The situation in Arakan is comparable to that of Gunatanamo Bay in that all information of conditions and treatment are largely unreported according to Vice Minister of Information in Burma, Ye Tut, speaking with Radio Free Asia last Saturday.
Since violence re-emerged across the polarised ethnicities of Arakan, particularly in Du Chee Yar Tan village in January, it is estimated that more than 100 people are now unaccounted for, with fears that most have now died. In nearby Gawduthara village, reports have emerged of more torched houses during curfew hours when Rohingya villagers are at their most vulnerable. “This is a rampage, the people to do not want to come back until their safety and security is ensured,” reported a Rohingya rights activist who lives in Rangoon and fears for his people. He told us he feels helpless for those who have been forced out their village and are too afraid to return.
A further setback for the villagers caught up in the aftermath of sustained attacks has come in the form of concerns over shelter. A verified photo has been received which served as a ‘Notice of Warrant From Sittwe Authorities’ and a warning has been issued to remove and destroy all temporary shelters built on government land. The notice warns those who fail to comply that they will be sued in accordance with the Law. The temporary shelters to which the notice refers have been built as a result of the violence which affected the Rohingya of Du Chee Yar Tan village in January. Not receiving adequate protection by local and national authorities, the Rohingya of Du Chee Yar Tan deserted their village homes under increased and sustained threat of terror and violence from Rakhine and anti-Rohingya authorities in late January. Unable to access other IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps, many sought refuge in temporary shelters built in fields around Du Chee Yar Tan village and this notice will further punish a community who are already stranded and helpless. This serves as another sign that the Burmese authorities have not yielded their sustained efforts to force the Rohingya out of Arakan and Myanmar as a whole.