Calling on Canada to help end Myanmar Genocide of Rohingya at Toronto City Council on 23 Nov 2017

Saying "Sorry!" to a Rohingya brother who survived Myanmar Genocide, Kutupalong Camp, Bangladesh, 7 Nov 2017.

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

Meeting with The Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt. Honourable Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, M.P., State Guest House, Dhaka, 4 Nov 2017

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

Trump's Muslim Ban enboldens Myanmar Racists: Suu Kyi's Sole Muslim Adviser Shot Dead Upon Return from Jakarta

"Muslim Insurgency",NOT a game changer, but this political killing is. 

Myanmar Generals don't like inter-communal peace & reconciliation.

Shooting U Ko Ni dead in the head at a high profile place like Yangon Airport, upon arrival from the official visit to Jakarta to go and study peaceful, interfaith life in Indonesia, was, in my view, to make the point that Muslims assuming advisory positions to NLD and ASSK would cost life. 

Additionally, it is meant to further inflame religious bigotry as the news of the killing is widely reported and shared on Burmese language social media. 

This is a calculated political move, not simply a homicide. 

Donald Trump's official anti-Muslim policies and Muslim refugee ban may have emboldened and inspired this very first anti-Muslim political assassination in Myanmar. 

Here is Ko Ni's organizational efforts/background: 

A gun man pictured here shot dead Ko Ni (holding a child) at point blank range at Yangon International Airport, 29 Jan 2017.

Aung San Suu Kyi laughs out loud at Rohingya genocide allegations while in Singapore

A Youtube video of Aung San Suu Kyi laughing out loud at allegations of genocide of the Rohingyas in Myanmar has gone viral with over 40,000 shares. Youtube user Haikal Mansor said that the incident happened during the Nobel Peace Laureate’s recent visit to Singapore, on 1 Dec 2016.

The video showed Suu Kyi addressing an audience and reading a letter which addressed her as ‘mother’. The letter writer said that he had been her fan from a very young age and asked her how the people of Burma should respond to ‘fabrications’ of genocide of the Rohingya people.

Suu Kyi laughed out loud in saying that accusations of genocide were just ‘fabrications’. She urged the Myanmarese to not only disbelief such ‘fabrications’, but also to counteract the allegations.

A red carpet was rolled out for the Myanmar State Counsellor during her visit to Singapore where she was hosted for lunch and even an orchid was named after her. her views on the Rohingyas are no surprise, considering her exclusive interview to Channel NewsAsia. In the interview she claimed that the problems in Burma’s Rakhine state was being exaggerated by the international community so much so that “everything seems worse than it really is”. She further said that the situation is well under control and have calmed down tensions.

Several videos which are in the public domain however, tell a story different from Suu Kyi’s assurances. They show the Rohingyas being persecuted and tortured.

Even the United Nations have expressed concern about the gross human rights violations and ethnic cleansing that is being executed by the military junta of Burma. The systemic gang rapes of Rohingya women, the burning down of their villages, the looting of their property and genocide are also well documented, and prove that the situation in the Rakhine state in Burma is far from being “under control”.

Myanmar's Rohingya: Truth, lies and Aung San Suu Kyi

The Rohingya say they have been trading in the region for generations

By Jonah Fisher
January 27, 2017

A government-appointed investigation is due to publish its final report on whether atrocities have been committed against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

With journalists banned from northern Rakhine state, the Burmese government has been trying to counter allegations that its soldiers have been raping and killing civilians.

Readers have told us they would like to know more about Rakhine and what is happening to civilians there.

We asked our correspondent Jonah Fisher, in Myanmar, to tell us more.

Donald Trump and Aung San Suu Kyi have more in common than you might think.

The leaders of the United States and Myanmar are both aged the wrong side of 70, both have much-discussed hair and share a strong dislike of journalists.

Mr Trump's turbulent relationship with the media is covered extensively. Ms Suu Kyi's may come as a surprise.

"The Lady", as she's known here, became famous in the 1990s as an icon of human rights and democracy. While under military-enforced house arrest in Rangoon, reporters took great risks to speak to her, to hear her courageous story of resistance.

Now Ms Suu Kyi is in power, things are rather different.

She has created a powerful role for herself called State Counsellor to fulfil a promise of being "above the President". In practice that seems to also mean "above" public scrutiny.

Aung San Suu Kyi speaking at a conference

Ms Suu Kyi now never gives interviews to the Burmese press and carefully hand picks her encounters with international media. There is no regular questioning from MPs in parliament and there has not been a proper press conference since just before the election 14 months ago.

Then there is the propaganda, which is eerily reminiscent of the dark Burmese days of censorship and military rule.

Who are the Rohingya?

On a daily basis, state-run newspapers print articles that denounce the international media for stories that highlight the plight of the Rohingya Muslim ethnic minority.

There are about one million Rohingya living in Myanmar and they have been discriminated against for decades. For the last three-and-a-half months, those living in the north of Rakhine State have also been subject to a brutal military crackdown.

Exactly what is happening there depends on who you choose to believe, as the government has kept out everyone who is independent.

Some claim the Burmese army is committing ethnic cleansing, even genocidebut that is rejected by the Burmese army and Ms Suu Kyi, who says it is a counter-terrorism operation to catch the Rohingya militants who started the crisis when they attacked police outposts.

Rare interview

So it was a surprise when last week, the BBC finally received permits from the Rakhine State government to go to the conflict area. We quickly flew to the capital Sittwe and boarded a ferry heading north up the Mayu River, towards the border with Bangladesh.

Four hours, and several Burmese films later, we were in Buthidaung, only 45 minutes from the conflict area.

Unfortunately the authorities were there too. A welcoming party of policemen and security officials blocked our path up the pier and "offered" to take us to the township administration.

Once there we were politely informed that permission for our trip had been withdrawn. Word had reached Ms Suu Kyi's government in the capital Naypyidaw and the order had been given to stop us.

Before we boarded the boat back, a local administrator agreed to do an on-camera interview.

This in itself was a minor triumph. Ms Suu Kyi and her spokesman have rejected all our approaches to speak about Rakhine since the latest crisis flared in early October.

