Rohingya Vision

Vigil for Myanmar’s Rohingya people in Manawatu

Vigil for Myanmar’s Rohingya people in Manawatu
June 29
11:14 2015

Manawatu ethnic groups have joined forces in a vigil to raise awareness and create discussion about the treatment of Rohingya people in Myanmar.

Dozens of people turned out to protest in The Square in Palmerston North on Sunday against what they are calling brutal killings.

The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic minority living in northern Arakan/Rakhine State in western Myanmar. Human rights groups accused the country of introducing a population law designed to eliminate the ethnic group. The Rohingya people have been the target of intensifying nationalism in recent years. Although they have lived in Myanmar for generations, ethnic Burmese refer to the Rohingya as “Bengalis” – implying they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Tens of thousands have fled Arakan (Rakhine) in recent years to escape ethnic violence and the denial of citizenship and education rights.

Many people spoke at the protest, asking spectators to continue the conversation with their peers.

“We are all humans,” was the message they were preaching.

Children held signs reading: Where is the civilised world?

Protest organiser Dr Mohammad Shuaib said the world seemed to be turning a blind eye to the sufferings of Rohingya people.

“We need to raise our voice to stop the Burmese oppressive regime from committing further crimes against humanity. We need to stop this genocide.

“This is a responsibility for all of us. We have two choices, we either wait for the biggest human disaster to unfold or we stop the Burmese people from oppressing and force them through international efforts to take the Rohingya and accept them as their own or give them freedom.”

Manawatu Muslim Association president Hazim Arafeh said it was “heart-wrenching” to see people risking their lives trying to escape.

“We demand that all countries of the world, large or small, step up and do their part to help these desperate people.”

Zoha Shuaib, 14, asked the crowd to urge the New Zealand Government to use its power to force a change.

“I am ashamed to say I am a part of a world, a country, that looks the other way when genocide is happening.

“Put yourselves in that concentration camp and tell me if it’s still OK

“We all have the power to do something.

“Open your eyes, this cannot and will not end so long as we do not do anything about this. This will not end if we do not speak up.”

Note:Changes have been made,Stuff is not responsible for these.





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