March 1, 2017


Teknaf- Bangladesh government officials say they have begun a new census to determine the exact number of Rohingya refugees living inside their borders.

The initiative is being taken by the Cox’s Bazar branch of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), according to reports in the Bangladesh media.

The new census comes less than a year after a similar initiative by the Bangladesh government in association with the IOM.

“The international and humanitarian organisations are each stating a different number of Rohingyas who sought refuge in our country to flee the military crackdown in Myanmar since October last year,” Md Wahidur Rahman, deputy director of BBS Cox’s Bazar office told the Dhaka Tribune. “In order to determine the exact number of new refugees, the government is launching the census in the three districts.” It is expected to be completed by March 10 but will stretch for a few more days if needed, he added.

The new census will take place in Cox’s Bazar main town area, Ramu, Chakaria, Ukiya and Teknaf upazilas in Cox’s Bazar, Lohagara, Satkania, Chandnaish, Patiya and Boalkhali upazilas in Chittagong, and Naikhyongchhari, Lama and Alikadam upazilas of Bandarban.

Our sources say the government’s last initiative in idenitifying the exact number of refugees was wildly inaccurate. It is not clear how the government intends to complete this mammoth task in less than two weeks.

It is estimated that around half a million Rohingyas reside in Bangladesh with almost a hundred thousand arriving since the flare up in violence since October last year. 

February 28, 2017

bd demoRohingya refugees in Bangladesh have said they shall not speak to the investigation commission that has expressed their desire to visit the camps in the Teknaf region of the country.

The Ambassador to Bangladesh U Myo Myint Than had spoken of the government’s interest to send members of the commission to the country, according to the Bangladesh foreign ministry. The date for the visit has not been set.

Refugees say the commission is not neutral and they don’t have any genuine interest in the testimonies of the victims. However, the refugees have pledged to cooperate if the media and human rights organisations are also accompanying the team as they want to inform the world of the duplicities by the regime.

Activists allege the commission is one of the many initiatives of the government to sanitise the genocide of the Rohingyas.

The 13 member commission was formed by presidential decree in December last year in response to massive international outcry over the ongoing crackdown against Rohingyas which have killed more than a thousand people since October.

The government’s credibility has been questioned by international observers.

According to Charles Sanitago of the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, “the Myanmar government’s repeated denials of rights violations demonstrate that Naypyitaw has no interest in resolving the situation or addressing underlying issues.” 


February 22, 2017

Akyab - Humanitarian aid from the Malaysian flotilla has arrived in the Akyab port. Malaysia dropped off the supplies at a Yangon port on February 9 amid protests by anti Muslim nationalists.

The  State Counsellor Office Information Committee announced in a Facebook post that the supplies had been delivered from Yangon by a military ship on Wednesday. It added that the donations will now be delivered to 190 villages and IDP camps by February 25.

The state government and international organisations will help to disburse the aid.

The aid package is worth around $1.1 million.

Myanmar government had earlier refused permission to the ship to dock at Arakan state, though transporting the delivery from Yangon presented logistical barriers.

The government has also said parts of the aid will also reach the Rakhine population as it would be fairer to help both the communities.

Rohingya activists allege a significant amount of aid from foreign nations is siphoned by the administration.

A network of Malaysian NGOs have sent an aid ship carrying tonnes of aid supplies meant for the Rohingyas, an initiative strongly supported by Malaysian PM Najib Razzaq.


February 22, 2017


According to a report by Reuters, the home ministry is investigating a cover-up by the country's border force of the deaths in custody of two Rohingya Muslims. If proven true, the internal document is the first official admission of serious wrongdoing by security forces.

However Rohingya activists on the ground are understandably taking the news with a pinch of salt. During the two month orgy of violence, it is unimaginable the country’s home ministry which is overseen by the Tatmadaw, the very institution that led the atrocities did not know what was going on.

As the news agency points out in the same report, the cause for these investigations can be attributed to an international outcry which the generals did not expect.

Myanmar’s crackdown drew a wave of international condemnation especially from Muslim countries as brutalities mobilised mass support for the Rohingya cause in Muslim communities.

Myanmar's presidential office, military and police forces have each set up teams to probe allegations of atrocities.

Reuters say this set the scene for “a behind-the-scenes tussle over who will be held accountable, … and the army and police were trying to blame each other for alleged atrocities.”

Our sources on the ground say both the Tatmadaw and Hlun Htein committed widespread abuses which included throwing children into fire, and bayonetting civilians including women and children to death, as well as using heavy weapons at residential areas which did not represent a threat to the attacking forces. However, it was the army officers who led the offensives.

Under such circumstances, activists say there will be little effort to identify and punish the true penetrators of the violence as the orders came from the very people who are the real rulers of Myanmar, and as might be added, the people leading the investigation. At best, there will be a few sacrificial lambs, that may try to act as an eyewash for the international community.

