The plight of Rohingya Muslims

Published: July 27, 2012

This file picture taken on June 13, 2012 shows Rohingya Muslims, trying to cross the Naf river into Bangladesh to escape sectarian violence in Myanmar, look on from an intercepted boat in Teknaf. PHOTO: AFP

The recent upsurge in violence being perpetrated against Rohingya Muslims in Burma has highlighted the Burmese regime’s complete disregard for basic human rights. The Burmese security forces are guilty of killings, rapes and mass arrests. The 800,000-strong Rohingya community has never been accepted as part of Burma and has always been discriminated against, with the violence against them seemingly intensifying in recent weeks. One catalyst was a statement by Burmese President Thein Sein that all Rohingyas should either be deported or placed in refugee camps. Since many Rohingyas trace their roots to Burma, going back many decades, such a move would essentially leave them stateless. Bangladesh has always been reluctant to accept Rohingyas, while Burma sees them as illegal immigrants. The Rohingyas seem to be stuck between a rock and a hard place.

These recent happenings have highlighted Pakistan’s tendency to call for appropriate action to be taken in various cases of violence against Muslims across the world, instead of focusing on those violent acts being perpetrated on its own soil. The persecution of Rohingya Muslims has caught our eyes, to the extent that even the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, which has killed as many Muslims as any other entity, is calling on the Burmese government to stop the killings and for the Pakistani government to cut off all ties until this is done. Lawyers groups and political parties have also carried out protests. What makes our concern for Burmese Muslims ironic is that many of them are ethnic Bengalis, a group which we discriminated against with impunity in the past.

Despite their dire situation, there is little Pakistan can do. We have too many problems of our own to make this a priority. At most, we can raise the issue at international forums. It is hoped that the world does not ignore the plight of Rohingya Muslims and ensures that their rights are protected and that the Burmese regime stops its violent acts against this community.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2012.

Reader Comments (13)

  • sarath perera
    Jul 27, 2012 - 10:50PM

    after months of silence observation at least now ET has voiced out. Anyway better late than never.

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  • Hardliner
    Jul 27, 2012 - 11:06PM

    Thank GOD, ET finally got the guts to speak something in favor of Muslims…. though its quite surprising to me……….

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  • wise counsel
    Jul 28, 2012 - 12:03AM

    This is an internal affair of burma.Religion does not give any other country any authority to speak on behalf of it.If that were to be the case, the plight of the existing meagre number of hindus of pakistan neeeds to be addressed.

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  • muzaffar
    Jul 28, 2012 - 12:10AM

    world will take pakistan seriously if its own house is in order. nevertheless it is good that someone at least has spoken. what about the world conscious. it has forced 3 million afghan refugees upon us and even now it is not allowing us to deport them to the so called democratic afghanistan. but no body is raising a finger for burmese muslims. what a paradox. muslim umma please help each other. do not play games for other at the cost of blood shed of own people. we have done it in libya and we have been made to do it in syria. see are not we doing it in pakistan? why do not we understand. i bit my life if some body says the west does care about muslim’s well being.get up and see the world turning around. demand respect and you will get it. of course you have to be ready to sacrifice some thing in return. “wa ma alaina illalblagh’

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  • vasan
    Jul 28, 2012 - 6:13AM

    The so called muslim ummah and OhISee are toothless tigers in this real world. They all collectively suck up to the west to keep the dictators in power and nothing else. Pakistanis have to realise these ummah concepts are just bogus concepts to rake up the emotions and buy votes. If Pakistan keeps its house in order, which currently is not ,such editorials will carry some weight otherwise wasted efforts.

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  • Mirza
    Jul 28, 2012 - 9:13AM

    There should be no atrocities against any group of people especially based upon religion, ethnicity, cast, creed or culture. It is a shame that it is happening in this day and age. Like any civilized and liberal person I must stand up and raise my voice against this blatant injustice by the dictatorial govt of Myanmar. One does not need to be a fanatic to support the basic human rights of this suffering minority.

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  • entropy
    Jul 28, 2012 - 5:09PM

    For once an ET editorial I can wholeheartedly agree with. Dear fellow Pakistanis, please learn to mind your own businesses and stop being such hypocrites. Do you realize that Rohingyas are essentially Bengalis, a people towards whom Pakistanis are as virulently racist as the Burmese?

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  • Azim
    Jul 28, 2012 - 9:22PM

    More Muslims are killed in the country that was made after Islam – Pakistan. So best for Pakistan and Pakistani’s to first bring things in order at home before looking outside. And for all the Talibans you are a curse to Islam and to Pakistan, stop killing Muslims in Pakistan and leave Pakistan.

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  • You Said It
    Jul 28, 2012 - 11:16PM

    Pakistan can only be taken seriously on this matter if our news media speaks up about our abysmal record against our own minorities. Unfortunately, we make a spectacle of ourselves by forcefully converting minorities to Islam on TV and perpetrating atrocities against Ahmadis, Hindus, Christians and Shia. That’s just the current state of affairs – we haven’t even acknowledged our own rape and genocide against Bengalis. Until we correct this current and historical state of affairs, we will continue to be dismissed as hypocrites.

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  • Jul 29, 2012 - 5:14AM

    We, Rohingya, need an international protection mechanism (IPM) to protect our lives and properties otherwise the rapid wide spread ethnic cleansing could wipe out our race from Arakan State of Burma in no time. If this happens then it would have been too late to solve our problems. Therefore, before it happens we demand an IPM to save our land and our people.

    We were slaughtered in mass scale mainly in four cities Maungdaw, Buthidaung, Akyab and Rathidaung all are within 100 Square miles area. Hundreds of our houses were burnt down into arches and tens of mosques were either burnt down or completely wiped out. About 100, 000 people were very badly displaced without access to food, water and shelters. Local Buddhist Rakhine and government police forces are deliberately blocking access to food and medicine causing daily deaths of victims. Government is blocking foreign journalists access to the effected area.

    In the other hand, government forces are taking away Rohingya children, educated people, and leaders to the detention areas where people are suffering from extreme torture and lack of food. Further more, those who want to escape to Bangladesh are being pushed back causing a dangerous human catastrophic situation which demand immediate international intervention before it is too late.

    From London UK

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  • reality check
    Jul 29, 2012 - 12:21PM

    All the hysteria is indeed quite ironic coming from the people of a country that eliminated so many innocent bengalis. Doesn’t anyone else find this hypocrisy nauseating?

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  • ashraf
    Jul 31, 2012 - 5:36AM

    I think pakistan must be take a action against the burma…

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  • ashraf
    Jul 31, 2012 - 5:41AM

    I think pakistan must be take a action against the burma…burmas budhuist habe no humanity they are rascals we doing jihad against burmas budhist monk.

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