Myanmar Country areaBurma Territory
It' the main beach of Myanmar in the far west of the country.
Burma has the first maritime areas to be designated as areas of conservation by a community of fishermen.
The Myeik Archipelago, once a haven for species-rich corals, seaweed, mangrove and untouched shores, has seen a drastic decrease in its fishery over the last ten years, due to excessive catches and illicit techniques such as inshore and dynamic catches that have destroyed the reef. Dwindling fishery resources have a serious effect on the livelihoods of large fishery -based industries are in competition with large fishery industries.
In the last three years, Fauna & Flora International (FFI), in cooperation with the Ministry of Fisheries, has carried out extensive evaluations of maritime eco-systems in order to determine and prioritize the residual unspoilt maritime eco-systems, such as the reef, for preservation and effective fishery managment. The Myanmar Mar Maritime Commission inaugurates the country's first three locally managed sea areas on World Maritime Day to conserve some of the most varied reef and habitat in the Myeik Archipelago.
It is the first in Myanmar's long lasting exploitation of the sea areas given to its fishermen's community. At the same token, these municipalities acquire sole fisheries control and take full ownership of the protection of indigenous maritime environments and biological diversity. "The expulsion of LMMAs managed by the fishermen of the island of Thayawthadangyi and the Langan Island Group will not only help preserve several different types of reef and important fisheries and shrimp breeding areas, but also help the community's livelihood," says Robert Howard, FFI's maritime program consultant in Myanmar.
Fishermen's municipalities will farm their areas of the sea by zoning for sustaining locally sourced fishery and by no-take areas for the main breeding areas of the reef.
Burma, Bangladesh: Bangladesh Burmese refugees
North-Arakan, which consists of today's Maungdaw and Buthidaung districts, has been a land of interrupted riots and streams of refugees since the end of the 18th centuries. Rohingya escaped to present-day Bangladesh in four major periods: the end of 1700 and the beginning of 1800, 1940, 1978 and finally 1991 and 1992.
In this section, a brief explanation of each of the first three operations is given, concluding with particular emphasis on the 1991-92 exit, refuge and comeback. An historical survey of the area shows not only the long story of the refugees in the area, but also the connection of the Rohingya with the north Arakan and thus their firm connection to Arakan.
Rohingya were once considered part of the Mrauk-U (Mrohaung) empire in Arakan, which was separate from Burma's Irrawaddy Valley and Burma's mainland, as well as Bengal and the Moguls in the western hemisphere. It was in the 16th and 18th centuries, when the locals resided in Wesali, not far from today's Mrauk-U, and some of the merchants established themselves along the coast.
In the 12th and 13th century, other Moslem seafarers set off for the Arakan area. Also from the neighbouring Islamic Bengalese, immigrants came to Arakan step by step. The Burmese king Bodawpaya captured the Arakan area in 1784 and integrated it into his empire of Ava in the centre of Burma. In the aftermath of the raid, the fugitives began pouring into the area of today's Cox's Bazar in the south of Chittagong.
Cox' s Bazar got its name from the UK Lt. who was sent to the area to organise and support the migrants. One of the groups of unsatisfied Rohingya who escaped to Chittagong in East Bengal conducted a raid on the Burmese leader. On one occasion, the King's men persecuted the Rohingya rebels on Britain's soil.
The invasion caused tensions between the UK-colonial government and Bodawpaya over the King's demand to extradite the uprising. By 1811, the insurgent chief, Chin Bya, organised his troops and succeeded in conquering much of Arakan. However, Chin Bya's application for UK security was denied and the Burma military sent Chin Bya back to Bengal.
Much of the Rohingya who were fleeing during this time never came back to Burma, but instead established themselves in the area of Cox's Bazar and were incorporated into the Burmese population. Burma was colonised by the Brits in a number of three battles from 1824. Throughout their reign, the Arakan issue decreased, as the Brits permitted a relatively high level of territorial independence.
During this time there was a considerable emigration of workers from neighbouring South Asia to Burma. Since the British managed Burma as a provincial of India, immigration to Burma was seen as an in-house move. However, the Myanmar authorities still believe that the immigration that took place during this era was unlawful, and on this grounds they are denying Rohingya nationality.
In fact, the Rohingya have been present in the country since the 12th cent. Japonese troops entered Burma in 1942 and municipal force broke out during the UK fall. Burmese nationals were attacking Karen and Hindu groups, while in Arakan Rakhine and Rohingya village people were attacking each other and driving away Tibetan Buddhists to the southern and Muslims to the norther.
