Joint Statement by Rohingya organisations:
Dated: 18 May 2012
Rohingya welcome Indian Government's decision and request to grant official refugee status to Rohingya asylum seekers
The undersigned Rohingya organisations have welcomed the decision of the Indian government to grant long-term visas to the Rohingyas. The UNHCR called it "a huge step forward for their protection and safety in India".
Rohingya, a peace loving people inhabiting Arakan with a long history, are not tolerated in Burma for their South Asian appearance in contrast to Southeast Asian. They have been subjected to ethnic, religious and political persecution in their native country, where they have absolute rights to be on an equal footing with all other citizens.
The Burmese military regime followed by ruling Burmese civilianized military government has declared Rohingya non-nationals rendering them stateless. Grave human rights violations that amount to crimes against humanity have been perpetrated against them. Since Burma's independence about 1.5 million Rohingyas have either been expelled or have had to leave their homeland to escape persecution. Under extreme situation, a large number of Rohingya boat people voyaged in rickety boats to South East Asian countries in search of protection. Since 2009 a number of them drowned in the high seas while scores of others were rescued or jailed in some countries in the region.
It is horrible that the Burmese government and state patronized extremists in Arakan are at present restless trying to tarnish the image of the Rohingya people through series of anti-Rohingya propagandas under racist and xenophobic plans. The xenophobes are also trying to stir up public opinion against Rohingya asylum seekers in the countries of their refuge.
It is terrible that in his open letter, dated 14 May 2012, to Hon. Prime Minister Shri Manmohan Ji Singh, the Chief of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Dr. Praven Togadia has made a fictitious, highly controversial and largely unsubstantiated allegation against the Rohingya people and their asylum seekers in India. Nevertheless, we appreciate the benign Government of India for allowing the Rohingya refugees to stay on in India and pursue asylum with access to education for their children in public schools. We are also thankful to the Indian public and Indian student communities for helping the asylum seekers.
While recognizing with gratitude the humane treatment of the persecuted Rohingya asylum seekers we request the Indian government to consider granting them official refugee status in the absence of 'national protection'.
Meanwhile, we urge upon the Indian government and the international community to find out a permanent solution of the Rohingya problem and of Rohingya diasporas.
Signatories to this joint statement:
1. Arakan Rohingya National organisation (ARNO),
2. Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK),
3. Burmese Rohingya Association Japan (BRAJ)
4. Burmese Rohingya Community in Australia (BRCA)
5. Burmese Rohingya Community in Norway (BRCN)
6. Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand (BRAT)
7. Rohingya League for Democracy (Burma) (RLDB)
For more information, please contact:
Aman Ullah +880-15584 86910
Tun Khin + 44- 788 871 4866