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    Are Rohingyas and Kamans Less (Than) Human Beings?

    Bangla Times:
     February 21, 2013
     M.S. Anwar


    The world has been
    witnessing the well-planned Genocide of Rohingyas and Kamans in Arakan, Burma
    for more than eight months now. Consequently, Rohingyas and Kamans are now
    without foods, any access to medical treatments and their other ways to
    livelihoods are blocked. They are being arbitrary arrested, tortured and
    killed. Their properties are being looted and women being raped. Religious
    buildings are locked down and so and so atrocities have been being carried out
    against them under the so-called international radar. Not surprisingly though,
    the heinous crimes Rohingyas and Kamans are successfully being covered up.
    Their outcries are falling into deaf ears. Less attention and (less) importance
    are given to their dying plights. No effective steps to prevent the continuing
    Genocide of them have been taken yet. Nor does it seem it will be taken in the
    future.

    To avoid such extremely
    vulnerable conditions, Rohingyas and Kamans (Men, Women and Children alike) are
    leaving Arakan in order to find a land where they can breathe without fear.
    That (leaving Arakan) is what exactly Rakhine extremists want. Though many
    Rohingyas know it, they are left with hardly any choices but to leave their
    ancestral land. They first come to the neighboring Bangladesh for shelter and refuge.
    But the country’s authority bitterly rather inhumanly reject them. They arrest
    the Rohingya victims, detain and torture and finally deport them back to their
    country despite knowing that these people will have no lives there.
    Bangladesh authority gives
    a lame excuse for rejecting the refugees. They don’t want to exaggerate their
    problems by adding more people to their already booming population and say that
    they are already hosting thousands of Rohingya refugees. How have they been
    hosting them? By treating them like prisoners?? However, naturally, no Rohingya
    wants to permanently live in Bangladesh. They just seek shelter in the country.
    It is not that Rohingyas are exaggerating Bangladesh problems but that the
    self-centered politicians do not want to solve their own problems.

    Had Bangladesh wanted
    it, they could have solved the problems of Rohingyas long ago and repatriated
    the thousands of Rohingyas living in the country by taking the sociopathic
    Burmese leaders to international dialogues or international courts for denying
    the history of Rohingyas and true history of Arakan. If Bangladesh can do it,
    it will be the win-win situation for both Bangladesh and Rohingyas. But
    Bangladesh doesn’t do it for the lame hopes of more profits to be gained from maintaining
    a good relationship with Burma. So Rohingyas have no choice but to take
    perilous sea voyages for wherever they feel and believe they will be given
    refuges and breathing spaces. However, all of their hopes of respites and
    refuges are but all over soon after their journeys start.

    Most of these
    persecuted people head to Malaysia where they hope they will be given refuge.
    On their way to Malaysia, they have to cross Thailand, a country that either
    doesn’t regard them as human beings. And this Thailand has a hypocritical stand
    on this issue. Thailand, in the past, used to push the boats of the Rohingya
    victims back to sea. But after the violence in Arakan, the plight of Rohingyas
    has drawn much international attentions (though not actions) and is now under
    international scrutiny. So, nowadays, if the boats packed with Rohingya victims
    already arrive to the shore, Thailand rather keeps the refugees in detentions
    lest pushing their boats back to the sea should tarnish her image
    internationally. From the detentions, Thai Authority sells many Rohingyas to
    the Human Traffickers in the country. On the other hand, Thailand Navy drags
    the boats of Rohingya victims to the sea and set them adrift without their boat
    engines and food in the ocean to die. No one sees them doing so because it is
    happening deep into the seaside and far away from the shore.

    Recently, 98 out of 130
    people horrifically died in a boat that floated around 40 days in the sea. The
    boat was mercilessly set adrift to the ocean by the Thai Navy and finally it
    docked to Sri Lankan shore. According to the surviving victims, before getting
    to the shore, their boat was dragged and set adrift to the sea by the Thai
    Navy. It is not the first time for Thai authority that treated Rohingya victims
    so inhumanly. Besides, the Thailand authority is trying to deport the detained
    Rohingyas back to Burma, where they are not considered as human beings.

    Unfortunately, Thailand
    Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra seems to have been afflicted with unfounded
    fears and delusions. She said that Rohingyas are feared to possibly join the
    combatants in the southern Thailand. Asking a basic question to her is
    essential here: the world knows and so does she that Rohingyas are persecuted
    and being killed. They are out and out helpless victims. In such situations, if
    the good people like MS Yingluck Shinawatra don’t give them critically required
    refuge and shelter, it will not be their fault even if they happen to join the
    combatants (which they will not) because they have to save their lives and
    survive like other human beings.

    Malaysia, the favored
    destination of most of the fleeing Rohingya victims, either, doesn’t give good
    respites and show the necessary hospitality towards these victims even though
    it (Malaysia) is not treating them as badly as Bangladesh and Thailand are.
    They are detaining the refugees on their arrival to its shore. Malaysia has a
    good excuse for doing so. That is Malaysia is not signatory to UN Refugee
    Convention and hence they can treat and detain the refugee as they wish. Where
    on earth is their humanity? Malaysia likes to portray everything about itself
    positively to the international community. That might be a reason why it has
    sent a humanitarian mission to Arakan last year. But it might be all for show
    off. Every country was doing that. So, Malaysia cannot be exceptional if she
    wants to be in the international good-list. So did they do. But the suffering
    Rohingyas in Arakan become confused. They started thinking that if they go to
    Malaysia, they will be given the critically required respites and refuges.
    However, all their hopes are over once they get to Malaysia. Many of Rohingya
    victims hope Australia will be a better destination for refuge but it is too
    far, difficult and dangerous for them to sail to the country.

    Amidst the Genocide of
    these people in their home country, rejection of Bangladesh, Thailand’s inhuman
    treatments, Malaysia’s not giving good refuge and hypocritical stands of the
    so-called international community and human rights champions, the lives of the
    innocent children, young and adults have become in limbo and are struggling for
    their survival. They have become unwanted everywhere and no land’s people. If
    the vulnerable situation of Rohingyas and Kamans continue, it will not take long
    for the humanity to see exterminations of more ethnic communities in the modern
    time. After all, why? Are they less than human beings? The whole humanity has
    to answer for this.

    MS
    Anwar is an activist and student in Malaysia. The writings here are of his own
    and don’t reflect the editorial policy of Bangla Times.