28 April 2020
The Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK) is deeply concerned about growing online hate speech directed towards Rohingya refugees living in Malaysia. We appeal to the Malaysian government to condemn hateful comments against the Rohingya, to hold those responsible to account and to stand in solidarity and compassion with refugees.
BROUK furthermore wishes to express its deep gratitude towards the Malaysian authorities and Malaysian people for hosting tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees for decades, and for their strong political support for the Rohingya in the face of the ongoing genocide in Myanmar.
Authorities in Myanmar have subjected Rohingya to a genocide for decades. In 2017, the Myanmar military and their proxies launched a vicious “clearance operation” in Rakhine State, killing thousands, burning villages to the ground, and forcing hundreds of thousands of Rohingya to flee into Bangladesh. The some 600,000 Rohingya who remain in Rakhine State face continued abuse and oppression, as they are denied citizenship and severe restrictions on their freedom of movement mean accessing education and healthcare is extremely difficult. These inhuman conditions have driven Rohingya to flee to other countries, including Malaysia, to seek safety, shelter and a dignified life.
In recent weeks, BROUK has noted with deep concern how hate speech has grown substantially against Rohingya refugees in Malaysia on online platforms like Facebook and Twitter. These developments appear to have in part been sparked by rumours that Rohingya have been ignoring lockdown orders to contain the Coronavirus pandemic.
BROUK urges all Rohingya in Malaysia to strictly follow the rule of law in Malaysia, including restrictions during the pandemic. It is furthermore important to clarify that Rohingya are not asking for citizenship in Malaysia – we are only seeking protection until it is safe to go back to our home country, Myanmar.
We appeal to the Malaysian government, including Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, to condemn hate speech and other forms of abuse against the Rohingya. We also ask the authorities to investigate this abuse and hold those responsible to account. We want to thank those political and religious leaders who have already spoken out in support of Rohingya refugees – your words have been invaluable.
BROUK is grateful towards the Malaysian authorities who for decades have hosted Rohingya fleeing persecution. Approximately 100,000 Rohingya are currently registered with UNHCR in Malaysia. Generations of Rohingya have found safety in Malaysia, and we deeply appreciate the strong bonds between Rohingya and Malaysian people, families and communities that have been built up for decades.
BROUK is furthermore deeply grateful towards successive Malaysian governments who have spoken out against the horrific abuses against the Rohingya in Myanmar. While most regional Southeast Asian governments have remained silent, Malaysia has shown courage and leadership by condemning the ongoing genocide.
We appeal to the current government to continue to show the same compassion and solidarity towards Rohingya, and ensure that the current wave of hate speech and other forms of abuse do not escalate further.
For more information, please contact Tun Khin +44 7888714866.