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“I am Rohingya. Dr. Wakar doesn’t represent me.”

RV Opinion*
By Ro Abdullah Arakani

The recent anti-Rohingya statement of a so-called activist Dr. Wakar Uddin in an interview with VOA Burmese sparks public outrage among Rohingya globally, where he stated that “Rohingya problem should not go that far (ICC)” referring falsely the majority of Rohingya, amid the restless efforts of Rohingya leaders, activists, friends, right groups and even governments to bring the perpetrators of Rohingya genocide to International Criminal Court for justice for the victims.

As this statement goes against the common interest of Rohingya, considering it a betrayal they have collectively and individually disavowed him as representative and rejected his views after several such statements that directly serve the interest of Myanmar government.

The interview was conducted in the wake of Convention on Myanmar’s Ongoing Genocide 2018 in Los Angeles, California held on 22nd September by Burmese American Muslim Association, where Dr. Wakar attended as a speaker. Despite the convention “urged the United States and other current members of U.N. Security Council to immediately refer the situation in Myanmar to ICC”, Uddin seemed to be opposing the convention’s resolution saying “ICC is not the solution”.

But his statement was paralleled by strong rejection on immediacy by not only other speakers including ex-MP U Shwe Maung, BROUK President Maung Tun Khin and others collectively, but also statement of the convention itself.

“We are deeply dismayed by the openly anti-International Criminal Court (ICC) view expressed by Dr. Wakar Uddin, the Director-General of the Arakan Rohingya Union (ARU), in his Burmese language interview with the Voice of America, on 23 September.” a joint statement issued by 32 Rohingya organizations worldwide on 25th Sep 2018 reads. It further says that “We therefore state that Wakar Uddin’s view in no way reflect the need and wish of Rohingya victims and survivors of Myanmar’s systematic persecution.”

Previously the Amsterdam based European Rohingya Council (ERC) has also dissociated his view through a Press Release dated 24th Sep supporting the “International Criminal Court (ICC)’s prosecution of perpetrators of Myanmar’s genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity against Rohingya.”

It was not an accidental statement but intentional as he is found to be defending strongly his view and blaming those who criticized him in a voice clip leaked from his supporters’ circle of WhatsApp. This anti-Rohingya statement is not the first of its kind, but his stance towards the perpetrators always remains so different from that of the whole community that seems to be kind to them.

In a press statement released by ARU on October 16, 2016, he praised the Burmese Officials and armed forces who committed gravest crimes against Rohingya to be “law-abiding” and called on Rohingya community to fully cooperate with them and lend support. In addition, he portrayed Rohingya victims as “attackers and looters”.

Recently some leaked documents of communications between Dr. Wakar and other NGOs have been found, which have been working with Myanmar government and currently are persuading refugees in Bangladesh camps to return to Myanmar without any right guaranteed.

People’s loss of trust in Dr. Wakar Uddin also stems from his reluctance to call Myanmar’s ill-treatment of Rohingya ‘Genocide’ though the report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar (IIFFM Myanmar) to the Human Rights Council, released on 27 August 2018, found that Myanmar’s top military generals, including Commander-in-Chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing, must be investigated and prosecuted for genocide in the north of Rakhine State, as well as for crimes against humanity and war crimes in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States, followed by the recognition of it by the Canadian Government as such.

Another unethical act disappointing the community is that while expressing his view he has quoted the majority which is self-evident to be deniable as he was not in touch with the community due to the public controversy over and denial of his activism after his manipulation of ARU platform.

This is not only the son Uddin whose betrayal is exposed but also Rohingya have dark pages of history and bitter experiences regarding the father Uddin’s dealing with the delegation that went to meet Muhammad Ali Jinnah shortly before the independence of Burma.

Arakan Rohingya Union (ARU) was first ever initiative in the history taken by OIC in collaboration with other concerned parties in 2011 to create a united Rohingya coordinated platform, after the leadership has been in a disorderly manner for decades and people were facing challenges. But this is Uddin who did not let the dream of unity come true, when he started to manipulate this platform by adopting his yes-men into and kicking the founding members out of ARU lawlessly, once he was selected for the position of director general and to misuse it as a personal property.

Another misleading information, what he introduces ARU with, is that ARU is “a global Rohingya umbrella organization representing 61 Rohingya organizations worldwide.” In fact, this kind of behaviour is nothing but a carelessness and exploitation of the lack of a legal system in the community that can hold him accountable for such lies.

In a recent protest against Uddin in Kutupalong refugee camp, a participant namely Abdu Salam  Younus commented on his view regarding ICC as “Dr. Wakar was never a refugee nor a stateless. None of his relatives is raped, killed, harmed or forced out. Even none of them were in Arakan. He lost nothing. How can he feel a victim’s pain?”

Another namely Mohammad Ruhul Amin said “He (Dr. Wakar Uddin) was never known to Rohingya. He didn’t introduce himself as a Rohingya. His sudden appearance as a new-born leader with ARU was shocking. There was an ill-willing member in ARU Congress, known as Dr. ****** who brought him to this position on the nepotistic basis.”

Dr. Wakar has always stood against the mainstream Rohingya media that has been fighting for Rohingya public interests, supported corrupt organizations associated with him, and, for example, defended extortion of money in status correction process of the Rohingyas in Saudi Arabia.

Rohingya organizations worldwide call on the international bodies, including the OIC, with genuine concerns for the plight of Rohingya people, not to accept Wakar Uddin’s un-representative views on justice, accountability and repatriation.

It has been a trending topic among Rohingya activists on social media where they are denying Dr. Wakar’s representation.

“I am Rohingya. Dr. Wakar doesn’t represent me.”

This represents the writer’s own opinion. It doesn’t necessarily reflect RVision’s stance.