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  1. #61
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    Jan 2007


    Mass Sexual Violence Leaves Rohingya Women Traumatized and Stateless

    The United Nations has documented shocking accounts of sexual violence, including gang rape, against Rohingya women and girls at the hands of Myanmar’s military. News Deeply spoke with a U.N. investigator about what she found when she talked to survivors.


    Mass sexual violence against the Rohinyga minority in northern Myanmar has been documented in a recent United Nations report.

    The spate of violence, which includes gang rape and involves survivors as young as 11 years old, was found to have been perpetrated by Myanmar’s security forces,

    On October 9, 2016, the Burmese military entered northern Rakhine state – and over the next four months detained and killed men, women and children. Soldiers burned down houses and raped women and young girls. The U.N. report says these actions amount to possible crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.

    The military insists this “clearance operation” was a justified counterinsurgency operation following an October 9 attack on security forces near the Bangladesh border, which resulted in the deaths of nine policemen. The violence caused more than 69,000 Rohingya to flee from Myanmar to Bangladesh, where they are currently living in eight makeshift camps in Dhaka and Cox Bazar.

    Myanmar’s Rohinyga population lives in villages in northern Rakhine state, near the Bangladesh border. They are known as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. Their Muslim faith is viewed as a security threat by Buddhist groups in Myanmar, which means they receive limited access to basic services such as education. They are also prohibited from claiming citizenship and moving freely throughout the country.

    The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) sent a four-person team, including human rights officer Ilona Alexander, to Bangladesh in early January of this year to investigate these human rights violations. Their investigation included testimony from 101 Rohingya women who experienced violence at the hands of the military: More than half reported being sexually assaulted.

    Women & Girls spoke to Ilona Alexander about the evidence she gathered on the sexual violence inflicted on Rohingya women and girls.

    Women & Girls: The military indicated that it was conducting “area clearance operations” in the region – what exactly does this mean?

    Ilona Alexander: Based on the interviews we conducted, the “area clearance operations” followed this pattern: Large numbers of armed men (often from both the Myanmar Armed Forces and the police, sometimes accompanied by Rakhine villagers) would arrive in the village. As is confirmed by satellite imagery analysis, they would proceed to destroy many houses, mosques, schools and shops.

    They would separate the women from the men. Women would be rounded up, and either told to stay inside a school or other building or outside in the burning sun. Many would be raped or would experience others forms of sexual violence, often during strip searches, either during roundups or in homes.

    Women & Girls: How did the victims describe the attacks?

    Alexander: The vast majority of those interviewed had experienced multiple violations. Families may have had members killed, beaten, raped or taken away to an unknown location, while at the same time their homes were burned and looted. For most interviewees, separation from their families is a major concern.

    Many of the men have been detained or killed. This is one of the saddest things, because these women have experienced tremendous sexual violence – but sometimes they broke down even more when they talked about their missing husbands.

    For me, the touching thing was hearing stories from the little boys who feel that now that their fathers are gone, they are responsible for protecting their mothers and sisters. But these boys have had to watch their sisters and mothers being beaten and raped, and now they feel like they have failed to protect their mothers.

    Women & Girls: Your investigations found that one girl as young as 11 years old was gang raped by military forces. Can you describe this case?

    Alexander: For this girl, she started by describing to me how life was peaceful in her village before … suddenly the military appeared and started killing people [and] abusing women.

    She told me how she witnessed a man who was about 40 years old have his throat cut with a cleaver in front of her. After, the military came to her house and badly beat her parents.

    After this incident, her father went into hiding from the military and took her two older sisters with him so that they would be safe. He left the girl at home with her mother and two little brothers because he thought the military wouldn’t hurt children.

    The military came back to their house twice. The first time, the military came and removed her clothing and kicked her. After the clothing was removed and the girl was beaten, the military suddenly left. The next day they returned with seven soldiers and removed the mother from the house. The soldiers locked themselves in a room with the girl and gang raped her. The girl told me that she doesn’t even know how many of them raped her because she fell unconscious at times and awoke bleeding and injured after.

