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No rights for Rohingya
This sounds weird but is a reality for Rohingyas. The Myanmar government in May 2013 ordered Rohingyas not to have more than two children to escape from Buddhist attacks on them. 
The measure has been enacted in Rakhine state following a proposal by a government appointed commission investigating deadly clashes in 2012 between Buddhists monks and Rohingya Muslims. 
Mobs of Buddhists armed with machetes razed thousands of Rohingya homes, leaving more than one hundred of people dead and forcing 125,000 to flee, mostly Rohingyas from violence.
"State officials said the two-child limit in the state of Rakhine would ease tensions between Buddhists and their Muslim Rohingya neighbors," said a report in The Guardian on May 25, 2013. 
Rakhine state spokesman Win Myaing, according to the Guardian report, said: "The population growth of Rohingya Muslims is 10 times higher than that of the Rakhine (Buddhists). Overpopulation is one of the causes of tension."
The commission in its report submitted to the government in April 2013 recommended for controlling the growth of Rohingya population. 
To enforce the two-child limit, the Myanmar government issued an appalling order allowing security forces to take abusive measure. 
A human rights organization, Fortify Rights in its report in 2014 disclosed a document which said officials should force a woman to breastfeed her child if there were doubts over whether she was the genuine mother of the child.  
This measure sparked huge criticism. Different international rights bodies demanded to scrape the order terming it discriminatory. 
In May 2013, Aung San Suu Kyi herself, the chief of current ruling party in Myanmar, voiced opposition to the two-child limit, saying the discriminatory regulation was “against human rights.” 
The then Myanmar government did not bother criticism as such discriminatory action against Rohingya was nothing new. 
Analysing some leaked documents of Myanmar government, Fortify Rights, a Bangkok based human rights organization, in 2014 said the government's orders amounted to "state policies of persecution" in Rakhine state. 
In its 2014 report, the right body said it analyzed a dozen of government documents from 1993 to 2013 and found that government policies imposed extensive restrictions on the basic freedoms of Rohingya. 
Orders imposed restrictions on freedom of movement, marriage, child birth, access to basic services and livelihood opportunities for Rohingya, said the report. 
End of the rule of the military junta in 2015 did not bring any good news for Rohingya. 
In a report in October 2016, International Federation for Human Rights said the present government has regrettably decided to follow the previous administration’s official policy of avoiding the use of the term ‘Rohingya.’
On 16 June 2016, the Ministry of Information sent a letter to state-run news outlets ordering them to describe Rohingya as the ‘Muslim community in Rakhine State’ in their reports.
On June 20, 2016, Aung San Suu Kyi told UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee that the government would avoid using the term ‘Rohingya.
The draconian 1982 citizenship law introduced by military junta denied Rohingya citizenship, forcing them to be stateless. They were registered as temporary residents with identification cards. The denial of citizenship and rights was dubbed by many as a design to drive the Rohingya out of Myanmar. 
The Suu Kyi's government pursued the previous military junta's imposition of restrictions on Rohingya’s religious freedom, said Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights, world oldest rights body.
On 18 September 2016, the Rakhine State government ordered the demolition of 12 mosques and 35 Arabic language teaching schools in Maungdaw and Buthidaung Townships, it said referring to the news report of Myanmar newspaper. 
The 2014 national census, which was first in 30 years, appeared as a fresh blow for Rohingyas.
Initially, they were permitted to self-identity as Rohingya. But Buddhist nationalists protested the government's decision and threatened to boycott the census. The government then decided that Rohingya could only be registered if they identified as Bengali. 
Rohingyas were also denied the voting right in recent elections. In 2015, the then Myanmar president ordered that Rohingya holding temporary identity cards could cast vote in a constitutional referendum. 
Again, Buddhists nationalists protested the order. Under pressure, the then president canceled the temporary identity cards in February 2015, revoking their newly gained right to vote. 
Temporary card holders had been allowed to vote in Myanmar’s 2008 constitutional referendum and 2010 general elections. 
In the 2015 elections, which were widely lauded as being free and fair by international monitors, no parliamentary candidate was of the Muslim faith. 
The leader of National League for Democracy (NLD), Aung San Suu Kyi, fought for decades for democracy and reform in Myanmar. But none of her party's 1,151 candidates standing in regional and national elections are Muslim. 
Akbar Ahmed, a former Pakistani high commissioner to the UK, in his article published on Aljazeera website on January 30, 2012, described the long saga of the plight of Rohingya narrating how "kings turned refugees". 
