Today President Obama made a historic trip to Burma as the first ever US President to visit my homeland. While meeting with some of the country's top leaders, he stated,
"For too long, the people of this state, including ethnic Rakhine, have faced crushing poverty and persecution. But there is no excuse for violence against innocent people. And the Rohingya hold themselves -- hold within themselves the same dignity as you do, and I do."
Thank you to all who signed my petition calling on President Obama to address the Rohingya human rights issues in Burma. I was extremely pleased with his attention to many different human rights issues and his aspirational and enlightened leadership. President Obama's message is inspiring for many people in Burma. Rohingya in Sittwe detention camps have already expressed their gratitude for President Obama's humanity and concern for their human rights and immediate well-being. Thank you very much to each of you who signed my petition.
My name is Aisha, when I was 1 year old, my parents fled our homeland in Burma to seek safety, first in Malaysia and now in the United States. I am from the ethnic and religious minority, the Rohingya. The systemic persecution of my people that caused my parents to flee with me when I was a baby has escalated to brutal levels over the past few months. I fear the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya that remain in Burma, including members of my own family.
I am starting this campaign because my fellow Rohingya brothers and sisters in Burma will continue to be brutally persecuted without the help of President Obama and the American people.
No human being deserves to beaten, killed or starved to death because of their ethnic and religious identity -- please stand up for the dignity and humanity of the Rohingya people.
That is why I am calling on President Obama to speak out against ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya Muslim minority in western Burma during his historic trip to Burma and demand an action plan from the Burmese government to stop the violence.
Over the past several months, what was originally described as inter-communal violence between the Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslim communities, has turned into the systematic targeting of Rohingya communities, killing hundreds of Rohingya, displacing more than 100,000 ethnic Rohingya people in Arakan/Rakhine state in Western Burma. Targeted violence against the Rohingya is expected to continue as both state authorities and local ethnic Rakhine have forcibly prevented humanitarian aid workers and assistance from reaching displaced communities.
The Rohingya minority population in Arakan/Rakhine state in Western Burma have long been considered by the United Nations to be one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. Government and societal racism against the ethnic minority Rohingya is at an all time high. Burma’s President Thein Sein said the only solution is for the Rohingya to be rounded up into camps and expelled from Burma.
Given the alarming remarks by the President of Burma, the systematic violence carried out by state authorities and local Rakhine communities, it is imperative President Obama leads the effort to prioritize an end to the ethnic cleansing of the ethnic Rohingya minority during his trip.
Photo Credit: Digital Democracy