A Rohingya’s Message from Dublin

By Haikal Mansor

Ireland can no longer wait. This great country experienced the worst in the past when a million men, women, young boys and girls lost their lives in one of the largest tragedies in the history of humanity, partly resulted in disorganization of the ruling at the time and “too little too late” in response.

Ireland can no longer accept the excuses the world’s leaders and the Burmese government. Definitely not from Aung San Suu Kyi, who was given “cead mile failte” – “a hundred thousand welcomes” when she made her visit to this great city on June 18, 2012. She was also given the most prestigious award of the city, “the Freedom of the City of Dublin”.

On behalf of Rohingya community Ireland and more than three million Rohingya from over the world, I am honoured to witness people of diverse background and all across of life, are here today standing united with the world’s most persecuted people Rohingya, regardless of race, colour, faith, political and social creeds.

This is not the first time that people have come together to protest and show disappointment over the treatments of Rohingya. Malala Yousafzai recently said, “The world is still waiting.” Indeed, the world is still waiting and watching while thousands of Rohingya women, children and elderly people are being killed under our own eyes, hundreds of thousands are being forced to flee their homes as Burmese Armed Forces burn their village after village to the ground, and tens of thousands of Rohingya are in mass-starvation as they make their long-journey to cross the border after days of walking across the mass-killing fields in Burma.

Ireland can no longer wait. This great country experienced the worst in the past when a million men, women, young boys and girls lost their lives in one of the largest tragedies in the history of humanity, partly resulted in disorganization of the ruling at the time and “too little too late” in response.

Ireland can no longer accept the excuses the world’s leaders and the Burmese government. Definitely not from Aung San Suu Kyi, who was given “cead mile failte” – “a hundred thousand welcomes” when she made her visit to this great city on June 18, 2012. She was also given the most prestigious award of the city, “the Freedom of the City of Dublin”.

She said, “This will be one of the unforgettable days of my life. I’ve been welcomed to Ireland as though I belong to you.” While receiving the award, she lied the people of Ireland as she claimed, “I took on duties from which I have never been relieved.”

Not only does she remain silent and forget her moral duties, she continues to deny, make false allegations and allegations, ally with the Burmese military, blame the Rohingya victims and whitewash the international community.

She said that it is “unreasonable to expect” solving “the [Rohingya] issue in 18 months”.

I am going to tell you what she has accomplished in 18 months and so.

Since she becomes the head of state in Burma. There are two large-scale outbreaks of military “clearance operations”, what the United Nations called “ethnic cleansing of Rohingya”, the U.N. Human Rights Council labelled “crimes against humanity” and what human rights organizations and experts on genocide call “the slow-burning genocide” which is entering into the final stages of Genocide.

Under her NLD [National League for Democracy] government, the notorious Burmese military launched “clearance operations” in October 2016, resulting in expulsion of more than 87,000 Rohingya from the country becoming refugees in Bangladesh, killed at least 1,200 Rohingya civilians, destroyed more than 3,000 houses and reported a whopping more than 200 cases of Rohingya women being raped by the military.

She has denied and defended, and still denies and defends all the well-documented “crimes against humanity” including the rape cases. She seems quickly forgotten what she once said in 2011 before becoming a politician, “Rape is rife. Rape is used in my country as a weapon by armed forces to intimidate the ethnic nationalities and to divide our country.”

Her government also whitewashed the international community by forming an Investigation Commission on Maungdaw led by a former general and head of Burmese intelligence, who is now vice-President 1 of Burma. He was involved in the suppression of 2007 Saffron Buddhist Monk Revolution. The commission has found whatsoever “no evidence of human rights violations”, “no evidence of crimes against humanity”, “no evidence of ethnic cleansing”, “no evidence of genocide” and instead blamed Rohingya civilians.

She still denies the visa to the U.N fact-finding mission to investigate the human rights violations inflicted by the armed forces against Rohingya in northern Rakhine State.

Now, things turn into a complete disaster. Since August 25, the Burmese military again launched the campaign of intimidation and ethnic cleansing. The results are heart-breaking. In just 2 weeks, at least 300,000 Rohingya are expelled from Burma, more than 250,000 are internally displaced in just three townships – my hometown Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung. My family is also displaced and I lost contact with my mother and two youngest siblings for [more] 12 days. Over 4,000 Rohingya civilians are killed including women, children and elderly.

The military is also putting landmines along the border and in the villages to destroyed the fabric of entire Rohingya community. Yesterday, the military used a group of hired Hindu people from my village to stage as though “Rohingya were burning their own villages” to lie the international community and propagate further violence inside the country, and to defend what Human Rights Watch evidently proved the massive destructions of villages in the satellite images.

More than 160 villages are partially or completely destroyed by the military as they are using “Four Cuts” Policy, which was inspired by Japan’s “Three Alls” – “Kill all, Burnt all and Loot all” policies.

In short, more than 23% of Rohingya population is now removed from the country, not to mention another 15% is displaced in just 14 days.

