Urgent call to action for the Rohingya in Rakhine State, Myanmar –

From Between the Lines and the Words

Appel urgent à l’action pour les Rohingyas de l’État de Rakhine, au Myanmar

On May 17, 2024, starting around 10 p.m. (Myanmar time), the Arakan Army set fire to downtown Buthidaung and surrounding villages, including Tat Min Chaung and Kyauk Phyu Taung, according to information from these localities. Witnesses said AA members burned the vast majority of the city’s neighborhoods, including homes, schools and other civilian buildings. Hundreds of Rohingya were reportedly killed or maimed, and nearly 150,000 were forcibly displaced. Buthidaung commune has the highest concentration of Rohingya – more than 200,000 civilians – in the state.

According to these reports, the Army’s attack on the city center of Buthidaung, which has seven districts, is not directly linked to the ongoing and escalating armed conflict with the Burmese military in the Rakhine State. Three days before the AA attack, the Burmese military reportedly withdrew from the town center of Buthidaung. The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, which is known to cooperate with the military, withdrew from Buthidaung town center days before the attack. The Rohingyas forcibly recruited by the army, who had burned several houses that the inhabitants of the Rakhine ethnic group had fled a few weeks ago, were also not present in the affected area.

Alarmingly, the AA attack on Buthidaung comes against a backdrop of escalating atrocities against Rohingya civilians. Over the past two weeks, WPN has received reports of the AA burning dozens of Rohingya villages and bombing Basic Education Secondary School No. 1 and the only hospital in the township, where Internally displaced Rohingya were seeking refuge. Cases of massacres of Rohingya families in several villages in the commune have also been reported; These include a group of former Rohingya who have attempted to engage in talks with AA members in the area in an effort to moderate AA attacks against them and their communities. These attacks left hundreds of civilians dead and injured, and in Rakhine State, nearly 100,000 Rohingya were forcibly displaced. The WPN continues to verify information and actively search for evidence amid continued arbitrarily disconnected phone lines and internet in Rakhine State, coupled with the online and offline spread of fake news and disinformation. , promotion of hate speech and genocidal rhetoric by actors such as the Burmese army and AA leaders, as well as acts aimed at exacerbating ethnic tensions and weaponizing (weaponizing) Rohingyas against the objectives and efforts of the Burmese pro-democracy movement.

It is perhaps unnecessary to recall that the hundreds of thousands of displaced Rohingya, who are increasingly at risk of further atrocities, are victims and survivors of the genocidal attacks of 2017. They are also part of the 600,000 Rohingya remained in Myanmar, including around 130,000 internally displaced people, in conditions of extreme human precarity. Systematically deprived of citizenship, freedom of movement and other basic rights, the Rohingya have no means of fleeing or protecting themselves from an apartheid regime, forced conscription, widespread acts of kidnapping, torture, murder, and other targeted attacks by the Burmese military and other actors. At the same time, the recent evacuation of personnel from the United Nations and various international non-governmental organizations has deprived Rohingya civilians in Rakhine State of any access to humanitarian assistance, including food and basic necessities. need. Widespread communications and transport outages continue. Famine, especially for women and children, is now imminent in the region.

International law must be respected so that the situation in Rakhine State is addressed comprehensively. It is essential that all necessary measures are taken to protect the Rohingya ethnic and religious minority, which has been recognized by the International Court of Justice as a “protected group” under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

Immediate action is needed to end the ongoing atrocities in Rakhine State and prevent further atrocious crimes against the Rohingya. The international community must no longer fail the Rohingya as it did in the days, months, years and decades leading up to the 2017 genocidal attacks.

As a result, WPN immediately calls:

– the international community to deploy independent observers in Rakhine State so that experts can fact-check and report on the current crisis;

– UN Member States and donor governments to provide humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya forcibly displaced by the current crisis in Rakhine State;

– the Secretary-General of the United Nations to invoke Article 99 of the United Nations Charter regarding the situation in Rakhine State and to ensure that cross-border aid can be provided to affected communities;

– the United Nations Security Council to hold a public meeting on the situation in Rakhine State, focusing on the non-compliance with the provisional measures requested by the ICJ;

– the leaders of the Burmese democratic movement, including the Government of National Unity, the Consultative Council of National Unity and the revolutionary organizations of the ethnic communities to take all necessary measures to prevent the escalation of atrocities against the ethnic and religious minority Rohingya in Rakhine State, and to actively fight against the manipulative use of ethnic divisions by the Burmese army against the democracy movement and its efforts to move towards a truly inclusive federal democracy; And

– the AA and its leaders to engage immediately and significantly with the Rohingya community with the well-defined aim of preventing further atrocities from being committed against them, ensuring their protection, their access to justice and responsibilities, so as to establish a solid basis for the peaceful coexistence of all communities in Arakan.

May 19, 2024

Women’s Peace Network

Declaration in PDF format


Translated for ESSF by Pierre Vandevoorde with the help of DeeplPro.


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