A demonstration was held at Veterans Park in Milwaukee City on September 22, 2012 and it was organized by the Burma Task Force-USA in coordination with its members,Burmese Rohingya American Friendship Association (BRAFA), and Islamic Society of Milwaukee (ISM). This demonstration was actually, organized to show strong support, solidarity and also to advocate the suffering cause of Burmese Rohingya ethnic minority in Arakan State in line with 100 cities nationwide rally in USA.
Kyaw Soe Aung @ Shaukhat MSK Jilani, Acting President of Burmese Rohingya American Friendship Association (BRAFA) addressed in the gathering and also Bro. Salah Sarsor (ISM Shura Member) gave a short speech and he encouraged to all participants to take part in the future event .
Speech in the Rally on 09-22-2012
Today, we, the members of the National Democratic Party for Human Rights, Burmese Rohingya American Friendship Association (BRAFA), ISM members, American friends and supporters have gathered here under the banner of BURMA TASK FORCE-USA in line with the program of 100 cities nationwide rally for the downtrodden and suffering Muslims of Arakan and it is an honor of our most respectable guest, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and icon of democracy in Burma who has been awarded Congressional Gold Medal and Global Citizenship Award in USA.
The rally is being organized not for showing disrespect to DASSK. We come here to show respect and honor to DASSK who is our honorable guest in America for whom we tried our best to release her from 15 years of house arrest. We appreciate and proud of her peaceful democratic struggle, extraordinary courage and bravery in challenging Burmese military regime and her patience and endurance as well as her steadfastness in the struggle of establishing democracy in Burma during the course of 1988 student led democratic uprising and 1990 election period.
We stood firmly behind her in the past and still today we are with her non-violent struggle for the establishment of people’s representative democratic government in Burma. Burma is a diverse country with multi-ethnic community people.
In fact, we, the Rohingya people have been accepted by DASSK when she gracefully accepted the party NDPHR and our honorable national political leader U Kyaw Minn (aka) Shamsul Anwarul Hoque in the rank of Committee Representing the People’s Parliament (CRPP).
DASSK is the last hope for the Rohingyas who can solve the problems by advocating the Rohingya cause under the Charter of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
We are very grateful that DASSK has already spoken out about the Rohingya Muslims during her interview with RFA. However, we would like to appeal DASSK to stand for justice, to speak out and raise Rohingya issue within the reach of her capacity in the future with more strong voice in Myanmar Parliament and in the world media for the dignified survival of the Rohingyas in their native homeland-Arakan.
Now, I want to tell you a little bit of Rohingya Muslim’s identity and their rightful claims of indigenous and citizenship rights. According to reliable and authentic historical documents, Islam reached to in old Arakan in 788 A.D. while Muslims merchants and Missionary teams used to travel to China and Indochina peninsula. The king of old Arakan of Chandra dynasty rule resettled many Muslims and after that, many Muslims entered in groups and individual way that were settle down also in Arakan.
The most historical evidence was the year 1430 when Muslim army (our Forefathers) under the command of General Sindikhan and General Walikhan with a combined force of 60, 000 army restored the king of Arakan Naramikhla (Sulaiman Shah) to dethrone of Mrauk Oo dynasty. We, the Rohingyas are the decedents of that brave heroic Muslim army who are native people of present Arakan. So, we have every right to claim our ethnicity and citizenship status in Burma.
Today, the claims of Rakhine extremists, racist historians, ruling RNDP leaders and even, President Thein Sein who say the Rohingyas are Bangali, foreigners or illegal immigrants from Bangladesh who entered in Burma during the British colonial rule or Bangladesh liberation war is completely false and fabricated.
The current President Thein Sein led Burmese quasi civilian government and ruling Rakhine political party leaders have forgotten about Rohingyas’ existence and its democratic history in Burma. During the previous democratic U Nu government from 1948-1962, Rohingyas were recognized as one of the indigenous races in Burma with members in Parliament and Cabinet having a program as an indigenous people in the official Burma Broadcasting Services (BBS) and participation in official “Union Day” celebration of Burma’s racial groups in Burmese Capital city (Rangoon) every year.
In addition, according to 1947 Constitution, 1947 Burmese Residence and Registration Act, 1948 Burmese citizenship law, and 1974 Burmese Constitution, Rohingyas are Burmese citizens and no anyone can deny these historical and constitutional facts.
