(Ali Johar (Maung Thein Shwe) was born in Buthidaung, Rakhine (Arakan state) in Myanmar. He has been a refugee in India since 2012. He is the Secretary of Rohingya Refugee Committee of Delhi. Currently pursuing his B.A from Delhi University. He represented his country (Myanmar) at the Global Sustainability Summit 2017 held by SRCC and Youth in Peace Building held at RGNIYD, Chandigarh.)
The following is a transcript of the speech delivered by Ali at ‘Listening Rohingya’ organized by The Reading Circle, Jamia Millia Islamia on 4th April 2017.
Today I am much honored and I feel glad to get a chance to speak on behalf of my people.
Rohingyas are those citizens of Myanmar who have been denied citizenship right and as well as human right for generations. Violence, exploitation and torture have been increased since 2012. Many Rohingya people have fled to neighboring countries such as Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Thailand etc. to escape from violence in their homeland Myanmar.
India is also temporary home to twenty thousand Rohingyas who came to India during and before 2012 with the hope to have peaceful life. They were given refugee rights as per UNHCR mandate.
Fortunately, UNHCR has recognized many of Rohingya people as refugees since 2012. We are thankful to Government of India as they have also started offering long term visa to Rohingya refugees for their further protection. But no matter whether we hold LTV and UNHCR card or not, still our situation is uncertain here.
Our situation in Myanmar is getting worse and worse by day. More than 140,000 Rohingyas are still in internal displaced camps since 2012. Mobility within the country is being restricted, people even can’t travel from village to village and from city to city. People are being impoverished day by day and can’t feed their family and that situation makes them to leave their country. Till 1982 we enjoyed with our full citizenship right but after the citizenship law made by military us along with some other minorities are made stateless in our indigenous land. My father U Abu Tahir got his (NRC) so called National registration card but his children did not, I did not get it.
People are being arrested with false accusations every day and are being charged bribes in their poor situation and if they can’t afford to give money then they are imprisoned for years without appearing at the court. It is like hunter going to forest to hunt animal without any justification, wherever and whenever they wish. The government of Myanmar is doing the same with us, hunting us whenever they wish no justice for our people at all. Today they already driven out half of the Rohingya population and the remaining half are living in persecution. They really don’t know when hunter will come and hunt them. Government is forcefully trying to seize all national identity from Rohingya and implement Naypyaydaw Ethnic Cleansing Card , so called Nationality Verification Card (NVC).
Today no single Rohingya can attend University in Myanmar and about business? You can understand that how people can run their business if a person can’t travel village to village and city to city. If a labor used to go some other village to find a job he has to take permission and that permission cost him his half daily wage. Freedom of religion is denied since 2012. All the mosques have been closed. People even can’t pray weekly JUMA. Religious buildings are being burnt down, destroyed or locked. Women are being gang raped. If you have young sister she will be treated as a property of the military. Lots of girls are kidnapped and taken as sex slaves by security personal. If someone has daughters he would be arrested with false accusations and only released with the fever of sex by his daughters.
Young people are being arrested and tortured, even the children are being killed and burnt alive, and many villages are torched. Myanmar even deny our existence and identity, they don’t recognize our ethnic name (Rohingya). Since October 2016 thousands of people are killed and more than seventy thousands fled to Bangladesh to escape from violation. Aung San Su Kyi a Nobel Laureate who is now the leader of ruling party is also silent on the issue who ones said please “use your liberty to promote ours” but she is free now and she is not using her freedom to promote ours.
Again all the international media and human rights organizations are banned from the area to hide the reality from international community since October 2016 exactly like what they did in 2012. UN commission of Inquiry was rejected and UN fact finding mission is being rejected. UN and human right organizations say “it’s crimes against Humanity and could possibly be a silent Genocide going on there”. Aung San Su Kyi says there is no ethnic cleansing, I too agree with her because ethnic cleansing is very soft word to use, it’s a Genocide going on there.
Here I would like to end my speech with your permission by saying: We all human beings are equal no matter where we come from and what religion we follow. We seven billion people are same and share the same blood, what we all want is just a chance. A chance to live, a chance for education and a chance for a bright future. I know each and every one of you has the opportunity to help someone else. All you need to do is help one person expecting nothing in return. To me, that is humanity. May peace be unto all.