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By Zaw Min Htut – Burmese Rohingya Association in Japan ( Braj ), September 2003.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights passed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948, laid down a minimum standard of human rights based on the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the Hunan family. It affirmed that all human beings ought to be treated as equal and as having a fundamental right to individual liberty.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner humanitarian aid organization, Medicines Sans frontiers (MSF), during its long-time operation at the Rohingya Refugee Camps in Bangladesh and later visited Arakan State of Burma commented about Rohingya as ”one of the ten world populations in danger of existence and survival.” ”The Human Rights Abuses and Discrimination on Rohingya” is compiled to highlight the deteriorating situation threatens the very existence of Rohingyas and daunting challenges upon them by the world cruelest and longest lasting brutal military dictatorships. The book deals with massive human rights violations including rape, slave labour, forced relocation, restriction on movement, forcible seizure of their land and property, arbitrarily arrest, torture. Killing, denial of citizenship, compelling them to become stateless or refuge, restriction on freedom of religion and denial of all fundamental rights.  

Although the Universal Declaration of’ Human Rights states that the movement of the individual should not be restricted by the government. freedom of movement is a far freedom for a Rohingya in the Arakan State in Burma. Not a single Rohingva is allowed to travel from Arakan to the capital city Rangoon, even in a case of life and death situation. Travelling is so restricted that one cannot go from one village to another village without a pass, which is not easily obtained. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides freedom of movement, which has been denied Rohingyas by the ruling military junta of Burma since 1962. The Rohingyas, though they are the sons of the soils of Arakan, have been branded as aliens.

The Rohingyas, whose settlements in Arakan dated back to 788 A.D., are an ethnic group developed from different stocks of people. They trace their ancestry to Arabs, Moors, Persian Turks, Mughals, Pathans. Bengalese, Rakhine, Chakmas, Dutch and Portuguese. Arakan was an early kingdom of Bengal. The government and people were Bengalees. Mahating Chandra, the first king of Chandra dynasty, ascended the throne in 788 A.D. and founded the city of Wesali. The dynasty came to an end in 957 A.D. by a Mongolian invasions. Rohang/Roshang, the old name of Arakan, was very familiar with the Arab seafarers even during pre-Islamic days. The descendants of the mixed marriage between the local people and Arabs founded the original nucleus of the Rohingyas in Arakan.

In 1406 A.D. the Burmans invaded Arakan and occupied it. Naramieikhla, the king of Arakan took shelter at Guar, the then capital city of Muslim Bengal and stayed for 24 years and studied Mathematic, Natural Science and Monotheistic Belief (Islam). In 1429 A.D. the King of Bengal, Jalaluddin Mohammed Shah, at the request of Narameikhla dispatched his military    Commander of Chittagong, Gen. Wali Khan, at the head of 50,000 Pathan forces to conquer Arakan and reinstate Naramieikhla (Soliman Shah) on the throne in Arakan.

Wali Khan drove away the Burman, but betrayed his trust and took control of the power. Wali Khan ruled  Arakan for one year. Naramieikhla went back to Sultan. The Sultan sent a second army of Pathan forces under Gen. Sandi Khan who overthrew  Wali Khan and ultimately restored Naramieikhla (Solaiman Shah)  to the throne in 1430A.D. Most of the Pathan soldiers of Wali Khan and Sandi Khan never went back to Bengal. They were the ancestors of Rohingyas who settled in Arakan since 1430. Solairnan Shah deployed the Army of Sandi Khan through-out the borders of Arakan and the security guards of the palace.

Narameikhla shifted his capital to a new site known as Mrauk-U or Pattahri Quilla in 1433. He introduced Persian as a state language. He decorated the courts like Guar and appointed Quazis (Muslim Judges). In this way Arakan became a Sultanate. Contact with a modern civilization resulted in a renaissance of Arakan.  Arakan became a feudatory to Muslim Bengal from 1430 to 1530 A.D. The Time Atlas of world history revealed that Arakan was an independent Muslim  State in l4th and l5th century. In 1531, Zabuk Shah (Min Ba Gyi) ascended the throne. With him the Arakanese graduated in their Islamic studies and the Arakanese Empire was founded.


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