In Burma, the condition of the Muslim Rohingyas started to get worse when the military dictator General Ne Win seized the state power from the civilian democratic Government in March 1962 and installed an autocratic rule under the name of “Burmese Way to Socialism” with his idiosyncratic policies. Since then, Muslims especially, the ethnic minority Rohingyas have been subjected to campaigns of terror, genocide, mass arrest, rape, torture, extra-judicial killings, burning villages and houses, destroying Mosques and worship places, demolishing Muslims’ ancient monuments and historical shrines, restriction on marriages and travel movement and other massive human rights violations at the hands of successive Burmese Military Government and its supported Buddhist Rakhine racists.
The current genocide and ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Arakan in the month of Jun has made many destructions and loss and more than 100.000 thousands of Muslims in Arakan became shelter less. 150 Mosque and Islamic Institutions plus historical monuments, were destroyed and burned down by the Rakhine Buddhist people aided by the Burmese security forces. Thousands of Muslims were missing and many Muslims properties, shops and lands were forcefully confiscated by the State government. So, Thein Sein led Burmese government is fully responsible for the loss and destructions of all those.
The present situation in Arakan State is very much complex and Muslims are now in constant fear like hostages in Arakan. President Thein Sein led Burmese government is claiming that the situation in Arakan is under control, calm, and restore to normalcy after visiting OIC delegation, US officials from the Department of State and President Thein Sein’s appointed Enquiry of Investigation Commission as well as some Muslim country’s delegation such as Turkey, Indonesia, and Malaysia and also giving limited opportunity of access to some humanitarian organizations and journalists. It seems the world people and international communities believe that the situation of Arakan is very much improved and normalcy has been restored.
In reality, the situation is worst and the Muslims are suffering and victimized more than before. The people are still there not able to go outside and to buy day to day needed foods and other household items and the people who are in the concentration camps are getting a little bit relief foods, but, those who are living in their homes in Sittwe Downtown area are facing starvation due to foods shortage because they are not able to go outside to buy foods. The President Thein Sein government imposed an Emergency order 144 in the Muslims living townships of Arakan State. This Emergency Order 144 only applied to the Muslims. That is why, Muslims cannot move anywhere for whatever reason. Buddhist Rakhine people are free to go anywhere and also to do regular business. Burmese security forces are Rakhine Buddhists and therefore, they help, support and cooperate to their fellow Rakhine people in various ways to kill and attack the Muslims.
According to reliable news information recently, Rakhine Party leaders and majority Rakhine Buddhist people have reached an informal consensus that Rohingyas uprooted by the violence and now living in makeshift camps outside the Sittwe Town will not be allowed to return to their original places for any reason. And also there is a report received from inside Arakan that extremist Rakhine leaders and Buddhist monks are collecting and restoring lethal weapons in the Monasteries to kill the Rohingyas in their next plan of attack.
All in all, I want to say that the situation of Rohingya people in Arakan State is very bad and miserable. Muslims are helpless, defenseless; shelter less and no place to go. The Burmese government made them prisoners in their own country. So, the President Thein Sein led Burmese quasi civilian government is ultimately responsible for these tragedies on the Rohingya people.
I, therefore, on behalf of the National Democratic Party for Human Rights (exile) and Burmese Rohingya American Friendship Association (BRAFA) call upon the Burmese government the following demands :-
1- Restore Rohingyas citizenship rights on the basis of 1947 Burma Constitution by repealing 1982 inhuman and unjust citizenship law,
2- International independent Commission of enquiry and monitoring teams must be allowed to access the affected areas and the crises of the genocide victims in Arakan,
3- Re-establish all the affected and victimized people in their original places with appropriate compensation from the government for rebuilding houses, Islamic schools, Mosques, Shops and business centers etc.,
4- Allow international relief organizations and local relief teams to provide foods and other commodities to the affected and internal refugees in concentration camps and other scattered area,
5- Return all the shops, properties, and business stores owned by the Muslim Rohingyas forcibly taken away by the Rakhine State government to the rightful owners,
6- Stop immediately ongoing mass arrest, silent killings, rape, torture in jail, looting properties, burning houses and demolishing Muslim worship places etc.,
And, we also request the US government administration and United Nations to implement the following demands:-
1- Put strong pressure and signals on the Burmese government to stop immediately the atrocities, ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Muslim Rohingyas in Arakan,
2- Deploy UN peace-keeping forces in Arakan in order to protect the Muslims from further genocide, ethnic cleansing and all other atrocities and human rights violations against the Muslim Rohingyas,
3- Investigate thoroughly the humanitarian crisis of Arakan and take appropriate action to the Burmese security forces together with ruling Rakhine Buddhist RNDP leaders and members who committed burning, killing, looting, torturing and crimes against the Rohingyas in Arakan and brought those masterminds and culprits to the International Court of Justice (ICC) to face action.