Burmese Muslims targeted in communal violence, says Amnesty
Minority Rohingya population beaten, raped and killed by security forces and Rakhine Buddhists, claims rights group
Rohingya refugees in Malaysia protest outside the British high
commission in Kuala Lumpur against the violence in Burma. Photograph:
Communal violence is continuing in western [ندعوك للتسجيل في المنتدى أو التعريف بنفسك لمعاينة هذا الرابط]
six weeks after the government declared a state of emergency, with much
of it directed at minority Muslim Rohingyas who have been beaten, raped
and killed, [ندعوك للتسجيل في المنتدى أو التعريف بنفسك لمعاينة هذا الرابط]
rights group accused both security forces and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists
of carrying out fresh attacks against Rohingyas, who are regarded as
foreigners by the ethnic majority and denied citizenship by the
government because it considers them illegal settlers from neighbouring
After a series of isolated killings starting in
late May, bloody skirmishes spread quickly across much of Burma's
coastal Rakhine state.
The government declared a state of
emergency on 10 June, deploying troops to quell the unrest and protect
both mosques and monasteries. Authorities said at least 78 people had
been killed and thousands of homes of both Buddhists and Muslims either
burned down or destroyed.
Since then, communal violence has
continued, albeit at reduced intensity. Amnesty said attacks were now
being directed mostly at the Rohingya population.
in the past six weeks has been "primarily one-sided, with Muslims
generally and Rohingyas specifically the targets and victims", Benjamin
Zawacki, a Bangkok-based researcher for Amnesty, told the Associated
Press. "Some of this is by the security forces' own hands, some by
Rakhine Buddhists, with the security forces turning a blind eye in some
Officials from Burma's government could not immediately be reached for comment.
Amnesty also said security forces, including the police and the army, had detained hundreds of Rohingyas.
"While the restoration of order, security, and the protection of [ندعوك للتسجيل في المنتدى أو التعريف بنفسك لمعاينة هذا الرابط]
is necessary, most arrests appear to have been arbitrary and
discriminatory, violating the rights to liberty and to freedom from
discrimination on grounds of religion," Amnesty said in a statement.
violence, which reached its bloodiest point in June, constituted some
of the country's deadliest sectarian bloodshed in years and raised
international concerns about the fate of the Rohingyas inside Burma.
Burmese president, Thein Sein, said earlier this month the solution to
ethnic enmity in Rakhine state was to either send the Rohingyas to a
third country or have the United Nations refugee agency look after them.
The UNHCR chief, Antonio Guterres, said, however, it was not his
agency's job to resettle the Rohingyas.
Many people in
Burma do not recognise Rohingyas as legitimate settlers – even those of
Bengali heritage who came in the 19th century when the country was under
British rule. The exodus of Rohingyas to Bangladesh in the 1980s and
1990s because of persecution, and their subsequent return, has added to
the confusion over who among them are illegal immigrants.
also denies the Rohingyas citizenship, arguing that they have been
living in Burma for centuries and should be recognised as citizens there
The UN estimates that 800,000 Rohingyas live in
Burma. Thousands attempt to flee every year to Bangladesh, Malaysia and
elsewhere, trying to escape a life of abuse that rights groups say
includes forced labour, violence against women and restrictions on
movement, marriage and reproduction that breed anger and resentment.
called on Burma to accept Rohingyas as citizens, something the
government has staunchly opposed because it does not consider them an
ethnic group native to Burma.
"Under international human
rights law and standards, no one may be left or rendered stateless,"
Zawacki said. "For too long Myanmar's [Burma's] human rights record has
been marred by the continued denial of citizenship for Rohingyas and a
host of discriminatory practices against them."