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    Burma: A reflection of the Muslim World


    May Allaah show goodness to you, O virtuous Shaykh. We would like some words of advice from you to the Muslims regarding the current massacre and ethnic cleansing of our Muslim brothers by the Buddhists of Burma; [1] it being an extension of the killing over past decades.[2] Knowing fully well, that there is an agenda from the global media in concealing this matter.


    This situation is not specific to only the Burmese; Islaam currently is being attacked in many of the Muslim countries. The disbelieving countries have now attacked and occupied the Muslim countries; they don’t want the Muslims to establish a state, they don’t want for Islaam to have a presence – as much as they are able to do so.

    They know fully well what they are doing to the Muslims; they call it democracy, they want to force their ideology and laws of disbelief upon us. They want to force the laws of disbelief upon us, calling it democracy and secularism.

    However, Allaah (may He be Glorified) refuses except that His light becomes complete and apparent.

    Upon us is to supplicate, to increase in our supplications and sincerely repeat them; that Allaah (may He be glorified) gives victory to our Muslim brothers in every place, and gives them ability against their enemies.

    Upon us is to supplicate, we do not possess the ability to do anything aside from supplicating. As for the one who has the ability to do something more than this, then he should strive to offer what he is able to do.

    Shaykh Saalih ibn Fowzaan al-Fowzaan



    [1] Formerly known as the Union of Burma, it was renamed The Union of Myanmar in 1989.

    [2] The current massacre of the Muslims in Myanmar occurred in the Rakhine State involving ethnic Rohingya Muslims who are native to Myanmar. The latest killing – rather massacre - began in June 2012, however this is only reflective of a history of ethnic cum religious cleansing carried out by governmental Buddhist forces over the past decades, beginning from 1784.

    Please refer to ‘Myanmar’s Muslims; The Oppressed of the Oppressed’ by Rianne ten Veen (published by Islamic Human Rights Commission) for a historical report of the situation of the Muslims in Myanmar.

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  3. #23
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    Sri Lanka Buddhist mob attacks Colombo mosque

    11 August 2013

    A Buddhist mob has attacked a mosque in the Grandpass area of the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, leaving at least five people injured.

    Buddhists and Muslims clashed after the attack, and police imposed a curfew in the area.

    Last month, a group of Buddhist monks had protested near the mosque, demanding it be relocated.

    In recent months, hardline Buddhist groups have mounted a campaign against Muslim and Christian targets.

    Several houses were also damaged in Saturday's clashes. Two of the injured were policemen guarding the mosque.

    A Muslim resident of the area said that a mob threw stones at the mosque when worshippers were performing evening prayers, the BBC's Azzam Ameen reports from Colombo.

    The police and special task force commandos were dispatched to the area and have been able to bring the situation under control, a police spokesman told the BBC.

    Buddhists monks had reportedly protested against the presence of the mosque but had agreed to allow Muslims to continue praying there until the end of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

    But area Muslims says Sri Lanka's religious affairs ministry had given them permission to continue using the site and had also provided special police security due to the threat of possible attacks.

    Fears of persecution

    The past year has seen mounting religious tension in the country as hardline Buddhist groups have attacked mosques and Muslim-owned businesses, as well as churches and clergy.

    In February, one group also called for the abolition of the Muslim halal system of certifying foods and other goods.

    Buddhist hardliners accuse Muslims and Christians of promoting extremism and trying to convert Buddhists to their own faiths.

    Both Muslims and Christians have denied the accusations, correspondents report.

    The Buddhist Sinhalese community makes up three-quarters of Sri Lanka's population of 20 million.

    During Sri Lanka's bitter civil war, the Muslims - a small Tamil-speaking minority, about 9% of the population - kept a low profile, but many now fear that ethnic majority hardliners are trying to target them.


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    Massacre Of Muslims In Myanmar Ignored

    By TODD PITMAN - 07/06/13

    Their bones are scattered in blackened patches of earth across a hillside overlooking the wrecked Islamic boarding school they once called home.

    Smashed fragments of skulls rest atop the dirt. A shattered jaw cradles half a set of teeth. And among the remains lie the sharpened bamboo staves attackers used to beat dozens of people to the ground before drowning their still-twitching bodies in gasoline and burning them alive.

    The mobs that March morning were Buddhists enraged by the killing of a monk. The victims were Muslims who had nothing to do with it – students and teachers from a prestigious Islamic school in central Myanmar who were so close to being saved.

    In the last hours of their lives, police had been dispatched to rescue them from a burning compound surrounded by swarms of angry men. And when they emerged cowering, hands atop their heads, they only had to make it to four police trucks waiting on the road above.

    It wasn't far to go – just one hill.

