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UN Special Rapporteur and His Ongoing Visit to Arakan

MS Anwar

Opinion Editorial

August 12, 2013

UN Special Rapportuer on Human Rights to Myanmar, Mr. Tomas Ojea Quintana, arrived in Sittway (Akyab), Arakan, this (on 12th August 2013) early morning. However, he was unable to proceed to Rohingya IDP camps due to protests by Rakhine extremists and blockage by government’s security forces.

This afternoon, around 12:00 noon, he arrived in Buthidaung. Then, he went to visit Buthidaung prison.

Hundreds of Rohingyas were arrested arbitrarily and under false accusations of involving in the violence last year. They have been, without any legal charges against them, infinitely detained under extremely catastrophic condition in the prison.

However, prior to the visit by Mr. Quintana, the authority had made Rohingya prisoners in the prison into many groups. And they were shifted, in separated groups, to many parts of Maung Daw and Buthidaung. Some of the places where Rohingya prisoners had been shifted to are:

1) Maung Daw Police Cell

2) Maung Daw Court

3) Buthidaung Police Cell

4) Buthidaung Court

5) Former NaSaKa Headquarter in Khawar Bil (Kyi Kan Pyin), Maung Daw and others.

During his visit to Buthidaung township as well, many Rakhine extremists came out to the streets and held fierce protest against his visit. Besides, some Rakhine extremists were holding some insulting banners and chanting abusive slogans against him. All the protests against him and his visit had been pre-planned by the Rakhine state government according to the earlier reports from Arakan.

Yesterday, in accordance with a report by a Rohingya in Sittway, the Rakhine State Mininster for Security, Colonel U Htein Lin, said to the internally displaced Rohingyas in the camps of Bawdu Pha and Ohn Daw Gyi “your father Quintana will arrive today. Tell him whatever you want. We don’t care. Rakhines are organizing demonstrations against his visit.”

A Picture Says A Thousand Words
A Picture Says A Thousand Words

Rakhine extremists backed by the Arakan State government are now stigmatizing a human rights rapporteur as ‘a human rights abuser’. There is an old Burmese saying “Thu Ku Lu Pyan Hie'” meaning “the thief cries ‘Man Man’ or “a Thief Shouting ‘Thief Thief’ himself.” That exactly suits these Rakhine extremists. They are, at the moment, due to different influences, one of the most criminal minded and brutal people in the world. (Of course, not referring Rakhine community as a whole.) Hence, such behaviors of theirs were not only ridiculous but also criminally motivated.

Afterwards, he set off to visit Maung Daw at 3:30PM. Soon after, the cell phone network in Maung Daw and Buthidaung was turned off. However, due to the protests and blockages by some terrorist monks, some prison police and Rakhine extremists, he could not proceed further to Maung Daw. He turned back to Buthidaung and held a meeting with the groups of different departments in government.

It has been reported that he plans to visit the IDP Camps at Baariza Fara (Ohn Daw Gyi) and Badua Dayl (Bawdu Pha) in Sittway. We wish his trip to the camps be fruitful.

Meanwhile, Rohingyas in Aung Mingalar Quarter, IDP Camps in Sittway and other parts of Arakan remain blocked by the authority an security force and vulnerable.