Government Forces Targeting Rohingya Muslims
Human Rights Desk
Authorities 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 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.
The Burmese government should take urgent measures to end abuses by their forces, ensure humanitarian access, and permit independent international monitors to visit affected areas and investigate abuses, Human Rights Watch said.
The Burmese army’s presence in Sittwe eventually stemmed the violence. However, on June 12, Arakan mobs burned down the homes of up to 10,000 Rohingya and non-Rohingya Muslims in the city’s largest Muslim neighborhood while the police and paramilitary Lon Thein forces opened fire on Rohingya with live ammunition.
Burma’s new human rights commission – led by chairman Win Mra, an ethnic Arakan – has not played an effective role in monitoring abuses in Arakan State, Human Rights Watch said. In a July 11 assessment of the sectarian violence, the commission reported on no government abuses, claimed all humanitarian needs were being met, and failed to address Rohingya citizenship and persecution.
“The Burmese government needs to urgently amend its citizenship law to end official discrimination against the Rohingya,” Adams said. “President Thein Sein cannot credibly claim to be promoting human rights while calling for the expulsion of people because of their ethnicity and religion.”
Source: Human Rights Watch
03 Aug 2012 02:00:18 PM Friday
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