Also on the wall was the department's organizational structure chart, which lists the 17 organs within the department.
Print Rohingyas in Ukhia's Kutupalong area. Anurup Kanti Das May 9 The Daily Star, Bangladesh - The Rohingyas are probably one of the only ethnic groups in the world whose existence is denied despite their presence. Although Rohingyas are one of the ethnic groups in Myanmar, they have been most widely used as a political pawn in the country.
While giving a glimpse of the history of the Rohingya issue, this article will also look at how Myanmar as a nation is thriving upon a flawed premise, thereby risking its image which the country only recently re-established in the international world after its return to democracy.
The death of more than 20 people in a boat accident in the Rakhine State and demonstrations by Ma Ba Tha — the anti-Rohingya nationalist Buddhist group — in front of the US embassy have once again brought the Rohingya crisis to the forefront.
In response to the accident, the US embassy released a statement expressing its concern about the state of the Rohingya people. A peaceful resolution of the Rohingya crisis was expected under the new NLD government but so far there has been little to no change.
The Rohingya crisis does not only impact the bilateral relations of Myanmar with other countries but also hampers the image of Myanmar as a state in the humanitarian world.
The entire debate centered on the Rohingya issue is confined to their citizenship status. The unique nature of Myanmar as a state has added some salt to this debate.
The dominance of religion in national discourses sets Myanmar apart from the mainstream practices of other states.
For example, Senior General Than Shwe declared that the Western concept of human rights and freedom is not compatible with the culture and tradition of Myanmar and that is why his country is very different in these matters. Rohingyas constitute 1 percent of the total population, and 4 percent of the Arakan state population of Myanmar.
However, under the Emergency Immigration Act, and ultimately with the Citizen Act ofthe Rohingyas were denied citizenship of Myanmar. According to Professor Imtiaz Ahmed, a group of historians and scholars suggests that Rohingya are the descendants of Moorish, Arab and Persian traders, including Moghul, Turk, Pathan and Bangali soldiers and migrants, who arrived between the 9th and 15th centuries.
A smaller group claims that they are the descendants of the people of Chittagong.
Arakan was an independent state, where in the 15th and 16th centuries a distinct Muslim community was formed. Although the seed of hatred between the Arakanese and Burmese grew during the colonial period, it was sparked during the immediate post-colonial era in Burma.
Inafter the assassination of Aung Sun and his six cabinet ministers, U Nu became the new leader. They were pacified and managed by the government with the false promise of giving them citizenship and equal rights as with other ethnic groups.
Anti-Rohingya scholarship claims that since there are similarities between the languages of Rohingyas and Chittagonians, it proves that Rohingyas originally hail from Bangladesh.
But interestingly, like many others, a prominent Burmese lawyer and scholar Maung Zarni rejects these views and argues that Chittagong itself was a part of the old Arakan Kingdom, which explains the similarities in the language of people of these two communities.
Therefore, it is clear that Myanmar has no reason or justification to deny the history and existence of Rohingyas as an ethnic race of its land.
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