It is said that about 22,000 Rohingya have passed the Bengal-Land. The British had pledged Muslims in the north of Arakan a Muslim national territory before the Jap invasion,6 and some of the expellees were returning with the British. However, Britain has never kept its promises to establish a Muslim national territory.
With Burma becoming self-sufficient in January 1948, there was growing friction between the regime and the Rohingya. It helped to escalate suspense by treat the Rohingya as migrants. From 1950, parts of the Rohingya fellowship attacked heavily guarded by Mujahid people. Awareness of the war on the other side of the frontier, the Moroccan authorities sent a message in 1950 to their Burma colleagues about the way Muslims were treated in Arakan.
By November 1954, the Burma Armed Forces had intensified the insurgency in Arakan and calmed the outrage. Soon after General Ne Win and his Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) took over in 1962, the regime began to disband Rohingya's welfare and policy group. In 1977, Burma's immigrant and armed forces carried out Operation Nagamin (Dragon King), a nationwide attempt to record and sort out foreign nationals before a nationwide public canvass.
By May 1978, more than 200,000 Rohingya had escaped to Bangladesh: this, according to the Myanmar authority, meant the Rohingya's illicit state in Burma. Fugitives said the Burma military had expelled them by force and accused them of a common military grossness, violence, rape and homicide. The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Bangladesh administration provided urgent assistance, but were quickly overpowered.
Bangladesh's authorities asked the United Nations for help, and soon thirteen refugee centres were set up along the frontier. Recent massive outflows from Arakan to Bangladesh took place in 1991 and 1992, when more than 250,000 Rohingya escapees escaped Burma's army's coercive labour, violent assault and worship.
The Bangladesh authorities, with the support of UNHCR and non-governmental aid organisations, have placed the displaced persons in nineteen refugee centres near Cox's Bazar in south-eastern Bangladesh. In the face of this new flow of migrants, the Bangladesh authorities said they would not support any kind of regional reintegration and that the Rohingya would have to go home.
And Bangladesh was and is neither a party to the 1951 UN Refugee Agreement nor to its 1967 Protocol. Like in the 70s, the Bangladesh administration wanted to quickly return all those who had fled and tried to do so through negotiations with the governing State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) in Rangoon.
Rohingya's return, which the Bangladesh and Burma authorities began in September 1992, was worried from the beginning, as Human Rights Watch and other organisations have already called it. Following confinement repatriations reporting, the UNHCR began monitoring part of the repatriations in October 1992, but withdrawn its assistance in December 1992, when it became clear that the constraint continued.
The UNHCR then reached a letter of intent with the Bangladesh administration and began questioning the individual migrants in May 1993 to make sure that the Bangladesh administration respected the voluntary rule. In a UNHCR poll, less than 30% of Rohingya wanted to come back, the Bangladesh administration insisted that all Rohingya should come back by the end of 1994 and the agreement with the UNHCR should end in July 1994.
In the same year, the UNHCR was granted entry to the areas of returnees in the Arakan state' s Buthidaung, Rathedaung and Maungdawownships. This would make it easier for the Rohingya to safely returne, as the UNHCR could now oversee what became of them. The UNHCR then gave up its system of one-on-one refugee interviewing in August 1994 in favour of a programme of collective expatriation, in which every week tens of thousand of Rohingya returnees to Burma.
Originally, however, UNHCR officials were not allowed to move within the state of Arakan without the permission of the Myanmar authorities, who also neglected to make a strong pledge that they would recognise the Rohingya's right to Burma nationality. Human rights watch then challenged the correctness of information about the terms and circumstances in Arakan provided by the UNHCR to the returnees and noted the concern of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) participating in the return that it was carried out under "less than optimal conditions".
"Twenty, however, some 230,000 fugitives came back to Arakan between 1993 and 1997. A number of incidents related to the return in July 1997 caused unrest in the Bangladesh population. Only a few month before, the Myanmar authorities had notified both Bangladesh and the UNHCR that they would no longer take in returnees after August 15, 1997.
Bangladesh's officials then tried to bring back as many as possible of the three hundred Rohingya displaced by force across the Naf River into Burma before the end of the year. This triggered a violence by other refuges who took over the two remained refugee centres in Nayapara and Kutupalong.
Only a few UNHCR and NGO officers were allowed to arrive in the refugee camp for over a year, and the ringleaders of the protests did not allow the escapees to flee the camp, and in some cases they compelled the escapees to give up food. Also a UNHCR car was theft. The Bangladesh government and village people entered the camp and re-established order in March and October 1998.
