Thursday, 16 August 2012

Clarification of the misconceptions about Muslims' slaughter-letter of Myanmar ambassador-


Clarification of the misconceptions about Muslims' slaughter-letter of Myanmar ambassador-

"Dear Dr. T.A. Rahmani,
I would like to provide you the following information:-

On what happened:
On 28 May this year, a Rakhine Buddhist girl was raped and killed by three men near one of the villages in Kyaukpyu district of Rakhine State, which is bordering Bangladesh.

Through the investigation conducted by Kyaukpyu district police force, three persons, all Muslims, were exposed to be the perpetrators. They were put under protective custody in Kyaukpyu Jail on the morning of 30 May for fear of revenge from relatives of the deceased girl.

Relatives of the deceased girl and fellow villagers, about 100, went to the police station on the afternoon of 30 May and asked the police station to bring to them the three suspects. The police officers, who are Buddhists, did not allow them to enter the station compound and rejected their claim by saying that action would be taken against the three suspects in accordance with the law. This testifies to respect for law and the rule of law in the country. Unsatisfied with the response from the police officers, the relatives and fellow villagers attempted to enter the police station which compelled the police officers to fire five shots to disperse them.

On 3 June in a town called Taunggup, a group of about 300 Rakhine Buddhists attacked 10 Muslim passengers on a bus travelling to Yangon. All 10 were killed on the spot. The news on killing of 10 Muslims spread to the immediate neighbourhood and Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists in the neighbourhood attacked each other. This communal violence spread quickly to other parts of Maungtaw and then to Buthidaung, Sittway and Yathedaung townships in the Rakhine State where Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims have been living since long. The situation went out of control.

Local authorities and police were unable to control the situation due to lack of man power and facilities. Curfew was imposed by the State Government on 8 June 2012 in the areas where clashes took place. However, clashes continued and even spread out and therefore, State of Emergency was declared in Rakhine State by the Union Government on 10 June. The Defence Services was called in to control the situation and to restore peace and law and order in the state. The situation is now back to normal completely.

During the unfortunate incident, both Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims, 79 persons in total, were killed and many injured. It is totally untrue that hundreds or thousands have been killed and that those killed were Muslims. The deaths were caused by either group to each other, not by others. Houses and property worth millions of dollars were destroyed. Thousands of victims have become homeless. Both Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims suffered as a result of the lawlessness of a few.

On what the government has done and been doing:
The government formed on 6 June 2012 an Investigation Committee headed by the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs to investigate all aspects of the unfortunate incident and submit a report to the President.
Action will be taken in accordance with the law against all those, without any exception, who have committed crimes or agitated others to do so. 30 Rakhine Buddhist suspects have already been detained so far.

Relief camps, 72 in total, have been set up separately for Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims. Basic needs of food, clothing and medicines of the victims have been met by the government.

In coordination with the government, UN agencies in the country, including UNHCR, UNFPA, WFP and UNOCHA, and INGOs have also been providing humanitarian assistance to the victims.

Lt. Gen. Thein Htay, Union Minister for Border Affairs and for Myanmar Industrial Development, accompanied by Mr. Vijay Nambiar, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General, officials from UN agencies in Yangon led by Resident Representatives of UN agencies in Myanmar Mr. Ashok Nigam, 15 Muslim leaders from Yangon and departmental officials, visited Rakhine State recently, during which arrangements made by the government for rehabilitation and long-term aids for livelihood for the victims and for the security and the rule of law in the region have been explained to the victims. Cash, foodstuff, school uniforms, exercise books and stationary worth hundreds of thousands of dollars have been given to victims of both groups.

The Speaker of the Lower House of Myanmar Parliament accompanied by MPs representing political parties also travelled to Rakhine State. Together with the Chief Minister of Rakhine State and his cabinet members they visited the relief camps in the state and observed relief, resettlement and rehabilitation measures for the victims. The MPs donated Kyats 12.93 million, their daily allowance for three days, Union Solidarity and Development Party Kyats 20 million and the State Assembly members Kyats 2 million, for the victims.

Comment of the Embassy:
The Embassy of Myanmar sincerely hopes that you be well aware that violent clashes take place sometimes not only between different religions but even between different sects of the same religion. Whenever such ugly things happen, not only those who start but also who have nothing to do with such things suffer. The Embassy firmly believes that regardless of what religion one professes, all must live together peacefully based on respect for each other and laws of the country in which we reside. The recent clashes between Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims in the Rakhine State of our country are very unfortunate and the Embassy feels very sorry for all the victims without any reservation.

In Myanmar, Muslims are not only in Rakhine State but also elsewhere as those who profess other religions in the country. Buddhist pagodas and monasteries, Christian churches, Islamic mosques and Hindu temples exist side by side in many cities/towns/localities of the country. This can happen because of the deeply rooted religious tolerance in the country.

Fake photos or false information have been spread with an ill intention to agitate Muslims around the world by attempting to create the impression that Muslims are being discriminated or killed in Myanmar and that such acts are state sponsored. Such are unsubstantiated accusations. Please do not be misled by them.

I would like to request you to kindly share this information with your colleagues.

I wish you and your colleagues all the best.

With warm regards

Zin Yaw