speaking out against Aung San Suu Kyi covering up Rohingya genocide, The Guildhall protest against "Freedom of the City Award", London, 8 May 2017

At the London School of Economic "Rule of Law Roundtable", 16 June 2012

Speaking on the Slow Burning Genocide of Rohingyas in Burma, with Professor Amartya Sen, Harvard University, Nov 2014

N. Ireland peace activist Mairead Maguire presenting Zarni with the Cultivation of Harmony Award on behalf of the Parliament of the World's Religions, Salt Lake City, USA 18 Oct 2015

Drafting the Oslo Communique calling for the end to Myanmar's Rohingya Genocide, Voksanaasen, Oslo, 27 May 2015

"National Traitor and Enemy of the State" for his opposition to Rohingya Genocide. Sun Rays, 16/9/17

Call To End Rohingya Genocide With Endorsements

(Photo: AP)

CALL TO END ROHINGYA GENOCIDE

Myanmar's Genocide of Rohingya Must End

What is really going on in Myanmar/Burma beyond tourist brochures, media spin and official reform hype?

Unspeakable crimes are being carried out against innocent humans: children, women and men by the country’s government and racist extremists.

Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya (of whom there are more than 1 million inside the country and another million around the world) have been singled out for systematic destruction.

Successive governments, for decades, have institutionalized a system of apartheid against these people. Kept in concentration camp-like conditions and ghettoized neighborhoods, Rohingya are not permitted freedom of movement.

Every aspect of their lives, including marriage, childbirth and ability to work, is severely restricted. Their right to identity and citizenship is officially denied; in other words, they are not recognized as humans before the law. The Myanmar government even denies humanitarian agencies unfettered access to nearly 200,000 Rohingya in the camps.

Rohingya are profoundly vulnerable to all forms of oppression and atrocities.

As a nation, Myanmar is committing numerous crimes including systematic persecution and discrimination, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and genocide.

Of the country’s ethnic groups, only Rohingya are subjected to a policy of compulsory birth and marriage control because of their ethnicity.

As a matter of national policy, Myanmar is:

DENYING Rohingya legal existence, and right to nationality; access to medicine, food, and other basic necessities to sustain life; and

DESIGNING extensive structures of discrimination, genocidal hatred and popular violence that amount to the extermination of Rohingya as an ethnic group. Thereby, both the government and racist extremists, are

DESTROYING an entire people with impunity and popular consent.

Myanmar’s official deeds speak volumes about its intent to destroy Rohingya as an ethnic group.

We call on everyone: in governments, in the streets and fields around the world to stop the destruction of Myanmar’s Rohingya.

This is genocide. 

The following organizations and concerned citizens have endorsed this global call:

Non-Rohingya Organizations
  • International State Crime Initiative (ISCI), King’s College, University of London
  • The Sentinel Project for Genocide Prevention, Canada
  • Global Campaign for the Rwandans Human Rights
  • London Centre for Social Impact 
  • Justice for All, USA
  • Burma Task Force USA
  • Burmese Welfare Association, USA
  • Burmese American Muslim Association 
  • Myanmar Muslim Association in Thailand
  • Myanmar Muslim Youth – Malaysia
  • Myanmar Muslim Civil Rights Movement
  • Dignity International endorses
  • Pax Romana ICMICA
  • International Movement for a Just World (JUST)
Concerned Global Citizens
  • Prudentienne Seward, a survivor of Rwandan genocide against Tutsi and founder of PAX - Peace for the African Great Lakes
  • Rene Claudel Mugenzi, Rwanda genocide Survivor, founder of Global Campaign for Rwandas Human Rights
  • Sai Latt, Burmese scholar and writer, Simon Frazer University, Canada
  • Ko Aung, former Burmese political prisoner and activist, London, UK
  • Soe Aung, Burmese human rights activist, Bangkok Thailand
  • Dr Kyi May Kaung, Burmese writer, scholar and artist, Washington, DC, USA 
  • Dr Zarni, Burmese scholar and activist, University of Malaya and London School of Economics
  • Youk Chhang, Executive Director, The Documentation Center of Cambodia
  • Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey, Rome Conference/ICC Signatory, ICTY Witness on Genocide & Former Foreign Minister - Bosnia & Herzegovina 
  • Daniel Feierstein, President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars & Professor in the Faculty of Genocide Studies, the University of Buenos Aires
  • Veronica Pedrosa, Journalist and TV presenter
  • Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, University Professor in Humanities, Columbia University & founding member of Post-Colonial Studies, USA
  • Barbara Harrell-Bond, OBE, Dir, Fahamu Refugee Center; founding director, Refugees Studies Center; Emeritus Professor, Oxford University, UK
  • Mary Kaldor, CBE, Professor of Global Governance and Director, Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit, London School of Economics, UK 
  • Dr Helen Jarvis, Genocide Studies Researcher and co-author of “Getting Away with Genocide: Elusive justice and the Khmer Rouge tribunal"
  • Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Parliament of World's Religions (for identifications only), USA
  • Penny Green, Professor of Law and Criminology & Director of the International State Crime Initiative (ISCI), King’s College, University of London 
  • Dr Hassan Saeed Elmogummer Taha, human rights activist, Qatar 
  • Alex Caring-Lobel, Associate Editor, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, USA
  • Antara Dev Sen, Editor, The Little Magazine, India
  • Mohanad Hage Ali, Journalist, Lebanon
  • Dr Sabina Alkire, Dir. Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford, UK
  • Bridget Anderson, Professor and Deputy Director Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford, UK
  • Johan Galtung dr hc mult, founder, TRANSCEND International 
  • Barbara Harriss-White, Emeritus Professor of Development Studies and Founder-Director of Contemporary South Asian Studies, University of Oxford, UK
  • Geoff Whitty, Former Director, Institute of Education, University of London, UK
  • Michael W. Apple, John Bascom Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Professor of Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin at Madison, USA
  • James C. Scott, Sterling Professor of Political Science and Professor of Anthropology, Yale University, USA
  • Jack Healey, Executive Director, Human Rights Action Center, Washington (and former Executive Dir. Amnesty International/USA)
  • Antonio Carlos da Silva Rosa, M.A., Editor, TRANSCEND Media Service, Brazil
  • William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com, UK 
  • Roland Watson, Dictator Watch, Thailand
  • Francis Wade, Journalist, Thailand
  • Dr Nancy Hudson-Rodd, School of Land and Food, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia
  • Michael Ratna, Sri Lanka
  • Chandra Muzaffar, President, JUST, Kualar Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Darwis Khudori, Indonesian academic, France
  • Arash Sedighi, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London 
  • Dr Laleh Khalili, SOAS, London
  • Dr Rahul Rao, SOAS, London
  • Dr Samantha Langsdale, SOAS, London
  • Dr Ashraf Hoque, University College London (UCL)
  • Dr (Medical doctor) Mohsin Badat, UK
  • Dr. James Abdulaziz Brown, UK 
  • Dr. Jonathan Saha, University of Bristol
  • Sophie Ansel, Journalist & Writer, France 
  • Lynn Lee, Film Maker, Singapore
  • James Leong, Film Maker, Singapore
  • Dr Syed Farid Alatas, National University of Singapore 
  • Dr Matt Phillips, University of Aberystwyth, Wales, UK

