March 01, 2014
Leaked government documents and images emerged late last night outlining plans to further unsettle the Rohingya population in Arakan, Myanmar.
Minutes from a high-level meeting between Than Shwe, the brutal ex-leader of military Burma, and other senior officials detail plans to remove INGO’s, instigate further attacks on Rohingya villages during March and April and to target Rohingya leaders in September.
The documents were leaked shortly after Medécins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) license to operate in Arakan was revoked by Naypitaw government administration on February 26th. The decision was made as MSF’s staff witnessed violence towards Rohingya in the Killa Dong village massacre last month. MSF staff also treated injured Rohingya villagers which unsettled the Naypitaw administration’s stance on foreign NGO’s working in Arakan state.
The leaked documents cite that UN and INGO presence in Arakan have deterred Rakhine gangs and mobs from repeating violent attacks on the Rohingya as seen in 2012 and early 2013.
The 969 movement, a nationalist campaign against the alleged expansion of Islam in Burma, has gained mass popularity amongst Rakhine and Burmese voters in general, greatly increasing their influence over local and national administration.
The documents uphold beliefs that Rakhine protests against the UN and INGO presence in Arakan have placed immense pressure on the Burmese government to eject any resistance to the anti-Rohingya crusade.
The human cost of MSF’s and other NGO’s removal from Arakan is felt most potently by the Rohingya people. This morning, Restless Beings received information from Myebon’s Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp of Sara Khatun, an A&E patient and daughter of Noor Uddin. Since MSF’s forced withdrawal, her family has been unable to gain any access to medical aid. Their desperate pleas for help to both the Rakhine township medical officer and the village administrator, U Min Khine Win, were routinely rejected. This morning Miss Sara Khatun tragically lost her life.