Sittwe (Akyab) — The Diplomats from the Turkish Embassy in Yangon visited the Rohingya IDP (Internally Displaced People) Camps here in Sittwe Township on Tuesday (March 21).
The diplomats from the Embassy of Turkey led by H.E. Murat Yavuz Ates and the officers from Turkish NGO TiKA arrived at the displaced Rohingya camps at the village of Thakkay Pyin (Sakki Fara) at around 12:00 noon of the day and looked around the situation of the camps.
They met with the community representatives in the camps, expressed their concerns over how harshly the government has been handling the Rohingya plight and said that Turkey remains in solidarity with the Rohingya people.
During the meeting with the displaced people, H.E. Murat Yavuz Ates asked the Rohingya people to cooperate with the government and also asked the retired Advocate U Kyaw Hla Aung why the Rohingya community is not accept the NV Cards (the National Verification Cards).
U Kyaw Hla Aung explained "the NV Cards are not meant for us. They are for the foreigners that have recently arrived in Myanmar and want to apply for Myanmar's residency. Our forefathers were born here, lived here and died here. We have lived here for many generations. So, why do we need to accept the NV Cards being forced on us?"
"The main purposes behind forcing the NV Cards on us are to demote our ethnic rights by officially portraying us as foreigners, to confiscate our lands and to drive us out of our country. They are doing it intentionally."
U Kyaw Hla Aung continued "the NV Cards are not in accordance with any established laws of Myanmar including 1982 Citizenship Law."
The Turkish Ambassador was apparently in shock after hearing the explanation about the NV Card from the retired Rohingya lawyer.
"He could be of a perception that the NV Card is the Green colored National Registration Card (NRC) and falls in line with the International Citizenship Standard. After U Kyaw Aung Hla Aung's explanation, he understood it and seemed shocked", said an attendee in the meeting with the ambassador.
Regarding the cooperation of the Rohingya people with the government, another (Rohingya) representative in the meeting commented "how can we cooperate with the government? We can't understand their motives and trust them. Keeping our own demands aside, the government needs to at least fulfil the recommendations made by Mr. Kofi Annan's Commission.
"If the government fulfills his recommendations, we welcome the government moves heartily. But we also fear that the government may not fulfill even a single recommendation of his if the Buddhist Monks start protesting again."
The delegation asked the Rohingyas to wait and be hopeful; and expect the government to do something as the Kofi Annan Commission was formed by Ms. Suu Kyi herself. They also asked the people to tell them the important needs of the Rohingyas, not related to the government, which they can fulfill.
The Rohingya representatives expressed, apart from the political solutions related to the government, the two most urgent humanitarian needs of the Rohingyas: Education and Health.
"We need schools and colleges with teachers and all the studying facilities. We need hospitals. Not just the buildings but along with doctors, nurses and other medical facilities. Else, they may not be useful to us", said an elderly Rohingya attending the meeting.
The Turkish delegation not only promised to help them with the education and health facilities but also said they would build a road for them for easier transportations.
After extensive discussions with the local displaced people, the delegation team left the camps at around 1:30 pm.