DUBLIN: On December 13, over a hundred protesters of diverse background came together in front of Dáil Éireann (the Irish Parliament) to show solidarity with Rohingya people in Burma.
The protest was jointly held by Bangladeshi community in Ireland, Rohingya Community Ireland and Burma Action Ireland, to end genocide being committed by the Burmese armed forces.
One of the organizers of the protest, Hamidul Nasir described, “we are protesting here as nonpartisan and non-religious affiliation. We are here as humanitarian protest as human beings are killed in Burma. We will continue to protest anywhere in the world if the situations of Rohingya remain the same.”
Another organizer, Haikal Mansor from Rohingya Community Ireland and European Rohingya Council said, “Ireland has a very special responsibility to condemn human rights abuses and raise the issue of ‘ethnic cleansing of Rohingya’, not because Ireland always stand up for human rights, but the people of Ireland gave Aung San Suu Kyi a warm ‘cead mile failte’ – a hundred thousand welcomes and awarded her the prestigious Freedom of the City of Dublin on June 18, 2012.”
The protest drew the attention of political parties’ leaders and many TDs (members of the parliament) on the ongoing “clearance operations” started in the north of Maungdaw, Rakhine State on October 9, which have killed more than 700 Rohingya civilians, destroyed at least 3000 houses displacing over 40,000, forced more than 27,0000 into Bangladesh and raped more than 250 Rohingya women.
Marie Smith, an activist from Burma Action Ireland which has campaigned for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi from the house-arrest called, “the situations have been deteriorated so much for Rohingya especially in the last few months. We are calling the government of Ireland and all the TDs to support an independent investigation into human rights violations being committed by the government forces in the area and also to allow humanitarian aid getting into the area. The assistance has been denied and so many people have become displaced who desperate need of assistance.”
“The picture that I am seeing is not human rights. We should stand up for human rights if we are saying that we believe in human rights. Just imagine, if your children being killed and your mother, sister and wife being rape, what do you feel? This is not acceptable,” said Ammar Ali, a political worker at Fianna Fáil party.
Mr. Nasir has identified “36 Rohingya women who came over to Bangladesh from Burma after being gang-raped by the Burmese armed forces who are now suffering from the internal injuries.”
“The international human rights activists particularly from Ireland deserve more respects and better explanation from the recipient of the Freedom of City of Dublin Aung San Suu Kyi for her continuous silence and denial of rapes, extrajudicial killing, arbitrary arrest and destruction of Rohingya civilian houses. We have campaigned for years against the military regime and now she becomes an integral part of the regime supporting and protecting their atrocious crimes being committed against Rohingya and other groups in the areas of ethnic minorities,” reminded Haikal Mansor.
The protest was concluded by handing over a joint-letter of the communities and organizations to the Irish Parliament, the European Parliament and Seán Crowe TD – the spokesperson of the ministry of Foreign Affairs Ireland, to bring the issues in support of establishing a UN-led commission of inquiry on the crimes against humanity committed against the persecuted Rohingya community, to lift the “blanket denial” of access to humanitarian assistance, to call the government of Bangladesh to temporarily provide shelter with assistance, and to initiate restoring the lost rights of Rohingya in Burma.
Aung San Suu Kyi led government and the military continue deny access to humanitarian aids to the victims of clearance operations and other 130,000 Rohingya civilians in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung townships who heavily rely on international humanitarian assistance.