The European Rohingya Council (ERC) condemns and categorically rejects the remarks on Rohingya made by Myanmar’s commander-in-chief General Min Aung Hlaing on 27 March 2107. In his speech to the crowd on Armed Forces Day in Naypyidaw, Mr. Min Aung Hlaing defended the armed forces’ brutal crackdown of innocent Rohingya in Maungdaw Rakhine State, during which the armed forces killed more than 1000 Rohingya, raped more than 500 Rohingya women and girls, arbitrarily arrested thousands of Rohingya and forced more than 77000 to flee to Bangladesh.
Mr. Min Aung Hlaing commented on Rohingya saying, “We have already let the world know that we don’t have Rohingya in our country. The Bengalis in Rakhine state are not Myanmar citizens and they are just people who come and stay in the country.
We have a duty to do what we should do, according to law, and we also have a duty to protect our sovereignty when it is harmed by political, religious and racial problems in the country.” ERC finds these remarks not only extremely toxic and inflammatory but also irresponsible and factually incorrect. Therefore ERC condemns and categorically rejects these racist and discriminatory remarks.
ERC further urges General Min Aung Hlaing to stick to the fact that Rohingya are verifiably and historically one of indigenous and ethnic communities of Multi-ethnic Myanmar. ERC also urges Min Aung Hlaing to study the remarks on Rohingya made by post-independent Myanmar’s leaders, commanders, and politicians.
The first Prime Minister of Myanmar, U Nu said during his National Radio Address on 25 September 1954, “Rohingya are one ethnic people living within the Union of Myanmar.” Myanmar Encyclopedia (volume 9, page 90), printed in 1964, reported, “Of the 400 000 to 500 000 inhabitants of Mayu Border District 75% are Rohingya ethnic people who are Muslims.” There exists countless verifiable historical documents, proving Rohingya’s belongingness to Myanmar.
Therefore, ERC urges General Min Aung Hlaing to reverse his racist, irresponsible and factually incorrect remarks on Rohingya; and to uphold inclusive, reconciliatory and factually correct discourse regarding Rohingya so that Rohingya can be part of Myanmar society and can contribute in the building of a vibrant and prosperous country.