I have been extremely sad to read the following letter from an Arakanese activist. I wonder if such an event can really be possible. It is indeed an unacceptable circumstance given the fact that an international organization is involved in the process.
The writer has chosen to write an open letter to a prestigious organization such as UNHCR about its ethical conduct towards various nationalities of present-day Myanmar. The writer, with his sad tone, noted that UNHCR has taken a discriminatory approach towards Arakanese refugees in Malaysia. Amongst other nationalities, Arakanese were left out in recognizing them as refugees who fled their country because of political oppression.
First and foremost, what is the concrete reason given by UNHCR for failing to recognize Arakanese refugees while other nationalites are included in the list?
Second, what kind of justification would be possible in discriminating Arakanese refugees to such an extent that they are alone left out from the list?
As Arakanese students, we see that this kind of treatment on Arakanese is essentially a human right violation against a people. UNHCR is a UN-madated organisation and it should abide by the human rights principles set out by UN human rights regime. Therefore, we strongly urge UNHCR to reconsider and duely correct its discriminitory treatment on Arakanese refuguess who unfortunately have to take refuge in Malaysia.
On behalf of Arakanese university students
Arakanese Refuges in Malaysia whom are discriminated by UNHCR
Date: 11, 08, 2009
Myanmar people are forced to flee Myanmar and refuge in the neighboring Country such as Bangladesh, India, Thailand and Malaysia as Myanmar military regime have been committing gross human right violation and torturing against their own people. Among them, Malaysia becomes a country that most Myanmar people enter and refuge.
A report of military government on 1997 said that there were 135 tribes in Myanmar. Of them, seven indigenous people namely Arakan, Chin, Kachin, Karen, Mon and Shan except Burmar (Bamar) are recognized as ethnic nationalities .And they are granted Statehood without any state power. Military Junta suppresses and torture against all tribes and ethnics in Myanmar equally. In this regards they never discriminate among them. This means that they equally commit oppression against all ethnic and tribes. Hence you never should consider that they commit less suppression against Arakanese and Mon as they are Buddhists like Burman (Bamar). They also attain the equality of human right abuses committed by military regime. That is why all ethnics in Myanmar have to struggle in various ways to be free from the oppression of military regimeIn such a circumstance, UNHCR in Malaysia is discriminating among ethnics from Myanmar, it is learnt. Even notorious Myanmar regime equally commits human right abuse among all tribes. Nevertheless, UNHCR discriminate them. This treatment causes them feel very sad and unhappy. UNHCR in Malaysia recognizes all ethnics but Arakanese as refugees. Why does this happen so? We actually doubt if UNHCR is discriminate among them.
Arakanese are always tortured and persecuted by Military junta like other ethnics. For being Arakanese they never escape from their suppression. The situation becomes worse than before. There were five battalions in Arakan State in 1998. But there have been 57 battalions now. Such a military deployment in Arakan State brings about persecution and torture, forced labor, human right torture, forced labor, human right abuses and racial assimilation.
We fervently appeal you to grant Arakanese people as refugee on account of the reasons mentioned above as well as on the humanitarian attitude as you treat other ethnic from Myanmar.
In addition we are informing that we, worldwide Arakanese will agitate them to take global movement outside their concerned UNHCR offices if you keep on discriminating among refuges from Myanmar.