Need for greater awareness, international attention on Rohingya issue: Maruah forum

Arifa
By June 11, 2015 11:13

Need for greater awareness, international attention on Rohingya issue: Maruah forum

By Howard Lee:The plight of the Rohingya people extends way back beyond Myanmar’s current domestic political issues, and attention needs to be paid on their rights as citizens of Myanmar.

This point, together with a historical perspective of the Rohingya, was shared and discussed at a forum held last Saturday, 6 June, hosted by Singapore human rights group Maruah in partnership with the Humanitarian Organization for Migrant Economics and The Opinion Collaborative.

Maruah’s president Ms Braema Mathi presented a background on the Rohingya and Arakan (Rakhine) state to a group of participants consisting of Singaporeans and Burmese, before hosting an open discussion.

Participants contributed their views and unique perspectives on the Rohingya, including insights on racial-religious relations between various ethnic groups in Arakan (Rakhine) in specific and Myanmar in general.

Participants learnt that the religious unrest was fairly unique to Arakan (Rakhine), as Muslims and Buddhist co-existed peacefully in other parts of Myanmar. This suggested that there could be political agitators that have increased sectarian unrest in Arakan (Rakhine).

It was also shared that the unrest in Arakan (Rakhine) had actually been taking place for decades, and only came to international attention due to the boat victims who sought asylum on the shores of neighbouring countries.

It was also pointed out that the current position of the Myanmar government calling the Rohingya “illegal immigrants” is incorrect, as the Rohingya has actually existed in Myanmar for centuries, with their own language and culture, and are rightfully Burmese by nationality.

Participants also discussed how the current efforts by the Myanmar government to offer the Rohingya official citizenship might take longer than it needs to ensure their survival, given the coming elections and the need for political parties to appease the Buddhist majority.

To that effect, it was suggested that the international community might need to press harder for the Myanmar government to improve the speed and transparency in the citizenship process.

Note:Changes have been made,The Online Citizen is not responsible for these.

Source:The Online Citizen.

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Arifa
By June 11, 2015 11:13

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