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Violence in West Burma: Racial and Religious Intolerance Must Cease!

By Info-Birmanie  •  June 12, 2012

Info Birmanie is deeply concerned by the violent riots of an inter-religious nature, which have taken place over the last few days in the Rakhine State (Arakan) in West Burma.

Since 2nd June numerous people have been killed and others wounded during riots between Buddhists and Muslims in Western Burma despite the state of emergency ordered by the government.  Official media speak of 7 killed and 17 wounded and still, according to official figures, 500 houses have been destroyed.  Meanwhile the Burmese authorities and medias do not seem to take into account the numerous victims belonging to the Rohingya minority, who, according to the Rohingya defence groups, could reach several hundred.

Tensions between the Buddhist Rakhine majority and the Muslim Rohingyas has existed for decades in this region bordering Bangladesh, orchestrated and exacerbated by the succession of military juntas in power since 1962. The end of May saw tensions brutally explode after a succession of violent events, which transformed themselves into anti-Muslim riots, apparently supported by the local authorities.

The Rohingyas have always been considered as second-class citizens even though their presence in the area for several centuries has been proved. The treatments to which the Rohingyas are victims are extremely discriminating; the Burmese government notably refuses them passports, which thus leaves them stateless. The number of Muslims in Burma is estimated at 8 million, all communities included.  They have been victims of discrimination and numerous persecutions by the successive juntas.  More recently, despite the civilian government’s vague reforms, the anti-Muslim violence and racist propaganda has increased against Muslims and in particular against the Rohingyas. Because of this generalised persecution it is estimated that 1.5 million Muslim Rohingyas have been expelled or have had to leave their homeland at the risk of their lives.

Info Birmanie calls on all parties to act with restraint and exhorts the authorities and the community leaders to open discussions in order to end the violence and protect the population.

The Association forcefully deplores the racist speeches, which have sprung up in the media and the social networks and calls for religious tolerance and reconciliation.  Already highly criticised for the abuses committed by the army in the North and East of the country, the Burmese government should now cease its systematic policy of discrimination against the Rohingyas as well as towards all the inhabitants of Burma, without origin or religious distinction.  The government should equally commit itself to protecting the rights and dignity of all its citizens – an indispensable stipulation to democratic transition.

Info Birmanie calls on the French Government to bring pressure to bear on the Burmese authorities to rapidly resolve the situation in a peaceful and constructive manner.

Contact person:
Celestine Foucher
Desk Officer
+ 33 (0) 1 46 33 4162

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This post is in: Press Release

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(၂၉) ႏွစ္ေျမာက္ စစ္ေတြဆန္ျပႆနာေန႔ ဝမ္းနည္းေအာက္ေမ့ဖြယ္ အထိမ္းအမွတ္ သေဘာထားထုတ္ျပန္ခ်က္