Two child limit imposed on Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya #Vaw #WTFnews


New measure, which applies to Muslim Rohingya families in western Rakhine state, does not affect Buddhists in the area.
Last Modified: 25 May 2013 14:34
Authorities in Myanmar‘s western Rakhine state have imposed a two-child limit for Muslim Rohingya families, a policy that does not apply to Buddhists in the area, and comes amid accusations of ethnic cleansing in the aftermath of sectarian violence.

Local officials said on Saturday that the new measure would be applied to two Rakhine townships that border Bangladesh and have the highest Muslim populations in the state.

The townships, Buthidaung and Maundaw, are about 95 percent Muslim.

The unusual order makes Myanmar perhaps the only country in the world to impose such a restriction on a religious group, and is likely to fuel further criticism that Muslims are being discriminated against in the Buddhist-majority country.

China has a one-child policy, but it is not based on religion and exceptions apply to minority ethnic groups.

India briefly practised forced sterilisation of men in a bid to control the population in the mid-1970s when civil liberties were suspended during a period of emergency rule, but a nationwide outcry quickly shut down the programme.

‘Overpopulation causes tension’

Rakhine state spokesman Win Myaing said the new programme was meant to stem rapid population growth in the Muslim community, which a government-appointed commission identified as one of the causes of the sectarian violence.

Although Muslims are the majority in the two townships in which the new policy applies, they account for only about 4 percent of Myanmar’s roughly 60 million people.

The measure was enacted a week ago after the commission recommended family planning programs to stem population growth among Muslims, Win Myaing said.

The commission also recommended doubling the number of security forces in the volatile region.

“The population growth of Rohingya Muslims is 10 times higher than that of the Rakhine (Buddhists),” Win Myaing said. “Overpopulation is one of the causes of tension.”

Sectarian violence in Myanmar first flared nearly a year ago in Rakhine state between the region’s Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya.

Mobs of Buddhists armed with machetes razed thousands of Muslim homes, leaving hundreds of people dead and forcing 125,000 to flee, mostly Muslims.

Witnesses and human rights groups said riot police stood by as crowds attacked Muslims and burned their villages.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has accused authorities in Rakhine of fomenting an organised campaign of “ethnic cleansing” against the Rohingya.

 

How to start a riot out of Facebook: Yousuf Saeed


Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

AUGUST 13, 2012

Guest post by YOUSUF SAEED, http://kafila.org

I am utterly shocked and pained to read about the violent rally that many Muslims took out at Azad Maidan in Mumbai on 11 August 2012 in protest against the recent communal carnage in Assam and Burma. More than the accidental death of two men and 50 injured in yesterday’s protest, what alarmed me was the public anger targeted on the media for “not reporting about the violence against Muslims in Assam and Myanmar”. Several vans of TV channels and their equipment were smashed or burnt besides a number of police vehicles destroyed. Of course, the authorities are still probing as to who really began the violence in an otherwise peaceful rally (and we are open to the results of such a probe). But my worst fear came true with this assertion of one of the protesters in a newspaper report: “Why is the media not covering Burma and Assam? We learnt about the incidents from videos posted on the Internet.” This seems to be a very disturbing statement on various accounts. Of course, the media can sometimes be biased, and the Muslims do feel victimised by it all the time. But are the random videos and images posted on the Internet any less biased or misleading?

Some of you may have recently noticed a number of gory and blood-soaked images being forwarded and shared on various social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter that claim to show the dead bodies of “20,000 Muslims butchered in Burma in the hands of Buddhists” along with the assertion that the world’s media is silent about the plight of Muslims in Burma and so on. Most of those images are really disturbing, capable of making anyone’s blood boil. Some show mounds of rotting dead bodies and a few Buddhist monks standing near them. Some even looked digitally tempered with to enhance their anti-Muslim violence. But there was no sign of where these images were sourced from. A couple of them even had Jama’t-e Islami, Pakistan, stamped on them. But if, as the people posting them claim, the world’s media is silent about the Muslim carnage in Burma, how did these images and the disturbing news come from Burma in the first place? Where did they find them before posting? I asked this question to many friends sharing these images and they didn’t have a clue. They simply believed in what they saw. In fact, from the Internet these pictures were picked up by many Urdu newspapers from Mumbai, Hyderabad and Delhi and printed with inflammatory titles and headlines. Many new caricatures and info-graphics started appearing on Facebook ridiculing the “peaceful” image of Buddhists or the “silence” of Burmese leader Aung Suu Kyi on the carnage of Rohingya Muslims and so on.

Read more here

Rohingya Muslims: A brief history of centuries-long persecution


 

By Syed Zubair Ahmad, Two circles. net

The recent ethnic clashes between the Rohingya Muslims and the Buddhist community in the Rakhine (or Arakan) province of Myanmar have attracted global attention though late – the latest is the UN’s decision to probe into the killings and human rights violation there. An ugly incident of rape and murder of a Buddhist woman allegedly by three Rohingya Muslims in the end of May this year turned into a disaster for Rohingya Muslim community in Myanmar.

