Rohingya Muslim minority in the northern Rakhine state have been shot, stabbed, starved, robbed, raped and driven from their homes in the hundreds of thousands.
Tag Archives: Myanamar
Police brought the charges after about 50 Muslims gathered to pray on Wednesday on a road in Yangon’s Thaketa township, the site of one of a growing number of raids by Buddhist hardliners on Islamic events.
Two nearby Islamic schools were closed in late April after ultra-nationalists complained that local Muslims were illegally using them to conduct prayers.
The Rohingya Muslims according to experts on genocide face the “final stages of genocide.” Part and parcel of the persecution of Rohingya has been targeting their religious identity and practice. According to Rohingya activists on the ground previously this meant that the public practice and appearance of Islam was restricted, now it has been extended to religious practice at home.
One activist, Aung Aung Sittwe, has reported that the District Director of Religious Affairs in the capital city of NayPyiDaw, has instructed subordinates not to let Muslims learn the Qur’an at home any longer. How this can or will be implemented is anyone’s guess. It is, if authentic, one more salvo in the anti-Rohingya campaign led by bigoted military officials and Buddhist nationalists.
The Rohingya are not welcome in Myanmar’s public school system, among other limitations the stateless ethnic minority faces in their homeland.
The term “hardline Buddhist” may seem like an oxymoron, but it accurately describes the movement currently leading attacks on Muslim communities in South Asia. So far, though, the United States has done little to pressure the governments in question to halt the violence, to the chagrin of human rights activists.
Sri Lanka, where 69 percent of the population is Buddhist, is home to a small community of Muslims who kept a low-profile during the country’s lengthy civil war. Recently, however, a number of hardline Buddhist groups have sprung up, stirring anti-Muslim fervor among the majority Sinhalese ethnic group. These groups — that call themselves names like the Buddhist Strength Force and Sinhala Echo — accused the minority community of producing exam results “distorted to favor Muslims” and claimed that calves had been slaughtered indoors — which is illegal in the country’s capital. Neither claim has borne out, but they have led to mass protests and attacks against Muslims and their communities.
Most recently, a Buddhist monk-led mob in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital, swarmed and assaulted a Muslim-owned clothing warehouse on Thursday:
The BBC’s Charles Haviland in Colombo said the monks led a crowd which quickly swelled to about 500, yelling insults against the shop’s Muslim owners and rounding on journalists seeking to cover the events.
Five or six were injured, including a cameraman who needed stitches.
Eyewitnesses said the police stood and watched although after the trouble spread they brought it under control.
Similar persecution is ongoing against Myanmar’s Muslim communities, who make up only four percent of the total population. In the face of spreading violence, also kicked up by hardline Buddhists, Burmese Muslims are fleeing their homes, leaving behind destroyed mosques and shops. At least 40 people have died in the clashes since March 20, as the fighting moves closer to the capital. These most recent attacks have left some 12,000 people displaced from their homes, according to the U.N.
Tomas Ojea Quintana, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on Myanmar human rights, on Thursday said he had “received reports of state involvement in some of the acts of violence,” earning himself a rebuke from the Burmese government. President Thein Sein on Thursday said that his government would use force if need be to clamp down on the violence, but only as a last resort.
The violence against Burmese Muslims in general has found a particular target in members of the Rohingya ethnic group. Stateless due to their status under a 1982 citizenship law, many Burmese believe the Rohingya are illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh. Because of this, the Rohingya have faced down violence and persecution for years, to the degree that some have called their situation a “genocide.” The group has caught the eye of hacktivist group Anonymous, which is now claiming credit for promoting more awareness of the Rohingya’s plight.
