Asia - Pacific

Rohingya rights bodies denounce insurgent group ARSA

Joint statement calls for improving system of providing protection at refugee camps in Bangladesh

Md. Kamruzzaman   | 07.12.2021
Rohingya rights bodies denounce insurgent group ARSA

DHAKA, Bangladesh

Dozens of Rohingya rights organizations on Tuesday denounced the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), an insurgent group recently involved in killing Rohingya at refugee camps in southeastern Bangladesh.

“The Rohingya community does not accept ARSA as a group that represents the ideals and interests of them in or outside of Burma (Myanmar). Thus, the group must not claim it represents the interests of the Rohingya nation,” said a joint statement signed by 22 Rohingya rights organizations, including the Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO), the European Rohingya Council (ERC) and the Free Rohingya Coalition (FRC).

Referring to the killings of a popular Rohingya leader, Mohib Ullah, and six other people inside the refugee camps in late September and mid-October this year, the statement urged the Bangladeshi authorities, international organizations and foreign governments to have "a zero-tolerance policy" towards ARSA and any other criminal gangs.

“We call on the international community — including Australia, Canada, the USA, the UK, Japan, the UN, the EU, the ASEAN and the OIC — to improve the system of providing protection and resettlement to refugees at heightened risk,” it added.

The statement also sought for a joint response from the government of Bangladesh and the UN Refugee Agency on urgent basis to ensure the protection of those who ask for help.

Currently more than 1.2 million Rohingya are living in squalid makeshift tents in Bangladesh’s southern district of Cox’s Bazar, most of whom fled a brutal military clampdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in August 2017.

Underlining the worsening situation in Myanmar following the Feb. 1, 2021 military coup and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Rohingya rights groups urged all parties to be committed to freedom, peace, and prosperity for all with respect for human rights and dignity for everyone.

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