Rohingyas need urgent eye care access: Study

Home > Health > Published:  11:50 AM, 20 April 2020

Rohingyas need urgent eye care access: Study

Asian Age Online

Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar. A study of Orbis International has found that the Rohingya refugees need urgent eye care access.

A study has found that the number of people with operable cataract is three- to six-fold higher among working-aged Rohingya refugees, who have taken shelter in southern Bangladesh, than the host population.

It also found that among the more than 68,000 people who received services during the study, the vast majority of vision loss was due to refractive error and unoperated cataract.

Orbis International conducted the study and the findings were published in a special issue of peer-reviewed medical journal PLOS Medicine recently.

The report demonstrated the demand for comprehensive eye services in refugee settings and providing a roadmap for other organisations doing similar work.

It observed that the burden among adults in their peak working years — 18 to 29 – “was especially noteworthy”.Cataract surgery is among the most cost-effective interventions in healthcare, according to a World Bank report.

A random sampling of Rohingyas who had cataract removed showed excellent surgical outcomes when benchmarked against a large online database of other global users, using an application co-developed by Orbis.

Following an outbreak of violence in August 2017, over 742,000 Rohingya fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh, making Kutupalong refugee settlement in Cox’s Bazar the world’s largest.

Since February 2018, Orbis and partner Cox’s Bazar Baitush Sharaf Hospital have been providing vision screenings, glasses, and cataract surgery for children and adults in the Rohingya population and surrounding host communities with support from the Qatar Fund for Development.

The Orbis’s study, which represents one of the largest published datasets on refugee eye health, highlighted the heavy burden of eye disease among the Rohingya, but even more importantly, their unexpectedly high demand for service.

“The demand for eye care services was significantly higher than we anticipated,” said Dr. Munir Ahmed, Country Director of Orbis International Bangladesh. He said, “It is perhaps not surprising that we saw high volumes of patients among these chronically underserved displaced and host communities who had unoperated cataract or who needed glasses but did not have them.

“But the very high uptake of service in this program – fully 60% of those aged 60 and over in the targeted Rohingya community – is truly extraordinary when you think about the many health priorities they face. It underscores the potential for eye care to build resilience in such refugee populations.”

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has reported that the global number of displaced people has reached 70 million, the highest on record.

While addressing life-threatening conditions, such as infectious disease outbreaks and malnutrition, remains the greatest priority in humanitarian response, Orbis’s study responds to a growing understanding that addressing non-life-threatening needs can improve the resilience of displaced communities, helping them better survive and thrive under demanding conditions.

The study also underscored how improving vision among host communities not only enhances their own well-being, but can also help build their capacity to support displaced populations in their midst.

Orbis’s work in southeast Bangladesh is an extension of a partnership between Orbis and the Qatar Fund for Development. Thanks to their vital support, Orbis has been able to work with local partners to deliver more than 127,000 eye screenings and nearly 52,000 treatments to the Rohingya population and host communities in two years.

Orbis’s sight-saving work in these vulnerable communities builds on a long history of collaboration in Bangladesh, including providing training for eye care professionals on paediatric ophthalmology as well as the treatment of cataract, glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, and more.

Source: https://dailyasianage.com/news/227010/rohingyas-need-urgent-eye-care-access-study

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Arakan, International, Media, Myanmar, Publication, Rohingya

Protecting Rohingya community from Corona virus

Home > Special Supplement > Published:  01:24 AM, 02 April 2020

Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie joins in a press briefing as she visits Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Feb 5, 2018. -Reuters

Barrister Fariha Afroz

The entire world is facing a tough time due to Coronavirus pandemic. Around 200 countries and territories have reported a total of 664,941 coronavirus confirmed cases and a death toll of 30,894 deaths. Bangladesh has confirmed 51 cases of Coronavirus infection and 5 deaths till date.

World’s largest refugee camp Kutupalong refugee camp is in Ukhia, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Rohingya refugees that fled from ethnic and religious persecution in neighboring Myanmar are the inhabitant of this refugee camp. No Coronavirus cases have been reported yet among Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh according to World Health Organization (WHO) officials.

In last 2 months, over 70,000 people called IEDCR hotlines and only 1,100 have been tested. Testing is severely limited, and refugees are rarely a priority. We cannot say no one is infected in the refugee camp, rather, we should say we have been failed to detect any Corona patient because of the lack of testing.