It has been tough to set up interviews with Ms Suu Kyi's spokesman

A doctor by trade, Than Htut Kyaw is a Burmese Buddhist who has lived in northern Rakhine State for the last 10 years. Chatting to him, it soon became clear that he, like many Burmese, believes that reports of atrocities being committed against the Rohingya are simply fabricated.

"We have nothing to hide," he told me. "The national government is releasing all the true facts about this situation. The teachings of Burmese Buddhism do not allow raping. It's all just rumours."

Verification challenges

The problem for Ms Suu Kyi is that it is more than just rumours. With journalists and aid workers unable to get access, the Rohingya have taken reporting into their own hands. They have been filming their own testimony on smartphones and sending it via messaging apps to those outside the country.

Over the last few months I have seen a steady stream of appalling videos of women with bruises on their faces saying they were raped, bodies of children lying on the ground and burnt skulls in piles of ash.

Verifying them is difficult but not impossible. Often there are multiple sources from the same location and some organisations have discreet networks of people on the ground. Usually Burmese state media puts out its own version of events.

It's not easy to verify precise numbers, given that people are usually fleeing and have no overall perspective. But those videos are important snapshots that show without doubt that something awful has been taking place.

The response of Ms Suu Kyi and her officials to them has been straight out of the Mr Trump playbook.

What the media says

Firstly they sought to discredit the overwhelming evidence about the Rohingya by focusing on the few occasions when the media has got things wrong.

For example, a piece in the Mail Online which alleged that a toddler being tortured was Rohingya (he was Cambodian) became front page news in state media, even though it was rapidly taken down.

Similarly, interpreting a speech by Ms Suu Kyi to suggest she laughed at the Rohingya issue also caused a huge outcry and a threat of legal action.

At times the propaganda emerging from Ms Suu Kyi's officials has been truly bizarre.

At the beginning of January the State Counsellor's office posted a picture of Sylvester Stallone, the Hollywood actor, dressed as Rambo fighting his way through the jungle. It was used as an example of the fake pictures that the Rohingya are supposedly using to support their false stories.

It is not clear who may have been so stupid as to post it, possibly a lone Facebook user. But focusing on it is a tactic we have also seen in Washington this week, using a mistake from one person to dismiss or distract from the overwhelming evidence of others.

More detailed stories that have appeared on CNN and The Guardian from Rohingya who fled into Bangladesh have been crudely "debunked". For this there is a set formula being used.

Security officials are sent to the featured Rohingya's home village and their family or neighbours are rounded up and asked to sign statements casting doubt on the story.

Could propaganda be stopped?

There are countries, Britain among them, who are giving Ms Suu Kyi the benefit of the doubt, stressing the positive aspects of Myanmar's still impressive move away from dictatorship.

After all, Ms Suu Kyi is still new in office and constitutionally does not control the army or police.

She probably could not stop the military operation in Rakhine if she tried and, whatever her many flaws, all agree she is Myanmar's best hope at present.

The problem is that Ms Suu Kyi could stop the inflammatory propaganda.

Ministries she controls and officials she directly employs are rubbishing the accounts of desperate people and repeating as fact the denials of the Burmese army. That is the same army that has an appalling track record of burning villages and raping women from Myanmar's many ethnic minorities.

Under pressure from abroad, Ms Suu Kyi did set up a commission to investigate the alleged abuses and itis due to report back in the next few days. But it is headed by the vice-president Myint Swe, a former general, and is widely expected to be a whitewash.

The truth about what has been happening in northern Rakhine state may never be truly uncovered.

End of Mission Statement by Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar

End of Mission Statement by Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar

Yangon, 20 January 2017

Thank you for the opportunity to address you this evening. As you know I have just completed a 12-day visit to Myanmar and have visited parts of Kachin, Rakhine and Mon States as well as Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw. In Kachin, I stayed one night in Myitkyina as I was not allowed to go to Laiza and Hpakant. In Rakhine, I went to Koe Tan Kauk in Rathedaung; Buthidaung prison; and four villages in Maungdaw north. I met with IDPs in Myitkyina , and in Koe Tan Kauk, and Maungdaw, – I also visited Sittwe prison. During this trip, I visited for the first time a hard labour camp, in Mon State. In Nay Pyi Taw, I met with the State Counsellor as well as Government ministers of all the ministries I had asked to meet except for two. One was away and another ministry declined to see me as did the Commander-in-Chief. I also met with the Attorney General, as well as Governmental and Parliamentary Committees. I will elaborate further on the issues I touch upon in this statement in my report to the Human Rights Council in March. For now, let me share with you my immediate impressions and observations.

There is one word that has hung heavily on my mind during this visit – reprisals. In every one of my visits and in every one of my meetings, I ask the Government of Myanmar to ensure that the people I speak to and even work with, do not suffer reprisals for speaking out on rights issues or expressing their opinions. Yet, distressingly several people I met during this visit would say to me, “I don’t know what will happen to me after our meeting.” In one case, an individual directly told me they thought they would be arrested following our conversation. In another village, where there were more than two communities living separately but side by side, I asked if that person was comfortable talking to me. The response: “I am afraid I will not give the right answer.”

I recall during my preparations before arriving, the news broke of a man having been beheaded – his only crime was apparently to have an opinion and to voice that opinion out loud. In fact, we still do not know the full circumstances leading to that man being beheaded. But the message is clear. Do not express yourself. Do not speak your mind if your opinion or position does not fit or support the narrative and agenda of those who have no qualms in how you live or die. Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. Reportedly, there are at least four more cases of beheadings.

Knowing that by talking to directly affected community members, I could in fact place them and their family’s lives at risk. Yet even more distressing is that many of those I speak to tell me they are willing to take the risk – they see speaking out as their only hope for change and want desperately for the rest of the world to be aware of the situation that they are in. As such I feel a greater responsibility to listen and give a voice to potential victims of human rights violations. It is also a stark indicator that, whilst there have been positive developments in Myanmar, there is still a long way to go to achieve a society where individuals are free to share what has happened to them, to speak their mind, and to live peacefully without fear.