    What happened on the way is the story of one of Myanmar's darkest days since this Southeast Asian country's post-junta leaders promised the dawn of a new, democratic era two years ago – a day on which 36 Muslims, most teenagers, were slaughtered before the eyes of police and local officials who did almost nothing to stop it.

    And what has happened since shows just how hollow the promise of change has been for a neglected religious minority that has received neither protection nor justice.

    The president of this predominantly Buddhist nation never came to Meikhtila to mourn the dead or comfort the living. Police investigators never roped this place off or collected the evidence of carnage left behind on these slopes. And despite video clips online that show mobs clubbing students to death and cheering as flames leap from corpses, not a single suspect has been convicted.

    International rights groups say the lack of justice fuels impunity among Buddhist mobs and paves the way for more violence. It also reflects the reality that despite Myanmar's bid to reform, power remains concentrated in the hands of an ethnic Burman, Buddhist elite that dominates all branches of government.

    "If the rule of law exists at all in Myanmar, it is something only Buddhists can enjoy," says Thida, whose husband was slain in Meikhtila. Like other survivors, she asked not to be identified by her full name for fear of retribution. "We know there is no such thing as justice for Muslims."


    The Associated Press pieced together the story of the March 21 massacre from the accounts of 10 witnesses, including seven survivors who only agreed to meet outside their homes for security reasons. The AP cross-checked their testimony against video clips taken by private citizens, many with the date and time embedded; public media footage; dozens of photos; a site inspection, and information from local officials.

    The day before the massacre began like every other at the Mingalar Zayone Islamic Boarding School – with a call to prayer echoing through the darkness before dawn.

    It was Wednesday, March 20, and 120 drowsy students blinked their eyes, rising from a sea of mats spread across the floors of a vast two-story dormitory.

    Set behind the walls of a modest compound in a Muslim neighborhood of Meikhtila, the all-male madrassa attracted students from across the region whose parents hoped they would one day become Islamic scholars or clerics.

    The school had a soccer pitch, a mosque and 10 teachers. It also had a reputation for discipline and insularity – the headmaster, a strict yet kind man with a wispy beard, only allowed students outside once a week. Muslims made up about a third of Meikhtila's 100,000 inhabitants, compared with just 5 percent of Myanmar's population, and they lived peacefully with Buddhists.

    The Muslims, though, were nervous after sectarian clashes in western Rakhine state in June and October last year killed hundreds and drove more than 140,000 from their homes. Both times, the madrassa shut down temporarily as a precaution.

    The unrest was aimed at ethnic Rohingya Muslims, who have lived in Myanmar for generations but are still viewed by many Buddhists as foreign interlopers from Bangladesh. The hatred has since morphed into a monk-led campaign against all Muslims, seen as "enemies" of Buddhist culture.

    When classes began on March 20, student gossip quickly turned to an argument on the other side of town between a Muslim gold merchant and a Buddhist client, which had prompted a crowd of hundreds to overrun the shop and set it ablaze.

    That afternoon, several Muslim men yanked a monk off a motorcycle and burned him to death. Buddhist mobs in turn torched Muslim businesses and 12 of the city's 13 mosques.

    In Mingalar Zayone, some teachers skipped courses. Then classes were canceled altogether.

    Students rushed to the dormitory's second floor and gazed out of the windows, in shock. Black and gray columns of smoke were rising in the air.

    At dinner a couple of hours later, the sound of a teacher weeping filled the hall. His family home had been burned with his parents inside it. Some students pushed their food away.

    As the sun slunk in a hazy sky, a Buddhist government administrator came to the gate of the madrassa and took the headmaster aside.

    "You need to get your students out of here," he warned. "You need to hide. The mobs are coming – tonight."

    At sunset prayers, the headmaster told everyone to collect their valuables, their money, their ID cards – and prepare to leave. He asked them to remove their head caps, Islamic dress and anything that might identify them as Muslim.

    He never explained why. He didn't have to.

    "If they try to destroy this place, we'll do our best to stop them," he said. "But whatever happens, we will not let you die."


    After dark, they crept deep into a swampy jungle of tall grass a block away called the Wat Hlan Taw, and the tall reeds swallowed the school's refugees whole.

    Most were students and teachers. But at least 10 women and their children were also among them, relatives or residents too terrified to stay in their own homes.

    They sat down in the mud. Nobody said a word.

    Soon, they heard the mob approaching – dozens, maybe hundreds of voices, a cacophony of menace and anger that grew louder by the second.

    The voices were at the gate of their madrassa. And then they were inside, kicking in doors and smashing windows.

    In the darkness of the Wat Hlan Taw, a teacher named Shafee with a stomach ailment reached for his wife's palm and squeezed it hard.

    "If they find us," he whispered nervously, "you know I won't be able to run."

    "Don't worry," his wife, Thida, replied, cradling their 3-year-old son in her arms. "We'll be together, every step. I'll never leave you."

