapes, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, destructions of houses and villages and blockages of independent media and humanitarian aids to the persecuted people. He takes the opportunity to overcome the rise of NLD government in the state.
Aung San Suu Kyi
A victim of military persecution house-arrest for almost 15 years after winning a landslide election in 1990, Aung San Suu Kyi succeeded the election in second round in 2015 controlling both houses of parliaments and states’ parliaments. She has called for “Rule of Law” to promote liberty and bring justice and development of the country before the election, however when she has power to assert her “Rule of Law”, she becomes another force of genocide against the neglected people Rohingya. She has remained silent when the campaign of Genocide unfolded in 2012 for which she was heavily criticized across the world, that can be understandable as she claimed she had no authoritative power to bring “Rule of Law”. Since the ongoing “Clearance Operation” against Rohingya in Maungdaw, her government continues to carry the policies of the previous oppressive regimes more than every by silencing international voices, allowing the military to go beyond what international laws permit during military operation by committing atrocious rapes against defenceless Rohingya women and burning down village after village leaked in Human Rights Watch’s Satellite Images. At the same time her ministry of information sanctions revelation of the atrocities in Burmese media as seen in sacking of Fiona McGregor, an investigative journalist at the Myanmar Time who has revealed the rapes by the armed forces, while allowing extremist media to spread hatred and violence openly against Rohingya. Her government continues to neglect the calls of human rights organizations, persecuted Rohingya and international agencies to stop the operation, allow humanitarian assistance and investigate the serious crimes that the military are committing.
Aung San Suu Kyi become a forces in the campaign of total removal of Rohingya from their native country giving licence to hardliners, extremists and the terror military institution.