There are more than 800,000 Rohingyas residing in Burma, mostly in the province of Rakhine. According to several UN reports, Rohingyas are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. The military Junta striped Rohingyas off all the rights of a citizen through a law called Citizenship Law in 1982, thus making Rohingyas the only stateless community of the world.

Who are Rohingyas?
The history of Rohingya community in Burma goes back to 8th century as they claim to be original settlers of Rakhine (Arakan) province the country while tracing their ancestry to Arab traders. Bengali Muslims from neighboring Bengal (which then included Bangladesh also) started arriving in Rakhine after King Narameikhla (1430–1434) retained his throne with the help of Sultan of Bengal of that time. Besides, a large number of Bengalis migrated to Rakhine during the British rule which encouraged Bengali inhabitants to migrate to fertile valleys of Arakan as agriculturalists.

Rohingyas practice Sunni Islam. Because the government restricts educational opportunities for them, many pursue only basic Islamic studies.


A group of Rohingya Muslims fleeing Rakhine state in Myanmar – photo:Reuters

The British census of 1891 reported 58,255 Muslims in Arakan. By 1911, the Muslim population had increased to 178,647. However as of 2012, there are more than 800,000 Rohingyas residing in Myanmar, most of them in the province of Rakhine.

A brief history of persecution of Rohingyas
This is not the first time that Rohingya Muslims were persecuted in Myanmar. In their history, such mass killings and exodus have happened several times.

The annexation of the independent province of Rakhine in 1784 by the Burmese government came up with discriminatory policies and persecution of Rohingyas. They were marginalized and the Myanmar government put several restrictions on their movement, their marriage, and constantly confiscated their land and drove them to annihilation. It is said as many as 35,000 Arakanese people fled to the neighbouring Chittagong region of British Bengal in 1799 to avoid Burmese persecution and seek protection from British India. The Burmese rulers executed thousands of Arakanese men and deported a considerable portion of the Arakanese population to central Burma, leaving Arakan as a scarcely populated area by the time the British occupied it

During World War II, Japanese forces invaded Burma, then under British colonial rule. The British forces retreated and in the power vacuum left behind, considerable violence erupted. This included communal violence between Buddhist Rakhine people and Muslim Rohingya villagers. The period also witnessed violence between groups loyal to the British and Burmese nationalists. The Rohingyas supported the Allies during the war and opposed the Japanese forces. The Japanese committed atrocities toward thousands of Rohingyas, including rape, torture, and murder. In this period, some 22,000 Rohingya are believed to have crossed the border into Bengal, then part of British India, to escape the violence. Some 40,000 Rohingya eventually fled to Chittagong after repeated massacres by the Burmese and Japanese forces.

In 1947, Rohingyas formed Mujahid Party which supported jihad movement in northern Arakan. The aim of Mujahid Party was to create a Muslim Autonomous state in Arakan. But after the 1962 coup d’etat by General Ne Win, military operations targeted them over a period of two decades. The prominent one was “Operation King Dragon” which took place in 1978; as a result, many Muslims in the region fled to neighboring country Bangladesh as refugees. Over 200,000 Rohingyas are said to have fled to Bangladesh following the ‘King Dragon’ operation of the Myanmar army. Officially this campaign aimed at “scrutinizing each individual living in the state, designating citizens and foreigners in accordance with the law and taking actions against foreigners who have filtered into the country illegally.” This military campaign, in effect, directly targeted civilians, and resulted in widespread killings, rape and destruction of mosques and further religious persecution.

During 1991-92 a new wave of atrocities forced over a quarter of a million Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh. They reported widespread forced labor, as well as summary executions, torture, and rape. They said they were forced to work without pay by the Burmese army on infrastructure and economic projects, often under harsh conditions. Many other human rights violations occurred in the context of forced labor of Rohingya civilians by the security forces.

The present alarming situation
In its latest report issued on July 19, 2012 the rights group Amnesty International has slammed the increasing human rights abuses and arbitrary detention of Muslims in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state.

“It is the duty of security forces to defend the rights of everyone – without exception or discrimination – from abuses by others, while abiding by human rights standards themselves,” said Benjamin Zawacki, Amnesty International’s Myanmar Researcher.


A group of Rohingya Muslim asylum seekers in Delhi in May 2012

The group accused both security forces and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists of increasing attacks on the Rohingya Muslims, killing, rape, arbitrary detention of Muslims and destroying their properties, urging the Myanmarese authorities to put an end to the violent action.

“Amnesty International has also received credible reports of other human rights abuses against Rohingyas and other Rakhine Muslims– including physical abuse, rape, destruction of property, and unlawful killings – carried out by both Rakhine Buddhists and security forces,” said the group in its report.