Rohingya Organizations Worldwide
  • Arakan Historical Society 
  • Arakan Rohingya National Organization 
  • Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK 
  • Burmese Rohingya Community in Australia (BRCA) 
  • Burmese Rohingya Association (BRA), UAE 
  • Burmese Rohingya Community Netherlands 
  • Burmese Rohingya Community in Denmark (BRCD) 
  • Burmese Rohingya Association Deutschland 
  • Canadian Burmese Rohingya Organization (CBRO) 
  • European Rohingya Council 
  • Rohingya Arakanese Refugee Committee, Malaysia 
  • Rohingya Community in Norway 
  • Rohingya Society Malaysia 
  • Rohingya Organization Norway 
  • Rohingya National Party (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) 
  • Arakan National Congress (ANC)
  • Rohingya Association of Canada
  • Arakan Rohingya Organization Japan 
  • Rohingya American Society

FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions about the Rohingya

(Photo: AK Rockefeller)


ROHINGYA PERSECUTION

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is really happening to Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya? Why is it significant?

A slow burning genocide of 36-years with periodic spikes of violence and killings followed by waves of refugees fleeing to nearby Bangladesh, as well as Thailand, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Australia and other Western countries.

Myanmar’s genocidal treatment of Rohingya over the past 36 years calls into question the legitimacy, moral authority and effectiveness of the United Nations and its constitutive global governance institutions such as the International Criminal Court and the Security Council.

Further, it calls into question the meaning of what it means to be conscientious human beings in the 21st century. Do human beings today willfully ignore large scale suffering of 2 million Rohingya with no means to defend themselves, no livelihood systems or social foundations?

Since February 1978 Myanmar has instituted a policy of genocide under the disguise of anti-immigration operations, which are in fact designed to destroy Rohingya as a distinct ethnic group. In the official media and by various bureaucracies including Education, Home Affairs, Defense and Foreign Affairs Myanmar has portrayed wrongly Rohingya as “Bengali”, that is, illegal economic migrants from neighbouring Bangladesh. Aside from the violent ‘anti-immigration’ operations, local Rakhine racist extremists and central government authorities coordinate numerous forms of attacks on Rohingya neighbourhoods, places of worships (mosques), businesses and properties, including organized acts of arson, summary execution, looting, sexual violence, etc.

More than a million people have fled the country since the first wave of genocidal attacks on Rohingya. Nearly 200,000 Rohingya have been forcibly relocated by central government troops into refugee camps where they live in inhumane conditions, without access to market, jobs or food systems. Local extremists have become strident in their call to block even emergency relief aid to the camps and threatened to attack any international NGO that provides Rohingya, internally displaced persons (or IDPs) basic services. Myanmar’s central government refuses to give INGOs unfettered humanitarian access to Rohingya camps and neighbourhoods.

Thousands of Rohingya who originally co-existed in peace with local Buddhist communities in Southern Rakhine state have been transferred to Northern Rakhine state adjacent to Bangladesh, creating 90% Rohingya pockets. These pockets are placed in the hands of the Ministry of Defence which has absolute administrative power. The military is aided by a small minority of all-Rakhine civil servants and police officials, thus making Northern Rakhine state’s Rohingya neighborhood an apartheid. As early as July 1978, the Far Eastern Economic Review called it ‘Burma’s Brand of Apartheid’ (14 July 1978, FEER).

* Of all Myanmar’s ethnic groups, only the Rohingya are subject to birth and population control on account of their distinct ethnicity
* The doctor to patient ratio for Myanmar’s Rohingya is worse than it is in Aleppo, Syria at this point of the civil war (40 doctors: 2 million in Syria where is 1 doctor: 73,000 -86,000 Rohingya in peace time)
* Rohingya are not permitted to study medicine or midwifery in Myanmar’s universities, if they are admitted at all
* Myanmar also maintains a set of severe restrictions on Rohingya marriages
* Rohingya are required daily permit from the security forces to travel to even the next village or neighborhood.

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and successive UN Special Rapporteurs have characterized Myanmar’s treatment of more than 1 million Rohingya who remain in the country as ‘crimes against humanity’ and ‘ethnic cleansing’.

