Rohingya Muslims "persecuted" after Myanmar crackdown - report

BANGKOK Wed Aug 1, 2012 9:00am IST

BANGKOK Aug 1 (Reuters) - Myanmar security forces killed, raped or carried out mass arrests of Rohingya Muslims after deadly sectarian riots in the northeast in June, a rights group said on Wednesday, adding the authorities had done little to prevent the initial unrest.

Aid workers were blocked and in some cases arrested, and Rohingyas bore the brunt of a government crackdown in Rakhine state after a week of arson and machete attack by both ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingyas, New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a report.

Based on 57 interviews with Rakhines and Rohingyas, the report seeks to shed light on a conflict that exposed deep-rooted communal animosity and put the spotlight on promises by the civilian government in office since 2011 to protect human rights after decades of brutal army rule.

"Burmese security forces failed to protect the Arakan (Rakhine) and Rohingya from each other and then unleashed a campaign of violence and mass round-ups against the Rohingya,"� said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

"The government claims it is committed to ending ethnic strife and abuse, but recent events in Arakan State demonstrate that state-sponsored persecution and discrimination persist."

Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin said on Monday the authorities had exercised "maximum restraint" in restoring law and order and that the rioting was not fuelled by religious persecution.

He rejected what he said were attempts to "politicise and internationalise the situation as a religious issue", adding that the government was eager to promote "racial harmony among different nationalities".

In veiled criticism of the United States and European Union, which praised the government for its handling of the unrest, Adams said the international community had been "blinded by a romantic narrative of sweeping change" in Myanmar.

The former Burma has a diverse ethnic and religious make-up, but the Rohingya Muslims are not included by the government. There are at least 800,000 Rohingyas in the country but they are not recognised as one of its ethnic groups.

Neighbouring Bangladesh does not accept them and pushed boatloads back out to sea when they tried to flee the unrest.


Myanmar President Thein Sein said in June the government was only responsible for third-generation Rohingyas whose families had arrived before independence in 1948 and that it was impossible to accept those who had "illegally entered" Myanmar.

He recommended that the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR take care of them in camps or resettle them in third countries. UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres replied it could only resettle refugees that fled from one country to another.

The riots followed two brutal incidents in Rakhine state: the May 28 rape and murder of a Rakhine woman by three Rohingya males, who were sentenced to death, and the June 3 lynching in response of 10 non-Rohingya Muslims travelling on a bus.

Human Rights Watch said police and troops did not intervene to stop the mobs from beating the Muslims to death. During the riots that followed, it said some Rohingyas who tried to flee or put out fires at their homes were shot at by paramilitaries.

It called for the government to end abuses, grant full humanitarian access and invite in international monitors. Access to the area remains restricted.

Thein Sein is in a tight spot. Concessions towards the Rohingyas could prove unpopular among the general public, but perceived ill-treatment risks angering Western countries that have eased sanctions in response to human rights reforms.

Minister of Border Affairs Thein Htay says 858 people have been detained for involvement in the violence, including five UNHCR staff and a U.N. World Food Programme employee. It was unclear how many of the total were Rohingya or ethnic Rakhine.

The Foreign Ministry has said 77 people died and 109 were injured during the violence, and nearly 5,000 homes burnt down. (Additional reporting by Aung Hla Tun in Yangon; Editing by Alan Raybould and Nick Macfie)

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Comments (1)
JohnnyMyanmar wrote:
Burma preserve its unique identity with 33 ethical group despite situates between world’s most populous countries India and China. But most of Burmese culture is mixture of Indian and Chinese if you look at Myanmar traditional dress upper dress is Chinese traditional coat and lower part is Indian Lungis. But Myanmar remains intact as today because Myanmar people know how to protect their self. So People in Myanmar know who are our guys and who are not.
Of course Burmese people worship Buddha who is happen to be Indian and resemble to Rohingya in features (Pole are resemble to Russian but Pole are not Russian) This is my answer to your irrelevant conclusion that Rohingya must be accept in Myanmar because they are resemble to Buddha.
Actually we are talking about different issues and we think that we are talking same issue. yes all international media are talking on one issue and Burmese media and people are talking about another issue.
Whole world and Burmese people know that previous military government suppressed all minorities group in Burma including Rohingya. There was civil war in Burma last 6 decades with different minorities group but those General turned current civil government trying to reverse all those conflicts when Rohingya incident took place 2 months ago.
Two Rohingya guys raped a girl who happened to be Buddhist and local Arakan people outrage and killed 10 people who happened to be Muslim. Then Muslim in Burmese capital protested about killing of 10 Muslim after their Friday prayer. (People living in Burma never allow to protest but new civil government allow protesting of the people of Myanmar and just 1 month before Muslim protest there was protesting against shortage of electricity)
Then Rogingya who living in Rakhine state energized by their Muslim brothers protest in Yangon, they did the same but their protest run out of control and started burning homes and killing people. Of course angry people can do anything. Furthermore to make matter worse, Rohingya leadership in oversea took perfect opportunity and they turn the story upside down and create “Rakhine people are burning and killing Rohingya people” They up loaded all fake pictures and photos to social and International media (They still do) But world medias buy into it. Because Burmese government get solid history of suppressing all minorities (FYI not only Muslim) amd It was easy to convince the world. “Ex-con man commits the crime again” it was piece of cake to build such case. Then the government controls the situation with emergency law. Then the Government take measure on those who commit the crime during unrest (Very normal procedure all governments around the world do, this is why after riot most of boat people flee to Bangladesh are young male group and during riot most refuge flee to Bangladesh are female and Children) But when Burmese government take such measure against criminals whole world shout “Burmese are committing crime against Rohingya” worse including U.N and world media paint whole incident as Muslim Vs. Buddhist but if it is the case all hundred of Mosques around the Burma already burnt down. You know what “Whole wide Burma gets extremely angry toward international media accusing people of Burma committing crime against Muslim”
Furthermore, there is no solid evidence that Muslim flourish in ancient city of Rakhine but you will do see old Buddhist temple when you Google “Myauk-U old temples” one of main tourist attraction in Burma. By the way Burmese kings were brutal and they even destroy all Buddhist temples and statue when they occupied Thailand and Thailand still preserve the ruin. But I do not see such ruins in Rakhine. Well today is Internet age you do not need to take grant on my words you can research yourself. Open your mind and you will find the truth behind all media and religious hypes.
Rohingya are minority as well as Muslim but Myanmar government like every other Governments in the world has every right to arrested and prosecuted who committed the crime do not manipulated the event by title like “Rohingya Muslims “persecuted” after Myanmar crackdown” but your news title should be like “Myanmar government ”prosecuted” Rohingya who committed crime and arson during ethnical violence”

Aug 01, 2012 10:35pm IST  --  Report as abuse
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