Thursday, March 22, 2012

88 - Rohingya and Media

The Rohingya community of Arakan, Burma (Myanmar) is one of the most dangerous ethnic minorities of the world. They are facing unexpected exercises in their ancestral land by political oppression, economic exploitation and cultural slavery in their ancestral land Arakan where they have been living for centuries.

Since the independence of Burma ( Myanmar ) from British Empire on 4th January 1948, the Rohingyas have been targeting under tyranny military regime decades after decades.

Depriving their all basic rights and ignoring the historical evidences of Rohingyas’ glorious past in Arakan, the Rohingyas have been made and illegal immigrant community in Arakan by the injustice action of Burmese military regime through an amendment to the Burma citizenship law in 1982.

After losing of their legitimate rights as the bonafide citizens of Burma, the Rohingyas have become homeless and stateless in their own home. The authority has been subjecting them to severe persecutions including serious restrictions of their movement even from village to village, ban on their marriage without government permission, religious persecution, extortion, raping the women, abusing the elders ,land confiscation, extra-judicial silent killing and restrictions on access to education.

Arakan State is a closed zone for the media and so there is no scope for the world media to focus what is going on with the Rohingyas inside Arakan. Furthermore, the displaced Rohingyas are facing in neighbor countries like in ( Bangladesh, India, China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia etc ) by legal processing as the undocumented and stateless community who has lost their proves.

Rohingyas are passing their lives like a gypsy with fears such as sub human condition,
Due to the lack of the official papers, they are often subjected to arrest, detention, punishment for immigration offences and deportation by authorities and uncounted people are in the prisons of in different neighbor countries.

However, in many neighbor countries the Rohingyas have been migrated for a long time and have never got the citizenship rights or recognized as refugee by the authorities.

An estimated 3.5 million population of Rohingyas, are facing the same time linguistic problem because, they have no strong media in their own language to represent them by live transmission of Radio and TV.

Today, they are losing national identity, culture, faith, unity and most of them are losing their mother language and have mixed other languages in their daily lives, which has become too difficult to communicate to each other. Some of them have completely lost their mother languages and they are trying to integrate in that communities where they live at the moment which seems that Rohingya community will disappear in coming life.

According to the Human Rights Commission and the Advocacy Officer of the CSW for South Asia, said, “A senior UN official, who has served in Darfur and other humanitarian crisis situations and who, in the words of a foreign diplomat, “knows human misery when he sees it", recently described the situation in northern Arakan as "as bad as anything he has seen in terms of the denial of basic human freedoms". Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which works in northern Arakan State and has also operated in the camps for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, has described the Rohingya as one of the ten world populations in danger of extinction.”

Absence of News Media in Arakan :

Robert Heinlein said, secrecy is the beginning of tyranny. It is the news media which mainly bring most of the secrets to the surface. A journalist witnesses an incident, films it and releases it and thus opens the eye of people, organizations and governments as well as the international community through his report, his video and other online technologies about the human rights violations and thus, he brings a change in the society and in a nation.

The news media play an immense role in the restoration of human rights of a community or a nation. It has an unimaginable power to organize the "people power" against any injustice and tyranny and build a culture of freedom. Moreover, the role that the broadcast media plays in changing the face of a society is beyond description. Because of satellite links which now enable broadcast news organizations to originate live programming from any part of the globe, the entire world is becoming one "global village" as Marshall McLuhan said or as the famous line of Shakespeare "all the world's a stage".

Nevertheless, in a country which the military rulers have turned into a secret state of terror where human rights are constantly violated and where the guns of the army point out the way of life of the people, the voice for the presence of human rights groups or news media organizations in Arakan is a far cry. It is only a democratic atmosphere which can pave the way to stop human rights violations against Rohingyas and bring an end to the chapter of genocide and ethnic cleansing operations against them.

The current Burmese military regime does not recognize the existence of the Rohingyas in Burma even though the democratic government of U Nu granted local autonomy to the Rohingyas and declared establishment of the Mayu Frontier Administration (MFA), a special frontier district ruled directly by the central government in the year 1961, May 30.

