Rohingya people and ethnic cleansing

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Sir, – We applaud David McKechnie and Kathleen Harris for their report on the lives of the Rohingya in the refugee camps in Bangladesh in the Weekend edition of The Irish Times (“Rohingya crisis: ‘We have no one, no idea what is going to happen tomorrow”, June 16th). Their report painted a realistic picture of the daily struggles that the Rohingya face.

We have been expelled from our country. We are the victims of major human rights abuses. We have been stripped of our nationality. The government of Myanmar, under the directorship of Aung San Suu Kyi, is attempting to obliterate us through what the UN has referred to as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”. We have been rendered stateless. We are denied access to education, health care and shelter. The tactics employed by Aung San Suu Kyi are without a doubt crimes against humanity. Her orchestrated campaign to obliterate us continues. She has recently issued a directive not to use the name “Rohingya” in any media outlets or reports. She and the military government of Myanmar are attempting to write us out of history.

As the rains arrive in Bangladesh and the floods begin, we face new disasters. Our huts are destroyed. Our latrines are overflowing. Disease, which does not discriminate, will wipe out our young and old, leaving the rest to face more tragedy and mourn the loss of loved ones.

As Rohingya residents living in Carlow, we are struggling with the daily images and reports as we flick from channel to channel. We check websites and media outlets that are trying to get to the truth of the reality of the lives of the Rohingya. What we see are blatant human rights abuses, Islamophobia, disaster and death facing our extended families and friends in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

We are working hard to highlight the plight of our people. We have support from our adopted community and country.

We are working with our neighbours, community groups, colleges, government and trade unions to address the tyrannical behaviour and wrong doing of Myanmar’s military government and the actions of Aung San Suu Kyi. Dublin City Council has played a pivotal role in highlighting the crimes orchestrated by Aung San Suu Kyi in removing her name from its honours list. Galway city has yet to follow suit.

It is only with international pressure (and a more effective and less naive UN) that there will be a turn around in our fate. We cannot stand by and allow the Rohingya to fade into the history books. If we do nothing we will fade away, and evil will continue to prevail as we turn the other way.

We implore the people of Ireland not to allow evil to prevail. – Yours, etc,

MOHAMMED RAFIQUE,

Free Rohingya

Coalition Ireland,

Carlow.

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