In fact, many human rights specialists and UN officials understand that the decades of persecution and destruction of Rohingya amounts to a genocide, but out of ‘pragmatic’ considerations no international body is so far prepared to call it by its proper name: genocide.

How is it that Buddhist monks seem to be involved? I thought they were into peace and compassion?

Myanmar’s Buddhism and Buddhist monks are contaminated with the country’s racist nationalism. Buddhism as a philosophical system is about universal loving kindness, impermanence and non-essentializable or solid ego or individual; no practicing Buddhists, monks/nuns or laymen and –women can claim to be nationalist or patriotic or defenders of Buddhist faith.

Monks’ involvement in anti-Muslim deeds and words is more to do with racism and nationalism than with Buddhism as a spiritual philosophy.

Historically, Myanmar’s military government has categorized university students and Buddhist monks as two big threats to its power. Of the two, only Buddhist monks remain a strong social force as was evidenced by the so-called Saffron Revolution of 2007 during which the entire Buddhist Order rose up against the military government. Since then, the military has pursued a pre-emptive strategy of diversion. That is, the military’s propaganda departments including Religious Affairs has portrayed Islam and Muslims of Myanmar, including Rohingya Muslims, as the biggest existential threat to Burmese Buddhist way of life – in spite of the fact that Muslims in Myanmar make up for less than 5% of the total population 80-85% of whom are Buddhists. In this way, Buddhist monks and nuns are pre-occupied with what they come to see as ‘a threat from Islam to Buddhism and Burmese race’.

Reuters’ Pulitzer-prize winning investigative reports have documented the state’s instrumental role in manufacturing and popularizing anti-Muslim hatred in Myanmar.

So this is Buddhists against Muslims?

No, absolutely not.

Again as explained above, it is in fact Myanmar nationalists acting irrationally towards the manufactured enemy of Buddhist faith and Myanmar race, Muslims of all ethnic backgrounds. Because Rohingya are concentrated in the pockets in Northern Rakhine State, unlike other Muslim communities that are scattered across the country, Rohingya Muslims have become the easiest target for organized attacks and state-sponsored persecution.

Isn't this just a symptom of the reforms that the government is being praised for?

No, the discrimination, persecution and violence against Rohingya began in 1976, that is, 3 decades before the Burmese military leadership embarked on its much-lauded reforms in 2011. As a matter of fact, it is the country’s successive military regimes headed by General Ne Win (1962-88), General Saw Maung (1988-1992), General Than Shwe (1992-2011) and ex-General Thein Sein (2011-present) who have uniformly maintained the national policies of discrimination and persecution of Rohingya. It is verifiably incorrect to argue that the violence and conflicts in Rakhine state are primarily ‘communal’ in nature, symptomatic of the transitional societies with a large multiethnic make-up.

Why isn’t then the majority Burmese of predominantly Buddhist faith and 90% Christian Kachin and Chin ethnic communities as well as the Karens and Shan, with their armed ethnic armies, not having ‘communal violence’?

What solid evidence is there that the military and /or government are involved?

Virtually all human rights reports on the situation of Rohingya, including reports of the UN Human Rights Rapporteurs on Myanmar have noted both direct and indirect involvement of Myanmar’s security forces, which are centrally – not locally from Rakhine state administration based in Sittwe - commanded from the Ministry of Defence in the violence towards Rohingya. Rohingya affairs are under the direct command of the military government, now quasi-civilian government of Thein Sein, at the highest level.

Despite all evidence of its involvement, Myanmar governments have blatantly denied having a policy of discrimination and persecution of Rohingya. The widely reported massacre at a Rohingya village named Ducheera Dan in January this year is only the latest example of the government’s denial of its direct involvement in the violence and persecution of Rohingya. It is common knowledge that no commander, local or national, has ever been persecuted for their mistreatment, abuses and rights violations of any Rohingya, men, women, children or the elderly. In short, Myanmar government’s official involvement is evidenced in the state impunity it has granted to any official or civilian that attacks Rohingya individuals and those who otherwise destroy Rohingya as an ethnic community.

If it was actually genocide then wouldn’t there be scenes like in Rwanda or Cambodia’s Killing Fields?

Popular perception of a genocide is about dramatic spikes of mass killings as in Cambodia of Khmer Rouge days (1975-79) or 1994 Rwanda. But a genocide is not simply about media-genic scenes of mass killings. The single most influential – and one and only – universally accepted legal definition of a genocide as spelled out by the Geneva Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (January 1948) and Article 6 of the Rome Statute (July 2002) – specify 4 other genocidal acts: “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group”, besides “killing members of the group”, with the intent to destroy an ethnical or national group, in whole or in part.

While there may be no Hitler like genocidal demagogues in Myanmar, over the past 36 years there is a consistent and verifiable pattern of Myanmar’s discrimination and persecution of Rohingya which have resulted spikes of organized and well-structured violence, led to untold number of Rohingya deaths, destroyed Rohingya communities, butchered the group’s identity, and ultimately rendered life for Rohingya into such a living hell that thousands and thousands of Rohingya families have been choosing risks of death and other high risks fleeing the country on foot or by boats.

Wouldn’t the United Nations or US have done something if this was really important?

