Rohingya Muslims are subject to trafficking and terror

The Rohingya Muslims are becoming easy targets to both human trafficking and terrorism a detailed report by the Asian Centre for Human Rights states.

The crackdown on the human traffickers by the Government of Thailand since May 2015 and subsequent abandonment of the victims of trafficking, mainly Rohingyas, at the sea in the Indian Ocean brought international spotlight on the deplorable situation of the Rohingyas in Myanmar. [Rohingya Muslims: Worry ahead for India]


Making Rohingyas easy prey to the traffickers:

The United Nations, which has raised the spectre of ‘floating coffins' at sea, and the Government of Bangladesh by their acts of omission and commission, have been facilitating trafficking of the Rohingyas.

In September 2014, the UNHCR stated, "It provides support to more than 32,000 registered refugees in two official camps (Nayapara and Kutupalong) in the district of Cox's Bazar" but "it (UNHCR) is concerned about the protection of some 200,000 to 500,000 undocumented Myanmar Rohingya who have no legal status".

These 200,000 to 500,000 undocumented Rohingyas are easy prey to the traffickers, and the UNHCR and the Government of Bangladesh have been facilitating their trafficking by the failure to register them.

That those refugees who are undocumented are the most vulnerable to trafficking is a fact known to both the UNHCR and the Government of Bangladesh.

The acknowledgement by the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry on 2 June 2015 that 716 migrants rescued from the Indian Ocean and sheltered at the camps in Malaysia are Bangladeshi nationals indicates that boats carrying the migrants were either originating from Bangladesh or there are continuing infiltration from Bangladesh to Myanmar.

The local officials and political leaders of Thailand and Bangladesh have been involved in trafficking of the Rohingyas and many Bangladeshis, whom the government termed as "mentally sick", damaging the country's image.

It will not be an understatement to assert that majority of these 200,000 to 500,000 undocumented Rohingyas are essentially waiting to be trafficked should they be able to organise finances to pay off the traffickers.

Pushing the Rohingyas to terror groups

The Rohingya refugees who are undocumented/unregistered, without any legal protection and are forced to fend for themselves have also become easy preys of the terror groups including those from the Rohingyas.

While there were reports of Rohingya language being one of the languages of instructions for training by the al Qaeda, there have been consistent crack-down on the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO) by various governments for the acts of violence.

Further, the repression on the Rohingyas also evoked sympathy among the terror groups in other countries.

In May 2013, Indonesia reported that it foiled an attempt to blow up the Embassy of Myanmar by arresting two men on suspicion of plotting to attack the embassy in retaliation for violence against Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minorities.

Two Rohingya leaders identified as cleric Abu Arif and militant commander Abu Shafiyah, linked to the RSO had visited Indonesia in May 2013 and met with hardline groups in Indonesia seeking more fighters, guns, cash and bomb-making instructors.

A website founded by Muhammad Jibril Abdul Rahman, a member of the Indonesian radical Muslim group Jemaah Islamiah had reportedly uploaded 28 photos of Rohingyas undergoing military training in Rakhine state, saying it hoped the images would "encourage Muslims around the world to reignite jihad in Arakan."

Muhammad Jibril allegedly has links to Al-Qaeda and Taleban and was put on a sanctions list by the United States in 2011.

The serial bomb blasts on 7 July 2013 in and around Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya of India, the holiest place of the Buddhists, were targeted at international Buddhist tourists to avenge the killings of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar according to Mohammed Umair Siddiqui, a suspect arrested for the bomb blast.

Attacking Hindus:

Many of these Rohingya refugees have been involved in the attacks on the Buddhist minorities in Bangladesh, in particular, in and around the CHTs.

For example, during 29-30 September 2012, Muslim religious fanatics attacked the Buddhist and Hindu minorities at Ramu, Ukhia, Patia and Teknaf under Chittagong Division of Bangladesh.

At least 22 Buddhist temples and two Hindu temples were burnt down; dozens of Buddhist villages were attacked displacing thousands of minorities.

Of these, 15 Buddhist temples were burnt to ashes in Ramu Upazila (sub-district), four in Patia Police Station and five under Ukhia Upazila. Salamat Ullah, a leader of the RSO was involved in the arson and vandalism and was arrested by the Bangladesh police along with four others in November 2014.


The Rohingya crisis cannot be resolved by dumping the Rohingyas into the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, South East Asian countries or the Arab world while none among the Western countries is either willing to provide shelter to the Rohingyas or share the burden of their up-keeping in the camps.

While Myanmar must be pressed to find a solution to the Rohingya crisis consistent with international human rights standards, Asian Centre for Human Rights makes the following recommendations:

-Provide shelter and legal protection to the Rohingyas

-All the countries including Bangladesh must provide shelter to the Rohingya asylum seekers and house them in proper relief camps and provide them legal protection through proper documentation and registration.

-Withdraw Rohingya refugees from the Chittagong Hill Tracts

-The Government of Bangladesh must withdraw the Rohingyas settled in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and ensure their repatriation to Myanmar.

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