I know many of you here want to hear from me about the situation in Rakhine state, and several of these examples are from this state. I will of course get to Rakhine in more detail. However, I want to start, as I started my visit this time, with the extremely worrying situation in Kachin State, as well as in the north of Shan State. The plight of people in this area is too often overlooked, but sadly, here too, people are suffering and the hope generated by the outcome of the 2015 elections is starting to wane. As you know, for the last three visits I have asked to go to Rakhine, Kachin and northern Shan without fail. Due to time constraints imposed, I made the decision to limit my visit to Kachin and Rakhine.

I pushed hard to go to Laiza and Hpakant. In the past, I had always asked to go to Laiza but access was never granted. My predecessor in his last country visit had gone to Laiza area as had a high-ranking UN official more recently. Yet I was denied access for the fifth time due to security reasons. I also pushed hard to go to Hpakant. This is a Government-controlled area, but like Laiza, the Government did not confirm or deny access until the last minute. The reasons given for the refusal by the State government did not match those given by the Union Government. Furthermore, later that day, I met local interlocutors who had travelled all the way from Hpakant – a 5-6 hour journey to Myitkyina – to share with me their concerns and fears. The explanation I was given by the Government was that, as a ‘special guest,’ the Government was concerned about my security; and as a special guest, I would be apparently particularly targeted.

It is evident that the situation in Kachin and at the northern borders is deteriorating. Those in Kachin State tell me that the conditions have deteriorated – that the situation is now worse than at any point in the past few years. Whilst I was not able to travel to the areas most severely affected, the situation is now such that even in Myitkyina, the capital of the state and home to over 300,000 people, residents are afraid – and now stay home after dark.

I have heard that in active conflict areas the situation is far worse. I met a family who was displaced from Zai Awng IDP camp after shells fell nearby – they had fled in terror and resorted to digging a hole in the forest to stay in at night for six days whilst they tried to gather the funds needed to escape the area – six days in a hole with four children, the youngest a few months old and another only two. I heard after my visit, that some of those from the Zai Awng camp were displaced for a third time. These people have done nothing wrong, yet they suffer, merely because they live in an area, where others fight. When I raised this case with the State Government, and by state government meaning the military side, the response was again denial – I was told the IDP camp did not exist, as I was told before that in Kutkai there were no IDPs either.

Like I always do during my visits to Myanmar, I made a point of going to several places of detention during this trip; and when I was not allowed access to Laiza and Hpakant, I asked to make a day trip from Yangon to a hard labour camp [officially called a production camp] in Zin Gyaik, Mon State. And as I always do in places of detention, I asked to meet those who are being held there in addition to making a site visit and observing the conditions of detention.

Some whom I met at the hard labour camp said they were afraid of what would happen to them after speaking to me. And a few described how they had the previous three days “off” from their usual hard labour work to clean their living and sleeping quarters as a “VIP was coming.” While some of the facilities appeared better than other prisons I have visited, major concerns from that visit to the hard labour camp are the use of shackles as a form of additional punishment (including while working in the quarry) as well as the lack of transparency and information shared with the prisoners regarding their selection and transfer from another prison to the hard labour camp. I also have a concern about the lack of an independent complaint system for the prisoners at this hard labour camp but unfortunately this is the case in all prison camps in Myanmar.

Besides the hard labour camp, I also visited Insein prison in Yangon, and Buthidaung and Sittwe prisons in Rakhine State. In these prisons, I met prisoners and detainees who were charged (and convicted) for criticising high-level Government or military officials, for raising human rights issues, for filing court cases against the Government and for not meeting the rules for peaceful assembly in attempts to express their concerns for the Government’s attention. I have received reports that over 40 people are now facing prosecution for defamation under section 66 (d) of the Telecommunications law – many of them merely for speaking their minds. In other meetings, lawyers taking on sensitive cases, reported harassment and even prosecution. I visited a Chin community in Sittwe. This community had raised an issue about limited drainage with their local authority, and in response an adjacent community built a road block at the entrance of the 11 Chin households. For nine months, the main access road for these 11 households was blocked despite complaints brought by the Chin community to the relevant authorities.

In Rakhine State, I asked to meet with some of those who had been arrested and detained for allegedly playing a role, active or supporting, in the armed attacks against the security forces in early October and mid-November. Except for one suspect whose family knew that the detainee had rights and sought a lawyer for him, the other prisoners did not have legal representation. They did not seem informed of the charges, if any, against them apart from being aware that they could be suspected of being associated with the attackers against the Border Guard posts on 9 October. Some had not been in communication with their family for the 2-3 months since they had been arrested. I further noted that their families – were not informed of their arrest or the location of where they were detained causing untold distress for families members. One suspect was certain that his family would think that he was dead and during my visit to villages in Maungdaw, I met women whose husbands were in their words ‘taken away’ whom they believed would never come back. The prison officials told me that there are more than 450 individuals detained in Buthidaung in relation to the attack – meaning many families unaware and uninformed of this detention fearing that they will never see their loved ones again.

What has been said to me over and over by Government representatives regarding the 9 October attacks is that this was not an inter-communal violence or crisis; that this was a calculated attack against the sovereignty of Myanmar and that the Government rightly launched a security response. The Government described to me how the attacks occurred and I saw the three Border Guard posts concerned. I deplore these attacks carried out in a brutal manner and I convey my deepest condolences to the families of those killed.

Whilst authorities are required to respond to such attacks – the response must be carried out within the parameters of the rule of law and in full compliance with human rights. I saw with my own eyes the structures that were burnt down in Wa Peik, and it is hard for me to believe that these are consequent to actions taken in a hurry or haphazardly. I was told by Government officials – as had been reported – that it was the villagers who had burnt down their own houses. And the reason they would burn down their own houses was because these houses were of poor quality; and by burning down their own houses, they can expect to get international actors to come in and help build them better houses. The authorities offered no evidence for this, and I find this argument quite incredible.