Their ethnic status was recognized by the democratic government of U Nu then they had political representatives, a right to vote, a role in the Union Day Celebrations, and a Rohingya language program in the official Burma Broadcasting Service (BBS) which was abolished in 1964, on February 1, by Gen. Ne Win after he seized power from U Nu.

Since Rohingyas have less opportunity for freedom of expression and other fundamental rights and freedom in their homeland.

I strongly believe and can be covered the demand of the helpless Rohingya community that if the international community, NGOs, EU , USA, UN and the other International Media group help us to establish a powerful media group to highlight the real situation of Rohingyas inside Arakan and outside of country too.

Then they will able to express, publish freely their convictions and opinions, to assemble peacefully without arms and holding procession, to form associations and organizations, to develop their language, literature, culture they cherish, and customs without prejudice to the relations between one national race and another or among national races and to other faiths.

Rohingya community will able to solve a long standing crisis by introducing as a nation through media on international level for a good communication and a good relationship in coming life.

It can possible to provide bias services as one of the sources from Arakan State for international community by working collaboratively with other news agencies, democratic forces and Human Rights groups releasing, accurate, current news of Arakan and Burma including all kind of news around the world in the future.

Moreover, we can improve the works of democracy, human rights violations, co-operation and sharing information with partner news organizations.

Written by M.Hussain Azmi
Tel No: +49-176-28856917

Bangladesh, Burma: Maritime Dispute Resolation

Bangladesh, Burma: Maritime Dispute Resolution
Posted by Animesh Roul on June 7, 2010. Filed under Bangladesh, Burma, Maritime Security, Reading, Writing & Speeches.
In January this year both Bangladesh and Burma (Myanmar) have agreed to settle the longstanding maritime dispute over offshore oil and gas rights in the Bay of Bengal. They have reportedly demarcated the disputed sea boundary following the principles of equidistance and equity of resources. But again, two months later, in March 2010, Myanmar has proposed to draw a new line somewhere near the imaginary ‘Friendship line’ (close to St Martins Island) to demarcate the maritime boundary with Bangladesh.

The situation deteriorated in November 2008 (Read my commentary on the issue “Standoff in the Bay of Bengal” ) when Bangladesh deployed warships and army along its border with Myanmar over the latter’s bid to explore oil and gas in the disputed maritime zone. Myanmar dismissed Bangladesh’s claims on this oil-rich area as “unlawful” and vowed to continue exploration. India, the largest of the three littoral countries, has remained a mute spectator so far. Other than India, China and South Korea are also in the race for exploration of hydrocarbons in the Bay of Bengal. This unresolved issue could emerge as a major bone of contention that would trigger future resource conflict among Southeast Asian neighbors.

A recently published paper titled “The Maritime Boundary Dispute between Bangladesh and Myanmar: Motivations, Potential Solutions, and Implications” (Asia Policy, National Bureau of Asian Research, Number 10, July 2010) examines the issue in detail and explores ‘avenues for resolution and the resulting implications’ for both the countries and the region.

The Paper makes some vital policy suggestions:

•A maritime boundary agreement would allow Bangladesh and Myanmar to begin exploiting potential resources, which could help alleviate Bangladesh’s gas crisis and bring more foreign reserves to Myanmar.
•Gas discoveries in Myanmar’s newly delineated maritime territory will likely rouse competition for gas exports between China and India similar to that over gas from the Shwe fields.
•Gas discoveries in the overlapping claims area offer the opportunity for Myanmar to create stronger economic, strategic, and political links with India.
•Development of energy infrastructure in northwestern Myanmar will disproportionately challenge the livelihood of the Rohingya.
•Some scope exists for regional multilateral organizations, especially BIMSTEC, to help engender cooperation in the Bay of Bengal region.
•If settled through the ITLOS, the dispute could provide legal precedent that affects future maritime boundary cases elsewhere.

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