In its 2009 report, the Human Rights Watch prophetically observed that helping Rohingya advances no strategic or commercial interests. Decades of Rohingya persecution and destruction by Myanmar, a UN member state, are well-known and well-documented to all 5 permanent members of the Security Council. The OIC and its member states including Malaysia and Indonesia in Myanmar’s neighborhood have repeatedly expressed grave concerns about the plight of Rohingya. But beyond rhetoric there has not been a concerted effort or a political will to bring an end to the slow burning genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingya. Rohingya are now becoming Asia’s Palestinians. Even the Palestinians have greater support and recognition from the United Nations. As a matter of fact, the UN agencies operating in Myanmar, as well as the United Nations Population Fund may be culpable in the ethnocide (destruction of an ethnic identity and culture) and the genocide. For the UN High Commission on Refugees have gagged its local and international staff in Myanmar and instructed them not to use even words like ‘segregation’ to describe the Rohingya persecution and discrimination, let alone report the case to the UN as that of a genocide by design and structure, with the intent – and result – of Rohingya group destruction.

And what about Aung San Suu Kyi and other Myanmar people? What are they doing about this?

Aung San Suu Kyi has not only maintained a wilful silence over the persecution of Rohingya but she has categorically denied that the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Rohingya is taking place. Extremist Rakhine leaders who are her fellow parliamentarians are on the record stating that they have told her never to utter the word ‘Rohingya’, or lose any type of popular votes from 3 million Rakhine. In addition, she herself has proven to be an anti-Muslim Myanmar racist nationalist, not unlike the majority of the Burmese public. She both offered and justified Myanmar Buddhists’s fear of Muslims and global Muslim power, in a Radio Four interview on BBC in London in the fall of 2013.

Press Release: United Nations expert says there are “elements of genocide” against Myanmar’s Rohingya




United Nations expert says there are “elements of genocide” against Myanmar’s Rohingya

28 April 2014, London

The United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, Tomás Ojéa Quintana has said “There are elements of genocide in Rakhine with respect to Rohingya.”

Speaking at the London Conference on Decades of State-Sponsored Destruction of Myanmar’s Rohingya, Ojéa added “It is crimes against humanity. The possibility of a genocide needs to be discussed. This conference is very important as it does just that.”

The conference marked the first time top legal experts, academics and activists have met at the London School Of Economics And Political Science (LSE) and initiated the public debate on whether the persecution of the Rohingya by Myanmar should be considered genocide under international law.

Other speakers included Professor Daniel Feierstein, President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars; and Professor Gianni Tognoni, General Secretary, Permanent People’s Tribunal, Rome.

International legal experts presented definitions of genocide, mechanisms and models for justice. Leading human rights researchers and academics as well as Rohingya refugees offered evidence of decades of systematic persecution of Muslim Rohingya in Myanmar. 

Dr Zarni, chair of the conference and visiting fellow at the LSE, made a case for what he called “the slow burning genocide” of Myanmar’s Rohingya since 1978 based on three years of extensive archival research and interviews with military officers and Rohingya victims.

The conference concluded with a call for the immediate end to Myanmar’s persecution of Rohingya, which it says amounts to genocide. The message is supported by dozens of concerned individuals and organisations including: Prudentienne Seward, a survivor of the Rwanda genocide against Tutsis and Founder of PAX (Peace for the African Great Lakes), Professor Noam Chomsky of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Columbia University Professor Gayatria Chakravoty Spivak, Oxford University Professor Emeritus and founder of Refugee Studies Barbara Harrell-Bond, London School of Economics Professor Mary Kaldor and Executive Director Youk Chhang of the Documentation Center of Cambodia.

The call notes, “Every aspect of their (Rohingya) lives, including marriage, childbirth and ability to work, is severely restricted. Their right to identity and citizenship is officially denied; in other words, they are not recognized as humans before the law… Rohingya are profoundly vulnerable to all forms of oppression and atrocities.”

It points out that alone of all the country’s more than 130 ethnic groups, only Rohingya are subjected to a policy of forced population control. By denying the Rohingya legal existence, designing extensive structures of discrimination and depriving a large segment of Rohingya population even basic humanitarian services such as provision of water, food and medicine the Myanmar government and people are destroying an entire people.

“Our people have been subject to a national policy of discrimination, persecution and eventual destruction at the hands of security forces and local extremists for the past nearly 40 years. I appeal to the world not to let another Rwanda repeat for Rohingya,” said Tun Khin, President of BROUK, which sponsors legislation at the US Congress calling for the end to persecution of Rohingya.

“The United Nations has taken 20 years to apologise for its failure to recognise and prevent the Rwandan genocide; the international community should not repeat the same mistake in Myanmar,” said Prudentienne Seward.

#end text#

Contacts:
Dr Zarni : fanon2005@gmail.com; mobile: +44 (0)777 515 9334
Tun Khin: rohingya@brouk.org.uk: mobile: +44 (0)788 871 4866
 

"Watch LIVE webcast: London Conference on the Genocide of Myanmar's Rohingya" - Time: 0900 AM (UK time), Monday, 28th April

"Watch LIVE webcast: London Conference on the Genocide of Myanmar's Rohingya" 

Time: 0900 AM (UK time), Monday, 28th April


Live webcast begins at 9 am sharp (UK time) and ends at 3:30 pm except during refreshments and lunch breaks. (See the programme below)









Welcome Remarks

Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, OBE 
Founding Director, Refugee Studies Centre; Professor Emeritus, Oxford University & Director, Fahamu Refugee Programme

It is with sincere regret that due to illness that I am unable to be present at today’s Conference. 

You have come together in yet another attempt to increase the world’s awareness of the unspeakable suffering of the Rohingya - those remaining in Myanmar under the threat of extinction, those in flight and those living in exile under precarious conditions. 

It is worth reflecting on the fact that in May 1993, Aung San Suu Kyi gave the Joyce Pearce Memorial Lecture at the Refugee Studies programme (now Centre) at the University of Oxford. Her speech was entitled ‘Towards a True Refugee’. 

In that speech she reminded her audience that ‘The Burmese expression for refugee is”dukkha-the’, which means the one who has to bear dukkha, suffering. In that sense no one can be excluded from understanding what it is to be a refugee. At the time, Aung San Suu Kyi was under house arrest; her speech was delivered by her husband, Michael Aris, who only a few short years later died of cancer and whose funeral she was unable to attend. 