    Women & Girls: Why were some of the women you spoke to targeted for gang rape, while others weren’t?

    Alexander: They wanted to terrorize the population, so they took some women into public places like mosques and gang raped them while other women were outside and listening. They wanted the women outside to know what was happening so they were terrorized.

    They would have around eight women and 20 men from the military in the mosque, and the men would take a turn with each woman.

    I had this one 15-year-old girl tell me that she was only raped by one solider because she was not as beautiful as the girls who were gang raped. When she told me this I thought, “My God, what kind of culture is this where women think they aren’t beautiful enough to be gang raped?”


  2. #62
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    Jan 2007


    Myanmar Muslims face charges for holding Ramadan prayers

    Police charge three men who prayed in street after school where they used to worship was shut down by nationalists

    2 June 2017

    Authorities in Myanmar have charged three Muslim men for holding Ramadan prayers in the street after the local school where they used to worship was shut down by a nationalist mob.

    Police brought the charges after about 50 Muslims gathered to pray on Wednesday on a road in Yangon's Thaketa township, the site of one of a growing number of raids by Buddhist hardliners on Islamic events.

    Two nearby Islamic schools were closed in late April after ultra-nationalists complained that local Muslims were illegally using them to conduct prayers.

    Authorities have said the closure is temporary, but have given no timeline for when they may be reopened.

    "We feel sorry. This month is important for us," said the local Muslim leader Zaw Min Latt, referring to the holy month of Ramadan, which began last week.

    "We used those schools for prayer for decades. These restrictions have been brought in after more than 60 years."

    Local authorities issued a statement saying the prayer session threatened "stability and the rule of law" in the mainly Muslim neighbourhood in the east of Myanmar's commercial capital.

    A police officer who asked not to be named confirmed the charges.

    Two officers tried to stop AFP journalists from filming when they visited one of the madrasas on Friday.

    "It's our mosque as well as our school. We don't know when it will be reopened," Khin Soe, a local resident in his 50s, said as he set off to pray in another part of town.

    The case comes as Myanmar’s government has been seeking to clamp down on hate speech after a spike in anti-Muslim actions by hardliners from the country’s Buddhist majority.

    Religious tensions have soared since a group of Rohingya Muslims [allegedly] attacked police posts in Rakhine state in October, sparking a bloody military crackdown that has drawn widespread international condemnation.

    Last week Myanmar’s top Buddhist authority officially banned the Ma Ba Tha, an ultra-nationalist movement affiliated with the firebrand cleric Wirathu, which responded by simply changing its name.

    The move came after nationalists this month clashed with Muslims in another Muslim neighbourhood in Yangon, after pushing police to raid a house there in search of illegal Rohingya Muslim hideouts.


  3. #63
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    Burma: 80,000 Muslim Rohingya children starving after military violence, warns UN agency


    No children that were assessed in 45 villages met the 'minimum adequate diet'

    Hundreds of thousands of children in Burma are starving and are in need of treatment for acute malnutrition over the next year, a United Nations agency has warned.

    The World Food Programme‘s report was compiled after assessing 45 villages in western Rakhine state, where around 75,000 Muslim Rohingya people have fled military oppression and violence.

    Around 80,500 children under the age of five are malnourished.

    In an area where income is scarce and food prices are going up, the figures are bleak.

    No child in the assessment met the minimum adequate diet. Only 14 per cent of women had any dietary diversity and 225,000 people need humanitarian assistance.

    One third of homes in Maungdaw, one of the areas most impacted by violence, are suffering from extreme food deprivation, such as not eating for 24 hours or having no food in the house.

    “It is estimated that 80,500 children under the age of five are expected to be in need of treatment for acute malnutrition over the next twelve months,” the WFP report said.

    Many men have left their homes due to combat and security issues, and single-women households were found to be the most vulnerable.

    The report noted that people were “wasting”, which meant they were losing weight very fast and their immune system was being eroded as a result.

    “The survey has confirmed a worsening of the food security situation in already highly vulnerable areas following the security incidents and ensuing violence in late 2016,” the report read.

