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Myanmar: Informations about the location of Rohingyas
For more information about the Rohingya of Burma, please contact us. Will the Rohingya, who have come back to Burma from Bangladesh under the aegis of the UNHCR, now be Burmese people? Besides, what information does the RIC have on the RSO? Burmese inhabitants of Rohingya, especially in the state of Arakan (renamed Rakhine State by the governing State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) in 1990), have a very complex state.
There are many quotes of difficulties in getting precise, impartial and up-to-date information on the Rohingyas condition that has been returning to Burma since the Rohingyas massive runoff to neighbouring Bangladesh and Thailand in the early to mid-1990s. Restricting the movement of expatriates by expatriate reporters, NGO workers, UN agencies and diplomatic personnel, supervising the movement of such expatriates, frequently questioning individuals about contact with expatriates, restricting citizens' freedoms of opinion and union, and detaining people who have disclosed information about violations of state law to expats have hindered all attempts to gather or study information about them.
Rohingyas are Muslims and established themselves in what is now West Burma (Arakan state) in three waves: from the seventh to the thirteenth centurys, in the fifteenth centurys and from 1826 to the nineteen-forties under the control of the United Kingdom (FIDH Apr. 2000, 5). It is thought that they now make up almost half of the total state of Arakan, valued at 4.5 million (Refuge Dec. 2000, 38; UNHCR 1995).
In Arakan, the ethnical majorities are the Rakhine who are Buddhists (World Directory of Minorities 1997, 553). Most of Rohingya's several pre-1992 evictions were in 1978, when the Myanmar authorities reported an alarming increase in illicit immigration from neighbouring Bangladesh (Refuge Dec. 2000, 39).
"As part of a pseudo-immigrant quest (Refuge Dec. 2000, 39), the Myanmar authorities created a flood of 130,000 to 200,000 displaced people in Bangladesh (Refuge Dec. 2000, 39; World Directory of Minorities 1997, 553). Burma's authorities, under intense political and economic pressures, permitted the returnees to come back despite claiming they were Bangladeshi citizens who had arrived in Burma unlawfully (Refuge Dec. 2000, 38-39).
SLORC also claimed that the Rohingya helped the rebels who sought an autonomous state of Arakan (Refuge Dec. 2000, 38-39). Between December 1991 and March 1992, between 210,000 and 250,000 Rohingya escaped to Bangladesh, alleging that Burma's military force had raped, tortured, mass murdered, confiscated and destroyed houses and properties, destroyed mosques, subjected to bodily ill-treatment, persecuted religion and subjected to hard labour (Refuge Dec. 2000, 38-39).
Following a trip to Bangladesh, the U.S. Refugee Committee (USCR) declared that "Burma's military action was part of a conscious smear-tuck to drive the Rohingyas out of Myanmar", and the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar said that the Muslims in Arakan were "at high risk" (as quoted in Refuge Dec. 2000, 39).
Except for about 20,000 of the 210-250,000 Rohingya migrants, all have just come back to Burma. Voluntary refugee returns are challenged by groups such as Human Rights Watch/Asia and Refugees International (Aug. 1997), the US Committee for Refugees and the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (Aug. 1996, Apr. 2000).
The UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar says "the issue of expulsion in Myanmar is complicated and open to so many different understandings that a full evaluation is difficult" (cited in NRC/IDP 7 July 2000, 3). Rapporteur identified counterinsurgency, hard labour and seizure as the major causes of expulsion in Burma:
It appears that force against civil people has been an integral part of Myanmar's overall defence policy. The displacement is also due to large government aid programmes involving the removal of a large number of people (NRC/IDP 7 July 2000, 3).
Whilst the causes of expulsion differ between Burma's attacked ethnical areas, civilian coercive movements, slave labour and army assaults on the civilian population are the same. Resettlement is often associated with labour needs (USDOS Feb. 2001), and the Norwegian Refugee Council/Global IDP Project reported that the extent of the amount of forced labour needed is untenable and that the strain on the Rohingya is particularly high (7 July 2000, 7).