Considering the policy of systematic and institutionalised discrimination against the Rohingya with limited access to education and healthcare services – basic services that the international actors have been ready to supply but blocked from providing, it would be quite far-fetched for them to suddenly think that the authorities would allow international actors to help build them better houses. The alternative argument given by the authorities were that this was part of the Rohingya villagers’ propaganda campaign to put the security services in a bad light. Again, I find it quite incredible that these desperate people are willing to burn down their own houses (where they may have lived for generations) to be without a home, potentially displaced, for five years or more like those in Sittwe, just to give the Government a bad name.

I must remind again that these attacks took place within the context of decades of systematic and institutionalised discrimination against the Rohingya population. Desperate individuals take desperate actions. And while such desperate actions in this case are not justified in any way, I do believe if the affected population had felt that the new Government would start addressing their situation and grievances, then extreme elements would not have easily been able to hijack their cause.

When the allegations of human rights violations consequent to the security operations started surfacing, the Government’s immediate response was to deny them. Even when a scientifically-based analysis of the burning and destruction of houses was presented, the immediate response was dismissal. Perhaps some of the portrayal of the situation may have been sensationalised. In fact at least one media outlet had reported that my access was blocked in Rakhine when this was not entirely true. But for the Government to continue being defensive when allegations of serious human rights violations are persistently reported, that is when the Government appears less and less credible. This perception is then reinforced when a video clip of the Myanmar Police personnel beating men – and children – who were rounded up during the security operations went viral. While the authorities may have swiftly responded in this case by arresting some of those captured in the video it highlights the possibility that such treatment of the local population by the security personnel may not be an isolated incident but rather a more common practice.

Over and over it has been said that trust needs to be built between the two communities in Rakhine State; that they need to learn to live together, as they had done for decades before. But I believe another important relationship that requires trust building is the relationship between the people and the Government, particularly with the security forces in this instance. By conducting a security operations with seemingly little regard for the rights and dignity of the majority population residing in the affected areas, the security forces have further weakened the trust the Muslim population had cautiously put into the new Government. It should not be a surprise, in this context, that many from among the Rohingya population have not welcomed the announcement of the resumption of the citizenship verification exercise and resumption of the issuance of the Identity Card for National Verification subsequent to the expiry of the TRC. The timing of this announcement while security operations are still on-going is concerning. Furthermore there has been no progress on the fundamental issues which have plagued previous attempts at conducting a citizenship verification exercise under the 1982 Citizenship law. It is evident that clear, timely and accessible information needs to be provided and further consultation undertaken. A fundamental problem still remains however when individuals who received citizenship in the last verification exercise are still not able to enjoy their rights as citizens. The situation in Myebon, where those granted citizenship remain subject to limitations, is a case in point.

Data and evidence is important here, and in order to assess, evaluate and respond to those needs, we need technical experts to help provide the most feasible response. We cannot make a broad assumption for example that there is no malnutrition in an area as the government-appointed investigation commission did – simply because the conditions for fishing or farming are favourable there. When there are available relevant data which had been obtained through a rigorous method by experts in their field, then the government should consult such data. We cannot simply dismiss data that it does not accept or fully understand.

Humanitarian actors are mandated to use their expertise to help suffering individuals but are currently being prevented from doing so by the Government. In Kachin and Shan States as well as in the north of Rakhine, humanitarian access is worse now than it was when I last visited, with access shrinking month on month and is allowed is subject to ever increasing bureaucratic hurdles. Access is slowly starting to improve in the North of Rakhine state, but it remains mostly limited to national staff, with international staff stuck in towns unable to do their jobs.

The government’s response to all of these problems seems to currently be to defend, dismiss and deny. And this response is not only counterproductive but is draining away the hope that had been sweeping the country. But I do believe it is not too late to reverse this trend, and during my visit, I also met many people who are doing their best in very difficult situations. I met groups working tirelessly to bring communities together. I was pleased to see many new public servants growing into their roles despite the constraints of an institutional structure that is far from perfect. Several ministry and local officials were keen to discuss the problems they face and were open to considering new ideas. This sense of openness and adaptability needs to be nurtured and spread.

It pains me to see when talking to the ordinary people of Myanmar during this visit their feelings of optimism and hope slowly fading just after one year when the whole country was elated with the outcome of the last general elections. From my meetings and conversations with the State Counsellor and the various officials, I can see their genuine commitment and dedication in improving the lives of all in Myanmar. Somehow this commitment has yet to translate into real actions that are felt on the ground. I encourage the Government to appeal to all communities in the country to be more open and understanding of each other, to respect each other instead of scapegoating others for the sake of advancing their own self-interests. It would be particularly important for the security forces to always act within the parameters of the rule of law and in compliance with human rights. It would be crucial for the Government to combat the apparent climate of impunity that seem to have emboldened certain extreme elements by taking the law into their own hands and meting out their own justice. There must be accountability and justice must be done and seen to be done to reassure the ordinary people that no one is above the law.

I would like for the Government, the military side including, to be open and accepting of the offer of assistance from other international actors, particularly the UN that always stand ready to support the successful democratic transition of Myanmar. I take this opportunity to thank the Government for its invitation and for maintaining cooperation with my mandate. I particularly would like to note with appreciation the efforts made to ensure my safety and that of my team. I would also like to thank the United Nations Country Team for their support and assistance.

As I have repeatedly said in the past, I stand ready to assist in the journey towards a more free and democratic Myanmar.

Originally published on UNIC Yangon website.

Myanmar’s Shameful Denial

Rohingya women near a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, in November. Credit: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters

By Editorial Board
January 10, 2017

Last month, President Obama lifted sanctions against Myanmar, citing “substantial progress in improving human rights” following the historic election victory of the Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party in November 2015. Tragically, that praise is proving premature.

Hopes that Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi would bring an end to the brutal repression of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority, lie dashed by a military campaign against the Rohingya in Rakhine State that began after an attack on a police station on Oct. 9. Since then, some 34,000 people have fled over the border to Bangladesh amid allegations of murder and rape by military forces, and satellite images of burned villages. At least 86 people have been killed.

Yet, a commission appointed by Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi concluded last week that “there were no cases of genocide and religious persecution in the region.” Human rights groups rightly accuse the commission of a whitewash. In an effort to muzzle reporting, Myanmar’s government has barred independent journalists from the region, and dismissed reports of abuses as “fake news” and “fake rape.”