According to Charles Sanitago, Malaysian parliamentarian and a member of the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, “the Myanmar government’s repeated denials of rights violations demonstrate that Naypyitaw has no interest in resolving the situation or addressing underlying issues. The fact that security forces have been tasked with investigating themselves and rooting out abusers in their own ranks speaks for itself. There isn’t even a half-hearted attempt at impartiality or independence.”

Incidentally hundreds of Rohingyas have been reported missing, all of them likely to have been arrested and tortured by security forces in custody. In some instances, prisoners have had their eyes gouged out and hands cut off from the wrists, according to our sources.

The report by Reuters may be accessed at

child killed

February 22, 2017

A group of Rohingya activists have urged foreign companies to stop investing in Myanmar.

“We cannot force Western governments to put sanctions on Myanmar but we can talk to businesses,” said blogger and co-founder of the #WeAreAllRohingya online movement Nay San Lwin.

“We want multinationals with business interests in Myanmar to put pressure on the government.”

While expressing concerns for the general populace of the country Nay San Lwin said, “I don't want to hurt my fellow Burmese. But the situation is forcing us to convince businesses to stop investing in Myanmar.”

Nay San Lwin said he recently sent Unilever CEO Paul Polman an open letter encouraging his company to re-evaluate its role in the country. Earlier in December, Polman had co-signed a letter of concern to the UN Security Council expressing serious concerns regarding atrocities committed against the Muslim community.

Polman along with a number of Nobel laureates, had compared the Rohingya situation to Rwanda's 1994 genocide, as well as ethnic cleansing in Sudan's western Darfur region, Bosnia and Kosovo.

The letter also called for the Myanmar government to lift all restrictions on humanitarian aid to Rakhine state.

The activists however say they don't plan to protest against companies if they fail to act.

Incidentally countries have invested heavily in Myanmar since the country opened up under the rule of reformist president Thein Sein. Warnings by rights activists concerning the alarming state of the country’s myriad ethnic groups were generally ignored in favour of conducting business with the resource rich nation.

army agai

February 17, 2017

The Tatmadaw has halted clearance operations in Arakan state, a senior official said on Wednesday.

AFP quoted the official as saying the Tatmadaw is leaving the area which henceforth will be under the control of the Hlun Htein.

“The situation in northern Rakhine has now stabilised,” newly appointed National Security Advisor Thaung Tun was quoted as saying in a statement.

“The clearance operations undertaken by the military have ceased, the curfew has been eased and there remains only a police presence to maintain the peace.”

Our correspondents have however said although curfew hours have been reduced, this is just a formality as most Rohingyas don’t dare to stay out after 5pm. The curfew now starts at 9pm instead of 7pm.

As regards army deployment, our correspondents say the atrocities that reached a peak during mid November last year has been scaled down gradually since December. There has however been no noticeable changes in army deployment over the past few days.

More than a thousand Rohingyas, including women and children are believed to have been killed since hostilities started in October.

aylan r

February 9, 2017

More than a thousand Rohingyas have been killed in the recent crackdown in Maungdaw North, according to UN officials speaking to Reuters.

The officials from two separate UN agencies said their reports were based on evidence collected from interviews with refugees who had escaped to Bangladesh since the start of the crackdown in October last year.

More than 65,000 have fled to Bangladesh from the Maungdaw North region in recent weeks.

The officials also expressed concern the outside world has not grasped the severity of atrocities committed on the Muslim minority since October last year.

Foreign observers and media are barred from the northern Arakan region.


February 19, 2017

Two soldiers were wounded in a five-minute clash with a armed group on the border with Bangladesh on Friday afternoon, according to a statement made by the State Counselor's office on Saturday.

The statement claimed armed men in black uniform numbering around 30 launched an attack on security forces from the Bangladesh side of the border on the Mile post 56 and 57 in Buthidaung township. The security forces were still working to clarify if there were any casualties on the other side.

Our sources have not independently confirmed the incident.

There have also not been any reports in the Bangladesh media regarding the incident.

Activists have alleged the Myanmar security forces use the excuse of Bangladesh based rebels to justify atrocities against the Muslim population of Arakan state.

ko ni

February 17, 2017

Police are seeking an army official as a suspect in the assassination of U Ko Ni last month, according to a statement from the President’s Office on Wednesday evening.

Aung Win Khine of Dawbon Township in Yangon, is a retired Lieutenant Colonel who ended service with the Tatmadaw in 2014. His elder brother Aung Zaw Win was earlier arrested a day after Ko Ni’s murder.

CCTV footage that accompanied the statement appeared to show the suspect present near the murder scene. The statement also said Aung Win Khine asked his brother to find someone to carry out the murder in July 2016, promising 10 million kyats as an advance payment and a further 100 million after the killing. The murder weapon was allegedly supplied from Thailand.

