Chittagong, Bangladesh: Most of the participants were residence of Kingdom Saudi Arabia (KSA) at 2nd Arakan Rohingya Union (ARU) convention held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on July 7-8, according to the ARU statement and political parties and civil society parties.
The ARU statement declared 61 organizations had participated in the ARU convention but it’s list showed 74 organizations and some are listed twice in the statement.
Most of organizations claimed their organizations were not able to join the convention as its former Director-General (expired at the time of 2nd ARU Convention in Jeddah on 7-8 July, according to 1st ARU Convention in Jeddah on May 2011) but acting as Director-General (Dr. Wakar Uddin) informed and controlled the invitation and information of convention, according to Canadian Rohingya representative and Bangladesh Rohingya organizations.
“Dr. Wakar Uddin sent visa slip and invitation letter together on July 4th, 2013, it was not possible for me to attend at the ARU congress 7-8 July with the limited time, and phoned me from Saudi Arabia in labeling as he was doing the best, and he told me that to appoint a representative of Canadian Burmese Rohingya Organization (CBRO) from the KSA, if I was not able to attend at the congress. In fact, he really didn’t want me to attend at the Congress, I knew that he was playing a game with me when I started communication with him, in the end, I sent an e-mail to him with a name and contact number of a person who would represent CBRO as congress member in 7-8 July, 2013 in Jeddah, but he didn’t contact with CBRO’s appointed member. No one attended at the ARU Congress 7-8 July, 2013 from CBRO,” said Nur Hasim, the Chairperson, Canadian Burmese Rohingya Organization (CBRO), Canada.
Similarly, other Rohingya organizations from Europe did not attend in the ARU convention, but DG asked to appoint a representative from Saudi Arabia. The 61, organizations real joined the convention which mentioned in the statement as most of Rohingya organizations from Bangladesh were not joined in the convention in Jeddah for lack of time and lately sent invitation letter with visa, some were only getting air ticket without visa paper. The DG played role to control the convention to his favor to gain the DG in the future.
The 2nd ARU convention was the meeting of a completely new organization although the name is the same. This new ARU has nothing to do with the original Rohingya convention that met in May 2011. The D-G is trying to establish a new mandate, according to Harn Yawnghwe, Executive Director, Euro-Burma Office.
“The mandate of the EBO is to promote democracy in Burma by empowering the voiceless to have a voice. That was why in May 2011, EBO together with the OIC convened a meeting of Rohingya organizations. The idea was to enable the Rohingya people to work together for their rights in a peaceful manner. Twenty-five organizations attended the convention and formed the Arakan Rohingya Union.”
The Rohingya News Agency (RNA) was not allow to attend Arakan Rohingya Union (ARU) event as participation to coverage of all media activities at the headquarters of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah, even we requested before the event, said Ata Noor, Rohingya News Agency.
“Attending all Rohingya media at ARU conference was important which was a legitimate rights and was guaranteed to them, and without the exclusion of any party – political, social and media. ARU will benefit from all, participating in this conference. We urgently need to unite all efforts, and for cooperation and harmony, but this exclusion will inevitably lead to more cracking and separation within Rohingyas, which we didn’t want and solution for the target of Rohingya issues.”
The 2nd ARU Convention in Jeddah on 7-8 July declared the term of DG is 6 year and renewable once more term and congress will hold every two year to meet the ARU meeting. The 2nd ARU Convention again elected Dr. Wakar Uddin as DG and Dr. Tahir Mohamed Siraj as Chairperson.