This morning (November 26th) we have had reports that medical workers and security guards arrived at the Rohingya village Sin-Gri-Daung of MinBya Township. Their unannounced arrival is suspected to be part of an attempt to set up the initial stages to carry out the widely reported scheme of sterilisation of Rohingya women under the age of 50, as ordered by President Thein Sein. Previously sterilisation had been seen as a key manner to restrict the Rohingya population from continuing to increase and to further expel them from their homes to countries elsewhere. The very real fear is that this is now being enacted. Moreover, violence continues as Rohingya youths are targeted, either being beaten by local police and military forces, being accused of crimes they haven’t committed (Tan-Seik village) and confiscating their fishing equipment which is vital to their trade (Tan-Ran-Daing village).
This new surge of fear amongst the Rohingya comes despite hopes that President Obama’s visit to the country amidst calls of congratulations for democratic development yet stressing that further work is needed is further proof that Sein’s budding relations are only to appease, not to address the real concerns for the Burmese people.
The main concerns now are for the relocation of all of the displaced people, ensuring that the many thousands of houses razed to the ground are constructed and that in the meantime the quality of temporary shelters are improved to that of a human standard. Further, medical treatment for all is desperately required, not purely due to the recent months of violence in the areas, but for the decades of mistreatment of the Rohingya, living in ghetto like conditions, suffering from chronic ailments with no access to treatment. The reinstatement of their livelihoods is paramount, ensuring that trade boycotts on Rohingya are lifted and measures to build relations between communities is evident, with safety and security for all in the region. However, accountability of those involved combined with equality of all communities under the law is integral to such safety and security being more than a temporary arrangement for a Presidential or UN visit.