As developed countries like United States and Italy are struggling with mass outbreaks of the Corona virus, international health experts and aid workers are increasingly worried that the virus could devastate the world’s most vulnerable people. Coronavirus fear grips Rohingya camps in Bangladesh as the vulnerable conditions they are living in can be a perfect breeding ground for contagion.

Social Distancing: When the whole world is stressing to create social distance from the society in combating the Corona virus, there are more than a million Rohingya refugees who are living in 34 camps in Cox’s Bazar. World Health Organization (WHO) advised to keep 1 meter (3 feet) apart. However, up to 12 people live in each tent which is barely 10 square meters (12 square yards). This population density is making social distancing impossible for refugees.

Maintaining Hygiene: Refugee camps are packed with traumatized and undernourished people with limited access to health care and basic sanitation. Most of them sleep on muddy floor spreading plastic paper in the tent. Besides, the refugees are still struggling for clean drinking water and flowing water in toilets let alone masks, soaps or hand sanitizers. People can’t even wash their kids, let alone wash their hands, said one of the refugees.

Steps taken to Protect Rohingya Community: In Cox’s Bazar, emergency awareness measures have been in place for several weeks. More than 1,400 refugee community health volunteers work within the camps to ensure key messages are shared regularly with the refugee population.

These include systematic health prevention and promotion messages, Donovan said. “Besides emergency medical teams, more than 100 national and international partners are supporting the health sector in Cox’s Bazar”, Bercaru said. Almost 300 health staffs have received training in Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) so far and up to 250 clinical focal points of health facilities are receiving refresher trainings on Early Warning Alert and Response System (EWARS).

Aid agencies have been raising awareness among members of the Rohingya community about personal and food hygiene measures to evade infection. World Vision’s staff members have been raising awareness about proper hand-washing since the beginning of the response in 2017 through their learning centers for children and through many other programmes in the camps.

World Vision, in partnership with UNICEF, is distributing soap to Rohingya refugees to help prevent Corona virus (COVID-19). Each family receives 10 pieces of bath soap (100 grams per piece) and five bars of laundry soap (130 grams per piece) each month for washing hands, bathing and washing clothes.

Hand- washing stations equipped with soap and water have been set up at all their field distribution points and camp facilities, including WFP food assistance points, women’s safe spaces, learning centers and multi-purpose centers.

In one of his interviews Md Mahbub Alam Talukder, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) said that they have already collected sufficient testing kits to detect coronavirus for Rohingya camps. Health officials are ready to isolate people showing coronavirus symptoms, said Louise Donovan, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) spokeswoman in Cox’s Bazar.In health centers inside the camps, more than 64 beds were designated to quarantine anyone tested positive.

The health centers, jointly run by international aid agencies, also have some empty seats to quarantine patients if needed. More than 400 protection community outreach workers will also support message dissemination, as well as other volunteers and community leaders. Communication is ongoing through radio, volunteers and community leaders.

More Steps need be taken to ensure the safety of the Rohingya Community. The aid workers should spread more awareness among the refugees regarding the precautionary steps. They should also educate the refugees on how they can spot the symptoms of the infected person. It is also very important for them to inform the health workers if they suspect someone with the symptom and isolate them till the test result discovered.

Where they are hardly getting any clean water to drink, hygiene cannot be ensured without supplying adequate clean water. Many rights workers are volunteering at refugee camps to build awareness on how to stay safe with limited water supply. But the government should look into this matter to help them to get enough supply of water to keep them safe. They should be provided with adequate masks, gloves and other sanitation items.

Lockdowns imposed by governments to slow the virus’s spread have become punishment for refugees who struggle to find food as they are very much dependent on others for their rations. Steps need to be taken by government as well as the aid workers to ensure enough food stocked for them to survive during this crisis.

In emergency situation, people keep themselves updated and take necessary safety precautions mostly relying on information available via the internet, radio, television. Therefore, the bar on internet access in refugee camps should be lifted considering the prevailing situation.

There should be a fixed number of testing kits reserved for the refugees. In the cities, people have more facilities and can keep themselves isolated from the society which will eventually slow down the spread of the Corona virus. Whereas, the refugee camps are overcrowded, they don’t have that option available.

Therefore, any person with the symptoms needs to be isolated and tested immediately, otherwise it will become uncontrollable. Moreover, adequate equipped medical staffs are needed to aid them as they are in the most vulnerable position.

If we think this is a big issue in developed countries, we haven’t seen anything yet if Covid gets into the refugee population. The Coronavirus could rip through these camps with devastation speed and mortality. While there are currently no suspected cases of Covid-19 in the camps, the UNHCR takes the situation very seriously and is closely monitoring.