    As the long night wore on, the madrassa burned down.

    At 4 a.m., Buddhist prayer gongs rang out, and the mobs began shining flashlights into the Wat Hlan Taw. Some Buddhists fired rocks into the bush with homemade slingshots.

    "Come out, Kalars!" they shouted, using a derogatory word for Muslims.

    The Muslims ran to a neighboring compound, owned by a wealthy Muslim businessman. Some tore down a bamboo fence to get inside.

    The mobs were not far behind.

    Thida heard a boy screaming behind her, a student who had been trying to call his mother on his cell phone.

    He had waited just a few seconds too long to run.


    As the first rays of dawn touched Mingalar Zayone, Koko, a quiet, heavy-set 21-year-old student, peered over the compound's thin fence and felt numb. Men clutching machetes and sticks were girding for a fight outside.

    Hundreds more were gathering on a road running across a huge embankment that shadowed the neighborhood's western edge. The embankment had always been there, but now it seemed to seal them inside the bottom of a huge, oppressive bowl from which they could not escape.

    Koko could almost feel the blood draining from his cheeks. He felt weak, no longer human.

    "We're trapped," he thought, "like animals."

    Some students were frantically making calls for help – to parents, to police. Some were chanting loudly. Others were scouring the property for anything they could use to defend themselves – wooden boards, rocks the gangs outside had thrown at them.

    By the time an opposition lawmaker, Win Htein, arrived around 7:30 a.m., dozens of helmeted riot police were on the scene. The security forces, equipped with rifles and gray shields, had formed lines to keep the Buddhist hordes away from the Muslims.

    Win Htein saw the head of police and the district commissioner standing nearby, and the bodies of two dead Muslims on the edge of the Wat Hlan Taw. Over the next 45 minutes, he watched in horror as mobs of men chased five more students out of the bush, one by one, and hacked or bludgeoned them to death in broad daylight.

    As stone-faced police officers stood idle just steps away, crowds cheered like spectators in a Roman gladiator show.

    "They must be wiped out!" one woman shouted.

    "Kill them all!" shouted another. "We must show Burmese courage!"

    Win Htein felt nauseous. He wanted to vomit. In two decades of prison and torture under brutal military rule, he had never seen anything like this.

    When he tried to convince people in the crowds to spare the Muslims, the mobs began threatening him. One Buddhist man demanded bitterly: "Why are you trying to protect them? Are you a Muslim lover?"

    An officer advised Win Htein to leave.

    Shortly after, a monk and four policemen offered to escort the trapped Muslims on foot to several police vehicles on top of the embankment.

    "We'll protect you," one officer said. "But the students must stop chanting. They must put down their weapons" – their sticks and stones.

    As the teachers debated what to do, they realized their time had run out. The crowds were flinging long bamboo staves wrapped with burning fabric over the fence like giant matchsticks. The compound was on fire, belching orange flame and black smoke into the air.


    The group emerged slowly with their hands behind their heads, like prisoners of war.

    Police led them down a narrow dirt track – a long line of desperate people, crouching in terror. Almost immediately, they were stoned by livid residents of a tiny Buddhist neighborhood who attempted to block their way.

    What followed was a gantlet from hell, an obstacle course that came with its own set of macabre rules: Do not run, or they will chase you. Do not fall, or you may never get back up. Do not stop, or you may die.

    Police fired several rounds into the air, but the crowds attacked anyway. A teacher was knocked to the ground, and panicked students stepped over his body, sprawled face down in the dirt.

    Koko saw a friend hit across the forehead with a hoe. When he tried to stand again, five men with knives dragged him off.

    The mobs then attacked Koko with machetes from behind, slicing six palm-sized gashes into the flesh of his back. Blood stained his yellow shirt. He fell and blacked out.

    One officer, struck in the face by a rock, apparently by accident, shot a Buddhist man in the leg. The crack of gunfire woke Koko, who realized he had been left for dead and leapt to his feet to catch up with the group.

    As they moved inside the Buddhist neighborhood on the path to the trucks, police ordered the Muslims to squat down.

    Crowds taunted and slapped them. Several women forced them to bow their heads and press their hands together in prayer like Buddhists. And according to testimony gathered by Physicians for Human Rights, they also shoved pork, which is prohibited in Islam, into the mouths of the Muslims.

    One man swung a motorcycle exhaust pipe into a student's head. Another hit him with a motorcycle chain. A third stabbed him in the chest.

    "Don't kill them here," yelled one monk. "Their ghosts will haunt this place. Kill them up on the road."

    The monks said the police should round up the women and children and let them go first. When Thida refused to let go of her husband, a Buddhist man shoved a palm in his face and forced them apart. Another man she recognized tried to grab her 3-year-old.

    "He's still breast-feeding. Leave him alone!" she shouted, pulling away.