In that speech, she recalled that ‘The dream of a society ruled by loving kindness, reason and justice is a dream as old as civilized man’ and she went on to say that the ‘greatest threats to global security today come not from the economic deficiencies of the poorest nations but from religious, racial (or tribal) and political dissensions raging in those regions where principles and practices which could reconcile the diverse instincts and aspirations of mankind have been ignored, repressed or distorted.’ 

She admonished her audience that ‘Peace, stability and unity cannot be bought or coerced: they have to be nurtured by promoting sensitivity to human needs and respect for the rights and opinions of others. She reminded us all that ‘Diversity and dissent need not inhibit the emergence of strong, stable societies, but inflexibility, narrowness and unadulterated materialism can prevent healthy growth. And she warned: ‘…when attitudes have been allowed to harden to the point that otherness becomes a sufficient reason for nullifying a person's claim to be treated as a fellow human being, the trappings of modern civilization crumble with frightening speed.’

We ponder the incongruence of Aung San Suu Kyi’s inspired words then, in 1993, to the maelstrom surrounding the plight of all the minorities – both ethnic and religious - in Myanmar today. We pray that the eloquence of today’s testimonies will break her silence on what is happening to the Rohingya before Myanmar becomes yet another Rwanda.



--------
Programmes

London Conference

on

Decades of State-sponsored Destruction 
of Myanmar’s Rohingya

28 April 2014

A LSE Public Event

co-sponsored by 

LSE Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit

&

Burmese Rohingya Organization – United Kingdom



Venue: THE SHAW LIBRARY (Founders Room), 6th Floor, Old Building, LSE 


We are no longer accepting RSVPs. This conference is fully booked.


PROGRAMME

0830 Registration/coffee 

0900 Welcome Remarks 
Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, OBE 
Founding Director, Refugee Studies Centre; Professor Emeritus, Oxford University & Director, Fahamu Refugee Programme

0910 An Appeal to the World 
Tun Khin, President, Burmese Rohingya Organization – UK

0920 Keynote Address
Surviving Rwanda genocide: A first-hand experience
Prudentienne Seward, 1994 Rwanda Genocide Survivor and Activist; Founder, PAX

0935 MORNING PLENARY SESSION I 

Chair: 
Dr Maung Zarni
Senior Research Fellow, Center for Democracy and Elections, University of Malaya; Visiting Fellow (2013-15), Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit, LSE & Judge, Permanent People’s Tribunal on Sri Lanka (Germany, 2013)

What is a genocide? Who decides?

Professor Daniel Feierstein 
President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars; Director of the Centre for Genocide Studies at the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero; Professor in the Faculty of Genocide at the University of Buenos Aires & author of “Genocide as a Social Practice: Reorganizing Society Under the Nazis and Argentina's Military Juntas” (2014)

International Human Rights Law and Mechanisms for the Pursuit of Justice

Professor Gabriele Della Morte
Professor of International Law at the Università Cattolica di Milano; Counsel for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) (2003-2004); Law Clerk for the Prosecutor’s Office of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (2000) & a member of a government delegation for the establishment of the International Criminal Court (1998)

Cambodia's Khmer Rouge Tribunal: one model for a combined national and international judicial mechanism

Dr Helen Jarvis 
Formerly Chief of Public Affairs of the Cambodian Tribunal; Documentation Consultant for Yale University’s Cambodian Genocide Program & co-author of "Getting away with genocide? Elusive justice and the Khmer Rouge tribunal" (Pluto, 2004)

The Russell-Sartre Tribunal and other alternative routes to international justice

Professor Gianni Tognoni 
General Secretary, Permanent People’s Tribunal, Rome

1100 Refreshments

1115 MORNING PLENARY SESSION II 

Chair: Arash Sedighi
Teaching Fellow, The Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Defenseless Rohingya and their Protection

Nurul Islam 
Chairman, Arakan Rohingya National Organization

Bangladesh Government policies and the Situation of the Rohingya Refugees 

Dr Shapan Adnan 
Associate, Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme, Oxford University &
Former Associate Professor of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore

The Slow-Burning Genocide of the Rohingya 

Dr Maung Zarni 
Co-author of “The Slow Burning Genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingya”, Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal, (Forthcoming, Spring 2014)

Mass Violence against Myanmar’s Muslims and State Persecution of Muslim Rohingya

Kyaw Win, Burmese Muslim Association, UK

12:45 Lunch 

1330 AFTERNOON ROUNDTABLE: 

The State in Myanmar and Its Crimes

Chair: Dr Kirsten McConnachie
Joyce Pearce Junior Research Fellow, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University 

The State in Myanmar and Its Crimes 

Professor Penny Green
Professor of Law and Criminology, Head of Research in the Dickson Poon School of Law & Director of the International State Crime Initiative (ISCI), King’s College, University of London

Mapping and Tracking the Persecution of Rohingya 

Christopher Tuckwood
Director, The Sentinel Project for the Prevention of Genocide, Canada

Marching to Genocide in Burma

Tom Andrews, former US Congressman & President of United to End Genocide (UEG), Washington, DC [or Daniel Sullivan, UEG and co-author of the report “Marching to Genocide in Burma”, (March 2014)]

Mass Atrocities and How They End: preliminary findings from high intensity cases of mass killings 

Professor Bridget Conley (via Skype)
Assistant Professor of Research, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Boston & formerly Director of Research, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington DC

1500 RECEPTION

1545 Facilitated discussion (Invitation Only)
What needs to be done? 

Co-conveners: 

