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Burma Briefing: An International Task Force is Needed to Help Tackle Growing Religious Violence in Burma

By Burma Campaign UK  •  March 25, 2013

The consequences of failing to address the growing religious tensions in Burma are so serious that they justify the urgent creation of a task force which helps Burma’s political and religious leaders, both in government and in opposition, learn from the past experience of the international community in addressing these problems.

Current Situation

On 20th March violence erupted in Meiktilar, central Burma, between Buddhists and Muslims. While atrocities were committed on both sides in the ensuing violence, the majority of victims were Muslim, and Muslim shops, Mosques and people were systematically attacked. Many lives have been lost and thousands of people have fled their homes.

The violence in Meiktilar has been attributed to a fight that started in a gold shop. Accounts of the incident vary. Some state that the Muslim shopkeeper attacked Buddhist customers, others that the Buddhist customers tried to sell fake gold and became violent and abusive when the shopkeeper refused to buy it. Regardless of which of these accounts is true, the fact is that an incident like this should not lead to religious riots, where dozens are killed, buildings are destroyed and thousands flee in fear, unless underlying tensions are already very high.

Download the full briefer here.

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This post is in: Human Rights, Spotlight

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