November 24, 2013
Press TV has conducted an interview with Sarnata Reynolds, Statelessness Refugees International, Maryland about the issue of the dramatic depravation of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar camps; them being violently persecuted by the majority Buddhist community assisted by the government, which has rejected a UN resolution.
The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: When we want to take a look at the situation of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar it’s nothing new at this point, but this development of how the UN has pretty much urged the country, in this case to grant citizenship to the Rohingyas; but highlighting the case should invoke some kind of aid translating down.
Why is that not happening? Such as what we’re seeing in these camps in terms of the ones that have been displaced now living in these camps.
Reynolds: That’s a good question and the UN resolution I should say is such a positive and important step both for the Rohingya people who have the right to nationality; the right to citizenship, but also to the international community to take seriously that the right to nationally needs to be conferred and that it should be condemned when countries decide not to permit people to have citizenship.
The aid is actually there to a great extent. The problem is that it can’t get in because the government of Myanmar whether at the state level or at the central government level or at the local level is just not permitting humanitarians to get in.
So at the state level there are whole section of Rakhine state where the Rohingya live – where the vast majority of Rohingya live – who simply are not being permitted to get aid.
And the IDP camps that you talked about – the displacement camps – there are humanitarian workers who are being threatened everyday that if they go in and if they provide assistance they may be harmed. And people are being harmed and they are being arrested.
Press TV: When we look at the reports, in many cases it is said that what is happening to the Rohingyas is pretty much something that is state-backed and it is part of a culture there – it has been like this for quite some time.
The cruel and inhumane ways that they get treated and of course the extremes of what we have witnessed particularly in Rakhine State.
Hasn’t the state promised that it’s not going to keep backing the extreme violence that is incurred mainly by the Buddhists on the Rohingyas or is that just for public consumption not really translating into action?
Reynolds: Unfortunately, I’m not even sure I would say that the government has made that promise.
There is no national champion for the Rohingya. There is no national champion for their rights. There is no one in the government right now that is saying this has to stop, no more. The Rohingya have to be treated with dignity, with respect for their human rights.
Until the central government makes clear that this is unacceptable that they are not going to allow the government of Rakhine or the local townships to mistreat, to abuse and to persecute the Rohingya they have no reason to change.
There is impunity and there is no accountability.
An internally displaced Rohingya woman carries water at a camp for displaced Rohingya in Sittwe, northwestern Rakhine State, Myanmar, AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)