"The medieval Kingdom of Arakan, encompassing the Muslim Rohingya, was once an enlightened center of culture, knowledge, and trade, displaying a harmonic blend of Buddhism and Islam in its administration and court life," he wrote.
It was the 1784 military conquest by Bodawpaya, the king of Burma (now Myanmar), that transformed this once vibrant kingdom into an oppressed peripheral region, he said. 
"After this, many haunting tales began to circulate of Burmese soldiers rounding up the Rohingya in bamboo enclosures to burn them alive, and marching thousands to the city of Amarapura to work, effectively as slave labor, on infrastructure projects," wrote Akbar.
According to Banglapedia, a serious communal riot took place in 1942 when as high as one lakh Rohingyas were reported to have been killed. During World War II the Rohingyas formed a Mujahid force with the help of arms left behind by the retreating Japanese, but they did not succeed much against the Buddhists monks. 
On Jan. 4, 1948, Burma ended 60 years of colonial rule when it officially declared independence from Britain. But the independence could not improve the fate of Rohingya. 
The regime of U Nu, first prime minister of Independent Burma, let loose a reign of terror on the Rohingyas accusing them of having a questionable nationality. 
The army launched a massive offensive in 1954, Operation Monsoon, capturing most of the mujahideen mountain strongholds on the then East Pakistan border. The rebellion was eventually ended through ceasefires in 1961.   
The rise to power of the military junta in 1962 intensified the sufferings of Rohingya. 
The military junta set up plans to declassify and revoke rights of Rohingya ethnic community. In 1974, the junta changed Arakan state to Rakhine, an ethnically motivated name. 
The military began an ethnic cleansing campaign in 1978 under Operation King Dragon to scrutinize each individual within the state as either a citizen or alleged "illegal immigrant". 
This resulted in widespread rape, arbitrary arrests, desecration of mosques, destruction of villages and confiscation of lands among Rohingya people. In the wake of the violence, a few lakh Rohingya fled to Bangladesh.
Burma was renamed Myanmar in 1989.
With the same purpose, the military junta began second push, known as Operation Clean and Beautiful Nation, in 1991. It resulted in further violence and another massive flow of two lakh Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh.
Over the years, the military junta kept taking various anti-Rohingya measures. Myanmar officially recognizes 135 ethnic groups but not Rohingya community. Persecuted for decades, Rohingyas have been facing an escalation in brutalities since 2012.  
Since the violence in 2012, around 1.40 lakh Rohingya live in ghetto-like camps in Rakhine that they can't leave without permission of the local officials of the government.
Rohingyas have got international recognition as one of the most persecuted ethnic community in the world, but no recognition of their rights as human being. 
UN and other international rights bodies have repeatedly been voicing concern about the violation of Rohingya's human rights and urging the Myanmar government to end discrimination against Rohingya community, but no avail.  
In an interview with The Diplomat on May 25, 2014, Mohammad Rafiq, who was stateless for his whole life until he along with 78 Rohingya resettled in Ireland in 2009 from Bangladesh refugee camp, described the plight of Rohingyas. 
"Put simply, as "animal," "non-human" or "aliens," he responded to a question "How does Myanmar view the Rohingya? He said: "Many inflammatory Burmese politicians and authors refer to Rohingya as a virus. Ordinary people view us as illegal Bengali." 
UN and other international rights bodies have long been urging the Myanmar to take effective measures to address discrimination against Rohingyas. But their call has yielded no result. 
Since early hours of August 25, Myanmar security forces have been carrying out 'operation clearance' following an alleged attack on security personnel by Rohingya militants. 
The violence left more than 400 people dead and displaced thousands of Rohingyas from their homes. Over 1.23 lakh people fleeing the violence entered Bangladesh for lives.  
A day before the escalation of latest violence, a panel led by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan warned that if human rights were not respected and “the population remains politically and economically marginalized – northern Rakhine State may provide fertile ground for radicalization, as local communities may become increasingly vulnerable to recruitment by extremists”. 
Brussels based think tank International Crisis Group in a report in December last year and again in a statement on August 27 this year said extreme discrimination against Rohingyas for decades led some Muslims in Rakhine state to take up violence.  
"Crisis Group has noted repeatedly that an aggressive military response that is not part of a broader political strategy and policy framework will only worsen the situation," it said on August 27. 
British writer George Monbiot in an article published by The Guardian on Tuesday said: "The rage of those Rohingya people who have taken up arms has been used as an excuse to accelerate an existing program of ethnic cleansing."
Shakhawat Liton - Bangladeshi Journalist
8.09.2017 - Hit : 2745

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