    The man then grabbed her 9-year-old, but pushed him back in disgust when he wailed.

    Amid the confusion, one Buddhist woman hurriedly waved two of Thida's teenage daughters into her home to protect them, in an act of kindness. Both would be reunited with Thida several days later, unharmed.

    As Thida and about 10 women and children climbed the hill, several riot police pushed back the stick-wielding crowds around them with open palms. A video reviewed by the AP records a man trying to dissuade the mobs, saying: "Don't do this. There are kids there as well."

    But the violence continued.

    Buddhists still clearing the Wat Hlan Taw forced a thin 17-year-old student named Ayut Kahn out into an open patch of low grass. In a scene captured on video by at least two different unidentified people, the boy – a Meikhtila native with a stutter who loved soccer – was struck 24 times by nine people with long sticks and bloody machetes. Five blows were from a monk.

    "Look! Look!" one Buddhist bystander shouted from the top of the embankment as the student was murdered. "The police are heading down there, but they aren't doing anything."


    The last time Thida saw her husband, he was struggling to climb the hilltop road where she waited anxiously beside police. Two teachers were by his side, their arms locked in his. Mobs swarmed the steep embankment between them.

    Shafee's face was pale. He had never looked this way – so exhausted, so drained, so helpless.

    Across the hillside, Thida could hear the cries of hate.

    "Kill the Kalar! Don't leave any of them behind!"

    "Clean them up! They are just dirty things!

    Somewhere below, several students tried to make a run for it. Crowds chased them.

    Somebody pummeled 14-year-old Abu Bakar across the cheek with a bamboo stick. Somebody else sliced the back of 20-year-old Naeem's legs with daggers. Yet another clubbed Arif – the teacher who had wept at dinner the night before – to the ground.

    Police stood on both sides of the hill watching, unmoved. When a boy sitting with them at the bottom of the slope looked up, an officer slapped his head and shouted: "Keep your eyes down!"

    A frantic monk waved a multicolored Buddhist flag screaming for the killing to stop. "This is not the Buddhist way!"

    The crowd backed away briefly, but police left the wounded behind.

    One video clip of the moments that followed shows seven Muslim men curled on the ground beneath a grove of rain trees. The faces of at least three are heavily covered in blood. A man in a green jacket swings a bamboo stave down on the wounded with all his might.

    The camera pans to another group of three other crumpled men. One is Shafee, who is lying face down, pulling his legs in toward his stomach.

    "Oh, you want to fight back?" a voice says, laughing.

    A grainy video filmed shortly after shows flames leaping from a pile of 12 charred corpses in the same spot, and onlookers backing away from a smoky body rolling down the hill. Another video shows crowds cheering.

    Thida could only smell the burning flesh. She hugged the leg of a police officer standing beside her and asked: "Hey, brother. Please. Please. What is happening to us?"

    "Shut up, woman," the officer replied. "Keep your head down. Don't you know you can die here, too?"


    In all the mayhem, several dozen police reinforcements arrived to escort the remaining Muslims to the hilltop and load them onto trucks.

    As they pulled away, Koko knew he would never return to Meikhtila.

    "There is nothing left of our lives here," he said to himself. "There is only Allah."

    The trucks took the traumatized survivors to a police station, where they were offered water, and, by at least one officer, an apology.

    In all, about 120 Muslims survived – among them, 90 students and four teachers. They stayed several days at a police station before being bused to another town to join their families.

    The dead totaled 32 students and four teachers, according to the headmaster, who cross-checked their deaths with families and witnesses.

    The head of state security in the region, Col. Aung Kyaw Moe, who ordered the rescue operation, said "10 or 15" died on the way. But video obtained by the AP, shot by unidentified witnesses touring the area after the killings, contradicts that claim. Two videos alone indicate at least 28 people died, most of them blackened corpses with fists and arms reaching into the air; one is decapitated.

    When the people filming pass one body, a voice can be heard saying: "Hey, is that a child?"

    "No, he's just short," another replies, chuckling.


    The police present that day were the only ones with rifles and guns, which would have been no match for the crude weapons carried by the mobs. But while they rescued more than 100 Muslims, they did not stop the massacre of dozens of others.

    "They were of two minds. We could see that," the headmaster said. "Some of them tried to help us ... but in the end, they all watched us die."

    Win Htein, the lawmaker, said there were two explanations: Either the "police didn't get any order from above (to shoot), or they got the order from above not to do anything."

    Aung Kyaw Moe, the regional security chief, insisted he had given authorization to fire. But he said police didn't shoot because "doing so could have angered the crowds and made the situation even worse."

    He said even though 200 police were deployed to the area, the crowds outnumbered them, and Muslims died because "some of them tried to run."

    "They scattered and our forces could not follow every one of them," he said. "They had to take care of the rest of the people they were guarding. ... On the front lines, some things cannot be clearly explained."