If the virus is present, the camps are profoundly ill-equipped to handle it. In a developing country like Bangladesh, where the best medicals of it are left with very few test kits and the doctors are not being provided with the required PPE (Personal Protection Equipment), if the Corona virus breaks out in one of their camps everyone will get affected by it.

The Corona virus, which has no vaccine or agrees upon treatment regimen for Covid-19, the respiratory disease it causes, could be even more devastating. It would be more devastating than the insurgency that brought them here.

Barrister Fariha Afroz is a columnist and Associate at FM Associates.

Source: https://dailyasianage.com/news/225085/protecting-rohingya-community-from-corona-virus

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Publication

Collectively we win or otherwise we fail

Home > Special Supplement   Published:  01:21 AM, 02 April 2020 Last Update: 02:19 AM, 02 April 2020

Collectively we win or otherwise we fail Government does not have Aladdin’s magic lamp

Tasmiah Nuhiya Ahmed

COVID-19 is a novel corona virus that emerged in China in 2019. On 7 January 2020, Chinese authorities confirmed COVID-19 and on 30 January 2020, the Director-General of WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International concern (PHEIC).

The corona virus COVID-19 is affecting 200 countries and territories around the world and 2 international conveyances: the Diamond Princess cruise ship harbored in Yokohama, Japan, and the Holland America’s MS Zaandam cruise ship. Globally there are 786, 907 cases of Corona virus and 37,840 deaths. 1, 65, 892 people have recovered globally from Corona virus (as of March 31, 2020, Source: Worldometers).

According to Best Healthcare in the World by Population 2020, healthcare system of France appears to be on top of the list of 100 countries and then comes Italy. Singapore ranked 6th, Spain ranked 7th, United Kingdom ranked 18th, United States ranked 37th, Thailand ranked 47th, Malaysia ranked 49th, Bangladesh ranked 88th among 100 countries of the world (Source: World Population Review).

Now coming back to the corona virus pandemic, Worldometers data suggests that USA has the highest number of corona virus cases, which is 1, 64,266 and the number of total deaths in USA reached at 3,170. 101, 739 Covid-19 cases reported in Italy, which has the 2nd highest number.

And 3rd is the Spain which has 87, 956 corona virus cases.  In France, which has the best healthcare system, a total of 44, 550 Covid-19 cases have been reported. 22,141 cases of Coronavirus reported in UK. In Canada, 7,474 Covid-19 cases have been reported and 92 people have died due to Coronavirus.

The number of Corona virus cases is 4,557 in Australia, 2626 in Malaysia, 1865 in Pakistan, 1651 in Thailand, 1414 in Indonesia, 1251 in India, 879 in Singapore, 51 in Bangladesh.

The number of deaths from Corona virus is highest in Italy. The number of death from Corona virus cases is 11,591 in Italy, 7,716 in Spain, 3,305 in China, 3,170 in USA, 3024 in France, 1408 in UK, 122 in Indonesia, 22 in Canada and 5 in Bangladesh (Source: Worldometers as of March 31, 2020).

In the health system of Bangladesh, the Government or public sector is the first key actor which by constitution is responsible not only for policy and regulation but for provision of comprehensive health services, including financing and employment of health staff. Bangladesh has been growing through a health crisis for a long time.

About 3% of Bangladesh’s GDP is spent on health, out of which the government contribution is about 1.1%. In term of dollar, the total health expenditure in the country is about US$ 12 per capita per annum, of which the public health expenditure is around US$ 4.

In Bangladesh, historically, supply-side financing of health care services has been the backbone strategy for improving the access of poor households to essential health care services. (Source: National Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19, Bangladesh, March 2020).

Bangladesh is currently fighting against COVID-19 pandemic with limited financial resources and a legacy of poor healthcare infrastructure. In an attempt to curb the spread of Corona virus, the government of Bangladesh has announced nationwide holiday from March 26 to April 4, which may further be extended until April 9.

During the period of general holidays, army is enforcing social distancing across the nation. When the first batch of mass returnees arrived from China in February, they were all quarantined at the Ashkana Hajj Camp in Dhaka. In mid-March when the second batch of foreign returnees-over a hundred and forty Bangladeshis evacuated from Italy-arrived, were allowed to leave with the promise of “home quarantine.”

Bangladesh updated “Infectious Diseases Prevention, Control and Elimination Act, 2018” on communicable diseases. The Act provides that “keep or quarantine any suspected person infected with an infectious disease, at a specific hospital, temporary hospital, establishment or home”.

