The continuing suffering of the Rohingya

The Rohingya continue to face persecution and hardship.  It is reported that women are trafficked into sex slavery on military bases, and those who seek refuge in neighbouring countries such as Thailand face similar dangers. The uncertain legal status of the Rohingya increases their vulnerability.

Moreover, approximately one-half of those leaving Rakhine State’s capital, Sittwe, where living conditions have worsened with many living in squalid displacement camps, are women and children. Pursuant to the discriminatory 1982 Citizenship Act, the Burmese government does not recognize them as citizens and deprives them of proper identification documents. Given their “stateless” status, women and children are highly vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation.

Of course many Rohingya face worse than exploitation:

The Burmese Navy handed over a boatload of Rohingya men, women and children to people smugglers who killed 12 and savagely beat many others, survivors revealed today.

”We were all facing death,” one of the men told Phuketwan. ”The smugglers charged us each 200,000 kyat to make the trip. The boat was quite large and stopped along the way to pick up more passengers.”

”Others were beaten badly. We don’t know why.”

”About 10 days ago, the Burmese Navy took possession of the vessel and handed us over to a group of smugglers. There were about four Burmese and four Thais. They killed 12 of us for no reason and threw the bodies overboard.

Thailand is very far from being a safe haven for the fleeing Rohingya. In this article Saksith Saiyasombut offers a detailed account of the neglect and abuse the refugees have suffered:

Those refugees that were being sheltered in Thailand faced no better conditions. In the summer months, around 2,000 Rohingya were detained in 24 stations across the country mostly located in the South under vastly differing standards. Some were overcrowded and caused the detainees to riot, others were regularly made accessible for human traffickersto lure refugees out. Thai authorities have discussed expanding or building new detention facilities, but this was met with resistance by local residents. The fate of these men, women and children is still to this day unresolved as a deadline by the Thai government to find third-party countries taking them on passed on July 26 with no result, thus leaving them in legal limbo.

Rohingya Vision offers numerous accounts of the abuse and injustice which drives people out of Burma even though they are no more welcome in Bangladesh than in Thailand.

U Maung Chan Thar, Ward Administrator of Nyaung Chaung, Buthidaung Township, in collaboration with Buthidaung Police and Security Force have been torturing and extorting money from Rohingyas for months now. They keep innocent Rohingyas under hot sun for whole day by tying their hands and legs together and put a stick in between tied legs and hands to prevent them from moving. If the victim they move, they kick and punch them (victims). In the picture below, typical torture of innocent Rohingyas with hands and legs tied up:

The response of Aung San Suu Kyi is Greenwaldian in its search for root causes as a way of explaining/justifying the problems facing the Rohingya:

Suu Kyi then goes further by saying: “You, I think, will accept that there’s a perception that Muslim power, global Muslim power, is very great and certainly that is the perception in many parts of the world and in our country too.”

Global Muslim power? How powerful can a 4 per cent minority be, particularly when the Rohingya are explicitly forbidden from becoming citizens of Burma and therefore have no political weight whatever? What is Suu Kyi trying to say? That Buddhists in Burma are so terrified by “global Muslim power” that we shouldn’t be surprised when they turn on Muslims at home?