    During a tense 50-minute interview, Aung Kyaw Moe said he was "satisfied" with the job police had done.

    But he grew increasingly agitated, saying five times that it was "inappropriate" to ask for details because "you're not writing a novel, you're not making a movie ... you don't need to know."


    The first people prosecuted for the violence in Meikhtila were not the Buddhist mobs. The first were Muslims.

    On April 11, a court sentenced the gold shop owner and two employees to 14-year jail terms for theft and causing grievous bodily harm. On May 21, the same court sentenced seven Muslims to terms ranging from two years to life for their roles in the killing of the monk the day the unrest began.

    On June 28, a Buddhist man was convicted of the murder of a Muslim elsewhere in Meikhtila and sentenced to seven years in jail, according to state prosecutor Nyan Myint. He said 14 Buddhists have been charged and are on trial for the Mingalar Zayone killings, some for murder, but none has yet been convicted.

    Justice "is a matter of time," he said. "The courts are proceeding with the trials and have no prejudice or bias against any group."

    Aung Kyaw Moe, the security chief, said all those arrested were residents of Meikhtila, but he gave no other details.

    No police have been reprimanded.

    Similar patterns of justice have played out in other towns.

    After Buddhist mobs burned several villages in the central town of Okkan in April, the first convicted was a Muslim woman accused of starting it by "insulting religion." She had knocked over the bowl of a novice monk. Muslims say it was an accident.

    And after more Buddhist mobs rampaged through the eastern city of Lashio in May, setting Muslim shops alight, the first convicted was the Muslim man authorities say triggered the unrest by dousing a Buddhist woman with diesel fuel and severely burning her.

    One Muslim man was killed in each incident, but no one has been prosecuted.


    After the massacre in Meikhtila, the corpses rotted for at least two and a half days before the government sent workers to haul them away, some on garbage trucks. The remains were taken to Meikhtila's main cemetery, where they were simply burned again in an open patch of red dirt with used car tires and gasoline and left for stray dogs to pick through.

    Authorities say they did not hand the bodies back to the relatives of the dead because they were too badly burned to be identified. But families of those slain say they were never even asked, and never given the chance to bury their loved ones according to Islamic rites.

    No Muslim families have dared visit the cemetery or return to the massacre site.

    The mood in the neighborhood is still hostile to outsiders. When AP journalists visited the area, residents stared silently.

    One barefoot woman washing clothes beside a well where a pile of charred corpses were dumped claimed she had no idea what happened that day, because she wasn't there.

    Her friend looked up and said: "Tell him what started it. Tell him about the gold shop, the monk who was killed."

    Ma Myint shook her head, squinting up briefly in the direction of the hilltop.

    Those bones "mean nothing to me," she said.


    The school's headmaster pulls out a single sheet of blue-lined paper from his pocket. On it, handwritten, are the names and ages and hometowns of the dead.

    What bothers him the most isn't the decision he made to take his students into the Wat Hlan Taw, or the nightmares he has had since. It's that those who were slaughtered could have been saved.

    Most of those beaten to the ground did not die immediately, he says.

    "Had anybody stepped in to help them even then, to push back the mobs, to pick them up and take them to the hospital – they could have lived," he says.

    He has told many of the 90 students who survived to lie low and not testify for fear of reprisal. He dreams of gathering them together again and rebuilding his school elsewhere, but he is too afraid of sectarian violence flaring anew to say where or when.

    "Where is safe in this Myanmar?" he says. "Who will protect us?"

    On March 21, the headmaster urged his students not to fight back. "Next time, we will defend ourselves," he says quietly, "because we know that nobody else will."


    Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu Alayhi wassalam) said: "Indeed (these) people have rebelled against (oppressed) us but never shall we yield if they try to bring affliction upon us."

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    Burma Buddhist Extremists discrimination policy on Rohingya

    25 February 2014

    A rights group says it has evidence of Myanmar's government discriminating against Muslim Rohingya, restricting their movements and family size.

    Fortify Rights said that the government's orders, shown in leaked documents, amounted to "state policies of persecution" in Rakhine state.

    There was no immediate response to the report from the Burmese authorities.

    The government of Myanmar, also known as Burma, views the Rohingya as foreign migrants, not citizens.

    There is widespread public hostility towards the Rohingya in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. The Rohingya, on the other hand, feel they are part of Myanmar and claim persecution by the state.

    The UN has described the Rohingya as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

    'Marriage restrictions'

    In a report, Fortify Rights said it had analysed 12 government documents from 1993 to 2013, and found that government policies imposed "extensive restrictions on the basic freedoms of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar's Rakhine state".

    The policies restricted Rohingya's "movement, marriage, childbirth, home repairs and construction of houses of worship", it said.

    Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state were also prohibited from travelling between townships, or out of Rakhine, without permission, the report said.

    The report said a government order stipulated that married Rohingya couples in parts of Rakhine state could not have more than two children, while another document said Rohingya had to apply for permission to marry, in what the report described as a "humiliating and financially prohibitive" process.

    One document published in the report said officials should force a woman to breastfeed her child if there were doubts over whether she was the birth mother.

    The restrictions have been known about for some time, but what is new is that campaigners say they have the official orders issued by the Buddhist-dominated local government in Rakhine state, the BBC's Jonah Fisher in Rangoon reports.

    It is an oft-stated fear of Myanmar's Buddhists that the larger families of Muslims mean they will one day be in the majority, our correspondent adds.

    Tensions remain high between Buddhist and Muslim communities with the latest violence - an attack on Rohingya villagers in January - thought to have killed scores of people.

    In 2012 widespread rioting and brutal clashes between Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims, largely thought to be Rohingya Muslims, left almost 200 dead and displaced thousands.


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    Security Force Torture Rohingya Village Administrator in Minbya Tsp for Women

    May 27, 2014

    Minbya Township, Arakan State- A Captain Thaung Htay of infantry unit under Battalion (31) of Security Force (Hlun Htein) based in Mrauk-U Township inhumanely tortured U Hla Tun @Shafi Alam, administrator of Zanbali (Saa Malli) village in Minbya Township as the administrator refused to look for Rohingya woman for him (the captain) to fulfil his sexual desire. They have been continuously torturing the villagers for days pretending as if they are in drunken mood.

    “Zanbali (Saa Malli) is an old Rohingya village in Minbya Township, located nearby the edge of the territory of Mrauk-U (Fatthar Killa) Township. People in the village have been blocked and internally displaced since June 2012.

    An infantry unit led by Captain Thaung Htay under Battalion (31) of Security Force (Hlun Htein) based in Mrauk-U Township is assigned for the security of the village and surrounding region. The captain, instead of serving as security force, has been harassing and torturing Rohingyas in the village on daily basis.

    Around 8:00PM on 26th May 2014, he and his team entered the village and called U Hla Tun @Shafi Alam, administrator of the village. He ordered the administrator to look for a Rohingya girl to spend nights with him. When the administrator replied that he would be unable to look for any girl, the captain tied him and his four friends with ropes and tortured them inhumanely.

    They are:

    1) U Hla Tun @Shafi Alam
    2) U Noor Alam
    3) U Jabir
    4) U Alam Shah” said a villager.

    We are unable to bear up any more tortures. We fear there will be unnecessary problems because of his atrocities. He and officers under his command are still chasing innocent people and beating them up. They are behaving as if they are high on alcohol” he added.


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    Sri Lanka extends curfew after anti-Muslim violence

    Minister threatens to resign after failure to prevent attacks that left three Muslims dead and dozens of homes destroyed

    Sri Lanka has extended curfews in a popular tourist region after a rampaging Buddhist mob killed three Muslims and burned dozens of homes and shops in the latest outbreak of religious violence on the island.

    Community leaders accused authorities of doing little to prevent Sunday night's violence, with the most senior Muslim member of President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government threatening to resign after the decision to allow militant Buddhists to rally in the flashpoint region.

    "Three deaths have occurred and 78 people have been seriously wounded in the mob attacks … Places of Muslim religious worship have also been attacked with total impunity," the justice minister, Rauf Hakeem, said as he visited the affected towns of Alutgama and Beruwala.

    "The government allowed the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) to hold their gathering and therefore they must take responsibility for what has happened," he said, referring to a hardline group better known as the Buddhist Force.

    Hakeem told reporters he was under pressure from his supporters to quit the government in protest at the failure to prevent the attacks, the latest in a series of violent incidents involving the BBS.

    Violence erupted on Sunday night when followers of the BBS staged a protest over a road rage incident. After stones were allegedly thrown at them, the BBS supporters rampaged through the two towns, attacking people on the street and setting fire to property. Several mosques were also damaged.

    Local residents said police did little to protect them when the Buddhist mobs began their attack in the mainly Muslim towns, which are about 37 miles (60km) south of the capital, Colombo. Police fired teargas and imposed a night-time curfew but the violence continued for several hours, according to residents.

    "We pleaded with the police to come and stop the mob attacking our houses but the police did nothing," said Mujahedeen, a resident of Alutgama's Milton Road where about a dozen buildings were set on fire.

    Police said on Monday the situation had calmed down but the curfew would remain in place for a second night. "The situation is largely under control, but the curfew was extended as a precaution," a police source told AFP.

    Both towns are popular beach resorts frequented by international tourists, but there were no reports of foreigners or hotels being caught up in the violence.

    Rajapaksa said in a statement that he would not allow "anyone to take the law into their own hands" and urged restraint.

