lifestyle & responsible citizenship

Appeal to the Myanmar Government concerning the Rohingya

j:mag support this appeal initiated by the international literature festival berlin (ilb)


Appeal to the Myanmar Government concerning the Rohingya

Berlin, 16 September 2017

The number of Rohingya refugees to have crossed into Bangladesh in just two weeks is 270,000, according to UNHCR (Sept 8). The Rohingya are fleeing violence amounting to ethnic cleansing in Rakhine, Myanmar, which has seen 1,000 people killed so far. The violence targeting the Rohingya population escalated following attacks on border posts on August 25 by a Rohingya insurgent group the Arakan Rohingya Salvation army (ARSA). The Myanmar government has branded the militants responsible for the August 25 attacks as terrorists. In purported operations against this group, security forces are burning homes and entire villages and shooting civilians dead. The Myanmar government has restricted access to northern Rakhine state for aid workers, journalists and UN investigators.

Currently, escaping refugees are making arduous journeys over land by foot and across the river by boat to Bangladesh. Capsizing fishing boats have led to dozens drowning, mainly women and children. Existing and new makeshift camps have rudimentary facilities at best, and are already strained. Thousands more refugees are stuck in no-man’s land between Bangladesh and Myanmar.

The Rohingya, considered one of the world’s most persecuted minorities, have faced systematic discrimination in Myanmar for decades. They were stripped of their citizenship in 1982 and are not recognized as one of Myanmar’s 135 ethnic groups. Their rights to vote, work, travel and marry, among others, are restricted by the authorities. Over 500,000 already live in Bangladesh, of the one million Rohingya to have fled persecution in Myanmar for other countries over the years.

We, writers at the international literature festival berlin (ilb) and International Congress for Democracy and Freedom, condemn the treatment of Rohingya people by Aung San Suu Kyi and the government of Myanmar.

Bangladesh has been sheltering Rohingya refugees for decades now, but this unprecedented influx poses great challenges. It is already the most densely populated nation in the world as well as a developing country with little resources to bear the refugee crisis. We call on the developed world to not only assist Bangladesh with aid for shelter materials, clean water, food, and sanitation but to also put pressure on the Myanmar government to set an end to the crimes against the Rohingya people.

The persecution and systematic violence specifically against the ethnic and religious minority people, the Rohingya, in Myanmar needs to be stopped.

Mohamad Alaaedin Abdul Moula, Syria/ Germany
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Fadhil Al-Azzawi, Iraq/ Germany
Khalid Al-Maaly, Iraq/ Germany
Martin Amis, UK/ USA
Chloe Aridjis, Mexico/ UK
Jorge Luis Arzola, Cuba/ Germany
Hanan Awwad, Palestine
Ayo Ayoola-Amale, Nigeria
Liana Badr, Palestine
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Alberto Barrera Tyszka, Venezuela
Priya Basil, UK/ Germany
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