London and Frankfurt – Free Rohingya Coalition unequivocally condemns the Myanmar Junta, headed by Min Aung Hlaing, for its persistent lies and criminality concerning the Rohingya people and its grave crimes, including crimes against humanity, against the people of Myanmar in general.
In response to the United Nations General Assembly resolution (adopted on 17 November) entitled “Situation of Human Rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar” by the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Issues) of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Junta’s “Foreign Ministry” issued a statement which contains numerous obvious and blatant lies about Rohingya ethnic identity, historical roots and the conditions they face.
In its official Facebook post, https://bit.ly/30MxmeP, the military regime slammed the UN resolution and seeks to dismiss the UN resolution that was adopted by consensus thus:
“It is found that the resolution does not reflect the efforts made by the Myanmar Government to bring stability and rule of law for its people and to address the challenges with utmost restraints. The elements contained in the resolution are based on unreliable sources and information, amplified by certain opposition groups and unlawful association as well as terrorist and armed groups which are all targeted against Myanmar, and accordingly they are found unsounded (sic) and erroneous.”
The full statement is full of distortions and omits well-documented and widely accepted facts pertaining to the regime’s institutionalised destruction – namely genocide – of Rohingya as a people.
Human rights and media reports as well as professional observations by international criminal practitioners unequivocally indicate that the same military regime in Naypyidaw, responsible for waves of genocidal crimes against Rohingya, have been committing numerous and widespread crimes against humanity against all sections of Myanmar society.
Mr Nicholas Koumjian, Head of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar and former international co-counsel in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, reported to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 13 September this year.
Mr Koumijian told the Human Rights Council, “to date, the Mechanism has collected over 219,000 items related to post-coup events. Our initial analysis indicates that these crimes are both widespread and systematic in nature. Preliminary evidence shows that about a thousand civilians have been killed, including in Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw, Bago, Mandalay, Magway and Sagaing. The evidence shows security forces acting in a coordinated manner across different regions, systematically targeting specific categories of persons, such as journalists and medical professionals. Many thousands have been detained without due process of law. Under international law, crimes such as killings and arbitrary detentions committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack on a civilian population are crimes against humanity and thus fall within our mandate.”
Additionally, the Associated Press released its investigative report on 28 October. It provides “the most comprehensive look since the takeover into a secretive detention system that has held more than 9,000 people”. The report found evidence of Myanmar military’s systemic use of torture as a weapon of terror designed to whip the entire 54-million people into submission and acceptance of the February 1 coup.
On 22 November, FRC co-founder and Burmese coordinator Dr Maung Zarni told Deutsche Welle TV News of Germany that “I lived the first 25 years of my life under the military regime (of General Ne Win). I knew both perpetrators and victims of torture. The use of torture by the military has been going on with impunity for the past almost 60-years. Torture used systemically is a crime against humanity in international law.”
On the Junta’s blatant denial of Rohingya presence in Myanmar and group identity, Zarni calls attention to both historical and official Myanmar documentation, including the Myanmar Government’s official Encyclopaedia (V. 9) and the Myanmar Ministry of Defence’s Special Issue. All available English and Burmese language primary and official sources contradict the propaganda that Rohingyas do not belong in Myanmar and that they were illegal Bengali migrants from Bangladesh. Also a Washington-based think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, weighed in on the debate surrounding the historical group identity of Rohingya as early as 2014.
Additionally, Zarni, who himself comes from a Burmese military family, calls attention to the official letter signed and issued by his own close relative, the late Zeya Kyaw Htin Lt-Colonel Ant Kywe, who served as Deputy Commander of All Rakhine Command based in Sittwe in the early 1960’s.
Similarly, in his address at the Peace Ceremony in Maungdaw, N. Rakhine state, Myanmar military’s second-in-command Vice-Chief-of-Staff (Army) Brigadier General Aung Gyi officially recognised Rohingya people of Northern Rakhine as a native ethnic group who predominantly and ancestrally belong to the bi-national borderlands of Northern Myanmar and Bangladesh (ancient Arakan and East Bengal).
Ro Nay San Lwin, the co-founder of the Free Rohingya Coalition and a refugee based in Frankfurt, said, “since the February coup, the mainstream Burmese Buddhist society has woken up to the fact that they have been lied to about Rohingya people, our history and our sense of belonging as part of Myanmar. Many activist and citizen organisations have issued official recognition of both our ethnic identity and the genocidal violence that we as Rohingya people have suffered at the hands of Myanmar military. I have personally received thousands of social media messages of apologies.”
The Germany-based Rohingya activist calls on the European Union to follow the UN’s footstep by not recognising Myanmar’s criminal military leadership as the genuine representative of Myanmar people. He said, “even the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – not known as liberal champions of human and refugee rights – have finally taken a principled stance against Myanmar’s military leadership by ostracising Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. EU as a bloc can do much better than ASEAN by refusing to recognise all Myanmar ambassadors who support the military coup and downgrading any diplomatic ties with the genocidal regime.”
FRC is a grassroots network of Rohingya refugee activists and international supporters campaigning for the human and refugee rights of Rohingya genocide survivors worldwide.
A Backgrounder for Editors:
Separating Fact from Fiction about Myanmar’s Rohingya, February 13, 2014
Official Burmese language letter dated 5 July 1961 addressed community leaders as “Esteemed Rohingya leaders”.
“Rohingyas are equal and full citizens and an ethnic minority integral to the Union of Burma”: Myanmar Military Leadership, July 1961
Nay San Lwin: +49 176 62139138 | firstname.lastname@example.org