Dr Zarni, Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit, LSE & Centre for Democracy and Elections, University of Malaya 

Tun Khin, President, Burmese Rohingya Organization-UK (BROUK) 

1645 Conference ends 

THE CONFERENCE IS SUPPORTED BY THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY, USA, JUSTCE FOR ALL AND BURMA TASK FORCE, BURMESE ROHINGYA ORGANIZATION OF UK AND INDIVIDUAL DONORS

Apr 28 9 am (GMT): Watch web-LIVE international public discussion on Myanmar's persecution of Rohingya for nearly 40 years

London Conference
on
Decades of Persecution and Destruction
of
Myanmar’s Rohingya

28 April 2014

A LSE Public Event
co-sponsored by

LSE Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit
&
Burmese Rohingya Organization United Kingdom

Venue: THE SHAW LIBRARY (Founders Room), 6th Floor, Old Building, LSE
Time: 8:30 am – 3:00 pm 
(The event is fully booked.  RSVP all closed.  But the address for the web streaming will be announced here later today).


PROGRAMME

0830           Registration/coffee    

0900            Welcome Remarks          
                        Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, OBE 
                        Founding Director, Refugee Studies Centre; Professor                                                             Emeritus, Oxford University & Director, Fahamu Refugee                                           Programme

0910            An Appeal to the World 
                   Tun Khin, President, Burmese Rohingya Organization UK

0920            KEYNOTE ADDRESS
                   Surviving Rwanda genocide:  A first-hand experience
                   Prudentienne Seward, 1994 Rwanda Genocide Survivor and                            Activist; Founder, PAX

0935           MORNING PLENARY SESSION I        
Chair: 
Dr Maung Zarni
Senior Research Fellow, Center for Democracy and Elections, University of Malaya; Visiting Fellow (2013-15), Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit, LSE & Judge, Permanent People’s Tribunal on Sri Lanka (Germany, 2013)

What is genocide?
Professor Daniel Feierstein
President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars; Director of the Centre for Genocide Studies at the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero; Professor in the Faculty of Genocide at the University of Buenos Aires & author of Genocide as a Social Practice: Reorganizing Society Under the Nazis and Argentina's Military Juntas (Rutgers University Press, 2014)

International Human Rights Law and Mechanisms for the Pursuit of Justice
Professor Gabriele Della Morte
Professor of International Law at the Università Cattolica di Milano; Counsel for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) (2003-2004); Law Clerk for the Prosecutor’s Office of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (2000) & a member of a government delegation for the establishment of the International Criminal Court (1998)



Cambodia's  Khmer Rouge Tribunal: one model for a combined national and international  judicial mechanism
Dr Helen Jarvis
Formerly Chief of Public Affairs of the Cambodian Tribunal; Documentation Consultant for Yale University’s Cambodian Genocide Program & co-author of Getting away with genocide? Elusive justice and the Khmer Rouge tribunal  (Pluto, 2012)

From the Russell Tribunal(s) to the Permanent Peoples Tribunal(s): alternatives routes to international justice"
Professor Gianni Tognoni
General Secretary, Permanent People’s Tribunal, Rome

1100            Refreshments

1115           MORNING PLENARY SESSION II

Chair:  Arash Sedighi
Teaching Fellow, The Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Mass Violence against Myanmar’s Muslims and State Persecution of Muslim Rohingya
Kyaw Win, General Secretary, Burmese Muslim Association, UK

Defenseless Rohingya and their Protection
Nural Islam, Chairman, Arakan Rohingya National Organization

Bangladesh Government policies and the Situation of the Rohingya Refugees
Dr Shapan Adnan
Associate, Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme, Oxford University &
Former Associate Professor of South Asian Studies, National U. of Singapore

Findings From Myanmar: Documentation of Abuses Against Rohingya
Matthew Smith
Founder and Executive Director of Fortify Rights; author of Fortify Rights report “Policies of Persecution: Ending Abusive State Policies Against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar” (2014) and, of Human Rights Watch reports “All You Can Do Is Pray": Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Burma's Arakan State” (2013) and “The Government Could Have Stopped This: Sectarian Violence and Ensuing Abuses in Burma's Arakan State” (2012).

The Slow-Burning Genocide of the Rohingya
Dr Maung Zarni
Co-author of “The Slow Burning Genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingya”, Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal (University of Washington Law School, Spring 2014)

12:45          Lunch

1330           Special Appearance (via Skype):
                   Mr Tomás OJEA QUINTANA, UN Special Rapporteur on                                  Myanmar

1400           AFTERNOON ROUNDTABLE: 
                   The State in Myanmar and Its Crimes

Chair: Dr Kirsten McConnachie
Joyce Pearce Junior Research Fellow, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University

The State in Myanmar and Its Crimes
Professor Penny Green
Professor of Law and Criminology, Head of Research in the Dickson Poon School of Law & Director of the International State Crime Initiative (ISCI), King’s College, University of London

Mapping and Tracking the Persecution of Rohingya
Christopher Tuckwood
Executive Director, The Sentinel Project for Genocide Prevention, Canada

Marching to Genocide in Burma
Daniel Sullivan
Director of Policy and Government Relations, United to End Genocide and co-author with former U.S. Congressman Tom Andrews of the report “Marching to Genocide in Burma” (March 2014)

Genocides and Global Governance (via Skype from France)
Mary Kaldor, CBE
Professor of Global Governance, Programme Director, Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit, LSE; co-editor (with Joseph Stiglitz) (2013) The quest for security: protection without protectionism and the challenge for global governance, Columbia University Press.

Mass Atrocities and How They End: preliminary findings from high intensity cases of mass killings (via Skype from USA)
Professor Bridget Conley
Assistant Professor of Research, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Boston & formerly Director of Research, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington DC
      
1530                     RECEPTION




1600           Facilitated discussion (Invitation Only)

                   What needs to be done? 
Co-conveners: 
          Dr Zarni, Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit, LSE & Centre for           Democracy and Elections, University of Malaya
          Tun Khin, President, Burmese Rohingya Organization-UK (BROUK)
          1700            Conference ends

THE CONFERENCE IS SUPPORTED BY THE UNITED STATES NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY, JUSTCE FOR ALL AND BURMA TASK FORCE (USA), BURMESE ROHINGYA ORGANIZATION OF UK AND INDIVIDUAL DONORS.

"Hitler and Eichmann are heroes", in the eyes of Rakhine, Myanmar



The editorial of the Progress, the official publication of the largest Rakhine political party that has national representation at Myanmar's Parliament in Naypyidaw, (No, 12, V. 2, Nov. 2012) explicitly states Hitler and Eichman were protectors of the Germans and they were great heroes. 

The editorial says again explicitly whatever the heinous crimes patriotism requires Rakhine patriots to stop any peaceful co-existence "with the un-seen enemy" (meaning Muslims and Rohingya in Rakhine State). 

"We cannot pass on this (Muslim/Rohingya) 'problem' to the next generation any more. We need to finish this job during our time".

This is a coded and chilling message for ethnic cleansing AND a genocide. 

This message is framed as 'protecting Rakhine race, Buddhist faith and Burma's national sovereignty'.

This call for genocide is justified as something NOT against human rights because patriots are to protect their human community as Rakhine and Burmese.

The publication is littered with genocidal messages.  Vet Aye Maung, the leader of the Rakhine's largest party, now known as Rakhine National Party (before RNDP or Rakhine Nationality Development Party) argues that "Bengali" (racist reference to Rohingya) problem was a well-time detonation of 'population time bomb' by those (Islamic groups, inside and outside of Burma) that plan to swallow Rakhine-land and exterminate or purge Buddhist Rakhine.  He welcomed the violent events - mainly organized and structured mass violence by the Rakhine and Myanmar security troops against Rohingya as 'opportune' for Burma to address the underlying fundamental problem (of the need to get rid of "Bengali").

One Rakhine author stated that "some people (in a rather obvious reference to Rohingya in Rakhine State) cannot be considered fully humans.  Not everyone with a head on the shoulders ought to be considered humans.  Because they do NOT deserve fully human status, they are not entitled to human rights."

This is straight out of the slavery discourses in the United States in the pre-Civil War period where Africans were considered 3/5 human beings!

Myanmar is only about 250 years behind the world!  




Myanmar: A brutally honest note about the situation from an aid worker

Photo credit:  Carlos 
A brutally honest note from the ground in Rakhine state:

You really want to know what kind of game Thein Sein Government is playing with the international community, so-called? And how culpable the UN and foreign interests have come to be in the slow burning genocide?

You may disapprove of the 'big' word' Genocide or ethnic cleansing or what have you.
The fact is nearly 4-decades of systematic persecution and destruction of Rohingya as a group have continued. (Lemkin, the Polish Jewish lawyer and a prosecutor assistant at Nuremberg, who gave us the term 'genocide' and pushed for the Genocide convention is most certainly turning in his grave).

The text of a grounded note from Rakhine, Western Myanmar begins:

"So now the holidays have started. Aid worker are leaving for a break. Government virtually shuts down for 10 days. The head of the health cluster (WHO) is already on leave. Peace talks only have a couple of sticking points apparently and mostly wording. International officials are telling the Myanmar gov how concerned about the Rohingya situation (but we usually use Muslim so not to upset them. Some internationals even use Bengali) while congratulating them on their progress (letting foreign business in). Locals get ready for a week of fun at the water festival.

In the meantime Rohingyas suffer and die. The gov lies about the health care, water and food coverage. Ethnic cleansing is taking place and now a humanitarian crisis and we say we are very concerned. That must really upset the gov and/or those pulling strings. So the national gov can't control Rakhine? They use it as a convenient distraction whenever they wish. Heard anything much about the Chinese pipe line recently? How about land grabs? The gov dislikes Roihingya and a little more Rakhines but they are useful. One joke I heard is that if you see a snake and Rakhine in the road kill the Rakhine first.

And in kachin IDPs are on the move again due to heavy shelling by the gov forces at the same time as peace talks are supposed to be close to finalization. Either Tien Sein has very little control over the army or he is playing games. Perhaps Tan Swe and friends still has a lot of control of military.

The 11 commitments made by Tien Sein need to be addressed by Obama and a new commitment to forfill them with deadlines and consequences for lack of compliance need to be in place. Perhaps this is being done behind closed doors or am I dreaming. Sanctions and loss of reputation internationally may work. UN military observers are needed in Rakhine. TAs should be abolished and free movement of aid workers. Aid workers should not be controlled and directed to suit gov interests.

Unfortunately after Tinjan aid workers may be allowed slowly back in to Rakhine in a controlled way but the gov is likley to dictate more of what they do, where and how. MOH has stated they want 50/50 aid to Rohingya and Rakhine which is contrary to the humanitarian imperative. Some Rohingya are likely to die as aid workers play politics with the gov to ensure access which will be denied if they don't. TAs are not issued at all for Tinjan and existing ones are not respected. This is for the 'safety and security' of aid workers which is very considerate. Also for safety and security travel authorization goes to the central gov and then to the Rakhine state gov for approval. Central gov also plays the it is not us it is them game. We would love to but you know what they are like. Very convenient.

Another great gift to Myanmar from the international community is the census. What a great success and we have at least until the end of April for it to spark even more suffering and violence. There are reports everywhere of them for example just taking information form peoples ID cards at hotel receptions. They sparked the escalation of violence and a humanitarian crisis in Rakhine and fighting in Kachin but UNFPA tell us they were very useful and a success and never mind they can extrapolate the figures for areas not covered; if the enumerators have not completed them from a few answered questions. UNFPA did advise the gov to take ethnicity out ( they did not think question about religion was controversial) but the gov insisted so what could they do? Refuse to validate it and withdraw funding it the obvious answer but that may not be too diplomatic and making waves does not help ones career so lets keep ones head down. We are only giving technical support anyway so it is not our responsibility. That's a relief.

I hope the aid workers have a good holiday, locals have a good Tinjan (Burmese New Year) and not too many Rohingya die."


Statelessness: the Rohingya (Refugee Voices) | Various speakers





Listen to panel 22 of the RSC's Refugee Voices conference, which took place 24–25 March at St. Anne's College, Oxford.

Voices of the Burmese Rohingya refugees: an analysis of everyday life in refugee camps in Bangladesh | Tun Khin

 00:00:00–00:14:10
Tun Khin is President of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation-UK.

Shared responsibility: an international approach to the Rohingya crisis | Amal de Chickera

00:14:10–00:39:02
Amal de Chickera is Head of Statelessness and Nationality Projects at the Equal Rights Trust (ERT). de Chickera has provided the lead on ERT research and advocacy work on statelessness over the past six years.

The Rohingya: reading the State | Maung Zarni

 00:39:02–01:07:38
Maung Zarni is a Visiting Fellow at the Human Security and Civil Society Research Unit, London School of Economics. Zarni's main research interests include the political economy of violence, conflict and international development, democratic transformations in Asia, and post-Cold War geo-politics. 

A Toast to Myanmar's Democracy and her heroine Daw Aung San Suu Kyi!



Myanmar Generals' ceasefire is a charade

Former spook-cum-peace-minister Aung Min's plea for ethnic signatures is just so fake.

What the Tamadaw (Feudal Military) really care is Kachins' jade.

Into the ceasefire zones cronies plan on boosting Sino-Burmese overland trade

The ICG (International Corporate/Crisis Group) entertains a noble dream of turning war zones into labor and commodity markets

but locals are the one who will really regret.

Peace dividends those Nippons yak about are nothing but "donor's" hidden plans for resource grab.

Don't these formerly Fascist bastards always want solutions, Win-Win??

But why do they always win, those thuggish "IMF-friendly" generals and twisted corporate types?

This is their Myanmar, don't go and stoke nationalist fire with your pro-Rohingya notes.

For them ethnic cleansing is the biggest J-O-K-E!

"There is no evidence of those Duchira Dan Rohingya homocides".

Homocides are a no big deal.

Here is the real deal: President Thein Sein government DENY, DESIGN AND DESTROY Rohingya, over a million of them.

It matters not, they are nearly dead or newly born.

Smiley people you meet there are genocidal "Buddhists" with their racist zest.

Yes, the multiracist Myanmarese  are pursuing an all inclusive genocidal acts.
The government has a policy of 'Zero tolerance for Muslims'.

Myanmar was the home of Orwell
where doctors kill patients from IDP camps
police shoot the innocent
killers recite Metta or universal loving kindness!
while genocide is a lucrative outsourced business.

And their Nobel Lady of Latter-Day Fraud professes her "genuine affection" for her military jailers.
She said it's because she is a dead soldier's daughter.
She refutes, she ain't "a human rights defender"
The Nobel-woman too turns out to be an anti-Kalar* fear monger (*Burmese racist equivalent for Muslims as 'niggers")

It's not just that bitch.
Well, the West and the Rest are also trying to hitch
as the local rulers auction off the country's riches
where everyone knows fat proceeds go only to Naypyidaw and its "reformist" clique.

------------

Meet Myanmar's Reformist President.

"Hello, I am Thein Sein, President of Myanmar.
Oh, my spin-doctor Gwen Robinson calls me, "Listener in chief".
You can call me, T-E-I-N  S-A-N-E.
I warmly welcome you all to our "democracy in transition".

"We are not perfect.  Our reforms face challenges.
I thank you for standing ready to assist.
Your dollars, we will not resist, of course not.

Tell those activists, to stop ranting obscenities like --- 'G-E-N-O-C-I-D-E'.
Don't they know we have no such word as 'Rohingya'.
How can you destroy people who do NOT exist in our national registrar."

---------------

"Hi - this is Ambassador So and So.
Are you fuckin' out of your mind, blogger?
Show me your "E-V-I-D-E-N-C-E!"
We are highly educated men and women of the empirical West.
Ah, dead bodies, dying children, raped women, and fleeing refugees, but so what?!!
Genocides happen 24/7.
Tell us something NEW.

What's so special about "your" Rohingya being denied their identity and group destroyed?

They can pray to Allah, for sure.  We A-I-N'T their Western saviors!!!
Bill Clinton didn't give a fuck about 1994 Rwanda?
What makes you think Smantha Power and Barack Obama would give a shit about 2014 Rohingya?
We will say sorry afterwards, won't we?

Get with the program, will you?
Grab a piece of generous peace consultancies!
Apply for a development grant.
Do 'capacity building' or interfaith dialogue ... or something.
Myanmar is the next Asian Tiger, about to take off as a new economic frontier.

Everywhere, people starve, babies die, men conscripted, women get raped.
Concern yourself only with growth rates.
Be future-smart.
Go to Myanmar.
They have vast riches.
Dig gold, trade in jade, drill gas or oil, or do logging, or traffic sexy Myanmar chicks.

Your career will surely get lucrative.

Let's toast to Myanmar's shining transitional democracy
Long live Lady Daw Aung San Suu Kyi!

Cheers!