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  • Rohingya Students Network

Rohingya Student Network (RSN) joined 194 revolutionary forces and civil society organizations issuing a statement on the situation in Northern Rakhine

Calling on organizations and individuals in Rakhine and across the country to immediately stop exploiting the lives, property and image of the oppressed Rohingya for political and military use


The terrorist military junta has consistently oppressed and committed torture, killings, genocide, and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya. Currently, with forced conscription orders, the military junta is forcibly using Rohingya as human shields and soldiers to perpetrate violence on its behalf [1].


In a significant incident, almost 100 Rohingya, who were forcibly abducted and taken into the fighting by the military during the battle with the Arakan Army (AA), were massacred in Angumaw, Rathedaung Township, Rakhine region, in March of this year [2].


In addition, the military junta is currently forcing Rohingya from the IDP camps in Buthidaung and Sittwe to protest the AA and is inciting a public misperception of Rohingya to cause further ethnic conflict.


In April of this year, the terrorist military junta used Rohingya who had been forcibly recruited under its conscription orders to burn down more than 200 homes of ethnic Rakhine people in Buthidaung Town, Rakhine region, to intentionally create an ethnic conflict between the Rakhine and Rohingya communities.


In addition to the fact that the military junta is working to create such ethnic conflict, the revolutionary forces and the public need to be especially prudent, aware, and understanding that the Rohingya people-who do not have a choice and face unparalleled hardships, having been locked down for many years-are being forced into patterns that the terrorist military junta wants to portray.


In this situation, it has been observed that organizations, media, and individuals are repeatedly using hate speech such as "Bengali terrorists" and "Muslim terrorists" to describe the Rohingya, as well as portraying all Rohingya as collaborating with the military junta. Such situations of indiscriminate accusations against an entire ethnic group and the religion they believe in are fomenting ethnic and religious conflict and increasing hatred among the public.


As in other ethnic groups, it is important to note that, among Rohingya, there also are some who are collaborating with the terrorist Myanmar military junta for their own self-interest, but at the same time, there are many Rohingyas who oppose the military dictatorship.


All of us need to understand and clearly distinguish that Rohingya armed groups, such as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), Arakan Rohingya Army (ARA) and Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO)-which are collaborating with the terrorist military junta-do not represent all Rohingyas.


We absolutely condemn and oppose any ethnic armed groups, including Rohingya armed groups, that are collaborating with the terrorist military junta and abusing the public.


We are well aware that there are armed groups like ARSA in other ethnic communities who collaborate with the terrorist military junta and falsely claim to represent these communities. Since December 7, 2021, Rohingya communities and organizations have issued a public statement declaring that ARSA does not represent the Rohingya in any way [3].


We urge the Arakan Army (AA) to take responsibility to be accountable to local communities for ensuring social harmony. It is also necessary to comply with the Geneva Conventions and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) not to wage battles in civilian areas and not to forcibly relocate villagers from the Rohingya villages.


Since the protection of civilians is a military code of conduct (a norm of customary IHL) that must be particularly adhered to during wartime, we specifically call on the Arakan Army (AA) to protect all civilians, whether they are ethnically Rakhine, ethnically Rohingya, or from other ethnic and religious groups living in region and allow access to independent international news media and humanitarian aid.


On the other hand, although the AA has announced that they will not engage in extrajudicial killings or arrest ethnic Rohingya people, there are cases on the ground that have been allegedly committed by soldiers under the command of the AA. According to published reports [4], there have been massacres of entire Rohingya villages [5]; Rohingya who were arrested, taken, and killed in hidden places; and illegal abductions of Rohingya in Thankyaukkhe Village and Ywetnyotaung Village in Buthidaung, and Thayetoak Village in northern Maungdaw, in April and May.


According to eyewitnesses and media reports, the Arakan Army (AA) burned down and destroyed houses where Rohingya civilians lived in Buthidaung Town, on the night of May 17 at approximately 10 p.m., after the Arakan Army (AA) gained control of most of the town. This incident is a war crime and a crime against humanity [6].


The undersigned revolutionary forces and civil society organizations specifically and seriously request the Arakan Army (AA) to carry out independent investigations of these matters and take action against perpetrators if there were violations.


The safety of all people in Rakhine is of grave concern during the intense fighting between the terrorist military junta and the Arakan Army (AA).


The oppressed and exploited Rohingya need protection, and it is crucial that another genocide is prevented. Along with political forces and civil society organizations of Myanmar, individuals in Myanmar are also responsible for civilian protection. It is vitally important to uphold the principles of human dignity and protection for all. The Arakan Army (AA), responsible for the Rakhine region, has a special duty to protect all the people living in the Rakhine.


We strongly urge the Arakan Army (AA) leaders and the Rohingya leaders to engage in dialogue and hold consultations as soon as possible. We are raising these concerns constructively, and we will support and strengthen activities for the peaceful coexistence and long-term stability of various ethnicities and religions in the future Arakan. We pledge to continue supporting the revolution that aims for the liberation of all people living in every part of Arakan.


Contact:

Captain Mulan, Blood Money Campaign, info@bmcmyanmar.com

Naw Aung, Defend Myanmar Democracy, communication@defendmyanmardemocracy.org

Khin Ohmar, Progressive Voice, info@progressive-voice.org


Remark: 195 organizations endorsed in this joint statement; 59 organization's names are undisclosed because of security situation in Myanmar.

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The link to download Burmese version: Click


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