Restless Beings is an international human rights organisation that has been championing the human rights of the Rohingya for the last couple of years. Recent weeks of violence and systematic attacks against the Rohingya have highlighted the decades of abuse and marginalisation they have faced by the Burmese state. Despite being described by the UN to be ‘one of the most persecuted communities in the world’, the majority know little of their struggle.
Upon hearing about the events in Burma that began in June, we launched an intensive campaign to raise awareness of the issue and lobby for international media and political attention.
Petitions & Protests of Change
Soon after the outbreak of violence in the Arakan state we held a protest outside the Bangladesh embassy and handed in our petition lobbying for the opening of its borders to temporarily accommodate refugees fleeing the region.
We went on to urge diplomatic action from the British Government armed with a petition signed by over 13,000 people from 134 countries worldwide. The day after the opening of the Olympics 2012 ceremony, with eyes of the world on London, Restless Beings held a peaceful, vibrant demo to highlight the plight of the Rohingya coinciding with Burmese athletes competing. South Africa was expelled by the International Olympic Committee from competing in the Olympics for more than three decades for their abhorrent racial policies. The Burmese state should be held accountable for their persecution of the Rohingya in the same way.
Much Needed Aid
Throughout the conflict, access into Burma has been severely restricted with Amnesty International and Oxfam being refused entry. Recently a ship loaded with aid was looted by the local Rakhine and the most needy were not able to access it. We are in the process of forming a stronghold of charity coalitions to work with the UN to urge and facilitate delivery of food and medical aid to those affected.
Exclusive Footage from Inside Arakan
Despite restricted access, our network of sources has acquired exclusive footage and images from the ground depicting the mass expulsion of Rohingya and witness statements describing violent attacks. Restless Beings collated this footage in a short film called Burma’s Rohingya: The Human Story which we aired at our Press Conference on the 23rd July where we urged the media to give the Rohingya the international coverage they deserve. We are now facilitating 3 major news broadcasters to have access to filming footage in Arakan, which will in turn further raise the Voice of the Rohingya and their human rights.
The Power of Social Media & What YOU Can Do
Campaigning on social media has attracted global attention drawing in an influx of over 80,000 hits on the Restless Beings website in the past few weeks and over 2,500 hits on the day of the Olympics demo alone!
YOU too can help voice the Rohingya by raising awareness on your social media profiles.
Get a piece of paper, write 'Remember Rohingya' and take a picture of your self holding it, and then upload this on your social media account (Facebook / Twitter) and add this url > http://www.restlessbeings.org/projects/rohingya
Also we encourage you to tweet about the Rohingya with the hash tags #Rohingya #Burma #Arakan;
''Described by the UN as the most persecuted community in the world yet their struggle is largely unknown. #Rohingya #Burma #Arakan www.restlessbeings.org''
It’s also necessary to get in touch with our MP's/Senators and ask them to work on our behalf at a time of humanitarian crisis which is not only an Asian/Burmese issue, but an international issue.
Petition your MP/ Senator. It is their duty to represent your desire for human rights, equality for all and to ask our Governments to urge for humanitarian aid and relief for the Rohingya.
In the UK www.writetothem.com
In the US www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml
You can read all the latest updates on the situation in Arakan here and as more human rights organisations are releasing their reports and the UN are gaining access into the region, the Rohingya struggles will be known.
Lobbying your MP is a great way to get topics raised in parliament