At present, the U.S. has backed President Thein’s call for calm, but not commented on the violence in Sri Lanka, nor taken apparent action to pressure either government to halt the attacks. This echoes previous instances of violence, such as in Sept. 2012, when the State Department urged Bangladesh to keep its borders open as Rohingya fled from Myanmar. President Obama, during his Nov. 2012 visit to Myanmar, called for greater protection of minorities in the country. So far, this call hasn’t not seemed to be heard in Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
882 Muslim Homes Torched in Burma, Satellite Images Show
Satellite images arranged by Human Rights Watch show the scale of destruction in one of Meikhtila’s Muslim quarters where 442 homes were torched on March 20-22
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,
This image shows the vast amount of destruction done against an exclusively Muslim section of a Burmese town. In excess of 800 homes have been destroyed, 60+ killed and many injured. The follow article was sourced from the Guardian UK:
Burma’s president has admitted an unprecedented wave of ethnic violence has targeted his country’s Rohingya Muslim population, destroying whole villages and large parts of towns.
Thein Sein’s acknowledgement follows the release of satellite imagesshowing the severe scale of the destruction in one coastal town, where most – if not all – of the Muslim population appears to have been displaced and their homes destroyed.
The pictures, acquired by Human Rights Watchshow destruction to the coastal town of Kyaukpyu in the country’s west. They reveal an area of destruction 35 acres in size in which some 811 buildings and boats have been destroyed.
The images confirm reports of an orgy of destruction in the town which occurred in a 24-hour period in the middle of last week after violence in the province broke out again on 21 October.
The attacks in Arakan province in the country’s west – also known as Rakhine – appears to have been part of a wave of communal violence pitting Arakan Buddhists against Muslims that has hit five separate towns and displaced thousands of people.
“There have been incidents of whole villages and parts of the towns being burned down in Arakan state,” Thein Sein’s spokesman said.
A government spokesman put the death toll up until Friday at 112. But within hours state media revised it to 67 killed from 21-25 October, with 95 wounded and nearly 3,000 houses destroyed.
The president’s comments followed a warning from the office of the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, that ethnic violence was endangering political progress in Burma.
“The vigilante attacks, targeted threats and extremist rhetoric must be stopped. If this is not done … the reform and opening-up process being currently pursued by the government is likely to be jeopardised,” the statement said.
The Burmese government is struggling to contain ethnic and religious tensions suppressed during nearly half a century of military rule that ended last year.
Inter-ethnic violence broke out earlier this year, triggered by the rape and murder of a Buddhist woman by three Muslim men.
Releasing the satellite images, Human Rights Watch said it had identified 633 buildings and 178 houseboats and floating barges which were destroyed in an area occupied predominantly by Rohingya.
A committee of MPs led by the Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi called on Friday for security reinforcements and swift legal action against those behind the killings and destruction.
According to Reuters, dozens of boats full of Rohingyas with no food or water fled Kyaukpyu, an industrial zone important to China, and other recent hotspots and were seeking access on Friday to overcrowded refugee camps around the state capital, Sittwe.
Some 3,000 Rohingya were reported to have been blocked from reaching Sittwe by government forces and landed on a nearby island.
“These latest incidents between Muslim Rohingyas and Buddhists demonstrate how urgent it is that the authorities intervene to protect everyone, and break the cycle of discrimination and violence,” Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific deputy director, Isabelle Arradon, said.
The latest violence erupted as a Burmese website in Norway – the Democratic Voice of Burma – reported it had acquired a document by a group calling itself the All-Arakanese Monks’ Solidarity Conference. calling for all Rohingya to be expelled from the country.
“Burma’s government urgently needs to provide security for the Rohingya in Arakan state, who are under vicious attack,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Unless the authorities also start addressing the root causes of the violence, it is only likely to get worse.”
Human Rights Watch fears the death toll is far higher, based on allegations from witnesses fleeing scenes of carnage and the government’s well-documented history of underestimating figures that might lead to criticism of the state.
The Rohingya are officially stateless. Buddhist-majority Burma’s government regards the estimated 800,000 of them in the country as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, and not as one of the country’s 135 official ethnic groups, and denies them citizenship.
But many of those expelled from Kyaukpyu are not Rohingya but Muslims from the officially recognised Kaman minority, said Chris Lewa, director of the Rohingya advocacy group, Arakan Project.
“It’s not just anti-Rohingya violence anymore, it’s anti-Muslim,” she said.
It was unclear what set off the latest arson and killing on Sunday.
