URGENT: Act to STOP Attacks on Rohingya in Northern Rakhine State

Download the file below on urgent action to stop the killing of Rohingya going on NOW in Rakhine.

Don't Repeat 2012: Burma Blames Rohingya For Attacks On Police Outposts

Since the advent of the War on Terror in 2001 the Burmese military has presented Muslims as a terrorist threat to the nation. In fact, the government has even stooped so low as to create an imaginary, fictional terrorist group to achieve this purpose as documented by The Intercept. This trackrecord is the backdrop for the claim made by Police Major General Zaw Win and Tin Maung Swe of the Rakhine State government, that the defunct Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO), was behind recent attacks on three police outposts in Northern Rakhine State that has left 9-10 policemen dead, and seen ammunition looted. A startling statement when the only known separatists groups operating in the area are Rakhine, and the Rohingya struggle for self-determination has been entirely peaceful for decades.

Such quick accusations of collective blame, based on rumors have had deadly consequences in the past. In 2012, rumors that Rohingya Muslims raped a Buddhist Rakhine woman led to pogroms and riots against the Rohingya, in which: hundreds were killed and injured, 150,000 were forced into Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) camps, while their property was destroyed or stolen. It was later revealed that the story was a lie spread by Buddhist nationalists: the medical examiner was forced to sign documents saying the Buddhist woman was raped, the three men who were arrested (two were Buddhist and one was a non-Rohingya Muslim) for the crime were killed in police custody.

The attacks on the police outposts and the subsequent statement by Major Zaw Win are feeding into the Islamophobic, anti-Rohingya narratives that predominate in the country, especially in Rakhine state: reports indicate that 10-12 Rohingya have already been killed. These actions will have an adverse affect on community relations between the Rohingya and Rakhine, since it will enhance false perceptions of the Rohingya as a militant threat leading to heightened distrust, tensions and vigilante reprisals. It will also obfuscate who the actual culprits are behind the attacks.

For these reasons we call on all supporters of the Rohingya to contact the US Ambassador and Secretary of State and ask them to make sure that we do not see a repeat of the anti-Rohingya mob violence of 2012.

UPDATE: Since we first reported these events Burmese forces have, under the pretext of hunting the attackers, collectively assigned blame to the whole Rohingya populace. In the ensuing crackdown, over 100 Rohingya have been killed, 700 homes and several villages have been burned to the ground. There are over 15,000 more Rohingya displaced, in what is being described as 'a predictable escalation in the genocidal process.'

CONTACT

Secretary John Kerry, Department of the Secretary of State, Phone number: 202-647-9572,Twitter: @JohnKerry, @StateDept, Contact

Scot Marciel US Ambassador to Burma, (95)-(9)-512-4330, Twitter: @USEmbassyBurma, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/usembassy.rangoon

ASK 

  • The attacks must not be used by the government as a pretext to continue and enhance its persecution of the Rohingya through arbitrary arrests, curfews, and executions.
  • The ambassador should visit Northern Rakhine state. Such visits in the past have shown to calm tensions and prevent the escalation of violence

Talking Points

  • The Rohingya are an indigenous people living in their ancestral lands.
  • The Rohingya are one of the most persecuted people on the planet and as stateless people should have their citizenship rights fully recognized and restored.

Myanmar and the 'War on Terror'

The corrosive effects of the war are plain to see from Guantanamo to Yangon. It is destroying the fabric of nations and many lives along the way. In Myanmar, instead of exerting pressure on the actual hatemongers, the military government encourages persecution of those working for a pluralistic and democratic future. The Rohingya Calendar Six, the jailed interfaith activists, and the 12 Muslims sentenced for joining a non-existent terrorist organization are all casualties of the wedding of Burmese state sponsored Islamophobia and the U.S.-led “War on terror.” As they languish in Burmese prisons, Americans would do well to remember our nation’s complicity in their plight.

   Continue Reading

The Roots of Religious Conflict in Myanmar

      Hatred does not spawn overnight. It takes years, sometimes decades, to instill ideas inside of society and label groups as victims or oppressors.

      The diaspora of "boat people" from Asia did not occur as a sudden outbreak of hostility of Buddhists against Muslims. The sentiments had been developing for quite a long time.

      According to an article in the Diplomat, the news magazine conducted research titled "The Listening Project", in which they observed the concerns and mentality towards other groups throughout Myanmar. 

      "In this research, conducted across six regions in Myanmar, we have regularly noted discourses that construct Muslims as an existential threat, in which Buddhism is vulnerable and needing protection lest Islam supplant it as the majority religion. Fear of a Muslim takeover is based on a conception of Islam as intrinsically violent, justified with arguments that are strikingly reminiscent of discourses common in the United States and other countries since September 11th 2001. People regularly raised examples of alleged violence by Muslims in Myanmar as well the actions of ISIS and Al Qaeda."

      Just as Islamophobia has begun to show its terrifying face in the West, the same is happening in countries such as Myanmar. Islam in general is seen as a threat to national security. Even people who might not know Muslims personally believe that by driving Muslims out of the country, they are protecting their nation.

      According to the artice, the solution is to begin positive discourse, to grab at the root of the dilemma rather than just focusing on the outward reactions.

      Read the rest of the story here.

Photo: bbc.com      

The Rohingya and Islamic Extremism: A Convenient Myth

      An article in The Diplomat debunks the argument that Rohingyas pose an extremist Islamic threat in Myanmar, stressing that more attention should be given to improving the Rohingya's crisis and stopping the discrimination and persecution. The article also examines the credibility of the claim that the Rohingya Solidarity Union (RSO) is responsible for numerous attacks. Analysts agree that the Rohingya issue is being used by Naypyidaw, international terrorist organizations, and certain domestic groups to serve their own agendas.

 

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