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ARNO- The Background

The international community is well aware that we, the 3.5 million peace-loving Muslims of Arakan known as "Rohingya" have long been subjected to large-scale persecution, genocide, ethnic-cleansing, diabolical tyranny and extermination particularly by the successive Burmese autocratic regimes, the worst being the present State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) military regime. They are also made largest target of other widespread human rights violations, including rape, summary execution, torture, slave labour, restriction on movement, forcible dispossession and seizure of their  citizenship, compelling them to become stateless or refugees. as a result about 1.5 million of Rohingyas have been expelled or have to leave their ancestral homeland for their lives.

In the face of the rapidly deteriorating situation of the Rohingyas threatening their very existence and daunting challenges thrown upon them by the military junta, all rohingya organisations have strongly felt that the total unity of the Rohingya people is indispensable. Thus the three Rohingya Organisations--Arakan Rohingya Islamic Front (ARIF) led by Nurul Islam, Rohingya Solidarity Organisaton (RSO) led by Dr. Yunus and Rohingya Solidarity ORGANISATION RSO) led by Professor Mohammad Zakaria--- having common outlook toward all national, political and ideological matters, have united together and merged into a single organisation namely ARAKAN ROHINGYA NATIONAL ORGANISATION (ARNO) to serve the cause of their people.

Having established this broad-based organization with the unanimous and unflinching support of the entire Rohingya people to translate their hopes and aspirations so as to shape and charter their own destiny in accordance with their free will. 1

ARNO- The Objectives

The 2nd Rohingya National Council (RNC), the congress of the Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO), was held between 5-7 October 2000. It was attended by party delegates and representatives from home and abroad, including Ulema, elite and commanders of the Rohingya National Army (RNA).

The participants deliberated and discussed about the Rohingya freedom struggle covering all issues-- political, military, economic, socio-cultural, education and other matters of national importance. The issue of Rohingyas, who have been living in alien lands and in refugee camps in Bangladesh, was one of the important agenda items dominated in the discussions of RNC. The Rohingya National Council (RNC) formed a Central Executive Committee (CEC) with Mr. Nurul Islam as its President.

The RNC had welcomed the agreement of political alliance signed between Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO) and National United Party of Arakan (NUPA). The  RNC had noted with appreciation that the agreement of  alliance is the reflection for the Muslim-Buddhist unity, based on the reality of Arakan, to launch a joint national liberation struggle for self-determination and independence and thus translating the hopes and aspiration of the whole people of Arakan.

All the participants expressed that their future looks bleak and the problem of the people of Arakan, particularly that of Rohingya, can not be solved under colonial rule of the Burman imperialist. And they were unanimous to opt for the independence of Arakan.

The RNC hereby declares the policies and programme of the ARNO:-

  1. That the national liberation struggle of the Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO) is but a continuation of the Rohingya people's long and heroic resistance movement and is to be continued till the inalienable right if the people of Arakan to 'self-determination and independence" is achieved.
  2. That we are committed to the preservation and growth of Islamic culture among the Muslim community in Arakan without prejudice to the preservation and growth of  other religious and indigenous culture in Arakan
  3. That about 1.5 million rohingya, who have been expelled from the country, are taking shelter in many countries of the world while hoping to return to their ancestral homeland of Arakan. The Rohingya masses, whether in the homeland or in the place of Refuge, comprise one national front. They are an internal part of Ummah as well as part the third world and of the oppressed colonised humanity everywhere in the world.
  4. That we will organize, inspire and activate the entire people of Arakan and undertake necessary programmes to train and motivate them for improving their basic human qualities and consciousness. In this connection, we urge upon all the strengthen national unity for the steady victory of our national liberation struggle for self-determination and independence.
  5. That we will undertake all programmes that may be needed from time to time fro the uplift of the people of Arakan in socio-cultural, economic, educational and technical fields.
  6. That the military regime is trying to obliterate and erase Muslim entity in Arakan by distorting historical facts, destroying archeological remains, mosques, madreasssah, shrines and graveyards in order to wipe out the Islamic cultural heritage. The regime is engaged in statistical genocide in an effort to make our people look insignificant as part of an evil design to deny us of our rights and prepare the minds of the peoples of the world for the appalling consequences of genocide. We shall leave no stone unturned to preserve the true history of Arakan and cultural heritage and their actual statistical figures.
  7. That we will establish a welfare society based on equality, liberty, democracy, human rights and freedom for all people without distinction as to race, color and religion. Economic deprivation, exploitation, injustice and discrimination of any kind will be eradicated.
  8.  That we will revive and strengthen our traditional friendship and work hand in glove in full cooperation and understanding in the interest of all people of Arakan, including that of the highlanders distributed among different trines or indigenous people -- such as Chin, Mro, Hami, Dainnet, Thet, etc. --so as to charter the future of the all people of Arakan and that of their generation to come. Meanwhile, we urge upon all to be vigilant against the machination of the enemies.
  9. That we support all the national liberation movements and democratic forces in Burma and aspire to co-operate and fight together against the common enemy  and to put the dastardly military autocratic rule to an end.
  10. That Bangladesh is our neighborly country which practically shares the experience of tragedy besetting the people of Arakan. Having deep traditional and historical relationship in the bonds of Islamic fraternity and contiguity in geographical position, the people of Bangladesh have had the opportunity to closely view the historical process that led to the present position of our people. Besides, the atrocities upon our people have direct affect on her; particularly a huge number of Rohingyas have been taking refuge in Bangladesh over the decades to escape persecution at home. We, however, believe that Bangladesh being a neighborly country has historical and moral obligation to endeavor for a permanent and viable solution of the problem in the interest of peace and regional stability.
  11. That it is well known that our women and girls have borne that brunt of oppression by Burma's military regime. The soldiers and officers of the regime in systematic campaigns have most horrendously abused them. We salute the female Rohingyas' courageous efforts to survive, even as refugee, widows and orphans. For the future, we support the rights of our women and girls to education, health and economic empowerment, in a new atmosphere of utmost respect and absolute safety and security.
  12. That as the dangerous narcotics flowing out of Burma with its military regime's full involvement poses a terrible hardship to all peoples of Asia and the world. We oppose this deadly trade. We will educate our youths of the dangers of drugs (including AIDS infection) and firmly obstruct any such narcotics trafficking through our land.
  13. That we call for a halt to the present grievous ravaging of the forests of our homeland by greedy Burmese military regime. For our future generations' heritage we pledge to protect our environment, including forests, rivers, wetland, coastline ocean. We shall save our land from unsustainable logging, killing of endangered species, all forms of pollution, and over fishing, to preserve a green haven fro our children and the world.
  14. That we reject and boycott against all multinational corporate investment with the Burmese military regime. In the future, any investment and development must only be done with the wishes and welfare of our people in mind and with their full informed consent and oversight. Future development must be sustainable, appropriate, clean and beneficial to t eh common people.
  15. That we appeal for all out support of the international community, the Governments of the world and World Bodies, including United Nations Organisations (UND)), Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), South Asia Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC), ASEAN, Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs), other humanitarian and human rights Organisations.


Dated: 25th October 2000  


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