This law empowers government in notification, isolation, quarantine, sample collection and testing in emerging diseases. The law forms an advisory committee, headed by Minister, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare including Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock.

The Bangladeshi research institute spearheading the fight to test and detect coronavirus is the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), a body under the Ministry of Health. IEDCR Director Meerjady Sabrina is claiming that Bangladesh has been following the WHO guideline and doing enough tests as WHO is repeatedly asking countries to test as many people as possible to get an exact bearing on the nature of infection and the geographic concentration.

However, several media reports quoted experts saying that Bangladesh is still not equipped with the necessary health care facilities and support to deal with serious cases of the novel coronavirus. Many have expressed concern that there is a serious lack of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds with facilities with ventilators, shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health care workers, testing kits and other resources, including a national fund to fight the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Bangladesh is facing these challenges because of a weak Health Ministry. There is a serious crisis of ICU beds prepared for patients and necessary training and supply of PPE to physicians and health care associates,” Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi public health activist and founder of Gonoshasthaya Kendra, a rural health care organization with a modern medical facility, (Source: Anadolu Agency, 29 March 2020). According to some media reports, some local hospitals, including in the capital Dhaka, issued a notification for doctors to procure their own PPE due to a crisis of insufficient supply.

The Transparency International, Bangladesh (TIB) in statement criticized the way the government allowed returnees from abroad to travel to their villages as fears mount of a heightened outbreak. Moreover, it is also being reported that in the last two months, over eight lakh people had called the Covid-19 hotlines for tests.

IEDCR hotlines alone received over 70 thousand calls. But only less than 1,100 have been tested and 51 positive cases have been found. The report suggests that the reason behind this low number of coronavirus cases in Bangladesh is the low number of tests of Covid-19 (Source: The Business Standard, 29 March 2020).

After the first reported case of infection, Bangladesh did not report any new cases for the next five days. Then on March 14 two cases were reported. The next day no cases were reported. New patients were detected in between March 16 to March 24. But then on March 25 & 26, no new cases were reported. Another new COVID-19 case in the country was reported on 30 March 2020.

Professor Benzir Ahmed, former director of the health directorate (disease control) said we are missing the scope to detect infected people while raising the risk of spreading the virus (Source: The Business Standard).

It is important to note that South Korea has become an example of containing the virus by conducting extensive tests immediately after the outbreak. It conducted more than three lakh tests. More than six persons every one thousand people were tested. Virologist Prof Nazrul Islam, former vice-chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, also expressed concern over the small number of tests and warned that the battle against Covid-19 could be lost if testing capacity were not increased (Source: The Business Standard).

Now, let’s look into the Covid-19 situation in Bangladesh through another lens.

The government of Bangladesh has formulated National Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19, Bangladesh, March 2020 (Plan March 2020) which states that the Government shall prevent entry of COVID19 case in Bangladesh from affected countries, limit human-to-human transmission including reducing secondary infections among close contacts and health care workers, prevent transmission & amplification events, and enhance infection prevention & control in community and health care settings; identify, isolate and care for patients early, communicate critical risk and event information to the communities and counter misinformation and minimize social and economic impact through multisectoral partnerships.

It also provides that Bangladesh will ensure emergency contingency protocols to support quarantine according to the “Infectious Disease (Prevention, Control and Elimination) Act 2018. In accordance with Article 32 of the International Health Regulation, suitable infrastructure will be selected for quarantine.

Accommodation, food and other necessary supplies will be provided. Ministry of disaster management and relief will be engaged along with other stakeholders for this.  Appropriate communication channels shall be established to avoid panic.

The Principal Scientific Officer (PSO) at the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), Dr. A. S. M. Alamgir, said: “We are preparing doctors and other necessary initiatives according to our national preparedness policy, and the hospitals are getting prepared under the policy to deal with any possible situation”.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque in a news conference in Dhaka said that the government has been working to increase the number of ICU bed for corona patient to 100 shortly and will gradually increase ICU units to 400.

Bangladesh has screened over 650,000 people in its international airports, ports and land borders, though there were only 28,483 people in quarantine and 47 in isolation, as of March 28. The country has 51 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and five deaths, according to the Directorate of Health. According to the country’s health ministry, the government has been working on right path to address the coronavirus pandemic in Bangladesh. The government has so far allocated Tk 9 crore in cash and 31,000 metric tons of rice for the low-income people across the country as they remained without any work following the restrictive measures taken to tackle the corona virus. Both the financial and food assistance are being allocated through the Disaster Management and Relief Ministry.