"All men and young people in a community (between 7 and 35 years of age) are reported to be contributing 10 working day a months to the military" (USDOS Feb. 2001). Workers do not get any remuneration and cannot care for their family during this period (NCGUB July 1999, 249).
Wives and childrens are also compelled to work as carriers for the army, and the family" urged their childrens as a matter of routine to fulfil the compulsory labour commitments of their household without state opposition" (USDOS Feb. 2001). Rohingyas say they are the only group of slave laborers in the densely settled areas of the Rohingya, and that Burmese colonists living in neighboring pilot communities are free from porting, hard labour and coercive contribution of provisions (USDOS Feb. 2001).
Others say that the Rohingya have argued that Burma's government only needs labour from other ethnical groups when Rohingya operatives are not readily available (USCR Aug. 1996, 7). UNHCR does not regard hard labour as a reason for maintaining the Rohingya's fugitive statute, as the Rohingya are not specifically affected.
The UNHCR has taken a practical stance in trying to bargain a cut in the incidence of compulsory labour for the[Rohingya]returners. Since 1994, the UNHCR has claimed that returners only have to work four working day a months and that surveillance by UNHCR officials in Arakan has not resulted in an upsurge.
However, returning persons and tourists to the area repeatedly reported that the incidence of hard labour is much higher than that reported by the UNHCR, and there is concerns that the sixteen UNHCR employees in Arakan cannot efficiently supervise the 200,000 returning persons in an area where transport is extreme (11 August 1997).
Rohingya also notify the seizure of real estate and properties without redress or redress (NCGUB July 1999, 249). They were repatriated in 1992 under a bi-lateral treaty between Burma and Bangladesh, which gave the UNHCR very limited refugee rights, and it is claimed that they were forcibly repatriated.
A number of UNHCR interrogated fugitives said they did not want to come back. The UNHCR announces its resignation in December 1992 because the UNHCR had insufficient refugee coverage and had received incapacity and abuses of refugee by warehouse officers (USCR Aug. 1996, 5; UNHCR 1995). The UNHCR in May 1993 concluded a Memorandum of Understanding with Bangladesh on co-operation to guarantee the "safe and optional repatriation" of those who have chosen to go back (USCR Aug. 1996, 5).
The UNHCR and the Myanmar authorities in November 1993 decided to allow UNHCR to help with the relocation of Rohingya refugees to Burma (USCR Aug. 1996, 5). The UNHCR found it hard to re-integrate the returning Rohingyas into Burma because the vast majority of Burma's people consider them foreigners.
Partly because of the old Arabian and Farsi roots of the Rohingyas, the Rohingya colonialist backing of the Britons, the fear of unlawful immigration from mostly Muslim Bangladesh and the concerns about possible safety risks from two Rohingya rebels, who are to be backed by overseas government (1995).
More information on the return of Rohingya migrants to Burma can be found at BGD01001.ZCH. Most of Rohingya are not regarded as Burma nationals by the Myanmar authorities (USDOS Feb. 2001, USCR April 2000, 5; FIDH April 2000, 13; HRW/Asia & RI Aug. 1997, 9). National Coalition of the Union of Burma (NCGUB) notes that the 1982 Act of Nationality, which excluded most Rohingya from nationality was specifically intended to deprive the Rohingya of nationality (1999, 247-248).
There are three classes of citizenships under Burma's Nationality Act of 1982: In order to have universal accessibility to essential public welfare, healthcare and education it is necessary to have some kind of nationality (NCGUB July 1999, 248). For the overwhelming bulk of Rohingya, it is hard to fall into one of these classes of nationality, not only because of familial circumstances, but also because of difficulties in proving aptitude.
Thus, most of them are recognised as "foreigners" (NCGUB July 1999, 248). As of 1989, all citizens of Burma must request new citizen's Scrutiny Card', which are color-coded to facilitate the classification of nationality status: The ID card ensures that no benefit is provided to those who are not eligible and the card is needed for "the smallest transaction" in Burma, e.g. to purchase coach, ship, rail and air travel passes, to go to and out of the station (NCGUB July 1999, 248).