    With almost half of local markets not fully operating or closing down, food prices have become “highly volatile”, and dried fish, the main supply of proteins for local people, was “scarce”.

    People suffering from malnutrition will become increasingly dependent on humanitarian aid, the report said, as the upcoming rainy season and continued restriction to refugees' movement could exacerbate the fragile food situation.

    Last October Rohingya militant attacks on border police prompted violence from the army, with government forces using helicopters to attack villages.

    Burma’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was widely criticised for the military retaliation.

    More than a dozen fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureates – she was awarded the prize in 1991 – wrote an open letter to the UN security council warning of a tragedy “amounting to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity” in Rakhine state.

    Authorities have denied reports of abuse. They have forbidden a UN investigation of allegations of murder, gang rape and torture by the government against Rohingya Muslims, who are classed as "non-citizens".

    "The government should act urgently to address the devastation it has wrought," wrote Richard Weir, a fellow at the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch.

    "And it should allow humanitarian access to all those at risk in Burma, ensuring that the rights and welfare of all Burma’s people – including the Rohingya – are upheld."


  4. #64
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    Jan 2007


    China extends new family planning policy in Xinjiang province to include Muslim Uyghur minority

    China has extended a new family planning policy in its volatile Xinjiang province to include Muslim Uyghur minority, official media reported today. China has relaxed its four decades old one child policy last year to permit two children.

    By: PTI | Beijing | Updated: August 1, 2017

    China has extended a new family planning policy in its volatile Xinjiang province to include Muslim Uyghur minority, official media reported today. China has relaxed its four decades old one child policy last year to permit two children. The one child policy was confined to only the majority Han community which constitutes over 90 per cent of China’s population of 1.3 billion people. It excluded all minority communities including Muslims and Tibetans. However the new policy being implemented since July 28 in Xinjiang will now be included the Muslims and other minorities too, state-run Global Times reported.

    The province started implementing a uniform family planning policy for all ethnic groups, a move which Chinese analysts said will promote ethnic equality. According to a revised regulation on Xinjiang’s family planning policy, regional ethnic minorities could no longer enjoy as lenient a family planning policy, it said.

    It states that starting July 28, all urban couples in the region have been allowed to have two children, while rural couples can have three. The move was stated to be part of series of stringent actions being taken by China to deal with the volatile province where over Turkik speaking Uygurs who constitute the majority were restive about massive migrations of Hans to their resource rich area.

    China blames separatist East Turkistan Islamic Movement, (ETIM) for the recurring attacks and imposed several measures including restricting wearing veils by Muslim women. As per 2016 official figures Xinjiang’s population stood at 23.98 million. Xinjiang’s regional statistics bureau figures stating that the population census in 2010 showed that there were 8.7 million Han people in Xinjiang, accounting for 40.1 per cent of the total, and an increase of 16.77 percent compared to the 2000 survey, the Global Times reported.

    Meanwhile, around 13 million minorities (majority of them are Uyghurs) live in Xinjiang, an increase of 19.12 per cent. The report said the regional government had previously allowed urban Han couples to have one child while urban minority couples could have two. That meant rural minority couples could have three children, one more than rural Han couples.

    “The change reflects the country’s respect for ethnic equality. This move should be expanded to other places, especially in minority areas, depending on local conditions Huang Wenzheng, a specialist in demographics said.

    La Disheng, a professor at the Party School of the Communist Party of China Xinjiang regional committee said this policy is consistent with China’s ethnic policy of equality of all nationalities in the region.


  5. #65
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    Chinese Authorities Convert Uyghur Mosques Into Propaganda Centers

    They have also been ordered to remove inscriptions of #Islam’s holiest verse, “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God,” from mosque walls and replace them with large red banners that read “Love the [Communist] Party, Love the Country” in yellow writing.
    On Monday mornings, instead of a muezzin calling Muslims to prayer at the prefecture’s mosques, flag-raising ceremonies are now held, followed by the singing of the Chinese national anthem and a patriotic song entitled, “Without the Communist Party, There is No New China.”


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