PSPD in English Int. Solidarity 2017-08-31   3164

[Statement] The Rohingya people are also humans. Stop the massacre.


[Press Conference]

The Rohingya people are also humans. Stop the massacre.

31 August 2017(Thu) 11am, Embassy of Republic of the Union of the Myanmar, Seoul

(31 August 2017, Seoul) The situation of Rohingya is getting worse in Myanmar. According to the recent reports and testimony, the Myanmar military has been slaughtering Rohingya civilians and setting fires to their villages. The surviving civilians have fled into the mountains or crossed the border to Bangladesh risking their lives. The 27 South Korean Civil Society Organizations express our deep concerns toward the massacre and repression on the Rohingya and urge the Myanmar military to immediately stop hostile acts against Rohingya civilians and guarantee their lives, dignity, and fundamental human rights. Any kind of violence cannot be justified and therefore, it should be ended right away.

The Myanmar military has been conducting a clearance operation to subjugate the Rohingya militants since 25 August 2017. The official reason was to Rohingya militants armed with daggers and homemade bombs attacked about thirty police posts in northern Rakhine State. The Government of Myanmar stated in the press release that 104 people died as of 28th August. According to the testimonies of the witnesses, the Myanmar military, armed with helicopters and heavy weapons, and Rakhine extremists started firing at civilians as soon as they entered Rohingya villages and set fire to houses. Some even testified that military killed children by throwing them into fire and massacre swept through more than ten Rohingya villages. The number of non-identified victims is expected even higher.

Those who fled into the mountains are still exposed to various kinds of danger. Despite the fact that they are in dire need of prompt humanitarian aid including food and medical treatment, no such support is allowed. Some of them are crossing the border to Bangladesh seeking shelters. There has been a press report that the Myanmar military fired automatic weapons to the surviving victims that cross the border. The local activists and media report that 18,000 people at the most crossed the border to Bangladesh and 80% of them were children and women. Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Government has been rejecting and pushing back the surviving victims who try to cross the border. Rohingya civilians asked the Bangladesh Government for a permission to stay until the situation is settled, but the request was rejected. As a result, the surviving victims are staying in the ‘zero line’ of the border area, unable to move in any direction.

Though the Myanmar government insists that Rohingya people are the ones who set fire, this is far from the truth. On the 28th August, Human Rights Watch revealed that the arson was set out in the villages where the military’s clearance operation began, through the analysis of satellite images. Above all, instead of urging the military and Rohingya militants to refrain from the conflict, the State Counsellor’s Office of de factor leader Aung San Suu Kyi has ordered the media to not write articles in favour of the “extreme terrorists”, namely the Rohingyas.

The persecution of the Rohingya people has continued since 1947, when Myanmar was liberated from the British colonization. The Rohingya people were deprived of their citizenship and have been considered as “illegal immigrants”. Their freedom of movement has been also limited. From the last October, a suspicion has been continuously raised that the Myanmar military has been carrying out ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people in northern Rakhine State, but the military has been denying it. The Government of Myanmar even has refused the request of the UN fact finding mission to the region.

27 South Korean Civil Society Organizations deplore the human rights violation happening in Rakhine State, Myanmar. The dignity and fundamental human rights of the Rohingya people must be protected at all time. The persecution and discrimination against minority, such as the Rohingya, are threat to peace and security to not only Myanmar, but also the whole Asia. We hereby request as follows in solidarity with the Rohingya people, wishing for a peaceful resolution in Myanmar:

  • First, the military and Government of Myanmar should immediately stop the massacre and persecution against Rohingya civilians, protect the life and dignity of the Rohingya people in accordance with the international human rights and humanitarian standards, and guarantee their fundamental human rights;
  • Second, the Government of Myanmar should allow the UN’s investigation on the massacre of Rohingya civilians and actively take measures to end impunity and provide redress for the victims;
  • Third, the Government of Myanmar should instantly initiate the peace and reconciliation process with the Rohingya people and all stakeholders to settle sustainable peace in Rakhine State;
  • Fourth, the Government of Myanmar should ban the widespread hate and discrimination against the Rohingya in a Myanmar society and actively spread the culture of diversity and peace.

27 Korean Civil Society Organizations urging to end massacre of the Rohingya people
Advocates for Public Interest Law (APIL), Asian Dignity Initiative, Catholic Human Rights Committee, Committee to Support Imprisoned Wokers, Dasan Human Rights Center, Democratic Legal Studies Association, GongGam Human Rights Law Foundation, Human Rights Center SARAM, Imagination For International Solidarity, Immigrants Advocacy Center Gamdong, Jeju Peace Humanrights Center, Korean Gay Men’s Human Rights Group ‘Chignusai’, Korean House for International Solidarity, Korean Lawyers for Public Interest and Human Rights, Migrants center FRIENDS, MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society International Solidarity Committee, New Bodhisattva Network, People’s Soidarity for Social Progress, People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democarcy, PINKS : SOLIDARITY FOR SEXUAL MINORITY CULTURES & HUMAN RIGHTS, Samsung Labor Watch, Sarangbang Group for Human Rights, Seogyo Institute for Humanities&social science, Seoul Human Rights Film Festival, Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Korea, The April 9 Unification & Peace Foundation, Truth Foundation

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