IMA Statement on the Rohingya Exodus
18 September 2017
The Rohingya deserve the full recognition, respect and protection of their rights, dignity and life as people by all nations and governments, especially Bangladesh and Myanmar.
This is the statement of the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) as we extend our strongest solidarity to the Rohingya who are now suffering the worst tragedy at the hands of the Myanmar military government.
Right now, more than 400,000 people, many of whom are women, children and elderly, have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh to escape what can be called a state-instigated ethnic cleansing campaign. Rohingya people are Muslim while Myanmar is predominantly Buddhist.
Since August 25, the Myanmar military has cracked down on the Rohingya community in Rakhine State, using violent measures such as the scorched-earth campaign (burning down entire villages), rape, indiscriminate firing and strafing, and ultimately, massacre. This was supposedly a state response to alleged attacks by a group called Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on 30 police posts in the area.
While condemnation from the international community has poured in, the Myanmar government apparently sees no reason to stop terrorizing the Rohingya people. There were also reports of Burmese military allegedly planning to bomb passage areas the Rohingya were using to escape the attacks.
The Rohingya remain a stateless people, virtual victims to what seems to be an onerous tennis match of accountabilities between the Myanmar and Bangladesh governments. Myanmar refuses citizenship to Rohingya reasoning that the latter actually come from East Bengal, and therefor should be responsibility of Bangladesh. Bangladesh, on the other hand, denies political and civil rights to Rohingya stating they are Burmese.
The IMA joins the international community in calling for a humanitarian campaign to provide immediate support, housing and all possible services to the Rohingya, both those who are already in Bangladesh and many more who are still in Myanmar.
Moreover, we urge both the Bangladesh and Myanmar governments to uphold human rights above all and ultimately stop the attacks on the Rohingya people.
We demand both governments:
1) To provide the respect, recognition and protection that the Rohingya rightfully and ultimately deserve;
2) To recognize the Rohingya as people and be accord them their much deserved citizenship;
3) To uphold, promote and respect their collective rights, which include their rights to live as a community, ethnicity and culture, among others; and
4) To provide the Rohingya to opportunity and the environment to live in peace, with dignity and without fear of discrimination, violence or ostracism.
We likewise call on governments to uphold and respect Rohingya asylum seekers, especially those in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
We hope that the United Nations wield political will and enjoin both states to derive through peaceful means concrete actions and mechanism to achieve these demands.
The Rohingya deserve a life of just peace, solidarity and acceptance. End the horrors of fascism, racism and violence that befall them and their children.
No one deserves to be stateless. No one deserves to experience violence.
Life, dignity and justice for the Rohingya!
Eni Lestari, IMA chairperson