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AN OPEN APPEAL, FROM KUALA LUMPUR, ON BEHALF OF THE ROHINGYA

ETHNIC COMMUNITY TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY FROM THE


ETHNIC ROHINGYAS OF BURMA (Myanmar)

The Hon.John Howard, Australian Prime Minister

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL

C.cs (1) The Hon.Amanda Vanstone, Australian Immigration Minister


Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600.
(2) The Hon.Gary Hardgrave MP, Minister for Citizenship and
Multicultural Affairs.
Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600.

Sirs/Mdms,

AN OPEN APPEAL ON BEHALF OF THE ROHINGYA ETHNIC COMMUNITY TO


THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY FROM THE ETHNIC ROHINGYAS OF
BURMA (Myanmar)

First and foremost, I would like to take this opportunity and privilege to
express our heartiest gratitude for providing shelters and safe heavens for the
Ethnic Rohingyas of Burma , in Australia, on humanitarian grounds.

Introduction
There are fourteen States and Divisions in the Union Of Burma, also known as Myanmar now.
Arakan State is one of the fourteen states and divisions of this pariah state and Arakan located in
the Northwestern part of Burma bordering with Bangladesh and India in the north.There are a
total of 136 ETHNIC minority races in Burma and the so-called majority Burmen dominates all
of them since the independence of the country from the former British colonial power. There in
Arakan live two sister-communities known as the Rohingyas who are predominantly
Mohammedans and the Rakhaines ,the Buddhists. All other races of Burma profess either in
Buddhism, Cristianity or aeithism or animism.
Rohingyas were gradually made STATELESS within their own state despite the historical
records that Rohingyas exercised their VOTING-RIGHTS throughout all the National General
Elections of Burma after independence. It is very ironic now to hear from the Junta that
Rohingyas did not exist in Burma and they are DUBIOUS citizens of Burma.
The junta has since 1990 restricted the legitimate rights to freedom of movement for the
Rohingyas and they are effectively VIRTUAL PRISONERS in their own motherland;
motherland it was for the Rohingyas ; the Mrohaung Dynasty which was ANNEXED by the
usurpous Burmen in the year 1784.

ROHINGYAS PARTICIPATION IN THE NATION-BUILDING OF


BURMA

Rohingyas have been part and parcel of nation-building human resources of Burma since the pre-
independence time. They were excellent school teachers, engineers (under the Colombo
Planning), doctors, professors, administrators, advocates, judges, dedicated police officers,
soldiers, successful traders, entrepreneurs and alike. Never in the history of Burma those holding
public office fail to discharge their duty but they very brilliantly gave sweat and blood for the
Union of Burma. Gradual discrimination now is discouraging Rohingyas from working with the
government. They cannot however disclose their ETHNIC IDENTITY in the government
services, if they wish to cling to the post.
Population-wide, Rohingyas themselves estimate their number to be three million who are now
scattered all over the world; Bangladesh, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Malaysia, UK, US,
Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, France, EU, Australia, New Zealand and other countries
of the world, to name a few. Depopulation rate is very high among the Rohingyas now and it is
due to their lack of social security that is vital for every human race to start and maintain a
secured family.

CITIZENSHIP STATUS OF ROHINGYAS

Burma has been adamantly asserting that Rohingyas are not her citizens. Peculiarly Burma dares
not say that which country’s bona fide citizens they are at any international forum. Day-to-day
activities of the Rohingyas are restricted and Courts Martial always passes verdict of guilt for
trespassing-charges to those caught trying to travel to other parts of Burma.
All the existing Constitutions of Burma deliberately expunged the Rohingyas as one of the
National Ethnic races and it is SILENT in any judicial contest to determine the actual status of
the oppressed race of Arakan which was first occupied and ruled by the British in the year 1824
prior to the overall occupation of Burma in 1885. Honesty, trustworthiness, loyalty,
competitiveness, efficiency, resourcefulness and reliability of the Rohingyas were well reported
by several British then Commanders and ample documentations lies in the British Library, inter
alia.
FLIGHTS OF ROHINGYAS

In 1979,the Burmese government then under the leadership of (Late) Gen.Ne Win launched the
Na-Ga-Min (Dragon Operation) with a view to flush out the innocent Rohingya Muslims .It
resulted in more than three hundred-thousand fleeing into Bangladesh which she herself
struggles for the very survival. Thus additional burdens brought by the Rohingyas did not hold
water and finally our people were repatriated to Burma based on the bilateral agreement between
the two governments without involving the international community such as the UNO and the
like. Burmese government very cunningly took the advantage of absence of international
commitment and later made a U-TURN from all the promises she made to the Bangladeshi
government in return for the voluntary repatriation of the then Refugee-Rohingyas.
Extra-judicial killings, detention incommunicado, increasing oppressions followed the return of
our people and it continues right up to the present days. As the consequences and sufferings in
silence, Rohingyas were again compelled to flee en block this time not to Bangladesh but to
other alternate countries leaving behind the women, children and the elderly persons. By fishing
boats, working as laborers as the travel-fees, they reach the coasts of Thailand, if they survive the
seas and the attacks by the Burmese pursuing navies, Malaysia and other South-East-Asian
Countries including Indonesia. Many perished in the seas and some are caught by the Burmese
sea-patrolling Navies. Those arrested merely disappear with no trace whatsoever.
Many Rohingyas are being detained in the Thailand’s prisons and others in the Burmese and
Malaysian prisons. Malaysia is the nearest Muslim country, save Bangladesh, and for continuous
survival in the run for life, Rohingyas ended up being “displaced and undocumented stateless
persons” since the 80s. Detention by the authorities in Malaysia spared no single Rohingya men
and women alike including the aged group and minors. The constructive engagement policy of
the ASEAN may have benefited the ten states but it has irreparably harmed the citizens of the
ASEAN grouping; the Rohingyas ,least to mention. The damages inflicted are beyond repair
unless MIRACLE saves them.

ROHINGYAS AND UNHCR, K.L, MALAYSIA

Untold stories of sufferings experienced by the Rohingyas finally caught the attention of the
UNHCR, KL Liaison office in 1992. Registration exercises were carried out with cooperation of
the Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS) .It ceased after short while for the reason
unknown.
Again in the year 2002 Rohingya Human Rights activists convinced the UNHCR, KL office, to
issue en mass Temporary Protection letters to the Rohingyas (TPs) ,see the enclosed. The
temporary protection letters merely identifies the displaced person and weakly-worded APPEAL
to the concerned authorities NOT TO SUBJECT THE HOLDERS OF SUCH LETTERS TO
ARREST AND DEPORTATION. Currently there are more than fifteen thousand such TP
letters-holding Rohingyas who are always in and out of the detention Camps in Malaysia. Their
fundamental rights to education, healthcare, human rights, rights of the infants or minors are
nowhere to be seriously discussed.
The ironic mistake that the UNHCR, KL has allowed itself to be very GROSSLY
INDECISIVE, INACCURATE, REPUGNANT by dividing the same Rohingyas with the same
WELFOUNDED FEAR into TWO groups; one with TP letters and the other RECOGNIZED
REFUGEES. The burden thus falls on the UNHCR to DISPROVE THE WELFOUNDED FEAR
of the Rohingyas back at home. These types of administrative limitations of discretion on the
part of the UNHCR, KL is more harmful to the Rohingyas than the harms inflicted by the
Burmese Junta, to some extent.

APPEAL AND PROPOSAL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITIES FOR OFFSHORE


HUMANITRARIAN RESCUE PROGRAMM
The National Council for Rohingyas, an educational, Human Rights-based and research based
organization has been tireless in finding a long-lasting solution for the Rohingyas by lobbying
states that are capable of understanding the human sufferings of these hapless stateless Ethnic
Rohingyas. Capable and prestigious country like Australia is one that has a vast land and the
need for skilled and unskilled human resources for the national agriculture and, manufacturing
sector and the services sectors.
An appeal letter was written to the Australian Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural
Affairs Minister The Hon.Gary Hardgrave MP in 2002 and he has expressed his concern ,
sympathy and empathy for the Rohingyas. Mere sympathy without actions is not sufficient in
this case.
In Malaysia Rohingyas have accumulated skills in several sectors such as manufacturing,
agriculture, at home Rohingyas are agriculture-based landlords, and construction sectors apart
from some professionals educated and trained in Malaysia and Burma itself.
The age group of the displaced Rohingyas ranges from 20s to 50s with majority of them being
MALES with exception to some accompanied and unaccompanied females, children and their
dependants.
Literacy rate is estimated to be 85% (Burmese+ English) and English is redeemable, 100%
(Islamic Religious Literacy) and Burma is now at the level of 98% literacy rate nationwide.
The vulnerability of the Ethnic Burmese Rohingya is very alarming that their fundamental
human rights are not protected at all. As the virtual stateless ethnic group, it is felt that their
genuine plight deserves attention from the international community without any delay. An
offshore Rescue program seems to be the only option unless the UNHCR in KL changes its mind
otherwise. As the long-dragging problem of ASIA, the Rohingya issue needs to be addressed and
answered by the international communities very proactively in persuading any willing country to
activate their OFFSHORE HUMANITARIAN RESCUE PROGRAMM or any other mode of
rescue before we all are made to merely witness a human tragedy of displaced persons if cries
and call for DESPERATE HELP is unheard or deliberately ignored.

God Save Australia, God save the Rohingyas.


Thank You.

Mr.Ghiyathudeen bin Maulana Abdul Salam


Coordinator/Spokesperson
Majlis Masyarakat Rohingya
30th March 2005 Kuala Lumpur.
Coordinator, mobile (017-3725661)/Office. 603-42974331, fax-603-42978331