For my fellow Buddhist countrymen and women who lost in a world of darkness, I wish you could see yourselves in ours – Rohingya. It hurts seeing Buddhists turn so violence. I’ve grown up listening sermons of Buddhist monks from the monastary just less than 3-minute walk from my home in Maungdaw.
The Invasion and annexation of Arakan by the Burmese King Bodaw Hpaya. 28 December 1784
“After the Mujahideen surrendered, (the) Rohingya leaders asked us not to call the Rohingya “Khaw Taw”, nor “Bengali”, nor Chittagonian Kalar (niggers), nor “Rakhine Muslims”. Instead they said their preferred and self-referential ethnic name was the Arabic word Rohingya….” Brigadier Aung Gyi Vice Chief of Staff of Burma Armed Forces Maungdaw, Myanmar 15 November 1951
“Rohingya are one ethnic people living within the Union of Burma.” U Nu The First Prime Minister of Burma National Radio Address 25 September 1954
“The Rohingya has the equal status of nationality with Kachin, Kayah, Karen, Mon, Rakhine and Shan.” U Ba Swe The Second Prime Minister and minister of Defence of Burma 4 November 1959
“This is to certify that ‘Rohingya University Rohingya Student Association’ is one of the registered association of the University of Rangoon for the Academic year of 1959-60.” Dean of Students Rangoon University 3 December 1959
The country’s sole national broadcasting station, namely Burma Broadcasting Service (BBS), began its Rohingya Language Programme alongside other indigenous language services on 15 May 1961.
“Of the 400,000 to 500,000 inhabitants of Mayu Border District 75% are Rohingya ethnic people who are Muslims. The rest are made up of Rakhine, Dai Nat, Myo, and Kamee. Generally agriculture and fishing are their main economic activities.” Myanmar Encyclopedia Volume 9, p. 90 Government Printing House, Rangoon 26 December 1964
Burma’s dictator General Ne Win launched King Dragon Operation against the Rohingya people in Rakhine State under the pretext of immigration check. It was the first centrally directed campaign of terror against the Rohingya with local Rakhine participation, which resulted in the exodus of estimated 230,000 fleeing into Bangladesh. Far Eastern Economic Review and other news outlets cried foul of General Ne Win’s attacks on the native Rohingya, calling them “Burma’s Brand of Apartheid”, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing as early as 1978. 6 February 1978
The inaugural Meeting of the Drafting Committee of the 1982 Citizenship Act took place at the residence of Dictator General Ne Win with Ne Win himself in the chair. The law primarily targets the Rohingya, without the specific mention of the word Rohingya, targeted and stripped them of their full citizenship Rights. 8 October 1982
“We are aware of their (the foreigners, namely Kala and Tayoke) penchant for making money by all means, and knowing this, how could we trust them in our organizations that decide the destiny of our country. We will therefore not give them full citizenships, or full rights.” Ex-General & Dictator Ne Win Ahlone Presidential Residence, Rangoon Chairman, Burma Socialist Programme Party 8 October 1982
“The Rohingya are a fine type of devout and scholarly-minded Muslims.” Gordon H. Luce Father of pre-colonial historical studies of Burma PHASES OF PRE-PAGAN BURMA: LANGUAGES AND HISTORY Volume. I, Oxford University Press, 26 December 1985, (Pages X and 95)
The Pyi Thaya (Clean Nation) Operation in 1991 expelled more than 250,000 Rohingya to the neighbouring county, Bangladesh, with mass arrests, summary killings, rapes, forced labours, destruction of houses, religious buildings and properties, and land confiscations. 27 December, 1991
“In the stone inscription from AD 1442, the kings were found to bear Muslim names. There is a very high probability that the people who lived in the Mayu region (to the east of Naaf River and to the west of Kaladan) were the Rohinjas.” The late Dr Than Tun Kalya Magazine, Rangoon Professor of History at Mandalay University and World’s Authority on ancient Burma 28 August, 1994, p. 27.
