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Rohingya diaspora calls for probe into Myanmar ‘genocide’

June 14, 2013

European MPs have jointly condemned the violence against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims, and called on the government to do more to protect them.

The European Parliament has passed a motion saying it condemns the grave violations of human rights against the Muslim minority in Rakhine state.

The motion says it “deplores the failure of the Myanmar government to protect the Rohingyas against organised violence.”

The Rohingya diaspora has welcomed the motion, but has also called for an international investigation into what they call a ‘genocide’.

Presenter: Sen Lam

Speaker: Nurul Islam, president, Arakan Rohingya National Organisation, London

NURUL ISLAM: This is very encouraging and we’re very much thankful to the European parliament for adopting this resolution, and we take it as a proper encouragement for the Rohingyah people.

LAM: Do you think it might improve the situation for them?

NURUL ISLAM: No, it depends actually… we hope so, but the Burmese government is very much uncompromising, sometimes, in the case of the Rohingya people, that’s what we’re afraid of. It is time for the international and the investigation is necessary, in fact. That is very important, because there’s an Enquiry Commission formed internally by the Burmese government, but it is completely biased. The world knows it. And that will not bring any solution.

The recommendation given by the internal commission, is against the Rohingya people. And there’re lots of reports by the credible international organisations, like Human Rights Watch and there’s evidence of mass graves in Arakan (Rakhine state). But these are needed to be investigated, for these and other things, like the great humanitarian crisis that’s existing. And the segregation that’s going on there, apartheid policy has been imposed. And the two-child policy – this is a very discriminatory policy that has been imposed.

We need international intervention, with a UN Commission of Enquiry. We would prefer to call it a ‘genocide’ because the intention to destroy our people is very much established. In that sense, you can consider it a case of genocide. With international jurisdiction – for these, even the responsibility to protect these people is an international responsibility – we in the international communities. In that sense, the international community should intervene and the (Rohingya) peoples are protected.

LAM: Senior monks in Yangon have called for peace at a monastery in Yangon. Do you think the Buddhist clergy is doing enough to curb anti-Muslim, and particularly, anti-Rohingya violence?

NURUL ISLAM: They can have discussions on this but the way they’re going, to do things. Who’s leading the controversial ‘nine-six-nine’ movement? This is a movement against the Rohingya people in particular, and the Muslims in general. Until now, although this ‘nine-sixty-nine movement’ has done many injuries. Although it is injurious to the Muslim community, the government has until now, taken no action against them.

Whatever changes, whatever democratic reforms take place in the country, it is important that good sense prevails in the minds of the government, number one.

Number two, this is the good sense prevailing in the minds of the majority Buddhis community, and then, the democratic and the parliamentary and political process in the country should be all-inclusive, and the Rohingya must be a part of it, otherwise, we don’t hold hope or change the circumstances of the Rohingya people. Because, you know, we are a people, with a history and glorious past.

We are not a floating people or infiltrators from foreign countries, as they (the government) allege. But we have our roots deeply-rooted in Arakan (Rakhine state) and therefore, to Burma. So our citizenship rights and our ethnic rights must be guaranteed, must be ensured in Burma.