Myanmar’s shadow govt urges Rohingya to join fight against junta

Published June 4, 2021
YANGON: Protesters hold aloft a banner that reads ‘Hills and the Central Region are united’ as they give the 
three-finger salute during a demonstration against the military coup on Thursday.—AFP
YANGON: Protesters hold aloft a banner that reads ‘Hills and the Central Region are united’ as they give the three-finger salute during a demonstration against the military coup on Thursday.—AFP

YANGON: A shadow government in Myanmar on Thursday called on the Rohingya minority to help it overthrow the junta, promising citizenship and repatriation for the persecuted Muslim community in a future democratic Myanmar.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military overthrew democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) government in a February 1 coup.

A brutal crackdown on dissent by the junta has since killed more than 800 people, according to a local monitoring group.

A group of ousted lawmakers — mostly from the NLD — later set up a shadow “National Unity Government” which has sought to bring anti-coup dissidents together.

The junta has classified the NUG as “terrorists”, meaning anyone speaking to them — including journalists — can be subjected to charges under counter-terrorism laws.

“We invite Rohingyas to join hands with us and with others to participate in this Spring Revolution against the military dictatorship,” the group said in a statement.

Suu Kyi’s NLD government had earlier avoided the term “Rohingya” because of sensitivity among ethnic groups in the Buddhist-majority country, referring to the minority as “Muslims living in Rakhine”.

In Myanmar, the Rohingya are widely seen as interlopers from Bangladesh and have been denied citizenship, rights and access to services for decades under what Amnesty International calls apartheid-like conditions.

The NUG also promised to end a 1982 citizenship law which discriminates against the Rohingya, promising all those born in Myanmar or to a Myanmar citizen would be granted citizenship.

The group also said it was committed to repatriating all Rohingya languishing in camps in Bangladesh “as soon as repatriation can be accomplished voluntarily, safely and with dignity”.

More than 740,000 Rohingya fled over the border into Bangladesh after a bloody military campaign in 2017 that the UN condemned as ethnic cleansing.

The military claimed its operations were justified to root out Rohingya insurgents following a series of deadly attacks on police posts and has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.

Suu Kyi defended the army’s conduct and even travelled to The Hague to rebut charges of genocide at the UN’s top court.

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2021

Opinion

Gaming LNG
Updated 05 Aug 2021

Gaming LNG

What looked like rank incompetence about a year ago is now beginning to smack of malfeasance.
Healing the spirit
05 Aug 2021

Healing the spirit

ROC medal winners could not hear their national anthem being played.
Returning to a repressive order
Updated 04 Aug 2021

Returning to a repressive order

There is no sign of the Taliban showing any flexibility in their position and taking a more moderate stance.

Editorial

A tragic anniversary
Updated 05 Aug 2021

A tragic anniversary

Attempts to change IOK's demography should end and India must open channels with the genuine Kashmiri leadership.
05 Aug 2021

Currency pressure

THE increasing demand for dollars in the wake of surging imports and debt repayments has put significant pressure on...
05 Aug 2021

Protecting breastfeeding

A LOT has been said about the fact that 40pc of children under five years in Pakistan are stunted. The reasons...
PML-N’s dilemma
Updated 04 Aug 2021

PML-N’s dilemma

The road ahead for the PML-N is going to be long and bumpy no matter which narrative it follows.
04 Aug 2021

Attacks on cops

AMIDST cautious optimism that Pakistan may be finally beginning to achieve success in bringing the number of polio...
04 Aug 2021

Myanmar about-face

SIX months into the coup that sent Myanmar’s hybrid civ-mil government packing, the generals have made their...