According to the statistics of the National Disaster Response Coordination Centre, the government has so far allocated Tk 88,972,264 and 31,217 metric tons of rice for the low-income people in 64 districts, according to a PID handout (Source: The New Nation, 31 March 2020).

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on 31 March 2020 said that the extension of holidays will be done to ensure that there will be no more death from COVID-19. “We`re taking this decision for the welfare of all,“ she added.

The COVID-19 outbreak is an unprecedented global public health challenge. It is vital to have easy access to good, clear data and a good understanding of what can and cannot be said based on the available data, in order for governments, organisations and individuals to respond to it effectively. As this is a new challenge for the world, every government is struggling to fight against Covid-19.

I understand that we have legitimate concern over the spread of corona virus in our country. We also have the right to have opinions on government’s actions taken to prevent spread of corona virus. However, we must also need to understand that there is no Aladdin’s magic lamp for the government to win the battle against Covid-19. It depends on us also if we would win the battle or not. Let’s not point our fingers always at government.

Let’s work together for the betterment of our nation, country and the entire humanity. We can’t win the battle against Covid-19 without being co-operative and tolerant. We must learn to appreciate to move forward. It also provides that Bangladesh will ensure emergency contingency protocols to support quarantine according to the “Infectious Disease (Prevention, Control and Elimination) Act 2018. In accordance with Article 32 of the International Health Regulation, suitable infrastructure will be selected for quarantine.

Accommodation, food and other necessary supplies will be provided. Ministry of disaster management and relief will be engaged along with other stakeholders for this.  Appropriate communication channels shall be established to avoid panic.

The Principal Scientific Officer (PSO) at the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), Dr. A. S. M. Alamgir, said: “We are preparing doctors and other necessary initiatives according to our national preparedness policy, and the hospitals are getting prepared under the policy to deal with any possible situation”.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque in a news conference in Dhaka said that the government has been working to increase the number of ICU bed for corona patient to 100 shortly and will gradually increase ICU units to 400. Bangladesh has screened over 650,000 people in its international airports, ports and land borders, though there were only 28,483 people in quarantine and 47 in isolation, as of March 28. The country has 51 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and five deaths, according to the Directorate of Health.

According to the country’s health ministry, the government has been working on right path to address the coronavirus pandemic in Bangladesh. The government has so far allocated Tk 9 crore in cash and 31,000 metric tons of rice for the low-income people across the country as they remained without any work following the restrictive measures taken to tackle the corona virus. Both the financial and food assistance are being allocated through the Disaster Management and Relief Ministry.

According to the statistics of the National Disaster Response Coordination Centre, the government has so far allocated Tk 88,972,264 and 31,217 metric tons of rice for the low-income people in 64 districts, according to a PID handout (Source: The New Nation, 31 March 2020). Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on 31 March 2020 said that the extension of holidays will be done to ensure that there will be no more death from COVID-19.

“We`re taking this decision for the welfare of all,“ she added.

The COVID-19 outbreak is an unprecedented global public health challenge. It is vital to have easy access to good, clear data and a good understanding of what can and cannot be said based on the available data, in order for governments, organisations and individuals to respond to it effectively. As this is a new challenge for the world, every government is struggling to fight against Covid-19.

I understand that we have legitimate concern over the spread of corona virus in our country. We also have the right to have opinions on government’s actions taken to prevent spread of corona virus. However, we must also need to understand that there is no Aladdin’s magic lamp for the government to win the battle against Covid-19. It depends on us also if we would win the battle or not.

Let’s not point our fingers always at government. Let’s work together for the betterment of our nation, country and the entire humanity. We can’t win the battle against Covid-19 without being co-operative and tolerant. We must learn to appreciate to move forward.

  Tasmiah Nuhiya Ahmed is an Advocate of Bangladesh Supreme Court. She is working as Junior Partner in FM Associates, Bangladesh.

Source: https://dailyasianage.com/news/225084/collectively-we-win-or-otherwise-we-fail

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Publication

Myanmar launches report riddled with untruths

Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO)

Press Release: 16 January 2020

Myanmar launches report riddled with untruths

 On January 8, 2020 the Government of Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a report titled “Rakhine State: A Snapshot of Myanmar’s current efforts for peace and reconciliation.” The 15-page report makes blatantly false claims that Myanmar has taken measures to promote peace in the Rakhine. In the report, Myanmar claims that it is addressing five large thematic areas which include access to education, preventing sexual violence, addressing hate speech (fostering inter-faith dialogue), reforming the security sector, and repatriation. But Rohingya continue to be subjected to harsh restrictions on their basic rights and freedoms.