Muslims have experienced large scale persecution for centuries, the Bosnian massacres, Iraqi war, Afghanistan war, Gazan genocide are just some of the conflicts in which Muslims were the targets, often times women and children being the main victims.
wa Allaahu ‘Alam,
and Allaah knows best.
Muslims in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine have been forced to flee to emergency camps, as extremist Buddhists step up attacks on the Rohingya Muslims
Kyaw Myint, a Muslim who took refuge at Thechaung camp outside the Rakhine state capital, Sittwe. He fled his home in nearby Pauktaw when it was torched Wednesday.”I feel as though I am in hell,” he said. “We have no one to take care of us, no place to go, and now no job to earn a living.”
Government officials said hundreds of homes have been torched in the latest round of violence in Rakhine, where clashes broke out between Buddhists and Rohingyas.
The latest violence between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims began Oct. 21 and has left at least 84 people dead and 129 injured, according to the government. Human rights groups believe the true toll could be far higher.
Tensions have heightened across Rakhine, and the Myanmar government has imposed a curfew in several areas.
According to figures by the United Nations Refugee Agency, over 1,000 displaced Rohingyas have arrived in Rakhine’s capital Sittwe over the past few days.
“Many more are supposed to be on their way. These people are all coming to the IDP (internally displaced person) camps close to Sittwe, which are already overcrowded,” said UN Refugee Agency spokesperson Vivian Tan.
Myanmar army forces allegedly provided the Buddhists with containers of petrol to set ablaze the houses of Muslim villagers and force them out of their houses.
The silence of human rights organizations toward the abuses against Rohingyas has emboldened the extremist Buddhists and Myanmar’s government forces.
The Buddhist-majority government of Myanmar refuses to recognize Rohingyas and has classified them as illegal migrants, even though the Rohingyas are said to be Muslim descendants of Persian, Turkish, Bengali, and Pathan origins, who migrated to Myanmar as early as the 8th century.
Reports say some 650 Rohingyas have been killed in Rakhine over the past few months. About 1,200 others are also missing and 80,000 more have been displaced.
Al Jazeera English correspondent Jamal Elshayyal reports from this year’s Hajj on a group of Rohingya Muslims making the pilgrimage.
One pilgrim interviewed said:
“The problem in Rakhine began in 1962 but it’s only now that the world has begun to take notice. There are plenty of stor
The pilgrim says he is praying for help at hajj:ies of suffering in Rakhine. Unfortunately, the suffering is due to the single fact that we are Muslims, and that’s why we are oppressed. There are someBuddhists who refuse to accept our differences or allow us to practice our religion.”“I pray that the Muslim countries and leaders will do more for the people of Rakhine, and they are able to pressure the president of Myanmar to put an end to the suffering of my people.
The widespread killings of Rohingya Muslims in Burma — or Myanmar — have received only passing and dispassionate coverage in most media. What they actually warrant is widespread outrage and decisive efforts to bring further human rights abuses to an immediate halt.
“Burmese helicopter set fire to three boats carrying nearly 50 Muslim Rohingyas fleeing sectarian violence in western Burma in an attack that is believed to have killed everyone on board,” reported Radio Free Europe on July 12.
Rohingyas are a Muslim people living in the Arakan region. As of 2012, 800,000 Rohingyas live in Myanmar. The United Nations says that they are one of the most persecuted minorities of the world. As a result of systematic discrimination they have endured over the past years, many of them have migrated to Bangladesh and Malaysia and currently 300,000 Rohingya Muslims live in Bangladesh and 24,000 in Malaysia
The persecution of the Rohingya Muslims dates back to the early World War II when the Japanese forces invaded Burma which was then under the British colonial rule. It’s said that on March 28, 1942, about 5,000 Muslims were massacred in Minbya and Mrohaung Townships by the Rakhine nationalists. According to Amnesty International, the Rohingya Muslims have long suffered from human rights violations and as a result, scores of them immigrated to neighboring Bangladesh for better living conditions.
One instance of discrimination against the Muslims of Rohingya is that they are denied the right of citizenship by the government. Many of them have escaped to Bangladesh and as many as 111,000 of them live in the Thai-Myanmar border.