After a disturbing video of police brutally beating Rohingya villagers in November surfaced in late December, the government said “legal action was being taken.” But, as Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski observed, the video suggests such abuses are “normal and allowed.”

Meanwhile, the International Crisis Group reports a new militant Rohingya organization with ties to individuals in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan was behind an Oct. 9 attack. The group warns that failure by Myanmar to address longstanding grievances by the Rohingya and the indiscriminate military crackdown in Rakhine State risk “generating a spiral of violence.” This is the last thing Myanmar needs.

As the United Nations’ human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, said last month, Myanmar’s approach to the crisis is “shortsighted, counterproductive and even callous.” On Monday, the United Nations human rights envoy for Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, arrived in the country on a 12-day visit. She will present a report to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in March. Given the failure of Myanmar’s own commission to conduct a credible investigation, Ms. Lee should call for an independent investigation conducted under the auspices of the United Nations.

Last April, the European Union renewed remaining sanctions on Myanmar on “arms and goods that might be used for internal repression” for one year. The union should renew those sanctions if the government of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi fails to end abuses against the Rohingya. That failure would also warrant new sanctions from the United States.

Dismembering Democracies, Fracturing Societies

Tatmadaw or Bama Military, Rohingyas were officially recognized as an ethnic group as late as 1977.

Deniers of genocide

"And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." (John VIII-XXXII.)

A new phenomenon is emerging, which will trigger, or more speed up, the process of great unravelling of the World Order put together post-WWII.

It's called the war on facts - not simply subjective truths.

Remember Brexiters' promise of "350+ million pounds per week for NHS"? That was a blatant butchering of fact, an un-reality or a categorical falsehood. That was what shaped the public opinion in Britain and that was how Brexiters butchered Great Britain.

Obviously, the intentionally deceptive British leaders have gotten away with the crime, worse than a homicide - dismembering a good nation from a larger entity, namely EU.

Now a similar process is being pursued - by none other than the freshly minted President Trump and his men (and women).

As this piece in the Scientific American put it, "democracy in America" itself is under siege - from the fact-slayers.

I am all too familiar with this process. The Burmese military has been at it since 1978, insofar as facts about the people whom we officially embraced as our own ETHNIC MINORITY, not just a political label opportunistically hoisted, as falsely argued by philistines like Jacque Leider, the Sorbonne-trained former diplomat from the government that runs a tax haven (read, enablers of cheaters and liars with $$ Luxemborg.

When a political elite class, military or civilian, butchers empirical truths about the entire ethnic community called Rohingyas - and when Aung San Suu Kyi and her populist NLD have joined in this carnival of fact-slaying the country itself is being destroyed.

No society can be built, let alone thrive on outright lies and dead facts.

Pol Pot and his Brothers tried to re-set history to Year Zero. Hitler de-germanized the Germany Jewry, despite centuries of their attachment, presence, contributions to and love for the country. The rest is history as they say.

Scientists are among the most non-partisan class of citizens. When they are outraged - and fearful - to the point of calling for Scientists' March then it is very obvious that things have gone too far.

One reason I stand up not just simply for the Rohingyas, the immediate target of my own country's destruction , but for the truths I KNOW to be factual, is precisely because I know the attack on truth is the attack on the ethical foundation of a good society, a good people.

In this, I may be a lone voice, even a mad voice at that. I am not going to go down in history as part of this historical trend of Truth-Killers.

It's better to die truthfully than occupy office that rests on lies - and corpses.

Why covet such power when I know I am an embryonic corpse myself?

The War on Facts Is a War on Democracy

In a time when facts don’t matter, and science is being muzzled, American democracy is the real victim

By Jonathan Foley on January 25, 2017

Four-decades of International Media Coverage on the Rohingyas

The titles of articles on Myanmar's treatment Rohingyas speak volumes. 

They will compel astute researchers to appreciate the systematic and deeply criminal nature of Myanmar's policies and treatment of Rohingyas: 

Myanmar government has been committing crimes against humanity at best and a genocide at worst. 


A Story of Rape, Arson and Murder, Eastern Times, 8 June 1978.

Cato Aall, “Disastrous International Relief Failure” A Report on Burmese refugees in Bangladesh from May to December 1978”, Disasters, Vol. 3, No. 4, pp.429-34

William Mattern, REFUGEES: Burma's Brand of Apartheid, 14 July 1978, Far Eastern Economic Review, pp 30-32.


THE EXODUS: over 277,000 - by Myanmar Military Intelligence's count. 


DEATH BY STARVATION ON BANGLADESHI SOIL: 10,000 deaths of which 7,000 were infants and children

This was the direct result of Bangladesh gov. and UNHCR jointly reducing the nutritional rations to the refugees to the level far below what WHO considered necessary for survival. 

"By late November 1978, the death rate in the camps was 33 per 10,000 per week, or eight and a half times the Bangladeshi average. Between May and Decemeber 10,000 refugees died, about 7000 of them children (Cato Aall, “Disastrous International Relief Failure” A Report on Burmese refugees in Bangladesh from May to December 1978”, Disasters, Vol. 3, No. 4, pp.429-34 and Lindquist, p. 7)."

SOURCE: Research Notes by the human geographer colleague of mine named Nancy Hudson-Rodd of U of Tasmania, 16 Jan. 2017)


"Burma: Rape, Forced Labor and Religious Persecution in Northern Arakan”, Asia Watch, 7 May 1992, page 4

Bertil Lintner, “Diversionary tactics”, Far Eastern Economic Review, 29 August, 1991, p.26. (Ne Win - still the real power post-8888 - was manipulating the anti-Muslim racism to divert public attention away from the military's economic and policy failures)

THE EXODUS: 260,000 Rohingyas 

Repatriation: (I am still looking at the repatriation figures).


two types of new framing emerges, which dishonestly and deliberately ignore the established history of Myanmar's persecution while absolving the Gov of Thein Sein any responsibility or culpability.