Education

Educational measures do not include Rohingya children. Specifically as noted in this post at Rohingya Khobor – the Child Rights Law does not even recognize Rohingya children. While there are not enough schools for the Rohingya children even for elementary classes, most of the schools in Rohingya villages stand in ruin or are purposefully abandoned. The Buddhist teachers are mostly absent in classes as they are not interested to teach the Rohingya children.

The Rohingya students are unable to attend government schools in detached non-Rohingya places for lack of security or protection. Particularly the Muslim students living in IDP camps and ghettos are at great risk. Since many years the Rohingya students have been barred from higher studies in country’s colleges, universities and seats of learning despite all merits for admission. Lots of Rohingya students had to give up their studies although some of the students try to rely on limited distance learning courses amidst various restrictions and difficulties, where quality education and professional courses are unavailable even for the meritorious students.

Sexual Violence

Myanmar has done nothing to address the systemic sexual violence that is perpetrated by the Tatmadaw as part of its genocidal campaign towards the Rohingya. This behaviour is repeated in other states throughout Myanmar. Further, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has complimented itself on its report “” The Situation of Muslim Women and Girls in Northern Rakhine State” sent to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), yet did not address the Committee’s pointed statement, “Myanmar’s continued denial of the accusations of acts of violence and sexual violence against Muslim women in Rakhine state by its security forces, despite documented evidence of mass atrocities, including widespread killings, torture and rape, as well as indications that sexual violence was orchestrated and perpetuated by Myanmar’s armed forces, guard police and militias.”  As noted during the December 2019 International Court of Justice proceedings, “the word ‘rape’ did not once pass the lips of the agent.” The leadership of Myanmar has shown a blatant disregard for the sexual violence repeatedly exhibited towards the Rohingya people.

Hate speech

The current iterations of the hate speech laws are called into question by civil society and the United Nations. Specifically, the drafting of the bills leave more power in the hands of those who are culprits of disseminating and encouraging hates towards Rohingya people. Just recently, Rohingya rights groups have asked the Myanmar Press Council to review the rhetoric, as it is tantamount to hate speech. Myanmar has allowed for the continued use of racist and pejorative terms, calling into question the sincerity of hate speech laws.  A new addition to the hate speech regime now includes reprisals which have been taken against human rights activists who have been advocating for justice for the Rohingya.

Security Sector

The Independent Commission of Inquiry is run by friends of Myanmar. The international community must call into question the veracity of the findings of the ICOE.  Among the panel members is a representative from Japan. Recently the Japanese Ambassador to Myanmar Ichiro Maruyama denied any wrongdoing in the Rakhine. Before the International Court of Justice, Aung San Suu Kyi stated that the four officers and three soldiers who were given a sentence to ten years in prison with hard labor. Yet she went on to state that they were “given a military pardon” and “many of us in Myanmar were unhappy with this pardon.”  The State Councilor has pointedly expressed the problem with the ICOE yet at the same time is defending the corrupt process.

Repatriation

Finally, Myanmar has noted in the report that two attempts at repatriation failed in 2018 and 2019, but does not discuss whether it has rectified the issues that caused the failure. Since that time, Myanmar has been brought into Court for its failure to uphold its legal obligations under the UN Genocide Convention. To date, by its own admission, the conflict between the Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army has caused security issues, thus calling into question what measures it could be taking for a safe return. Furthermore, even if the conflict were to stop other issues continue to present problems – including but not limited to food security, landmines , and the land confiscations. The land confiscations highlight the propaganda machine of the government. One should consider if the Rohingya have no lands to return to – how can Myanmar truly claim it is closing the IDP camps?

ARNO calls upon the government of Myanmar to stop inaccurate reporting and conflating of statistics and programs which continue to mislead the international community with regards to the situation in the Rakhine. 

For more details, please contact:
Dr Mohammad Habib Ullah +1-4438158609 or email at info@rohingya.org

 PLEASE FORWARD THIS PRESS RELEASE TO YOUR CONTACTS

www.rohingya.org  | forward to a friend

Copyright © 2020 Arakan Rohingya National Org., All rights reserved.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in International, Media, Myanmar, Press Release, Publication, Rohingya
%d bloggers like this: