Myanmar Officially Bans The Term 'Rohingya' Ahead Of UN Visit

Myanmar government wants the persecuted Muslim minority to be called “people who believe in Islam in Rakhine State.”



Although the new government lead by Peace Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi,the #Rohingya #Muslims still remain in Genocide ----------------------------------------------------- Different forms of oppression have been continues on Rohingya in Rakhine state by law enforcing agencies despite transition of government in Burma recently. Oppression like killing, extortion, torture, arbitrary arrests, restriction on movement and health care, marriage, education, birth, religion, building basic needs such as shelter etc are going on intensely without any restraint which means the human rights violations are still continuing by the law enforcers without obeying the new elected government in Burma. An estimated 145,000 people, mostly Rohingyas remain segregated in IDP camps as a result of previous inter-communal violence where "conditions remain frightful and access to adequate basic services severely limited. According to the last report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee. The government continues to restrict the IDPs' movement and block their access to food, water, healthcare and other vital humanitarian assistance. Moreover, the law enforcers are continuously arresting innocent Rohingyas alleging in different concocted cases to extort money and they are beaten and sent to custody if fail to pay huge amount of bribes to the law enforcing forces in various districts, particularly Maung Daw, Buthidaung, Rathedaung and Kyauk Taw of Sittwe. Rohingya are not allowed to move from place to place, marriage, to exercise religion freely, to go to University for further education etc. It seems that the law enforcement agencies will never change their evil attitude, immorality, injustice and cruelty towards Rohingyas although the transition government NLD exists and rules the country, Burma since the brutal military Chief is still in power.

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Officials must refer to the oppressed Muslim minority of Rohingya, not by its name but as “people who believe in Islam,” according to a confidential letter issued by Myanmar’s ministry ahead of a United Nations visit.

“Rohingya or Bengali shall not be used” during U.N.’s visit, the letter, dated June 16 and labeled “secret,” said.

“Instead, ‘people who believe in Islam in Rakhine State’ shall be used,” the letter instructed. 

United Nations Special Envoy Yanghee Lee is expected to visit the conflicted Rakhine state, home to 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims, later this week.

The move came on the heels of a report released on June 20, where the United Nations found “a pattern of gross human rights violations against the Rohingya ... (which) suggest a widespread or systematic attack ... in turn giving rise to the possible commission of crimes against humanity if established in a court of law.” He report also demanded Myanmar’s government launch an independent investigation to look into the abuses of its minorities.

The ban by the country’s Information Ministry is an attempt to divert talks of human rights abuse against the Rohingya and avoid conflict during Lee’s visit.





Read More: Remember The Rohingya ‘Boat People’ Crisis? It’s Going To Reemerge

Hardliner Buddhists, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, vehemently reject the use of the word “Rohingya” to describe the Muslims of Rakhine state, instead calling them “Bengalis,” even though many of them have lived in Myanmar for generations. Some even call the Rohingya Muslims “kalar,” a derogatory term for South Asians, and deny them their basic human rights. A majority of the Rohingyas have not been granted citizenship by the government.

The U.N.’s special envoy visit to Myanmar last year was spoiled by a Buddhist monk who called her a “whore” when she addressed the issue of the persecuted Muslims in the country.

There has been an increase in religious intolerance and hate crimes by the orthodox Buddhists in Myanmar, particularly in the Rakhine state. The Muslim minorities of the region have faced repression, torture, citizenship denial and even mass slaughter by Buddhist monks, yet the so-called philanthropists of Myanmar have remained silent over the issue.

Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Reuters, Mohammad Ponir Hossain

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