'communal conflict' or 'sectarian conflict' 

'transitional problem of multiethnic countries' 

the actors that were involved in whitewashing of the state crime include the British Gov., Australian gov, Indonesian Government, international media, the American Ambassador Derek Mtichell, Aung San Suu Kyi (e.g., her infamous interview on BBC Radio Four with Mishal Hussain on 17 Oct 2013).

This allows groups like ICG and the Norwegian Nobel Institute to award or consider awarding their respective peace prizes to ex-General Thein Sein just as the man was presiding over another wave of state-condoned organized terror campaign against the Rohingyas. 


130,000 instant IDPS in camps;
several thousand Rohingyas locked up in Rakhine state jails; 
un-known number of Rohingya deaths; 
massive land grab for China and India's deepsea port construction
land clearance for Special Economic Zone project

"Irregular movements of people" - 

over 100,000 fled by boats; thousands died in high sea in the Bay of Bengal and in South China Sea

Mass Graves in Thai and Malaysia border areas

(Because thousands of persecution fleeing Rohingyas at sea did not apply for asylum yet legal-hair-splitting morons in different UN and human rights organizations call the Rohingyas "migrants", creating profound disgusts towards some professionals in human rights and refugee expert circles.)


Rohingya who fled to Bangladesh recount rape, murder at hands of Myanmar forces, 6 December 2016 


‘There Are No Homes Left’: Rohingya Tell of Rape, Fire and Death in Myanmar, New York Times, 20 January 2017


Over 65,000 Rohingyas fled Burma for Bangladhesh despite tight border control by Bangladesh

(the spike so far was 22,000 in one week, which is the Syrian exodus rate).

8-New Developments: 

A) genocide charge is no longer frivolous, politically motivated, or hyperbole. 

B) blanket denials from the Aung San Suu Kyi Gov & non-cooperation with the UN Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee 

the media denial by Burmese language media outlets - such as Irrawaddy News Group, and virtually all Burmese journalists, as well as the USGov's VOA Burmese, all echoing the official blanket denial.

C) more sophisticated denials from Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno, Germany's Deutsch Welle, Nikkei Asian Review,etc.

D) ICG and Bertil Lintner sensationalize their "terrorism" "jihadist" concerns.

E) Malaysia emerges as a serious actor to want to address the Burmese gov's international state crime.

F) Muslim civil societies around the world have been thoroughly exercised by the news of muslim genocide in Buddhist Myanmar, which in turn compels OIC to take the issue seriously: OIC is holding its foreign ministerial emergency meeting to address the Rohingya persecution this Thursday in Malaysia. 

G) Aung San Suu Kyi has lost her moral authority and international credibility having been exposed as a racist nationalist who cooperates fully with the military in the Rohingya genocide. 

H) Kofi Annan, the man with a big baggage of his complicity in the Rwanda genocide, has been paid by Myanmar government to whitewash the crime against Rohingyas - and Annan is failing to do that - in the face of irrefutable victims' testimonies. 

I) culturally conservative and sexist Rohingya communities where rape victims are usually blamed or re-raped even by Rohingya men have had a breakthrough: they are accepting and supporting scores of sexual violence victims - Rohingya women - and using the authenticated victims' tales of rape and gang-rape to highlight their plight in Myanmar and to call attention to the widespread use of rape as a weapon of subjugation by Myanmar Government's troops, and to a lesser extent, Rakhine locals. 


If you are conservative you will be compelled to say it is "crimes against humanity" (a long list of rights violation, WITH NO INTENT to destroy the Rohingya as a self-identified and identifiable group, irrespective of its ethnic name).

If you are more precise and enlightened in your reading of the Genocide Convention, Myanmar's treatment is categorically a genocide, no less. The intent is often INFERRED from the PATTERN of deeds directed at the group in all its aspects: physical, mental, collective, symbolic, material, social foundations, identity, existence, etc. There is no shades of grey in the objectives of Burmese government (or since 1989 Myanmar governments) in its persecution of the Rohingyas.

Numbers speak volume: 4 Decades of Myanmar's Slow Genocide of Rohingas

Numbers speak volume: in 1978, 280,000 (in 4 months); in 1991-92, 260,000; in 2012 (130,000 IDP + 100,000 boat people)

The framing has changed since the army's concerns about the cross-border migration of a people whose presence in the region predates drawing of post-WWII boundaries between then East Pakistan and the Union of Burma in the 1950's and 1960's. 

By 1978, the military adopted a radical strategy of draining Southern and Middle part of the old Arakan region - renamed Rakhine - of Rohingyas. 

But the threat of the military regime of the newly independent Bangladesh (since 1971) to arm 280,000 Rohingya refugees on Bangladeshi soil forced the Burmese military's hand: over 230,000 were taken back via UNHCR assisted repatriation program.

By 1991, the military stepped up its anti-Rohingya project and founded an inter-agency tool for persecution - Na Sa Ka (or border affairs unit) with the then Chief of Military Intelligence Gen. Khin Nyunt as its head. And a new exodus of over 260,000 ensued as the result of the new persecution. 

By 2012, the persecution was outsourced to the local Rakhine nationalists, who were increasingly vocal about their demands for fair-revenue sharing and greater political autonomy from the Burmese-controlled central government. Rakhines dropped their demands and gave into their powerful racist instincts to beat up the weak, rather than confront the powerful colonizer - the Burmese military. (The Burmese feudal court destroyed multi-ethnic coastal Arakan kingdom of Buddhist Rakhine kings on 1 January 1785). 

The Myanmar Gov, with the help of media and external players such as the ICG cleverly framed the state-directed persecution as "communal or sectarian conflict", primarily, thus absolving the state of its primary role in it.

By 2016, the government allowed a small desperate gang of Rohingya youth to attack its border posts - nothing happened in the Rohingya communities, without the knowledge of the intelligence as the Rohingyas' physical movements are severely restricted and closely monitored - and pounced on the entire Rohingya region in N. Arakan, framing the lured attackers as "Muslim insurgents" "Jihadists" "terrorists", etc. 

Myanmar Generals sacrifices routinely thousands of Burmese rank and file soldiers in East and Nothern Burma's battles with Kachin, Shan, Kokant, etc. Loss of 9 soldiers in 3 separate if coordinated attacks by sword-wielding Rohingya "militants" is not even an issue worthy of War Office discussion. 

