Violence against Rohingya Muslims spreads in Myanmar, describe military’s systematic rape and killing

May 20, 2017 | By | Reply More

Myanmar must do more to prevent the drastic escalation of religious intolerance and violence following clashes between ultranationalist Buddhists and minority Muslims in Yangon, a senior United Nations envoy has said.

muslimsSpeaking to the Guardian, Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, called on the year-old National League for Democracy government led by Aung San Suu Kyi to strengthen its efforts to curb hate speech and violence drummed up by nationalist groups.

Last week, a fight broke out in a Muslim neighbourhood of Yangon after dozens of nationalists raided the home of a family they believed was hiding Rohingya Muslims, members of a persecuted minority deemed by many to be illegal immigrants.

The violence, which left several injured, came two weeks after another radical group, involving some of the same people, forced the closure of two Islamic schools.

While the Myanmar authorities have arrested several Buddhists in connection with the recent violence, they bowed to nationalist pressure to shutter the Islamic schools.

Zaw Htay, a spokesperson for Aung San Suu Kyi, declined to take questions, saying he was in a meeting that would last all day.

In Yangon’s Mingalar Taung Nyunt township, the majority Muslim neighbourhood where last week’s violence took place, many residents are too frightened to talk. But inside her flat, 47-year-old Ma Win recalled how nationalists, accompanied by police, stormed in shortly before midnight last Tuesday and demanded to see identity documents proving the family was not Rohingya. They broke off the door handles.

“I have borne five children in Yangon,” said Ma Win, adding that she has lived in the city since she was a child. “So how dare they say that I am an illegal immigrant?”

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She said the raid had followed a financial dispute with a member of a nationalist group. “We feel we are insecure here,” Ma Win said. “I do not dare go out alone now.”

Violence between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims engulfed Rakhine state in 2012, leaving hundreds dead and thousands more displaced, and it has spread to other cities, including Meiktila in 2013. Several died in anti-Muslim riots in Mandalay a year later.

But until now Yangon, a city of more than 7 million people and home to a sizeable Muslim population, as well as Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and a small Jewish community, has remained unscathed.

Press journalist for HRO media – Ignacio Damigo reports.

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Category: International

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