18 May 2020
Myanmar Army has not stopped its military aggression despite their twenty-month-long intensified offensive assaults against the Arakan Army and peoples of Arakan; consequently, heavy fighting continues to escalate in the region of Arakan to date. By using excessive military force the Myanmar Army has continued to brazenly commit their state-terrorist acts of war crimes, human rights violations, crimes against humanity and genocidal crime against the Rakhine and sub-ethnic peoples of Rakhine in Arakan and Paletwa township area.
Hence, the situation is getting worse day by day and becoming a major concern. It is safe to say that the Myanmar Army’s continued waging war on peoples of Arakan is the longest operation, the heaviest fight and the worst situation in the seven-decade-long conflict of Myanmar. Therefore, grave concerns of international community for the sake of local residents in Arakan and Paletwa township area are growing.
Although the Arakan Army has announced multiple unilateral ceasefires together with the Three Brotherhood Alliance to support the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic and to diminish concerns of the public, neighbouring countries and international community after ending current clashes, heavy fight has continued that the good will of our announcement did not become effective due to the offensive attacks of Myanmar Army.
As the Myanmar Army has launched aerial bombardments with fighter jets on our troops for several times in the month of May 2020, they have also fired indiscriminate shelling in Myebon, Ann, Rathedaung, Ponnagyan, Minbya, Mrauk-U and Paletwa townships. The Myanmar Army has ramped up their atrocities such as torching villages, arresting villagers, torture and killings in the region of Arakan to cause a larger fear among the general public.
The Arakan Army is strictly keeping its commitment in line with the unilateral ceasefire declaration not to initiate any offensive attacks except inevitable and self-defensive fight. We would like to reiterate that we stand ready to coordinate efforts against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic under conditions conducive to the safe and political guarantees.
On the other hand, union government led by NLD and Arakan State Government have failed to fully protect life and property of people of Arakan and to tackle a long-standing grievance of general public of Arakan and their governance failure has still continued. The Arakan State Government has not only failed to deter mass gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic and to provide health information concerning the COVID-19 but inhumanely endangered civilians of Arakan to get the coronavirus transmission by intentionally organizing mass gatherings. As a government, they have not only failed to take accountability but constantly conducted heinous acts such as irresponsible talk for several times, political and racial oppression of peoples of Arakan, obstruction of the right to national self-determination, discrimination and marginalization based on racial hatred.
With a show-off the Myanmar Army has hoodwinked international community during the COVID-19 pandemic and behind the façade of this deception they have launched their offensive attacks on a daily basis in Arakan and Paletwa township area. Conducting their operations village after village and inspections of the camps of IDPs without any protection mobilized by hundreds of the Burmese troops are similar to the intentional spread of Coronavirus.
By irrational excuse the Burmese regime and its military still do not lift the world’s longest internet restrictions in nine townships in Arakan and Chin states. The heinous acts of the Burmese authorities have hindered timely and adequate information flow to the frontline health workers; consequently, effective measures cannot be taken to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, by giving a reason to the mobilization of Arakan Army the Myanmar Army has blocked the transportation of basic foods such as rice, cooking oil, salt and medicines in the townships of Arakan and Paletwa where clashes are ongoing. In particular, the Myanmar Army has ramped up its campaign of four-cuts and the worst oppression in addition to airstrikes, shelling and torching villages. As a result, local residents are suffering acute hunger due to food shortages and the skyrocketing of commodity price. The Myanmar Army that precipitated this humanitarian disaster is the culprit for the worst possible consequences. Moreover, it was only the Myanmar Army that has blocked all transport routes, not our organization.
