IWFA (UKAD) Calls for Immediate End to Arakan Massacre

05 Şubat 2013 at 11:13

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th_arakan1With a World watching silently, Arakan Muslims are still subject to systematic atrocity, torture and killing. Thousands of people have been exposed to various types of cruelty from rape to persecution, lost their homes, and became refugees. History would never forgive those who have committed this ferocity, and those who remain silent in view of it. As IWID (UKAD) (International Women’s Initiative for Dialogue), we strongly denounce these inhumane acts. Regardless of their religion, race and nationality, we firmly call on everybody to behave responsibly, and relevant authorities to say “stop!” to this brutality.
th_6Before going further, we should take a look at the history of Arakan. This will make a less familiar part of the world with substantial Muslim population better known to us, giving some insight into the historical background of what’s happening there now. Located to the northeast of the Bay of Bengal in Southeast Asia, Arakan – a coastal strip of land in Burma (Myanmar), which borders Bangladesh to the northwest – enjoys a deep-rooted historical legacy, Adopting Islam in the early 15th century, Arakan people established Arakan Islamic Kingdom in 1430 which had held uninterrupted sway over Arakan until its fall in 1782 as a result of Buddhist assaults. Since then, Arakan people have been subject to oppression and persecution. Burma was invaded by Britain in 1826, and thousands of Arakan people were forced to migrate even at that time. Some of Arakan Muslims fled to India because of this forced migration. Coming to power in 1937 after the longtime British occupation, the Takin Party provoked Rakhine Buddhists against Rohingya Muslims, thus sowing the seeds of hatred between the two indigenous communities. In the wake of British withdrawal from the region, attacks targeting Muslim people broke out and a group of Muslims had to take refuge in Bangladesh. This marked the beginning of Rakhine Buddhists slaughtering Rohingya Muslims. Never has Muslim bloodshed ceased in these lands throughout history.
th_3Historically being the homeland of Rohingya Muslims, Arakan has been kept under oppression by Buddhist administrations, and many fundamental rights of Muslim population, such as the freedom of expression and religion, the right to property, the right to marriage, the right to travel, and the right to live in particular, have increasingly been violated. Forced labor, seizure of property, rape and deprivation of citizenship rights became practices that could be faced by Muslim people at any time. Based on religious ethnicity, discrimination against Rohingya Muslims has caused rampant social injustice and inequality, and left them stateless. As Muslim World, we must not turn a deaf ear or a blind eye to the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Arakan, and must say stop to this atrocious massacre! We must become the voice of Arakan against those who have had their eye on honor, property and faith of our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters, and whose inhumane acts have reached disastrous dimensions.
Recently, a huge crime against humanity is again violently taking place in Arakan where Muslim people are being murdered only for having a different faith. Burma’s government could have prevented the recent outbreak of religious violence in Arakan, but instead it chose to be a mere spectator to the bloodshed and grave human rights violations which wiped out freedom of religion and conscience, the right to live in peace and safety, and the right to have a family. At this point, we must ask this question: Is it appropriate to consider the current situation in Arakan only as a religious issue? No, it is now a humanitarian issue going beyond religion and ethnicity.
We call on the United Nations to fully and impartially investigate the maltreatment of Arakan Muslims by Burmese security forces who failed to protect Muslim people against Rakhine Buddhist mobs. These mobs have attacked Rohingya villages, torched houses, brutally beaten and slew villagers, harassed and raped women, and looted valuable goods and cash money. What’s worse, Burmese security forces themselves committed similar crimes like killings and rape, and arrested Rohingya Muslims en masse. All these inhumane acts are tantamount to religious and ethnic cleansing. Now, thousands of Rohingya Muslims are living in the camps along the Bangladeshi border. Moreover, hundreds of them are trying to survive in several villages and at mountains out of those camps. The UN and other relevant international organizations and NGO’s must take immediate action to stop killings in the region, and approach the issue in the context of human rights protection and promotion. The whole world must be sensitive to the developments unfolding in Arakan. We strongly call on people across the world to stand up to the crimes against humanity, cruelty, brutality and injustice in Arakan because if necessary steps are not taken, more children, women as well as elderly people will be killed, and we will not be able to find one single family with all its members alive. Some families have lost their children, some lost mother or father, and some became parentless. IWID (UKAD) calls on the international community “to put an end to this brutality.” No matter wherever and whoever you are. Do not stay silent in face of “this savagery,” and become the voice of Arakan Muslims.
Irrespective of their language, sect, ethnicity and color, this inhumane treatment inflicted on Arakan Muslims is unacceptable! An Arakanese victim who had to leave home and took refuge in a camp near the Bangladeshi border gave a stark account of the brutality Arakan Muslims are suffering at the hands of Burmese security forces and Buddhist mobs, saying, “Women are being raped and killed. When they see a man with beard, they cut his beard and then kill him. They bury the people they’ve killed en masse. They’re persecuting also leading Muslim scholars, trying to kill them. Because they cannot find anything to eat, now people are struggling to survive by eating tree bark and greenery. The lucky ones are trying to flee to Bangladesh but most of them lose their lives on the way. Their ultimate goal is to completely exterminate the Muslim population in Arakan. These acts of persecution are being committed by Buddhists living in the region and the intelligence agents and police officers of Burma’s government.”
Picture source: İHH IWFA (UKAD) Governing Board

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