This evolutionary pattern of persecution - with the sole intent of destroying the Rohingyas - its identity, its history, its material foundations, its cultural foundations, its literal existence - is what i consider unequivocally a full-fledged GENOCIDE.

Hitler only had less than 15 years to pursue his inhuman projects: but the Burmese military has all the time in its hands. For the world sits on its hand - since the first exodus of Rohingyas - numbering nearly 280,000 fled (by ex-General Khin Nyunt's own admissions) in 4 months in 1978 (12 Feb 1978 till June, with the month of May as a lull).



65,000 Rohingya flee from Myanmar to Bangladesh following crackdown: UN


The Rohingya Are Ready to Talk About the Atrocities in Burma

But they need the help of the international community, not only Muslim countries, if they are to be heard.

Jan. 9, 2017 12:34 p.m. ET

Wall Street Journal 

My colleagues and I recently spent nearly two weeks on the Burma-Bangladesh border interviewing dozens of Rohingya men and women who fled Maungdaw Township in Burma’s Rakhine State. The abuses they suffered at the hands of the Burmese military rise to the level of atrocity crimes. They require an urgent international response.


‘There Are No Homes Left’: Rohingya Tell of Rape, Fire and Death in Myanmar


New York Times

Rohingya from Myanmar at a refugee camp in Teknaf, Bangladesh, in December. An estimated 65,000 Rohingya have fled across the border, according to the International Organization for Migration. Credit A.M. Ahad/Associated Press 

KUTUPALONG CAMP, Bangladesh — When the Myanmar military closed in on the village of Pwint Phyu Chaung, everyone had a few seconds to make a choice.

Noor Ankis, 25, chose to remain in her house, where she was told to kneel to be beaten, she said, until soldiers led her to the place where women were raped. Rashida Begum, 22, chose to plunge with her three children into a deep, swift-running creek, only to watch as her baby daughter slipped from her grasp.

Sufayat Ullah, 20, also chose the creek. He stayed in the water for two days and finally emerged to find that soldiers had set his family home on fire, leaving his mother, father and two brothers to asphyxiate inside.

These accounts and others, given over the last few days by refugees who fled Myanmar and are now living in Bangladesh, shed light on the violence that has unfolded in Myanmar in recent months as security forces there carry out a brutal counterinsurgencycampaign.

Their stories, though impossible to confirm independently, generally align with reports by human rights organizations that the military entered villages in northern Rakhine State shooting at random, set houses on fire with rocket launchers, and systematically raped girls and women. At least 1,500 homes were razed, according to an analysis of satellite images by Human Rights Watch.

The campaign, which has moved south in recent weeks, seems likely to continue until Myanmar’s government is satisfied that it has fully disarmed the militancy that has arisen among the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic group that has been persecuted for decades in majority-Buddhist Myanmar.

A total of 22,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar in the first two weeks of January in response to reported military violence.By SHANE O’NEILL on Publish Date January 10, 2017. . Watch in Times Video »

“There is a risk that we haven’t seen the worst of this yet,” said Matthew Smith of Fortify Rights, a nongovernmental organization focusing on human rights in Southeast Asia. “We’re not sure what the state security forces will do next, but we do know attacks on civilians are continuing.”

A commission appointed by Myanmar’s government last week denied allegations that its military was committing genocide in the villages, which have been closed to Western journalists and human rights investigators. Officials have said Rohingya forces are setting fire to their own houses and have denied most charges of human rights abuses, with the exception of a beating that was captured on video. Myanmar’s leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize, has been criticized for failing to respond more forcefully to the violence.

The crackdown began after an attack on three border posts in Rakhine State in October, in which nine police officers were killed. The attack is believed to have been carried out by an until-then-unknown armed Rohingya insurgent group.

The military campaign, which the government describes as a “clearing” operation, has largely targeted civilians, human rights groups say. It has sent an estimated 65,000 Rohingya fleeing across the border to Bangladesh, according to the International Organization for Migration.

“They started coming in like the tide,” said Dudu Miah, a Rohingya refugee who is chairman of the management committee at the Leda refugee camp, near the border with Myanmar. “They were acting crazy. They were a mess. They were saying, ‘They’ve killed my father, they’ve killed my mother, they’ve beaten me up.’ They were in disarray.”

Soldiers were attacking villages just across the Naf River, which separates Myanmar from Bangladesh, so close that Bangladeshis could see columns of smoke rise from burning villages on the other side, said Nazir Ahmed, the imam of a mosque that caters to Rohingyas.

A destroyed house near Maungdaw in Rakhine State. At least 1,500 homes have been razed, according to Human Rights Watch.Credit Nyien Chan Naing/European Pressphoto Agency 

He said it was true that some Rohingya, enraged by years of mistreatment by Myanmar forces, had organized themselves into a crude militant force, but that Myanmar had dramatically exaggerated its proportions and seriousness.

Rohingyas are “frustrated, and they are picking up sticks and making a call to defend themselves,” he said. “Now, if they find a farmer who has a machete at home, they say, ‘You are engaged in terrorism.’”

An analysis released last month by the International Crisis Group took a serious view of the new militant group, which it says is financed and organized by Rohingya émigrés in Saudi Arabia. Further violence, it warned, could accelerate radicalization among the Rohingya, who could become willing instruments of transnational jihadist groups.

In interviews in and around the Kutupalong and Leda refugee camps here, Rohingya who fled Myanmar in recent weeks said that military personnel initially went house to house seeking adult men, and then proceeded to rape women and burn homes. Many new arrivals are from Kyet Yoepin, a village where 245 buildings were destroyed during a two-day sweep in mid-October, according to Human Rights Watch.

Muhammad Shafiq, who is in his mid-20s, said he was at home with his family when he heard gunfire. Soldiers in camouflage banged on the door, then shot at it, he said. When he let them in, he said, “they took the women away, and lined up the men.”