Members of war veterans association, the transformed people’s vigorous organization and USDP, that are the arms of the Myanmar Army and followers of the same group, with the collaboration of their brotherhood ex-military intelligence agents have committed sabotage acts in Arakan to put our organization under a misapprehension by the international community. The government of Myanmar and its military have carried out such sabotage acts and state-sponsored terrorism by various ways and they have been steadfastly conducting their smear campaign to shift the blame on our organization designated as an unlawful association. Their deeply flawed investigation into human rights abuses and war crimes committed by the Myanmar Army in Arakan is a deliberate attempt to whitewash the Myanmar Army’s brutal violence against civilians of Arakan; therefore, the situation is extremely worrying that truth and justice for civilians of Arakan have been dissipated.
The United League of Arakan/Arakan Army opposes any terrorist acts. Hence, we firmly reiterate our commitment that our organization will never conduct any terrorist acts and will not cooperate with any terrorist organizations. The successive Burmese regimes have attacked their political and military rival organizations after branding them as terrorist and unlawful associations.
The incumbent Burmese regime is also carrying out the same dirty political tricks like before at this time to attack our organization. Nowadays many nation-states have adopted anti-terrorism laws and are taking coordinated actions against international terrorism. The ULA/AA stands ready to cooperate with any anti-terrorist organizations in the fight against regional terrorism.
Peoples of Arakan are suffering the worst atrocities committed by the government of Myanmar and the Myanmar Army under state terrorism and Burmanization policy. The truth has dissipated in addition to losing citizenship rights, basic human rights and protection by law. In other words, abusing laws, authority, power of the state and state armed group the government of Myanmar and the Myanmar Army are brutally killing and terrorizing its own citizens in Myanmar.
By spreading disinformation about non-Burman revolutionary organizations to neighbouring countries and the international community, the Burmese regime and its military have been launching a smear campaign to oppress and persecute non-Burman peoples and minorities under the pretext of so-called Myanmar’s anti-terror law. Neighbouring countries and the international community should cautiously refrain from indirectly helping the government of Myanmar and the Myanmar Army’s campaign of state genocide, war crimes and ethnic cleansing. It should be acknowledged that members of the Burmese armed forces are world-renowned war criminals because they are currently facing charges of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) has also ruled that it can prosecute the Burmese government and military leaders for alleged war crimes.
The government of Myanmar and the Myanmar Army are exaggerating their fabricated news after controlling and repressing local media outlets. The government of Myanmar is carrying out their heinous acts spreading disinformation about our organization, misrepresentation of facts and unwarranted accusations on their state-owned media while glorifying the Myanmar Army to cover up war crimes committed by the Burmese armed forces in Arakan. By releasing the continued rally of fabricated information and unfounded allegations the government of Myanmar is operating its propaganda machine to mislead the international community about our organization.
International humanitarian organizations and civil societies, which are helping IDPs in Arakan and Paletwa township area and refugees fleeing their homes in fear of the atrocities of the Myanmar Army and state-terrorism, are fully guaranteed that our organization will never intimidate and hinder their humanitarian assistance and efforts under any circumstances. Furthermore, we would like to call for more effective humanitarian relief and life-saving aids to all helpless peoples in Arakan.
We would like to point out that the government of Myanmar led by NLD should take responsibility to declare a nationwide ceasefire, which is one of the important and urgent priorities to end civil war conflict in Myanmar and to solve humanitarian crises in Arakan and Paletwa township area, prior to the expiration of the term of the office so that political negotiations can be getting back on the right path. Only a nationwide ceasefire can make to effectively implement the preventive and combative measures of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We fully trust that current conflicts would be peacefully resolved by genuine political dialogue. Although we are willing to solve the conflicts through the peaceful means, should the Myanmar Army launch more intensified offensive assaults, the ULA/AA will courageously defend ourselves or take a joint defensive action against the military aggression of the Burmese war criminals army in cooperation with the brotherhood alliances as already declared in our previous statement. Finally, this is the end of our briefing on the current situations in Arakan and Paletwa township area by saying that “standing firmly in front of all oppressed peoples of Arakan we are going to fight against the atrocities of Myanmar Army."
United League of Arakan/Arakan Army
The statement of the year 2020, May 18 was translated from Myanmar into English