Saturday, January 10, 2004

Rohingya Youth Development Forum At a Glance

Organization Background:
Rohingya Youth Development Forum (RYDF) was formed by some Rohingya youths in exile with a view to promote the young generation of the ethnic Rohingya in order to avail in democracy movement and human rights activities together with other ethnic nationalities youth groups of Burma, that only to strengthened the Burmese democracy movement, to end all kinds of dictatorship and military rules in the country.

It is a grass roots and civil society organization of the Rohingyas from Arakan State, Burma, which has been working shoulder to shoulder with other Burmese opposition groups to restore democracy and human rights and to establish peace, justice and tranquility as well.

It has close relation with National Reconciliation (NRP) Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB), Nationalities Youth Forum (NY Forum), Shan Women Action Network (SWAN), Shan Youth Nationalities School (Shan School), Network for Democracy and Development (NDD), Women League of Burma (WLB), All Arakan Student and Youth Congress (AASYC), National Leage for Democracy (NLD-LA) youth, National Democratic Party for Human Rights (in exile), National United Party of Arakan (NUPA) and many other Burmese democracy organizations.

As, it is a leading youth group of Burma on Burma-Bangladesh border, it has network with various International Human Rights organizations like Asian Forum for Human Rights Development (FORUM-ASIA), Refugees International, Asian Regional Resource Center (ARRC) and Asia Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and that maintain communication to ensure the rights of democracy, freedom, justice and peace of the people of the country.

On the other hand, it has clear understanding with all Arakanese groups like Rakhaing, Dinet, Mro, Maramagri, etc. in terms of open society in divers’ society of different religion, ethnics, culture groups and etc.

Aims and objects of organization:-
- To overthrow the military dictatorship (SPDC) of Burma;
- To extend knowledge to the Rohingya Arakense youth and student communities about democracy, human rights of the people to motivate their effective participation in democracy movement;
- To create mass awareness of the youth community for the services of humanity and natural resources management;
- To cooperate all walks of youths for their education;
- To make a viable community to face all kinds of challenges;
- To build leadership qualities so as to adjust with the International standard;
- To strengthen unity in diverse society;
- To create a mass awareness for advocacy in Human Rights abuses;
- To increase mass participations of youth groups from grass root level and develop them.

Statement of Purpose:
RYDF has planned to uphold capacity building programs for the young generation of the country to avail in the movement of democracy, freedom, justice, Human Rights, equality and peace. So, it take initiative to hold some workshops, training, seminars, discussion meeting on the aim of political development among the opposition groups and to strengthened the movement for the structural changes in Burma.

It is interested to bring up at least 30 democratic leaders from young people from western border of Burma, 15 people on Human rights and at least 15 people on Natural Resources to preserved the natural resources of the country like Gas, Hydro Electricity, Coal, forestry, etc.

It may be mentioned that there is no any International NGOs working on the people of Burma except the UNHCR which is only supporting to some 20,000 refugees for their minimum survival but not any kinds of political, social, educational, spiritual development among the people of Burma, while there are more than 220,000 unofficial Rohingya refugees living along Burma-Bangladesh border and various places of Bangladesh. They are quite far from having adequate protection and necessary helps from any quarter.

So, all the Burmese democracy believers, compatriots and workers are deprived of their rights to build their skills in Bangladesh, while there are many NGOs working on Thai-Burma border on the people of Burma and its democracy and human rights.

In this regards, RYDF want to try to fulfill the needs of people from Burma along its western border, especially along Burma-Bangladesh border.

In addition, democracy movement along all borders of Burma has minimum strength but very liquidated on the border of Burma-Bangladesh while Bangladesh has less strength of democracy in its own country and is fighting to promote relationship with its neighboring countries of Burma, India etc. for the interest of its people not for the people of neighbors.

Project Goals:
• To strengthened the democracy movement with a view to bring up future leadership from the young generation;
• To develop the democratic concept in decision making among the people of Arakan as well as all ethnic groups of Burma;
• To help the National Reconciliation and Tripartite Dialogue in Burma to bring up the realistic unity among the ethnic people of Burma and to establish the state of genuine federal union;
• to bring up actual fact about land ownership and natural resources management in Burma and its step to peace building unity to the people;
• To ensure all kinds of human rights, peace, justices, freedom of movement, expression, religion, culture and etc. for the all people of Burma in term of equal rights and dignity.

• To build up a better understanding among all people of Arakan as well as whole Burma on democratic decision making;
• To bring up mass awareness on conflict management and resolution in divers society of Burma;
• To guide the people of Arakan and whole Burma to the way of peace and justice in the country;
• To set up democratic reforms in the country through the young and next coming democratic leadership;
• To end all kinds of racism, dictatorship, military rules in the country to ensure the rights and freedom of people in terms of peace and justice in the country of multi-ethnic, religious, cultural and heritage.

Achievements of the Org.:
The organization is well known to the Burmese democracy movement by its activities. It is also networking partner of different national and International youth organizations like Youth Action, Katmandu, Nepal, Nationalities Youth Forum, in Chiang Mai, Red Cross Nordic Society and Norway etc.

It is the only youth organization from Burma-Bangladesh border that is participating in the National Reconciliation Program (NRP) of Burma and that has already represented different conferences, workshops and seminars and that has gained a Trainer on Democratic Leadership to achieve the goal of Burmese Democracy.

It has strong network with various media groups and release occasion press statements regarding Burma which are publicized in main stream media like Burmanet, VOA, RFA, News from Bangladesh and many others. It has also publicized period journal “The Arakan Times” first and second issue. The RYDF also publicized monthly publication in Burmese “The Arakan Observer” for the awareness campaign on Arakan Natural Gas and other human rights situation ins and out side of Burma.

RYDF is facilitating student consultation for Burmese refugees and IDPs to get access of higher education in different universities of the world. Under the consultation of RYDF, some Rohingya students were selected for 4 years political Science program under the AEIOU Matriculation Scholarship Program of Chiang Mai University, who is almost to travel to get admission at the university. Students are also getting admission to the International Islamic University Chittagong (IIUC) in different professional subjects of Computer Science and Engineering, English language and Literature and others.

It has also successfully held a workshop on leadership Capacity Building in Chittagong, Bangladesh with its members in October 2004 and also completed youth exchange program in August 2005.