According to the website of Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO), Rohingya Muslims require government permission to marry, are forbidden from having more than two children per family and are subjected to modern-day slavery through forced labor. Because the national government denies them the right to citizenship in their homeland, many Rohingyas have their land confiscated and they are restricted from travel.
The Human Rights Watch considers the denial of the right of citizenship the most important problem the Muslims of Rohingya face. The government of Myanmar considers the Rohingyas to be “resident foreigners.” This lack of full citizenship rights means that the Rohingya are subject to other abuses, including restrictions on their freedom of movement, discriminatory limitations on access to education, and arbitrary confiscation of property.
(Bangkok) – Burmese security forces committed killings, rape, and mass arrests against Rohingya Muslims after failing to protect both them and Arakan Buddhists during deadly sectarian violence in western Burma in June 2012. Government restrictions on humanitarian access to the Rohingya community have left many of the over 100,000 people displaced and in dire need of food, shelter, and medical care.
The 56-page report, “‘The Government Could Have Stopped This’: Sectarian Violence and Ensuing Abuses in Burma’s Arakan State,” describes how the Burmese authorities failed to take adequate measures to stem rising tensions and the outbreak of sectarian violence in Arakan State. Though the army eventually contained the mob violence in the state capital, Sittwe, both Arakan and Rohingya witnesses told Human Rights Watch that government forces stood by while members from each community attacked the other, razing villages and committing an unknown number of killings.
No Refuge: The Rohingya’s Struggle for Survival and Dignity
Weak, dehydrated, and traumatized, the Rohingya people from western Myanmar, who arrive on Thailand’s shores after crossing the Andaman Sea, come with alarming stories.
The Rohingya, a minority Muslim ethnic group, have suffered decades of restriction and indignity in Myanmar, which has led countless people to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, to Thailand, and beyond. Those who make the often risky and dangerous journeys find their suffering far from over. They face detention, deportation, or life in overcrowded and unsanitary refugee camps. From its projects in Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Thailand, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has witnessed first-hand the medical consequences of the Rohingya’s chronic humanitarian crisis.
“I was relieved to make it to shore alive,” said one man who came by boat to Thailand last year. “At sea, I saw another boat carrying around 80 people sink in front of my eyes. I think everyone died.”
opened fire on , committed rape and stood by as rival mobs attacked each other during a recent wave of , a rights watchdog said Wednesday.
The authorities failed to protect both Muslims and Buddhists and then “unleashed a campaign of violence and mass roundups against the Rohingya”, New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a report.
The violence which erupted in June in between Buddhists and Rohingya has left about 80 people dead from both sides, based on official figures — an estimate that HRW said appeared “grossly underestimated”.
Hundreds of Rohingya men and boys have been rounded up and remain incommunicado in the western region of the country formerly known as Burma, it said.
Burma: UN calls for inquiry over Rakhine violence
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) says about 80,000 people have been displaced following inter-communal violence.
The agency says most of those displaced are living in camps and more tents are being airlifted in to help them.
The latest violence in Rakhine state began in May when a Buddhist ethnic Rakhine woman was raped and murdered by three Muslims.
On 3 June, an unidentified mob killed 10 Muslims.
Ms Pillay’s office says that since then at least 78 people have been killed in ensuing violence but unofficial estimates are higher.
“We have been receiving a stream of reports from independent sources alleging discriminatory and arbitrary responses by security forces, and even their instigation of and involvement in clashes,” Ms Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said.
“Reports indicate that the initial swift response of the authorities to the communal violence may have turned into a crackdown targeting Muslims, in particular members of the Rohingya community.”
She welcomed a government decision to allow a UN envoy access to Rakhine state next week, but said it was “no substitute for a fully-fledged independent investigation”.
‘Scared to return’
The UNHCR says that about 80,000 people had been displaced in and around the towns of Sittwe and Maungdaw.
Spokesman Andrej Mahecic said that many were too scared to return home while others were being prevented from earning a living.
“Some displaced Muslims tell UNHCR staff they would also like to go home to resume work, but fear for their safety,” he said.
Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi recently called for laws to protect the rights of ethnic minority groups.