The Rohingyas [will] always stay a fragile group as long as the[Burmese government] refuses to recognise them as citizens" (Aug. 1997, 5). The UNHCR is sending to Burma as part of the readmission procedure, a list of the willing returnees' name, the name of their village of descent and all other identification information for review by Burma's immigration officers before the escapees can returne.
Myanmar officials are investigating whether the petitioner is a former inhabitant of Burma or not. Judging by bangladesh and by the segregation of families, the verifying procedure is often very tedious and complex (NCGUB July 1999, 248). When they arrive in Burma, they will be taken at a receiving centre and receive a 50k yat ID card[official 6k yat per US$].
Although this map identified those returning from another state as" returning, it does not give them the necessary rights" (NCGUB July 1999, 249). In November 1993 the UNHCR was given UNHCR entry to Arakan and authorisation to move around the state free, although this is sometimes logically inconvenient. UNHCR reports that "until mid-1995, no proof was found that the returners had been persecuted or discriminated against, despite some events related to the imprisonment and resettlement of former refugees" (1995).
The UNHCR is officially present in Rangoon (Burma's capital) and Arakan and reported that it can oversee the well-being of returning returnees and send them back provisions, a direct subsidy and other types of personal aid when they do so. Burma's authorities continue to refuse the majority of Rohingya citizenships (USDOS Feb. 2001, HRW Dec. 2000, 174).
During 2000, the Myanmar government resettled the inhabitants of Rohingya in Arakan and replaced them with Sudanese Buddhists who were themselves obliged to move out of their houses in Rangoon. Many of these forcible resettlements are associated with a need for labour, forcing the Rohingya to establish the infra-structure for the colonists and military forces and also to construct buddhistic couples (USDOS Feb. 2001).
The US Refugee Committee said the Social Democratic Party frankly recognizes its policies of enforced resettlement and declares that they are for the good of the entire state (, April 2000, 15). USDOS reported that the army continues to compel Rohingya to act as a carrier in militaristic activities against ethnical uprising.
In 2000, the Rohingya were subjected to limitations on their free circulation, indiscriminate taxing and blackmail by indigenous people. It was also customary to use hard labour. One immediate result of the continuing abuse was the steady migration of Rohingya migrants into the Bangladesh labour markets (Dec. 2000, 174). Norwegian Refugee Council/Global IDP Project reported that the policies of the Myanmar authorities are to relocate the Rohingyas to the north of Maungdaw and Buthidaung District (areas of West Arakan on the Bangladesh border).
A number of towns that are now being burnt by SSDC forces were first burnt down in 1975, and some people say they have been on the run from Burma's forces since 1975. The massive forcible resettlements, the devastation of communities and farming communities and the totally untenable level of hard labour have become the key pillars of Social Democratic Party (SPDC) policies in Burma's countryside.
Where two or three towns used to be devastated simultaneously, 100 towns are now being devastated simultaneously (7 July 2000). FIDH said: "There is every indication that the Myanmar authorities are aiming to free Arakan from its Rohingya people, albeit insidiously and incrementally, so as not to draw the world' s eye, as was the case in 1991-92.
Between 1996 and 1999, according to trustworthy and confirming records, between 50,000 and 100,000 Rohingyas passed the line to seek sanctuary in Bangladesh (Apr. 2000, 44). With regard to the possible secure returns of Rohingyas to Burma, Human Rights Watch and Refugees World State: the United States: the possibility of a secure and secure repatriation of Rohingyas:
A lot will depend on the attitudes of the country's army commanders or other official governments such as NaSaKa and IMPD (Immigration and Manpower Department) staff. The UNHCR is due to take over UNHCR's aid operations in Burma by January 2001, but is now likely to stay in the state of North Rakhine (Arakan) until the end of 2001, when a UN Development Program (UNDP) "multisectoral aid program", which is to begin on 1 June 2001, will take over the aid operations (Country Operation: Myanmar 2000).