After the recent wave of ethnic cleansing (May-July 2012), according to the Amnesty report, between 50,000 and 90,000 people – with lower figures coming from the government and higher ones from UN agencies– are estimated to have been displaced.

Amnesty International has called on Myanmar’s Parliament to amend or repeal the 1982 Citizenship Law to ensure that Rohingyas are no longer stateless.

“Under international human rights law and standards, no one may be left or rendered stateless. For too long Myanmar’s human rights record has been marred by the continued denial of citizenship for Rohingyas and a host of discriminatory practices against them,” concluded the report.

Decades of discrimination have left the Rohingya Muslims stateless, with Myanmar implementing restrictions on their movement and withholding land rights, education and public services, according to another report released by Turkish charity group the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (İHH).

The report, released on 21st July 2012, states that Rohingya Muslims, who are seen as foreigners by nationalist Myanmar leaders and extremist Buddhists and are denied citizenship by the government because it considers them illegal settlers from neighboring Bangladesh, do not have the freedom to travel. In order to travel from one village to another, they have to pay taxes to the government.

The report underlines that there is a great number of Rohingya Muslims who are detained, subjected to torture and raped, adding that it was difficult to accurately determine their identities or numbers.


Rohingya Muslim asylum seekers who were given a shelter by Zakat Foundation of India with makeshift huts in Kanchan Kunj locality near Sarita Vihar in Delhi

According to this report, Rohingya Muslims are not allowed to renovate their mosques or schools without the permission of the government, adding that anyone caught renovating these buildings without permission would be sent to jail. The report also adds that a new mosque or school has not been built in over 20 years.

They cannot benefit from the social services provided by the state, including health services, underlines the report, adding that Muslims do not have the right to work in government offices.

According to the report, a Muslim who commits an illegal act is not allowed to defend himself and is sent directly to jail. The report also underlines that Muslims can be forced to work for Buddhists or the government without any payment.

A human catastrophe is happening in Burma which needs immediate attention of the world community. The world community should intervene into this inhuman genocide that has been happening in Burma for a long time.
(Syed Zubair Ahmad is a Writer & Journalist. He can be reached at smzubairahmad@gmail.com)

 

Statement by Pakistani civil society on Human Rights violation in Myanmar


Myanmar

Myanmar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Recent weeks have witnessed horrific events in Myanmar. Mobs have targeted the Rohingya population, resulting in the brutal murder of scores of Rohingya and displacement of tens of thousands of children, women, and men. Appallingly, the Myanmar military leadership has labelled Rohingyas as an ethnic and religious minority not deserving of full protection as citizens. Neighbouring Bangladesh behaves most callously, forcing thousands to live in hiding or squalid refugee settlements along the border.

This situation is intolerable for all those committed to universal human rights, including secure lives and prosperous livelihoods.

We demand of the people and government of Myanmar to abide by the international consensus on the rights of people. Having suffered under oppressive, military rule for decades, the people of Myanmar well know of the terror afflicted by the absence of democracy. Only through full and sincere protection of all residents as equal citizens would Myanmar commit adherence to desperately sought democracy.

We urge the winner of a Noble Peace Prize, the venerated Aung San Suu Ski to assume leadership of moves towards an end of violence, and to create conditions for a safe return of refugees to their homes in Myanmar. Her voice is heard around the world, and hence compels her to take bold steps immediately, which must include indiscriminating state and social protection of the Rohingya community.

We urge the Buddhist community around the world to remind the people of Myanmar of the priority given to peace and respect of all nature in the exemplary teachings of Buddha.

We demand of Pakistan as well as other SAARC and ASEAN governments to forcefully remind the government of Myanmar that the inhuman violence sharply retards the progress towards democracy for its people and is therefore unacceptable for full inclusion in regional cooperation.

We demand of the people and government of Bangladesh to provide full refugee status to those compelled to flee Myanmar. Security of adequate food and humane shelter must be the first priority in sincere protection of refugees. SAARC and ASEAN countries must consider their obligation to assist Bangladesh in supporting refugees.

Endorsed by:
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
Pakistan Peace Coalition
Karamat Ali, Executive Director, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER)
B. M. Kutty
Aly Ercelan
Adam Malik
Qamrul Hasan
Lala Hasan Pathan
Iqbal Alv;
Mahnaz Rahman (Aurat Foundation and Women Action Forum)
Latif Mughal
Ziaur Rahman (journalist)
Syed Moazzam Ali
Muneer Memon
Jawaid Ashraf Hussain, former Chief Secretary of Sindh;
Shaheen Salahuddin (TV anchorperson, Indus TV)
Qazi Javed

Released by:
Shujauddin Qureshi
Senior Research Associate
Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER)
Gulshan-e-Maymar, Karachi-75340
Ph: +(92-21) 36351145-7
Fax: +(92-21) 36350345
Cell: +(92)300-3929788
URL: www.piler.org.pk

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