We Stand for Rohingya who have been Slaughtered and Ignored.
The Myanmar Government Shall Concede the Genocide of Rohingya and Guarantee the Safe Return of the Refugees.
The Korean Civil Society, united in our solidarity with Rohingya, gathered today in front of the Myanmar embassy to honor victims killed by Myanmar government last year and to band together with the most persecuted people who have been denied the right to call ‘Rohingya’ themselves.
A year ago from today, the Myanmar government launched a major military campaign against Rohingya, the ethnic minority in Myanmar. As a result, about 25,000 civilians were killed, beaten, arbitrarily arrested, detained, and they suffered from residential arson and property looting. About 800,000 were being made refugees. Nevertheless, the Government still denies the fact and shuns responsibility.
We call attention on the fact that the Myanmar government has for a long time maintained a broad and systematic way of collective violence, deportation and legal and institutional discrimination against the Rohingya people. Rohingya is a member of Myanmar society that has lived in the Arakan region since long before 1823 which is the legal standard to be recognized as indigenous people of the nation. However, since 1982, Rohingya people have been virtually deprived of their civil rights and driven to be stateless people. The freedom of movement as well as the freedom of religion have been limited and their childbirth has been restricted to two children.
Last year's organized genocide by the Myanmar military shocked the world. The genocide of Rohingya had also a huge impact on the Korean civil society as the genocide took place under the government of Aung San Suu Kyi who is the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. The international community, including the U.N., defined it as an anti-humanitarian crime or typical ethnic cleansing. Lee Yang-hee, a U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, announced that the number of characteristics of genocide were found in the matter. Moreover, the International Criminal Court also considered an intervention on this incident.
The evidence and testimonies from the survivors of the genocide attests to the responsibility of the government for this terrible tragedy. However, the Myanmar government is still denying its responsibility. No matter how much the government claims that the genocide was caused by the Rohingya armed forces, it cannot erase the testimony of countless survivors of the genocide. We also cannot trust any of their claims unless the Myanmar government accepts an independent and reliable international investigation, including the activities of Lee Yang-hee, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.
The Rohingya people have the right to return home. The Korean civil society urges the Myanmar government to guarantee their voluntary, safe and dignified return. No government should deny or force to relinquish these rights from them. Regardless of Rohingya's nationality or whether the U.N. Security Council agreed or not, the international human rights regulations guarantee their basic rights, which should be fully applied in the course of their return.
We also would like to express concerns about the hatred of refugees and Muslims now being exposed to Korean society. The terrible hateful comments on the media coverage regarding the genocide of Rohingya have only changed its targets to Yemen refugees and Muslim immigrants. It is evident that the damage will come back to all of us if we neglect and tolerate the hatred that denies human rights. We will resolutely oppose to discrimination and hatred on the grounds of religion, race, skin color, nationality, gender, gender identity, and political views and we will deal with this problem based on the basic principles of human rights.
The Korean civil society will never tolerate the genocide of the Myanmar government and its irregularities and we will promise to work with the international community to find the truth, to fight impunity, to rescue victims and to prevent recurrence. We will continue to associate with the sufferings of the people of Rohingya. This will be the way to fight against racism and hatred growing in Korean society.
In response, the Korean civil society demands the followings:
The Myanmar government should seek justice and the truth through the independent and thorough investigations and hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions. In order to do this, the Myanmar government should cooperate with the international community to find out the truth and the Myanmar government should permit unrestricted access by international media and human rights groups to the site of the genocide.
The Myanmar government should acknowledge Rohingya as indigenous people and give them the citizenship.
The Myanmar government should ensure voluntary, safe and dignified return of all the refugees, and ensure active participation in the repatriation discussion. The Myanmar government should come up with a rescue plan for victims of Rohingya and promise to prevent recurrence.
The U.N. Security Council should submit the case of the genocide to the International Criminal Court.
The international community, including the Korean government, should expand humanitarian aid to the refugees in Rohingya and cooperate actively in efforts to resolve the issue in a sustainable manner.
August 24th, 2018
Advocates for Public Interest Law (APIL)
Asian Dignity Initiative
Catholic Human Rights Committee
Committee to Support Imprisoned Workers
Dasan Human Rights Center
Geochang Peace and Human Rights Art Festival Commission
GongGam Human Rights Law Foundation
Gwang-Ju Human Rights Center 'Hwal JJak'
Human Rights Movement Space 'Hwal'
Incheon Human Rights Film Festival
Incorporated Organization Silcheon Bulgyo
Jeju Dark Tours
Jeju peace human rights institute WHAT
Korean Gay Men's Human Rights Group 'Chignusai'
Korean House for International Solidarity
Korean Solidarity for Overseas Community Organization (KOCO)
Migrants center FRIENDS
MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society International Solidarity Committee
NANCEN, Refugee Rights Center
New Bodhisattva Network
Order of Friars Minor
Palestine Peace & Solidarity in South Korea
People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy
PINKS : SOLIDARITY FOR SEXUAL MINORITY CULTURES & HUMAN RIGHTS
Sarangbang Group for Human Rights
Social and Labor Committee of Jogye order of Korean Buddhism
Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party
Solidarity Against Disability Discrimination
Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights
(Total 32 Korean Organizations)