Myanmar Gov’t Back Out of Sheltering Displaced Rohingyas in Maungdaw
Report by Khan S/ Written by M.S. Anwar
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Maungdaw, Arakan State– A group of authority from different concerned quarters arrived at the village of Sinthay Pyin (Haati Fara), northern Maungdaw, around 11AM on 25th May 2014, but only to let people know that they (authority) would back out of their promise to provide shelter homes to displaced Rohingyas in the region. Besides, on 26th May 2014, Maungdaw police arrested Rohingya woman possibly in relation to fire that broke out at her house in the village on 10th March 2014.
“More than 100 Rohingya homes were burnt down by Rakhine extremists in northern Maungdaw between 9th March 2014 and 20th March 2012. Rakhine extremists caused the fire throwing fire-causing chemical powders (in flying-balloons) on Rohingya homes. Villages such as Sinthay Pyin (Haati Fara) of Longdoong village tract and Pan Myaung (Kappyus Sor) of Ngasa Kyu (Na’shaa Fru) village tract were hit the worst.
Quite ironically, Maungdaw authority accused a few Rohingya women of deliberately causing the fire and burning their own homes. Many Rohingya women have been arrested since then and tortured beyond imagination in Maungdaw Police custody.
On the other hand, hundreds of Rohingyas were displaced as a consequence of the fire. Authority and UNHCR promised them to build homes or provide shelters to them before monsoon season falls. That is they promised to build homes for them on 12th May 2014” said a villager on the condition of anonymity.
12 days have gone by from the promised date. A group of authority from different concerned quarters arrived at the village of Sinthay Pyin (Haati Fara) around 11AM on 25th May 2014. The group consisted of Rakhine State Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement U Kyaw Khin, Representative of UNHCR Myanmar, Country Director of World Food Program (WFP), Maungdaw District Administrator, Maungdaw Township and Special Branch (SB) Police and others. They summoned household head of the each of the affected and displaced families for a meeting.
“In the meeting, Minister U Kyaw Khin said ‘we have promised you to build homes for you. But we won’t do it now. If we help you, your people in other parts of the township will torch many more homes to get foreign aids. Now, you have to suffer because of your deeds.’
He further said ‘oh yes! If we have time, we will see whether we can provide some food rations or not.’ When the UNHCR Officer tried to interfere in that, the minister behaved rudely with the officer. The minister also posed various threats against us. Therefore, we feel that they came here to blame us for some actions that we are responsible for and to tell us they would not help us” said a Rohingya that attended the meeting.
“On the other hand, around 9AM on 26th May 2014, a few Police Officers from Maungdaw Police Station arrived at the village of Longdoong and asked its administrator to summon the Rohingya woman from whose house the fire began on 10th March 2014. She is Khurshidah (daughter of) Khala Meah (of Age 40) from Sinthay Pyin (Haati Fara).
The Police arrested her as the administrator brought her to his office. She was arrested and interrogated by Kyein Chaung (Bawli Bazaar) Police once when the fire took place. She was released afterwards. Now, we don’t know why she was arrested again. We wonder if her arrest has anything to do with the visit of the authority on 25th May 2014. But in the same evening, she was released on Kyat 150,000 bail” he added.