Mang Hla Aung, is General Secretary of National Democratic Party for Human Rights. He is in exile in
France since 2000, reorganizing his party internationally and working with Myanmar opposition
leader Aun san Suky. He explained to Journalist Athula Vithanage about his story, political activities
and the current situation of their community. ( by Athula Vithanage . 2009)
“I came from Rohingya community of Burma. We are a minority community in there, about 5% of
whole population of thirty million in Burma or Myanmar. All Rohingya people are Islam and live in
Rakhine state, very close to Bangladesh Border. About 150 ethnic groups are live in Myanmar. They
speak different languages and have different cultures, but all other ethnic groups are mostly
Buddhists. Burmese are a large population of a single ethnic group in there. Myanmar military
government organizes from mostly Barman community. Year 2000 is the most important year of my
life, because I came to France and stay here to save my life from Myanmar military.
There is no good sound for democracy, human rights and press freedom at that time in Myanmar.
Today there is no change in that situation.
I began my political activities during my university life as a student. I joined the national Democratic
Party for Human Rights. This party base is from our community of Rohingya peoples and fight for
their rights. After I became General Secretary in this party we won four parliamentary seats and
four affiliated member ships for Myanmar parliament from general Election in 1990. I was also
nominated by my party as an affiliated member. After the election all elected members of
Parliament were arrested by Myanmar Military Government. At that time we hadn’t gone to
Parliament. We had to go to the jail. Its Myanmar style democracy. So many times we have been
arrested, tortured and released. They want to totally stop our political activities, but we didn’t give
up our struggle to continue our fight for Democracy and Human rights in our country. Mean while
one of our party leaders was detained for 7 years and sent to the Jail without chargers. Then what to
do? We decided to leave the country. My party comrade Kyaw Min and I planed to escape from the
country. I have come out early to Bangladesh. But my colleague delayed to leave from Myanmar. As
a result, he was arrested by Military of Myanmar and jailed for 17 years. His wife, two daughters and
son also jailed without chargers.
When I left the country the Myanmar military intelligence came to my home and questioned from
my wife about me. She told to them, he has gone out from country. After that they have dropped
my name from my family list.
Intelligence I contact them every time, but they are safe and sound. Because Military tapped our
telephone lines, my wife came to Bangladesh border village to contact me from the foreign country
telephone, connection. They can’t tap that telephone lines, but all the time they watch and search
my family members' movements. Now they are living like in an open prison.
My daughter was selected to university but she can’t enter because she hasn’t permission from the
Military government. There are many problems for our community because we are only Muslims.
We have lots of discrimination from military of the Myanmar.
We can’t get higher education, medical treatment, free movement or travel to here and there, legal
marriage system without permission of the Myanmar military government. Our main income is
farming. Our land was captured by Military and they lend that lands to us for money since 1988.
Especially these problems and conditions are only for our community. We can’t visit other villages to
see our relations or friends without military permission of Myanmar. Its very necessary. If you can
go to other village from your living place without permission, definitely you will get arrested and
jailed for five or six years. If we want to repair our house we must get permission from Military. So
every thing, every change, every time must be informed to them.
Mean while our grand relations came here on about 8th century. We live under rules of the Indian
Rajahs, king of Bengali and Kings of Rakhine so many centuries ago in Myanmar. But some
extremists tell us you are not Burmese; you must go to India or Bangladesh. However we can’t go to
other countries because Burma is our mother land, we can’t leave our motherland. As I know, more
than 10,000 people were killed since 1988-2009 in only my own state and more than 500,000 people
exiled to other countries in the last few years. We have lived so many years under the British rule as
their colony. Most of Myanmar people came to the UK as exiles. Some others are in Norway, USA,
France, India, and Poland as refugees.
When I came here I reorganized my party internationally with other international political parties,
groups, and in Myanmar with other political groups, for international pressure to establish
democratic system in my country. We have two ambitions as a political party, National Democratic
Burma for Human Rights. First one is try to establish a perfect democratic system in Myanmar
without military rule. Other one is raising our own problem of our community. Especially human
Our party helps Aun San Suky, opposition leader of Myanmar. She has tried to establish democratic
system in Myanmar. We work with her every time. Committee Representative People’ parliament
has been built by Aun San Suky to gather all parliament members fighting for a democratic system.
18 political party members are with her. I think she can understand our own problems and she can
reorganize the Myanmar society for democracy. I need to go to my country Myanmar; I must go
after establishing a peaceful society under the leadership of Suky. I hope for it.