The presidential statement has not been confirmed by other sources.

It is widely believed Ko Ni was killed with blessings of the country’s powerful armed forces who were unfavourable towards his reconciliation plans with the Rohingya community.


February 8, 2017

Three Hlun Htein officers have been sentenced to two months detention in a special prison for police officials over a video showing them abusing Rohingya civilians in Dunsay, Rathedaung, security sources told AFP Wednesday.

The officer who gave out the information also told the news agency that the abuse of the Rohingyas was understandable and the Hlun Htein personal had no intention to harm.

"Police are dealing with many pressures on the ground and we have to risk our lives dealing with terrorists," AFP quoted the unmanned official. "They didn't have any intention to hurt them," said the source, "During the operation, villagers said abusive words to security forces... such action was taken because they failed to follow police procedure."

The prison were the Hlun Htein officials will be serving their sentence is especially designed for the police and they will not have to suffer the harsh conditions meant for general prisoners in Myanmar.

The sentencing however lenient is a departure from Myanmar’s blank cheque for atrocities committed by the country’s notorious security forces.

AFP also reported that three senior police including a major were also demoted and their service terms were reduced for failing to enforce discipline. The sentencings were given sometime last month.

Incidentally, a video leaked on social media in late December shows Hlun Htein personal beating Rohingya villagers, including a young boy while scores of others were forced to squat on the ground, hands behind their head. The video shot by one of the offenders, who has also been sentenced, quickly went viral prompting Aung San Suu Kyi, who had earlier denied atrocities committed against the Rohingyas, to quickly declare that action will be taken against the Hlun Htein men.

The prison sentences and conditions they will be serving is in marked contrast with the condition of Rohingya prisoners, many who had their eyes gouged out and wrists cut off after being arrested in the recent crackdown. Hundreds have died under torture in custody since security forces made mass arrests since the 2012 riots.

Rohingya observers have said the sentencing of the police officers are an eyewash for the international community and there has been no action taken against personal who have committed more serious crimes that include the killing of children and women.

The government led by Suu Kyi has refuted allegations of rape, murder and torture.


February 17, 2017

Myanmar has reopened No. 1 border gate with Bangladesh which has been closed since October last year, according to a statement issued by State Counsellor’s Office on Thursday.

In recent days, the security forces have shortened curfew hours and declared an end to the ‘clearance operations’ that have killed more than a thousand.

Reuters says the reopening of the gate took place following intense negotiations between the two neighbouring countries but details have not been provided. While Bangladesh initially pledged full support to hunt down terrorists in the border region when hostilities broke out in October, Myanmar had ignored offers of help and instead chosen to cold-shoulder their neighbours.

The closing of the border gate had meant much of the overland trade had come to a halt through that area, resulting in huge losses for entrepreneurs in Teknaf and Maungdaw.

army 1

February 11, 2017

The Tatmadaw issued a news release on Friday stating it was forming an Investigation Committee to investigate alleged human rights violations in Myanmar mentioned in a report released by United Nations Office of High Commissioner of Human Rights (UNOHCHR).

The notification says the investigation committee will look into alleged human rights violations and other illegal activities committed during area clearing operations by the Tatmadaw.

The Committee is comprised of Lt. Gen. Aye Win, Tatmadaw Inspector General, as Chairman, and members are Brig. Gen. Khun Thant Zaw Htoo Joint Adjutant General, Brig. Gen. Aung Kyaw Hoe Principal of No.9 Tatmadaw Advanced Combat Training School, Maj. Hla Myo Kyaw Deputy Advocate General, Western Command HQ, Lt. Col. Myo Win Aung Deputy Advocate General, Secretary, Advocate General Office.

The announcement comes days following a damning report by the UN body that implicates the security forces in atrocities against the civilian population including targeted killing of infant children and rape of girls belonging to the Muslim community.

Earlier, both the civilian government and the Tamadaw have continually refuted allegations of gross human rights violations. The denials have led to further condemnations with the UN declaring Aung San Suu Kyi has lost serious credibility in continuing to deny gross human rights violations in spite of clear proof to the contrary.

However any claims of investigation will be greeted with scepticism as the country’s security forces have a long history of getting away with the most brutal abuses.

Naaf 1

February 6, 2017

A Bangladeshi fisherman was killed and another injured in Hlun Htein firing on the Teknaf Maungdaw border, according to reports in the Bangladesh media.

The shooting took place on the Naaf river which separates the two countries at around 6.30am.

Dhaka Tribune reports three fishermen were fishing on a small boat in the river when Hlun Htein personal entered Bangladesh waters and fired shots without any warnings. The two injured men were rushed to a local hospital with the help of other fishermen in the vicinity but one of them was declared dead by the hospital authorities.

Security forces including the Tatmadaw Yay and Hlun Htein have led regular incursions into Bangladesh territory and often shot at their fishermen.

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