A number of fugitives were beat by the riot squad and many of those in charge of the riots were detained. All repatriations were stopped from July 1997, when the riots erupted until the Bangladesh government re-established order in 1998. After the policing and negotiation between the UNHCR and the Bangladesh and Burma administrations, the Myanmar authority said it would again allow the return of Rohingya displaced persons from 15 November 1998, but only if they, the Myanmar authority, could re-examine the stay, restrict the number of returners to fifty per weeks and accept only full hosts.
They later added the condition that they may certify the readiness of any refugees to go back. Because of these circumstances, which have proved to be burdensome in practical terms, even those Rohingya who want to come back to Arakan have not been able to do so. At the end of 1999 and the beginning of 2000, when this document was produced, there were still camp issues and Burma's situation for Rohingya was bleak.
The UNHCR in Bangladesh has made headway in cutting the level of force in the centres and has urged the Bangladesh administration to comply with the non-return policy, but there are still records of force by warehouse officers against migrants. The UNHCR itself has been charged by NGOs and fugitives with using compulsory measures for the purpose of registering them.
Burma's authorities in Arakan State have kept demanding that Rohingya village residents do hard labour, confiscating their belongings at will and restricting their freedom of movements. In addition, the members of the Rohingya minorities are still refused full nationality. It is therefore not surprising that there are still drains from Rohingya and Bangladesh's civil servants and NGOs in Bangladesh, who have estimated that there are now more than 100,000 Rohingya in Bangladesh that are not yet documented.
With the Rohingya operations running into deficits of several million dollars and a reduction in funds from overseas donor sources for a programme that is not progressing according to the donors,22 the UNHCR told the Bangladesh administration in June 1999 that it would be obliged to stop its aid programme for the Rohingya by the end of the year.
Due to a delay in transferring aid programmes to other UN organisations and continuing security worries, the UNHCR agreed to continue its present role until the end of 2000. The reduction of UNHCR staff in Bangladesh and Burma is currently under discussion. One, G.E. Harvey, Burma history:
Two: Frank Trager, Burma: Maung Htin Aung, A history of Burma, (New York et Londres : Columbia University Press), 1967, S. 206. 4- Joseph Silverstein, Burmese Politics: Dilemma der nationalen Einheit, (New Brunswick, New Jersey : Rutgers University Press), 1980, S. 50-51 ; Moshe Yegar, The Muslims of Burma :
Hugh Tinker, The Union of Burma: 12 1964, in reaction to the new round of abuse, the uprising, which had come to a halt in the 1950', grew stronger with the establishment of the Rohingya Independence Force (RIF). The RIF became the Rohingya Patriotic Front (RPF) in 1973.
In the early 1980s another group, the Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO), was formed. The RPF and a RSO parliamentary group under the leadership of Nurul Islam in 1986 decided to join together as the Arakan Rohingya Islamic Front (ARIF). The ARIF and two other RSO groups joined in December 1998 to form the Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO).
On the development of Rohingya's policy organisations, see AFK Jilani, The Rohingyas of Arakan: 13 K. Maudood Elahi, "The Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh: Historische Perspektiven und Konsequenzen", In John Rogge (Hrsg.), Flüchtlinge : 14 Martin Smith, Burma : 15 Tony Reid, "Repatriation of Aracanese Historische Perspektiven und Konsequenzen", In John Rogge (Hrsg.), Flüchtlinge : 14 Martin Smith, Burma : 15 Tony Reid, "Repatriation of Aracanese Muslims from Bangladesh to Burma, 1978-79 : `Arranged Reverersal of the Flow of an Ethnic Minority", communication présentée à la 4e International Research and Advisory Panel Conference, Université d'Oxford, janvier 1994, S. 13-14.
For more information on the debate on repatriations from 1992 to 1995, see Human Rights Watch, "Bangladesh: Misuse of Burmese refugees from Arakan", Volume 5, No. 17, 9 October 1993; Curt Lambrecht, "The Return of Rohingya Refugees to Burma: Removal or deportation on a voluntary basis? "United States Refugee Committee, March 1995.
Seehe Human Rights Watch, "The Rohingya Muslims : 21 Amnesty International, "Rohingyas - The Search for Safety", (Londres), septembre 1997, S. 4. 22 22 Human Rights Watch Diskussion mit dem UNHCR Country Office, Dhaka, 13. août 1999.