“For too long, the people of this state (Rakhine or Arakan), including ethnic Rakhine, have faced crushing poverty and persecution. But there is no excuse for violence against innocent people. And the Rohingya hold themselves — hold within themselves the same dignity as you do, and I do.” Barack Obama US President University of Yangon, Myanmar 19 November 2012
On 12 July 2013, President Thein Sein abolished NaSaKa (the Border Security Force). Known for its notorious and abusive nature towards Rohingya in Rakhine State, NaSaKa was created in 1992 with more than 1200 immigration, intelligent and custom officers who constantly targeted Rohingyas’ freedom of movement, with harassments, arrests, tortures, arbitrary taxation and properties confiscations. 12 July 2013
“We do not have a people called Rohingya.” Former Myanmar President Thein Sein Union Solidarity & Development Party Chatham House, London, UK 15 July 2013
“I call upon the Government, and Parliament, urgently to review and revise the 1982 Citizenship Law, to bring it in line with international human rights norms. I call for a genuinely independent analysis of the Rohingya people’s history in Burma, so that misunderstandings can be corrected, misinformation countered and prejudices addressed…” Rt Hon. John Bercow Speaker of the British House of Commons University of Yangon, Myanmar 1 August 2013 “The Rohingya regard it as deeply offensive to be called ‘Bengalis’ which they regard it as basically we are saying ‘We don’t want you here. Get out!’….” Q and A with Rt. Hon. John Bercow at 5 minutes, at www.MaungZarni.net
“No, no, it’s not ethnic cleansing. It’s a new problem.” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi BBC Radio Four NLD Leader & Nobel Peace Laureate (1991) 24 October 2013
Mass killings of Rohingya in Duchiradan (Kilaidaung), Southern Maungdaw, Rakhine State, Myanmar. 28 January 2014
“The term “slow genocide” is an appropriate t here because you deny people health care and nutritional opportunities. You deny people opportunities to work and earn an income and make a living to feed themselves and their family members. You deny people having medical care and expel the only organization(s) providing health care like Medicine San Frontiers, and don’ t allow them to return.That is killing people. And in that sense it is a genocide. I t is a slow genocide. It’s not like Rwanda. It’s not like Khmer Rouge’s Cambodia. It’s not even like what exactly happened in Nazi Germany…. It is institutionalized killing.” Amartya Sen Harvard University Nobel Laureate in Economics 4 November 2014
“The affected population – referred to as Bengalis by the government of Myanmar but known as Rohingya in the United Nations and in much of the international community – the United Nations uses that word based on the rights of minorities. I also urge the authorities to avoid measures that could entrench the current segregation between communities….” Ban Ki-moon UN Secretary General Nayphidaw, Myanmar 12 November 2014
“The government of Myanmar has sought to absolve itself of responsibility for the conflict between the Rakhine and the Rohingya, projecting it as sectarian or communal violence. I would be more inclined to heed the warnings of eminent scholars and researchers including Amartya Sen, the Nobel laureate in economics, who say this is a deliberately false narrative to camouflage the slow genocide being committed against the Rohingya people.” Desmond Tutu Former Archbishop of Cape Town and Nobel Peace Laureate Oslo conference on the Rohingya Norwegian Nobel Institute 26 May 2015
“In Aung Mingalar, I heard the echoes of my childhood. You see, in 1944, as a Jew in Budapest, I too was a Rohingya. Much like the Jewish ghettos set up by Nazis around Eastern Europe during World War II, Aung Mingalar has become the involuntary home to thousands of families who once had access to health care, education and employment. Now, they are forced to remain segregated in a state of abject deprivation. The parallels to the Nazi genocide are alarming.” George Soros Oslo Conference on the Rohingya Norwegian Nobel Institute 26 May 2015
“What Rohingyas are facing is a textbook case of genocide in which an entire indigenous community is being systematically wiped out by the Burmese government.” 7 Nobel Peace Laureates Oslo, Norway Adolfo Pérez Esquivel Desmond Tutu Mairead Maguire Jody Williams Tawakkol Karman Shirin Ibadi Leymah Ghowee Oslo Conference on the Rohingya 28 May 2015
“It is very important that we should not exaggerate the problems (of the Rohingya as genocide)…. Some of them are from Bangladesh.” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi 54 University Avenue, Rangoon Pre-election Press Conference 5 November 2015
“We do not allow the word Rohingya. They are Bengalis. These people are not our ethnics. They are not our nationalities. They are from Bangladesh.” Senior General Min Aung Hlaing Washington Post Interview Commander-in-Chief of Myanmar Tatmadaw 23 November 2015
“In northern Rakhine State close to the border with Bangladesh at Buthedaung and Maungdaw townships are where the Rohingyas and Chittagarians lives. These minority ethnic groups had settled in the border regions since early days.” Ministry of Education, Department of Higher Education Yangon University of Distance Education Geography of Myanmar Module No. Geog. 1004 Code No. (14) B
The anti-Rohingya racists launched a premeditated campaign of direct killings of the Rohingya after 10 Muslim pilgrims from central Myanmar were hacked to death in Taung Goke town by an organized mob on 3 June 2012. 8 June 2012
General Ne Win’s Revolutionary Council regime ended Rohingya Language Programme on Burma Broadcasting Services (BBS) on 1 October 1965 after broadcasting more than 4 years.
“I shall now add three dialects, spoken in the Burma empire, but evidently derived from the language of the Hindu nation. The first is that spoken by the Mohammedans,who have been long settled in Arakan, and who call themselves Rooinga, or natives of Arakan.” Dr. Francis Buchanan, 1799 A Comparative Vocabulary of Some of the Languages Spoken in the Burma Empire, p. 237
Rohingya became the citizens of Burma under the then-Union Citizenship Act of 1948. 1 August 1953
Rohingya participated in the first ever general election held shortly after the separation from British India Raj. 4 April 1947