Thank you very much for calling us here today.
Thank you to the subcommittee and everybody who organized this. We have a chance to give you an update on the current crisis.
Before I jump into what is happening right now, I would like to go back just a little so I can convey that what is happening right now has not popped up all of a sudden and is not accidental. It is well planned and well thought out.
The major influx started in 1978. They thought it was a good plan to push out all the Rohingyas from Rakhine State by any means.
My father was also arrested and died in jail, and we didn't know. I fled to Bangladesh as a refugee. I'm not going to go there. Since they had to accept these people back, initially they thought it was foolproof for them. It didn't turn out to be foolproof.
Then in 1982, they implemented another layer to their well-planned cleansing or wiping out of the Rohingya, the 1982 citizenship act. Immediately overnight, the entire Rohingya minority group became stateless. Then, after that day, they have been acting according to that particular law—or actually there is no law. Whatever they would like to do, they're just doing. They have been trying for many years.
Again, there was another push out in 1991 and 1992, and another smaller one in 1994. There was still a big chunk left, so they were not satisfied.
In 2012, when this so-called civilian-dress military came into power, President Thein Sein said that they couldn't wait so long and that they needed to find a way to get rid of them as quickly as possible.
Everything is well planned. Every time they have some excuses. They started creating...plundering, kind of letting loose the goons and the monks to attack Muslims in Burma proper as well as in Arakan state.
Soon after, President Thein Sein himself proposed shipping out all the Rohingyas and sending them to a refugee camp, making them all refugees and, if there were third countries willing to take them, they could take them. That was the proposal he gave to Mr. António Guterres, now the UN Secretary-General. At that time, he was the head of UNHCR. He quickly rejected the proposal.
Then in 2012, I think it started on different pretexts. In each area they have different excuses to justify going forward with their attacks. Just to buy time, they have created up to now five different commissions, one after another. The last one was the Kofi Annan commission. He was head of the commission. I do not want to go too long on that.
Things went insane. At the end of his term, when Suu Kyi came, he made sure, along with Suu Kyi, that no Rohingya was allowed to run for the election or vote. That was the first time in Burma's history that no Rohingya was in Parliament or was allowed to vote. It was successfully done because people around the world thought, “Oh, Aung San Suu Kyi: she is the democratically elected government. She is a human rights defender champion, and has collected all these awards around the world.” A human rights champion, yes, no problem, but there was a bump in the road when the transition happened.
She had a big excuse and she carried out that. She said, “Okay” and then she went to different countries to lift all the sanctions, including the sanctions on drug-dealing generals. There were individual sanctions. She successfully lifted all of them. She is the iron wall or iron shield for all the generals' crimes. She is shielding everything successfully.
It was not probably enough that a lot of people were in the IDP camps; it was not enough, so they needed to find an excuse. Then they started, on October 9, to attack. They said their outpost security, I suppose, was attacked with slingshots, some sticks, and some rusted knives, kitchen knives or farm knives. It was really ridiculous. They killed a lot of people. Again, this time, it was 30 outposts. Government itself is posting some rusty knives and sticks and some wood stuff. It's 30 outposts, so what comes to my mind is that, okay, were they really meditating 30 outposts, this well-armed, trained army; are they meditating in the camps and counting bits? That is the question that really came to my mind.
In all it is a very systematic well-planned thing. They have all the excuses. They will blame everything on the victims to get rid of them. Even after many years to come, they will go exactly with that.
Now, the people who have already fled, I'm not talking about them. I still have one sister alive, and I have some nieces and nephews who I call every night. The last time I called was yesterday at 10 o'clock Canadian time. They said, “Uncle, if we do not die, if we do not get killed by the army or in the attacks with them, we will die here without food.” That is the last talk I had with them. Their village is a big village around the border of Buthidong and Rathidong.
I would like to stop here. Maybe in the questions I will be able to add some—