    The attacks are the latest in a series of religious clashes to hit the island after unrest in January and also last year when Buddhist mobs attacked a mosque in Colombo.

    The BBS leader, Buddhist monk Galagodaatte Gnanasara, is on bail after being arrested in May on a charge of insulting the Qu'ran. He is also accused of intimidating lawyers watching the interests of Muslim groups in that case.

    The latest unrest came weeks after Muslim legislators asked Rajapaksa to protect their community from "Buddhist extremist elements".

    Videos posted on YouTube have shown mobs led by Buddhist monks throwing stones and smashing a Christian prayer centre in southern Sri Lanka in January and attacking mosques while police looked on.

    Senior Buddhist monks have been caught on video threatening violence against their moderate colleagues who advocate tolerance.

    Sri Lanka, which is facing an investigation into its war against Tamil separatists in May 2009, has also been criticised for its alleged failure to protect minority religious groups.

    Muslims make up about 10% of Sri Lanka's population of 20 million.

    Nationalist Buddhist groups have in turn accused religious minorities of wielding undue political and economic influence on the island.


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    Security Force Torture Rohingya Village Administrator in Minbya Tsp for Women

    May 27, 2014

    Minbya Township, Arakan State- A Captain Thaung Htay of infantry unit under Battalion (31) of Security Force (Hlun Htein) based in Mrauk-U Township inhumanely tortured U Hla Tun @Shafi Alam, administrator of Zanbali (Saa Malli) village in Minbya Township as the administrator refused to look for Rohingya woman for him (the captain) to fulfil his sexual desire. They have been continuously torturing the villagers for days pretending as if they are in drunken mood.

    “Zanbali (Saa Malli) is an old Rohingya village in Minbya Township, located nearby the edge of the territory of Mrauk-U (Fatthar Killa) Township. People in the village have been blocked and internally displaced since June 2012.

    An infantry unit led by Captain Thaung Htay under Battalion (31) of Security Force (Hlun Htein) based in Mrauk-U Township is assigned for the security of the village and surrounding region. The captain, instead of serving as security force, has been harassing and torturing Rohingyas in the village on daily basis.

    Around 8:00PM on 26th May 2014, he and his team entered the village and called U Hla Tun @Shafi Alam, administrator of the village. He ordered the administrator to look for a Rohingya girl to spend nights with him. When the administrator replied that he would be unable to look for any girl, the captain tied him and his four friends with ropes and tortured them inhumanely.

    They are:

    1) U Hla Tun @Shafi Alam
    2) U Noor Alam
    3) U Jabir
    4) U Alam Shah” said a villager.

    We are unable to bear up any more tortures. We fear there will be unnecessary problems because of his atrocities. He and officers under his command are still chasing innocent people and beating them up. They are behaving as if they are high on alcohol” he added.


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    Sri Lanka: Extremist Buddhists Attack Churches and Mosques

    By Charles Haviland - 13 January 2014

    Police in Sri Lanka say they have identified and intend to arrest 24 people, including eight Buddhist monks, allegedly involved in attacks on two churches on Sunday.

    No injuries were reported, but one pastor said he received death threats. Footage from southern Hikkaduwa town showed monks hurling stones and bricks.

    An opposition politician has urged the government to investigate the attacks. Police were at the scene but failed to prevent the assaults.

    Police spokesman Ajith Rohana, who had admitted to what he called police "inaction" because of insufficient numbers, said on Monday that legal action would be taken against all people identified as attackers.

    He said they would be charged with offences such as vandalism, trespass and unlawful assembly and that an alleged death threat by one of them against a pastor would also be probed.

    The pastors of the two independent churches told the BBC that the police on the scene appeared unwilling to restrain the monks but Mr Rohana said charges would be brought against people "irrespective of status".

    Arson assault

    Video footage aired by a private television station, Derana, showed monks at a building used by an independent church shouting insults in Sinhala, smashing up signs, setting goods alight and hurling stones and what appeared to be a brick.

    In further footage released by a Christian group, Pastor Ranjan Perumal of the Calvary Free Church indicated smouldering papers lying by a railway, which he said were burned Bibles and Christian literature.

    Windows, doors and musical instruments were also smashed. A senior politician of the main opposition party, Karu Jayasuriya, has urged a full investigation by the government into the "very sad" attacks.

    Some of the monks allege that the Calvary Free Church and the Assemblies of God are operating illegally. The pastors say they have, indeed, had orders from the government to close. But they say they are registered under an Act of Parliament and are operating legally.

    They said they had been subjected to earlier attacks, including a 2003 assault on a woman which is still in the courts. They alleged that some monks involved in earlier assaults were present on Sunday.

    Hardline Buddhists have also been attacking Muslim businesses and mosques.

