Press statement from Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army
“In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful”
Date : 29 March 2017
Ref No: ARSA/PR/01/2017
Rohingya is an ethnic, indigenous and native race to Arakan (Rakhine), has been there for several thousand years even before the nation called modern day Burma (Myanmar) came to exist in the world map.
Arakan takes pride of several independent kingdoms which had nothing to do whatsoever with the Burmese colonial empire from the first day of the world until 1784 in which the Burmese king, Bo Daw Phaya Maung Waing, invaded and colonized Arakan with brutal, offensive military attacks.
Rohingyas have always been subjected to genocide and crimes against humanity committed stage by stage by the successive Burmese regimes and governments for decades since 1970s in attempting to exterminate them totally from their native land, Arakan.
Nowadays, the international community begins to witness that the successive Burmese regimes and governments have been committing genocide and crimes against humanity against Rohingya community for decades.
In view of that, the United Nations recognizes Rohingya community as the most persecuted people in the world and also acknowledges that persecutions of Rohingya community by the successive Burmese regimes and governments amount to crimes against humanity.
We were hoping that situations of Rohingya community would improve to a certain degree of satisfaction when Aung San Su Kyi-led National League for Democracy (NLD) party formed the government in the early 2016.
It becomes clear that Aung San Su Kyi-led government is not in any capacity to change the situation in any way while they themselves are being held as political hostages by the Burmese brutal Junta to bargain political leverage at the international arena especially with UN, US, EU and etc.
Therefore, in current Burmese political landscape, it is also essential to deal with commander-in-chief Ming Aung Hlaing (constitutionally installed King of Burma) who is the mastermind of on-going atrocities faced by Rohingyas.
We were also hoping that international community would take necessary measures including sending peacekeeping forces into Arakan State, as it is morally responsible, to protect Rohingya community from being subjected to genocide as well as crimes against humanity which are recognized as international crimes in the Statute of the International Criminal Court.
We would like to express our sincere thanks wholeheartedly to international organizations (namely, the UN, OIC, EU, ASEAN) and recent numerous international delegations to Arakan State (especially to Ms. Yanghee Lee, the UN Special Rapporteur) for their tireless efforts to save humanity, and welcome more international initiatives in various sectors inside Arakan adequately in the future.
Nevertheless, it is very unfortunate that Rohingyas are still locked up in various concentration camps across Arakan without any proper access to essential needs for survival as humans and endless persecutions continue as usual against Rohingya community and destructions to their ancestral villages, places of worship, properties of public importance and private properties.
Therefore, We [ARAKAN ROHINGYA SALVATION ARMY (ARSA), which was initially known as the FAITH MOVEMENT] came forward to defend, salvage and protect Rohingya community in Arakan with our best capacities as we have the legitimate right under international law to defend ourselves in line with the principle of self-defense.
We, in doing so, declare loud and clear that our defensive attacks have only been aimed at the oppressive Burmese regime in accordance with international norms and principles until our demands are fulfilled.
We do not associate with any terrorist group across the world.
We do not commit any form of terrorism against any civilian regardless of their religious and ethnic origin as we do not subscribe to the notion of committing terrorism for our legitimate cause.
We, as it has been proven, assure the safety and well being of all ethnic communities, their places of worship and properties in Arakan State.
We also seek political, financial, technical and logistics supports and assistances from any member of legitimate international community to strengthen our legitimate cause in accordance with international norms and principles.
We hereby demand, in accordance with international human rights norms and principles, that the Burmese Junta regime and the government must:
- reinstate the indigenous native ethnic status of Rohingyas;
- issue them the citizenship identity cards;
- allow immediately to resume international humanitarian relief works in all affected areas;
- initiate and expedite the UN-led international independent investigation and enquiry team into Arakan;
- hold all the perpetrators of acts of violence accountable for the crimes that they have committed;
- allow all bona fide Rohingya refugees and diasporas around the world to return safely to their native land, Arakan;
- restore their rights to freedom of movement, freedom of assembly and freedom of association;
- remove all restrictions to form political parties and participate in politics;
- allow them to practice their religious rites and cultural ceremonies;
- allow all Rohingyas from IDP camps across Arakan to return to their places of origin immediately under the supervision of international observation;
- release all the Rohingya arbitrary detainees nationwide without delay;
- stop using Rohingyas as forced laborers and human shields at all time;
- rebuild their places of worship and other public as well as private buildings which were destroyed throughout the violence at the expense of the Burmese government;
- return all ancestral lands and titles that were unlawfully confiscated and grabbed from Rohingyas;
- allow Rohingyas to participate in trade and commercial activities;
- allow their children to have full access to proper education without any let or hindrance;
- allow them to serve in public services proportionately;
- refrain from interfering in marriages and family planning of Rohingyas;
- restore their rights to enjoy other rights and privileges that are accorded to all indigenous natives of Burma;
- take adequate legal and administrative measures to accomplish all the above mentioned demands.
ARAKAN ROHINGYA SALVATION ARMY (ARSA)