Truth vs Lie: ROHINGYA IN NUMBERS

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By Haikal Mansor

“Help the situation is to make sure that there is no illegal crossings of the border. And Burma claims that a lot of Muslims who are now in Burma are actually people who have come over illegally from Bangladesh,” the Burma’s Nobel Peace Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi once ignorantly told an audience of young human rights enthusiasts at Amnesty International’s – ‘Aung San Suu Kyi inspires the Next’ programme in Washington, DC on September 20, 2012.

The Western Gate, a 200-km fenced-border with Bangladesh is perceived as “Last Frontier of Buddhism” in Burma. For decades it is being used to fan anti-Rohingya and anti-Muslim sentiments and hostilities by Rakhine extremists, Buddhist fanatics and military regimes.

“We cannot share that land (with) an alien immigrant,” said Dr. Aye Chan, one of the famous inflammatory Rakhine historians who promotes hatred and racism through his bias and distorted historic lectures and writings.

Wirathu, the “Notorious Chauvinist” and Time Magazine’s featured “The face of Buddhist Terror” who campaigns for the removal of Rohingya and spreads hatred and violence towards all groups of Burmese Muslims through his 969 Movement and Ma Ba Tha (Burmese acronym for Association for the Protection of Race and Religion), also claimed “the matter of fact is they are not people from our country. They are migrants and expand by breeding their tribe in our country.”

As a notable Islamophobe in Burmese academic circle, Dr Yin Yin Nwe, the former chief education advisor to then-Burma’s president Thein Sein who also appointed her as a member of “Inquiry Commission on Sectarian Violence in Rakhine State”, too stands with the bigotry and racist view of Wirathu and allegedly said “the group (Rohingya) is the descendants of many people of illegal immigrant.”

They are not alone.

More than five decades of military rule has bred thousands of chronic liars, racists and genocidaires who are feeding and instigating the Burmese public with their lies against Rohingya who are now considered as “illegal immigrants” despite being the “Natives of Arakan” and hiding the real number behind the expulsion of Rohingya.

Since Burma’s annexation of Arakan in 1784 which the world’s renowned philosopher and 1988 winner of Nobel Prize in Economics, Amartya Sen rightly referred “the Rohingya did not come to Burma. But Burma came to the Rohingya”, cession of Arakan to British India in 1824 and subsequent military regimes (after Ne Win’s coup d’état) in 1962, it is one way that is WAY OUT for Rohingya through the Western Gate with a few exceptions of repatriations of Rohingya refugees in 1978-79 and 1992.

Journeyman TV, an independent documentary network recorded the exodus of “a quarter of a million Rohingya” and the burning of villagers and damping of dead bodies along the Naf River as warnings during the Operation Clean Nation (Pyi Thaya) in 1992.

Preceding the Operation, at least 14 major military operations have droved more than half of Rohingya population out of their native land.

  • Mayu Operation: 1952-53
  • Mone Thone Operation: 1954
  • Combined Immigration and Army Operation: 1955
  • Union Military Police Operation: 1955-58
  • Captain Htin Kyaw Operation: 1959
  • Shwe Kyi Operation: 1966
  • Kyi Gan Operation: 1966
  • Ngazinka Operation: 1967-69
  • Myat Mon Operation: 1969-71
  • Major Aung Than Operation: 1973
  • Sabe Operation: 1974-78
  • King Dragon Operation: 1978-79
  • Shwe Hintha Operation: 1978-80
  • Galone Operation: 1979
  • Pyi Thaya Operation: 1991-92

Combined with the ongoing Genocidal Campaign, the number of expulsion of Rohingya is staggeringly high.

There are now 1.33 million Rohingya in apartheid-like conditions in Burma with severe human rights abuses such as denial of citizenship, restrictions of movement, religion, marriage, education and health care, and subjected to rape, forced labour, extortion and land confiscation which are  all well-documented in 2015 Yale Law School’s “PERSECUTION OF THE ROHINGYA MUSLIMS: IS GENOCIDE OCCURING IN MYANMAR’S RAKHINE STATE?”, 2015 International State Crime Initiative’s “COUNTDOWN TO ANNIHILATION: GENOCIDE IN MYANMAR”, 2014 Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal’s THE SLOW-BURNING GENOCIDE OF MYANMAR’S ROHINGYA” and 2010 Irish Centre for Human Rights’s “CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY IN WESTERN BURMA: THE SITUATION OF THE ROHINGYAS” reports.

For years, the restriction of healthcare services is one of the major tools of suppression. There is currently 1 doctor for every 1400,000 Rohingya compare to 1 for 681 Rakhine in the same State. It is 28 times below WHO recommendation of a doctor per 5,000 people. In short 10 doctors for the entire 1.33 Rohingya population and still further behind Liberia, the country with lowest number of doctor in the world standing 14 per million.

The lack of doctors, poor public health awareness and inadequate healthcare infrastructures create an unsustainable living condition – “70% have no access to safe water or sanitation” and “98% of women don’t give birth in hospitals”.

The most striking is the number of displacement of Rohingya after the campaign of Genocide. Since 2012, nearly 140,000 Rohingya were removed from their villages and forced into the 58 cramped internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in 9 of 17 townships in Rakhine State. 46% of them are children under 12, 30% are females above and 24% are males above 12.

The restriction of freedom of movement in the concentration camps and the hundreds of ghettos in the State has prevented thousands of Rohingya students without university and basic education.

According to UNHCR, more than 160,000 Rohingya fled Burma by sea between June 2012 and June 2015 and at least 1,100 of them died in January-March 2014 due to starvation, dehydration, beating and drowning.

Now consider countries hosting Rohingya without any legal status. As the neighbour Bangladesh sees a constant influx of Rohingya into the country. It is estimated that there are approximately 400,000 Rohingya in unofficial settlements across Bangladesh while two registered camps (Kutupalong and Nayapara) and two unregistered camps (Kutupalong and Leda) crowdedly accommodate 32,600 and 57,000 respectively.

After Bangladesh, comes Saudi Arabia (250,000), Pakistan (250,000 to 350,000), Malaysia (approx. 100,000), Indonesia (11,940), Thailand (3,000 to 20,000) and India (11,000).

Since the Burma’s Annexation of Arakan, more than half of Rohingya population is forcedly expelled and thousands still continue to flee or force to die in their birth place while bigots are constantly lying that Rohingya are coming into Burma “ILLEGALLY”.

In Burma, lie continues; truth been ignored.

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