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UN Special Rapporteur and His Ongoing Visit to Arakan

MS Anwar
Opinion Editorial 
August 12, 2013

UN Special Rapportuer on Human Rights to Myanmar, Mr. Tomas Ojea
Quintana, arrived in Sittway (Akyab), Arakan, this (on 12thAugust
2013) early morning. However, he was unable to proceed to Rohingya IDP camps
due to protests by Rakhine extremists and blockage by government’s security
forces. 


This afternoon, around 12:00 noon, he arrived in Buthidaung. Then, he
went to visit Buthidaung prison.


Hundreds of Rohingyas were arrested arbitrarily and under false
accusations of involving in the violence last year. They have been, without any
legal charges against them, infinitely detained under extremely catastrophic
condition in the prison.


However, prior to the visit by Mr. Quintana, the authority had made
Rohingya prisoners in the prison into many groups. And they were shifted, in
separated groups, to many parts of Maung Daw and Buthidaung. Some of the places
where Rohingya prisoners had been shifted to are:
1) Maung Daw Police Cell
2) Maung Daw Court
3) Buthidaung Police Cell
4) Buthidaung Court
5) Former NaSaKa Headquarter in Khawar Bil (Kyi Kan Pyin), Maung Daw and
others.


During his visit to Buthidaung township as well, many Rakhine extremists
came out to the streets and held fierce protest against his visit. Besides,
some Rakhine extremists were holding some insulting banners and chanting
abusive slogans against him. All the protests against him and his visit had
been pre-planned by the Rakhine state government according to the earlier
reports from Arakan.


Yesterday, in accordance with a report by a Rohingya in Sittway, the
Rakhine State Mininster for Security, Colonel U Htein Lin, said to the
internally displaced Rohingyas in the camps of Bawdu Pha and Ohn Daw Gyi “your
father Quintana will arrive today. Tell him whatever you want. We don’t care.
Rakhines are organizing demonstrations against his visit.”


Rakhine extremists backed by the Arakan State government are now
stigmatizing a human rights rapporteur as ‘a human rights abuser’. There is an
old Burmese saying “Thu Ku Lu Pyan Hie’” meaning “the thief cries ‘Man Man’ or
“a Thief Shouting ‘Thief Thief’ himself.” That exactly suits these Rakhine
extremists. They are, at the moment, due to different influences, one of the
most criminal minded and brutal people in the world. (Of course, not referring
Rakhine community as a whole.) Hence, such behaviors of theirs were not only
ridiculous but also criminally motivated.


Afterwards, he set off to visit Maung Daw at 3:30PM. Soon after, the
cell phone network in Maung Daw and Buthidaung was turned off. However, due to
the protests and blockages by some terrorist monks, some prison police and
Rakhine extremists, he could not proceed further to Maung Daw. He turned back
to Buthidaung and held a meeting with the groups of different departments in
government.


It has been reported that he plans to visit the IDP Camps at Baariza Fara
(Ohn Daw Gyi) and Badua Dayl (Bawdu Pha) in Sittway. We wish his trip to the
camps be fruitful.


Meanwhile, Rohingyas in Aung Mingalar Quarter, IDP Camps in Sittway and
other parts of Arakan remain blocked by the authority an security force and
vulnerable.