In the meantime, the aim of the UNHCR is to assist and supervise the volunteer returnee rehabilitation, re-integration and stabilisation, to encourage self-help efforts and to assist the most disadvantaged returners (Country Operation: Myanmar 2000). The UNHCR reported that the Myanmar government constructed two new pilot settlements for returners in 2000. Though these were labour, agricultural and equipment needs of the Moslem population, the local government provided the affected municipalities with excess supplies from the Palestinians' work.
The UNHCR also reported that in June 2000 the Myanmar government further curtailed Muslims' mobility in Arakan; to move outside the area, they must now obtain permits from the local and local governments in their townships (Country Operation: Myanmar 2000). Rohingya Solidarity Organization was founded in the early 1980' and changed from politics to arms after the massive extermination of Rohingyas from Arakan (NRC/IDP 7 July 2000).
RSO "is negotiating mainly through invasions and infiltrations in northern Iraq from Bangladesh" and it is assumed that the RSO is or has been funded by the Bangladesh administration (NRC/IDP 7 July 2000, UNHCR 1995). The RSO rebels fired bombings in cities and communities along the west frontier of Arakan, resulting in several casualties in 1994 (USDOS Feb. 1995, 543).
The Nayapara concentration camp was occupied by gunmen as RSO members in January 1998, and three fatalities occurred on 26 January in a collision between the RSO and Burma's military personnel near the Thai frontier. Periodical reporting of confrontations between the RSO and Burma's military personnel took place in the 1990s, and it is assumed that the RSO are involved in the migration centres (University of Maryland Aug. 22, 1999).
A number of messages report that "militant refugees" have hindered some volunteer repatriation, partly under the influence of the RSO and the Arakan Rohingya Islamic Front (ARIF) (Refuge Dec. 2000, 41). The RSO and the Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO) once merged to become the Arakan Rohingya Islami (ARIF), but the RSO withdrew from ARIF in 1998 (The Independent 23 Jan. 2001).
The AFP's January 23, 2001 article states that "several groups of insurgents are[still] struggling for the state of Arakan's independence", and "border battles between[Burma and Bangladesh] are not unusual, as Myanmar insurgents of the Rohingya Solidarity Separist Organization routinely take sanctuary in Bangladesh" (January 23, 2001, January 11, 2001).
In general, the Rohingya opposition is not very militarized and is mainly a excuse for the militarisation of the region[Arakan] and a way for the Myanmar regime to closely observe the people ('July 7, 2000). RSO is not called the Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US State Department (April 2000).
The reply follows research into public information currently available to the CIC within the deadlines set. International Human Rights Watch/Asia & Refugees (HRW/Asia & RI). BANGLADESH, BURMA: ROHINGYA REFUGEES IN BANGLADESH LOOKING FOR A PERMANENT ONE. Décembre 2000 "Burma. april, 2000 BURMA: OPPRESSION, DISCRIMINATION AND ETHNIC PURIFICATION IN ARAKAN.
The National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB). May 1999 YEARBOOK OF HUMAN LIBERTIES 1998-99: BURMA. State Printing Office, NCGUB. REFUGE: CANADA'S Periodic on Refuges (Toronto). Décembre 2000 "From the repatriation of Rohingya migrants to Myanmar. STATE OF THE FUGITIVES IN THE WORLD: MUSLIME (ROHINGYAS) IN ARAKAN, BURMA (MYANMAR). U.S. Refugee Committee (USCR).
april, 2000 NOT A WAY IN, NOT A WAY OUT: INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT IN BURMA. Washington, D.C. : Immigration and Refugee Services of America. U.S. Refugee Committee (USCR). UCSCR VISITS TO BANGLADESH: 20 JUNE - 1 JULY 1996. "Burma. "INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHT PRACTICE IN 2000. april, 2000 "Burma. "INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHT PRACTICE IN 2000.
Washington, D.C.: US government printing house. The National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB). May 1999 YEARBOOK OF HUMAN LIBERTIES 1998-99: BURMA. State Printing Office, NCGUB. REFUGE: CANADA'S Periodic on Refugees (Toronto). Décembre 2000 "of the Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar."