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In Special Consultative Status with the UN Economic & Social Council

Bangladesh’s Community Media Sector Urge – ​​Pushing Myanmar to Stop Rohingya ‘Genocide’​

Bangladesh’s community media sector demanded that global and neighboring countries leaders, civil societies of Myanmar and the United Nations (UN) put pressure on the Myanmar government to stop “genocide” and persecution against Rohingyas.

Rohingya refugees walk on the muddy path after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Teknaf, Bangladesh, September 3, 2017. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

Community Media Sector wants to register grave concern that the Rohingya issue must get the highest priority and a decision on pressurizing Myanmar should be adopted at the next meeting of UN Human Rights Council. The latest violence drew concern as it took place just the day when a commission led by the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan submitted its report with recommendations to address the root cause of the problem such as giving them citizenship to ensure basic rights.

Kofi Annan was appointed by state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi to head a year-long commission tasked with healing long-simmering divisions between the Rohingya Muslims and Buddhists in the western state, which is one of the poorest regions in Myanmar.

The Foreign Minister of Bangladesh announced on Sunday 10 September, nearly 300,000 Rohingyas to Bangladesh from Myanmar’s Rakhine State since Aug 25 violence. Already in the country before the latest refugee wave at 400,000. Reports are flooding in of killings by the Myanmar security forces, as satellite images suggest that entire villages have been burned.

Bangladesh’s community media sector would like to take this opportunity to extend sincere thanks and gratitude to Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh for providing shelter to the Rohingyas. The government of Bangladesh has already allocated primarily 2,000 acres of forest land to build a temporary camp for the refugees and Bangladesh has already been hosting around 4,00,000 Rohingyas for three decades in line with generosity in responding to this humanitarian crisis. The Government of Bangladesh has decided to bring all of them under biometric registration. A total of over 7,00,000 Myanmar nationals are now in Bangladesh. Amid the influx of Myanmar nationals, the government has formed a ‘Rohingya Cell’ at the Home Ministry’s Public Security Division to extensively monitor the overall situation and the law and order in the bordering areas of Bandarban and Cox’s Bazar districts.

It is with great concern and disappointment that Rohingya villagers and activists say thousands of civilians have been killed. The number cannot be verified because authorities have limited access for aid workers and journalists to areas where the deaths occurred. Recent satellite images show thousands of houses were burned. Nobody will understand their sufferings unless visiting the area.

Another estimated 20,000 people are stranded in the “no man’s land” between the two countries. Much more are risking their lives by trying to escape in fishing boats, traveling from Myanmar to Bangladesh – some are badly injured, and with children in line with the violence could spiral into a “humanitarian catastrophe” Meanwhile, this is another low in what is already a horrific situation in Rakhine State. The Myanmar military’s callous use of inherently indiscriminate and deadly weapons at highly trafficked paths around the border is putting the lives of ordinary people at enormous risk.

All the refugees are confirming that the attacks are by the Myanmar security forces.Thousands of people – mostly Rohingyas are also believed to be stranded in the mountains of northern Rakhine State. They have no voice to the Myanmar media and restricted to operate Community Media.

This isn’t the first time Myanmar Security Forces have abused Rohingyas – in the last year, they have tortured, raped, arrested and disappeared many of them, and destroyed their homes and property. What is happening in Myanmar today offers valuable insights into what lies ahead for humanity.

The Rohingyas have lived in Myanmar for generations but are not granted citizenship by the Buddhist-majority Government, and live with apartheid-like restrictions and abject poverty in Rakhine State.

According to International State Crime Initiative (ISIC’s) report that the Rohingyas have been, and continue to be, stigmatized, dehumanized and discriminated against. They have been harassed, terrorized and slaughtered. They have been isolated and segregated into detention camps and securitized villages and ghettos. They have been systematically weakened through hunger, illness, denial of civil rights and loss of livelihood. All of this places them at high risk of annihilation.

Legal and administrative structures must be created that guarantees the establishment and development of community media and community radio of voices for the Rohingya. Requesting to Myanmar government to respect international laws and treaties that focus on the issue of the freedom of expression and Access to information and Rohingyas rights in community media must be guaranteed through clear constitutional amendments.

Bangladesh’s community media sector urgently seek to provide improved security and humanitarian assistance, in particular ;

Significant reduction in cases of abuse and violence & reduction in the numbers of displaced persons

Increase in access to humanitarian aid, Media and human rights services for vulnerable populations

Reinforcement of targeted protection, especially for women, children, persons with disability and senior citizens

Ensuring that Rohingyas are able to return to their Rakhine State. from Bangladesh to Myanmar

Reducing impunity and urgently bringing to justice those responsible for violence and human rights violations

Promote dialogue between Myanmar communities about Rohingyas return and facilitate direct dialogue between Rohingyas and Myanmar people in  Rakhine State.

According to the bilateral agreement in 1992 between Bangladesh & Myanmar, Myanmar Government should be recognized Rohingyas as “Members of   Myanmar Society”.

Myanmar Government Should Create spaces on the airwaves for diverse and marginalized voices, irrespective of caste, creed, race, color, gender, sexuality, faith, and differently-abled or other differences;

Myanmar Government should be recognized the voices of all Rohingyas, internally displaced peoples and communities in community radios and support their establishment, ownership, and management of their own community radios;

Bangladesh’s community media sector expressed their hope that the members of the United Nations and neighboring countries would come forward urgently to help to solve the Rohingya crisis and pressure Myanmar put into practice the measures recommended by the Kofi Annan Commission and must urgently lift restrictions on movement, review and amend the country’s discriminatory citizenship laws in line with Rohingyas as “Members of Myanmar Society”.

 

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