The Rakhine Community of Bangladesh (RCB), an organization of the ethnic Rakhine minority living in Bangladesh, formed a human chain and protest rally in front of the National Museum in Dhaka on 11 October to condemn all acts of torture, killing, looting, and human rights violations by Myanmar’s military. Kyawo Nyin Rakhine, the organizer of the rally, said it was first time that a protest has been organized by the mainly Buddhist Rakhine community in Dhaka.
“The Myanmar military, in a premeditated fashion, has been conducting a serious military operation targeting the civilian population in Rakhine State, with a view to obliterate the whole Rakhine nation,” Kyawo told the online media service BenarNews. “They have mobilized the heavily armed infantry, navy, and air force for their operation. The Rakhine Community of Bangladesh is united in urging the international community to pressure Myanmar so [that] four million Rakhine people in Rakhine State can be saved.” (BenarNews)
Members of the Rakhine community from different districts of Bangladesh, including Cox’s Bazar in Bandarban, took part in the human chain, wearing white T-shirts and bandanas, and holding placards and banners. Protesters had pictures of Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung Sa Suu Kyi and army chief Min Aung Hlaing on their T-shirts, proclaiming “the most dangerous virus.”
Kannyng (one name), the convener of the RCB, said that the army and government in Myanmar had been persecuting people for a long time, seeking to wipe out people of all religions and castes from Rakhine State, with millions of Rohingya and Rakhine people tortured and displaced. Millions of Rohingya refugees have since fled to Bangladesh. Kannyng demanded that these Rohingya be immediately allowed to return to Rakhine with full citizenship rights.
Kannyng appealed to the international community, including the European Commission, Russia, China, and ASEAN, to take the necessary steps against oppression in Myanmar.
“At least 260,000 people have taken shelter in the Rakhine jungle as the military also burned the homes of the people,” said Maung Chit Hree, president of the Rakhine Culture Group. (BenarNews)
Maung noted that the conflict would result in the arrival of another group of refugees into Bangladesh, in addition to the 740,000 Rohingya who arrived in 2017, and this time those refugees would be Rakhine: “If they cannot stay there, they would have no other option but to leave the country. As it is the nearest place, they would think of coming to Bangladesh,” he said. (BenarNews)
Other speakers at the human chain said that Myanmar’s military was carrying out a genocide against the Rakhine minority in violation of all international laws as thousands of Rakhine have been evicted from their homes. International aid agencies have not been allowed to enter Rakhine State and are being prevented from providing relief to the persecuted Rakhine community. They also complained that internet connections had been cut off in Rakhine State.
Members of he Bangladesh Rakhine Students Association, the Rakhine Cultural Group (Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh), the National Environment and Human Rights Society, the Rakhine Youth United Association Bangladesh, the Rakhine Women’s Organization, the Rakhine Community of Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Students Council, the Cox’s Bazar Art Club, and the Buddhist Welfare Association (Dhaka) branch participated in the human chain rally.
According to local media reports, the protestors announced that if the environment in Rakhine did not improve soon, including expediting the repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh, a siege of Myanmar’s embassy in Dhaka would be carried out.
Ethnic Rakhine in Bangladesh Protest against Myanmar’s ‘Military Aggression’ (BenarNews)
Rakhine protests in Dhaka against Myanmar ‘massacre’ (South Asian Monitor)
Rakhine protests in Dhaka against Myanmar ‘massacre’ (bdnews24.com)
মিয়ানমারে গণহত্যা চালাচ্ছে সেনাবহিনীঃ ঢাকায় রাখাইনদের মানববন্ধন (সমকাল)