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The Perilous Plight of the Rohingyas

Human Rights Desk |
Update: 2012-06-18 03:04:55
The Perilous Plight of the Rohingyas

The US Based human rights watch body has relesed a report on the plingh of the Rohingyas in Myanmary. The report said that the neighbors of Myanmar should press the Burmese military government to end systematic abuses of Rohingya Muslims and protect those who flee to their shores.

Human Rights Watch said that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has failed to address the Rohingya`s plight adequately.

The 12-page report, "Perilous Plight: Burma`s Rohingya Take to the Seas," examines the causes of the exodus of Rohingya people from Burma and Bangladesh, and their treatment once in flight to Southeast Asian countries.
Persecution and human rights violations against the Rohingya inside Burma, especially in Arakan state, have persisted for over 20 years, with insufficient international attention.

Such abuses include extrajudicial killings, forced labor, religious persecution, and restrictions on movement, all exacerbated by a draconian citizenship law that leaves the Rohingya stateless.

"The treatment of the Rohingya in Burma is deplorable- the Burmese government doesn`t just deny Rohingya their basic rights, it denies they are even Burmese citizens," said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "Instead of sidestepping the issue, ASEAN should be pressing Burma`s military rulers to end their brutal practices."

The Burmese military government`s violent and discriminatory treatment, exacerbated by chronic poverty, has pushed many Rohingya to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, where living standards in refugee camps remain primitive and options for resettlement slim. From Bangladesh, every year thousands of Rohingya men and boys pay to be smuggled to Malaysia via other Southeast Asian countries. Some are fleeing for their lives; others are economic migrants seeking to feed their families. Because they lack official papers, almost everywhere they go, they live in fear of arrest and possible repatriation to Burma.

In "Perilous Plight," Human Rights Watch calls on Burma`s military government to recognize Rohingya as citizens, ensure their freedom of movement, and give human rights and humanitarian organizations access to Arakan state.
Bangladesh, India, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia should press Burma`s military government to end abuses, the report says.

They should also stop forcibly returning Rohingya to Burma where they face persecution, and they should alter their laws and procedures to ensure that an appropriate determination of the refugee status can take place for non-citizens who reach their shores.


"Persecution of the Rohingya is nothing new, so it`s time for Burma`s neighbors to act to stop them from being further abused," said Pearson. "Rather than sending them back to Burma or into the open sea, countries receiving Rohingya should determine if they are refugees or asylum seekers and give them protection."

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