These are what Aung San Suu Kyi has accomplished, in making friend and allying with the same military which made Burma a Pariah State for more than half a century, the same military which put her house-arrest for nearly 20 years, the same military which killed at least 5,000 students in 1988 Student Uprising, the same military which denied her 1990 election victory, the same military which is waging civil wars with ethnic and religious minorities – such as Christian communities in Kachin, Karen and Shan.

Not to mentioned, after she becomes a politician and before ascending to the office of state-counsellor, another campaign of genocide took place between 2012 and 2015, displacing nearly 140,000 Rohingya into Nazi-like concentration camps with no absolute freedom of movement, education, healthcare, and many more, in various townships of Rakhine State. And also more than 165,000 Rohingya fled Burma at the time, which became the regional issue of Southeast Asia when Rohingya were trafficked and starved to dead in the jungles of Thailand and Malaysia in 2015.

The Nobel Peace winner from Northern Ireland, Mairead Maguire said, “The plight of Rohingya in Myanmar has worsened since 2012. Right now, they have two equally risky options; to stay and die in Myanmar or leave.”

As Chris Lewa, a human rights activist and consultant of the Arakan Project clearly pointed out, I quote, “they are starting to harass the Rohingya community even more by trying to say ‘you are not a citizen’, ‘you cannot do this’, ‘you cannot do that – you need permission’. So really, there is more oppression in the last few months under Aung San Suu Kyi government than there was before.”

This is the political price that Rohingya community has paid and is paying for Aung San Suu Kyi’s rise “to the highest office in Burma”, and as her fellow Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu from South Africa said “her silence is too high a price”.

Another 7 Nobel Peace Laureates jointly declared, “What Rohingya are facing is a textbook case of Genocide in which an entire indigenous community is being systematically wiped out by the Burmese government.”

The situation of Rohingya is now used in Burma as “religious and political” tools, where neo-Nazi hate groups, and the extreme form of Buddhism is on the rise. The hate groups are used by both Burmese military and Aung San Suu Kyi’s party members, to stroke violence and ethnic cleansing of Rohingya.

Forget about Wirathu, the fake of Buddhist Terror, who is widely supported by the Burmese military and the military intelligence in his campaign of hatred, bigotry, violence and Islamophobia.

Even one of the most prominent monks of the country, Sayadaw Sitagu, said, “Bengalis are claiming themselves as Rohingyas, they are trying to demand a separate home land. They also burned their houses by themselves as if it was done by Burmese Buddhists.” It is an outrageous statement coming from the mouth of one of the most educated monks from Burma.

Rohingya are in Arakan Kingdom, now Rakhine State, way before Burmese invaded the kingdom in December 1784. Since then Bama ethnic people are playing divide and conquer police by dividing both Rakhine Buddhist and Rohingya Muslims.

This is how far the religious hatred and discrimination is institutionalised. There are dozens of law and policies aimed for the persecution of Rohingya and other religious minorities.

The architect of Burma’s Independence, Aung San, who happened to be the father of Aung San Suu Kyi, said before his assassination, “If we mix religion and politics, then we offend the spirit of religion itself.”

The religion is deeply rooted in today’s politics in Burma. The spirit of country and the spirit of unified and the spirit of  equal Burma is destroyed by the silence of country’s majority Buddhists, who are now dramatically shifting towards racism and discrimination of Rohingya.

Dalai Lama, another prominent Buddhist from Tibet said, “Killing people in the name of religion is unthinkable. Nowadays, even Buddhists are involved [in killing Rohingya and Muslims] in Burma. I pray for them [Monks] to think of the face of Buddha.”

Religious leaders have come together in standing and showing solidarity with Rohingya Muslims. Pope Francis said “Rohingya were chased from one country and from another and from another. This is a conflict that has not resolved and this is war. This is called violence. This is called killing.”

However, political leaders and world’s leaders have again failed to prevent the atrocities and the genocide against Rohingya, which is unfolding right in front of their eyes.

Even UK government provides training to the Burmese armed forces with millions of UK taxpayers’ money, the same forces which are committing genocide against Rohingya. The European Union also invited the head of Burmese military Senior-general Min Aung Hlaing in Austria with the red carpet when his hands are covered with the red blood of innocent Rohingya as well as other religious and ethnic minorities.

The world is failing again as the situations of Rohingya reach in critical point. The world is failing to keep promise made after Rwanda genocide. The world’s leaders said “never again”, now we are seeing “never again” “all over again” in the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya.

Ireland can no longer be part of the failed world or the failed promise in keeping the eye-open when Rohingya women and children are being killed and expelled.

Ireland can no longer destroyed its reputation on human rights when severe human rights are violated against Rohingya.

Ireland can no longer ignore the crimes against humanity on Rohingya civilian that have been unfolding for many years.

What Ireland can do is to lead the world as an example in standing up and defending the Rohingya civilians, bringing justice the victims of crimes against humanity, and be the voice to stop the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya.


This speech was delivered on behalf of Rohingya Community Ireland, on the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Rohingya in Burma, in front of the General Post Office, O’Connell Street, Dublin on September 8, 2017.

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