Mr. Shafiq said that when a soldier grabbed his sister’s hand, he lunged at him, fearful the soldier intended to rape her, and was beaten so severely that the soldiers left him for dead. Later, he bolted with one of his children and was grazed by a soldier’s bullet on his elbow. He crawled for an hour on his hands and knees through a rice field, then watched, from a safe vantage point, as troops set fire to what remained of Kyet Yoepin.

Bangladeshi border guards at a common transit point for the Rohingya on the banks of the Naf River, which separates Myanmar from Bangladesh. Credit A.M. Ahad/Associated Press

“There are no homes left,” he said. “Everything is burned.”Jannatul Mawa, 25, who is from the same village, said she crawled toward the next village overnight, passing the shadowy forms of dead and wounded neighbors.

“Some were shot, some were killed with a blade,” she said. “Wherever they could find people, they were killing them.”

Dozens more families are from Pwint Phyu Chaung, which was near the site of a clash between militants and soldiers on Nov. 12.

According to Amnesty International, the militants scattered into neighboring villages. When army troops followed them, several hundred men from Pwint Phyu Chaung resisted, using crude weapons like farm implements and knives, the report said. A Myanmar army lieutenant colonel was shot dead, and the troops called in air support from two attack helicopters.

Mumtaz Begum, 40, said she was awakened at dawn when security forces approached the village from both sides and began searching for adult men in each house.

She said she and her daughter were told to kneel down outside their home with their hands over their heads and were beaten with bamboo clubs.

“There are no homes left,” he said. “Everything is burned.”

Jannatul Mawa, 25, who is from the same village, said she crawled toward the next village overnight, passing the shadowy forms of dead and wounded neighbors.

“Some were shot, some were killed with a blade,” she said. “Wherever they could find people, they were killing them.”

Dozens more families are from Pwint Phyu Chaung, which was near the site of a clash between militants and soldiers on Nov. 12.

According to Amnesty International, the militants scattered into neighboring villages. When army troops followed them, several hundred men from Pwint Phyu Chaung resisted, using crude weapons like farm implements and knives, the report said. A Myanmar army lieutenant colonel was shot dead, and the troops called in air support from two attack helicopters.

Mumtaz Begum, 40, said she was awakened at dawn when security forces approached the village from both sides and began searching for adult men in each house.

She said she and her daughter were told to kneel down outside their home with their hands over their heads and were beaten with bamboo clubs.

Mumtaz Begum, 40, told of members of her family who were arrested, beaten, shot in the leg or killed. Her daughter described being grouped with young women to be raped. Credit Ellen Barry/The New York Times

She said her 10-year-old son was shot through the leg, her daughter’s husband was arrested, and her own husband was one of dozens of men and boys in the village who were killed by soldiers armed with guns or machetes that night. Villagers, she said, “laid the bodies down in a line in the mosque and counted them.”

Ms. Begum’s daughter, Noor Ankis, 25, said the next morning soldiers went from house to house looking for young women.

“They grouped the women together and brought them to one place,” she said. “The ones they liked they raped. It was just the girls and the military, no one else was there.”

She said the idea of trying to escape flickered through her head, but she was overcome by fatalism. “I felt there was no point in being alive,” she said.

Ms. Ankis pulled her head scarf low, for a moment, removing a tear. She said she had been thinking about her husband.

“I think about how he took care of me after we got married,” she said. “How will I see him again?”

Sufayat Ullah, 20, a madrasa student, said that he was home with his family on the morning of the attack and that the first thing he registered was the sound of gunfire. He realized quickly, he said, that he could only survive by escaping. “When they found people close by, they attacked them with machetes,” he said. “If they were far away, they shot them.”

Mr. Ullah ran from the house and bolted for the creek at the edge of town, and he dived in, swimming as far as he could. He said he spent much of the next two days underwater, finally scrambling onto the bank near a neighboring village. Only then did he learn that his mother, father and two brothers had burned to death inside the family house.

“I feel no peace,” he said, covering his face with his hands and weeping. “They killed my father and mother. What is left for me in this world?”

Maher Sattar contributed reporting.

Myanmar Generals' Winning Ideology: To be Burmese is to be Buddhist.

To build peace and reconciliation within society, Myanmar must destroy the view/sentiment that to be Burmese is to be Buddhist. 

It is one big narrow-minded, religious obsession which has nothing whatsoever to do with Buddhism. 

It is tinged with the old culturalist nationalism hoisted as the initial flag of resistance against the predominantly Christian British colonial rule. It is an anathema to the multi-faith founders of post-colonial Union of Burma, particularly the late U Aung San, the martyred father of the "Buddhist" leader of the NLD. 

It makes non-Buddhists, whatever their ethnic ancestry, feel they are not fully equal or welcome or entitled to citizenship privileges, rights and protection. 

This narrow view of Burmese identity amounts to religious bigotry. 

Bigotry serves the interests of the bigots - Buddhist monks, who operate within a closed system of thought, because of their devotional embrace of Buddhism as the only or superior Faith. 

For their own strategic ends, the Burmese generals perniciously exploit this orthodox ideological community - nearly half-million men, usually drawn from rural, conservative backgrounds, not unlike the rank and file of the Burmese Armed Forces. 

When Ne Win came to power in 1962, his regime of Burma Socialist Programme Party identified two above-ground social forces as major threats to the military and its attempts to shape society along its socialistic authoritarian lines. They were the Buddhist monks and university students. 

Now the military has found a winning strategy: use the popular religious bigotry commonly shared among key national institutions - the Order, the armed forces and the society - to turn old enemies of monks and public into the tools of their own oppression. 

It is an absolute necessity for those of who want to see a secularist country where people of different faiths and diverse ethnic ancestries can feel they are all equal, both in theory and in society to demolish this bigoted definition of the people of Burma. 

National identities in a religiously diverse society must not be tied to any faith, deistic or atheistic, if the goal of the government and political parties are to forge an inclusive country. 

Alas, that is not what is being pursued by neither Myanmar military, which thrives on exploiting ethnic and religious divisions in society, nor Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD, which attempt to placate, rather than educate and confront, the bigoted vocal minority. 


Police deployed to guard Muslim ceremony in Myanmar - World Bulletin 

Nationalists accuse worshipers of planning violence, while those present say they are doing nothing but praying