    Now attacks on small, independent churches and Mosques are becoming much more numerous - several were reported at Christmas time - but the events are often downplayed or ignored by the national media.


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    Buddhist-Muslim Unrest Boils Over in Sri Lanka


    In some of the worst religious violence in Sri Lanka in decades, three people have been killed and 78 injured in riots between Buddhists and Muslims in this southwestern coastal town after months of rising tensions, officials said Monday.

    The riots on Sunday followed a protest march by a hard-line Buddhist group, Bodu Bala Sena, which is led in part by monks. Its name roughly translates as Buddhist Power Force. Shops and homes in the area, many of them owned by Muslims, were set ablaze and vandalized in violence that continued throughout the night. Mobs shouting anti-Muslim slogans and hurling gas bombs and stones advanced on a Muslim part of the village of Welipitiya, where men were protecting a mosque.

    Three mosques and several Muslim prayer houses were set on fire, according to unofficial reports. “They fought us face to face for two hours,” said M. Hussein, a Muslim man involved in the fighting on Sunday night. “The police didn’t show up until after people were dead.” Police teams eventually appeared in the early hours of Monday to transport the dead and injured, Mr. Hussein said.

    Muslim residents said Monday that their lives had changed forever. “They finished the Muslims in this area,” said M. Farina, who added that the police watched impassively Sunday evening as Buddhist mobs attacked Muslim shops and homes.

    The Sri Lankan justice minister, Rauff Hakeem, denounced his own government’s inaction.

    “The law-and-order machinery completely failed,” said Mr. Hakeem, who is the leader of the country’s largest Muslim party and confirmed the number of dead and injured. “For 72 hours, we begged the government to prevent this rally from taking place on Sunday for fear of riots.”

    “I am ashamed,” he added. “I couldn’t protect my people.”

    Local tensions, which have been building for months, began to bubble over Thursday after a fight between a Muslim youth and a Buddhist monk. That clash led to the protest march Sunday, which degenerated into riots. The police imposed curfews in Aluthgama and the adjoining town of Beruwala to prevent violence from spreading, but they had little effect on violent mobs.

    On a visit to Bolivia, President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka wrote on Twitter late Sunday night that the government would not allow anyone to take the law into his own hands.

    “I urge all parties concerned to act in restraint,” he wrote. He said the police would bring the perpetrators to justice.

    Buddhist radicalism has been increasing in Sri Lanka just as it has in Myanmar, which has experienced a surge in attacks by the Buddhist majority on the minority Muslim community.

    Many in Sri Lanka believe that the Bodu Bala Sena has the quiet backing of Mr. Rajapaksa as well as his brother, Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, although the Rajapaksas have denied any link. Previous attacks by the Bodu Bala Sena have gone unpunished, and hard-line monks have been able to operate largely with legal impunity.

    The Rajapaksas are hoping to consolidate the Sinhalese majority vote, which is about 75 percent of the country, by demonizing minority Muslims and Tamils, said Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, the executive director of the Center for Policy Alternatives, a nonpartisan policy institute in the capital, Colombo. The presidential election is not scheduled until 2016, but there is speculation that President Rajapaksa will call elections far earlier.

    Allowing religious rioting is often an effective political ploy in South Asia, home to a wide mix of religions. But it is a dangerous one, since passions can quickly get out of hand and voters can sometimes punish incumbents if the law-and-order situation deteriorates badly.

    “When you let this genie out of the bottle, sometimes you can’t get it back in again,” Mr. Saravanamuttu said. “The Rajapaksas have very short-term political goals, and they are doing whatever it takes to remain in power.”


    Sri Lanka Muslims Killed by Extremist Buddhists in Aluthgama

    June 16, 2014

    At least three Muslims have been killed in overnight clashes with hardline Buddhists in southern Sri Lanka.

    The men died of gunshot wounds near a mosque in the town of Aluthgama in what is seen as Sri Lanka's worst outbreak of sectarian violence in years.

    More than 78 others have been seriously injured in the violence, justice minister Rauf Hakeem said.

    A curfew is in place in Aluthgama and nearby Beruwala. Muslims make up 10% of Sri Lanka's mainly Buddhist population.

    The men who were killed were shot after midnight following several hours of clashes between two factions in which stones and bottles were lobbed, reports the BBC's Charles Haviland in Aluthgama.

    Mr Hakeem, a Muslim, said he was "outraged" at the police failure to keep law and order and that the authorities had allowed Buddhists to demonstrate three days after a smaller sectarian clash in the area, involving Muslim youths and a Buddhist monk's driver.

    He said he was "ashamed" to be part of the government. He made his remarks as he visited areas which have been caught up in the violence.

    The authorities imposed a curfew after clashes began following a rally by the BBS, the Bodu Bala Sena, or Buddhist Brigade in Aluthgama on Sunday.

    Eyewitness accounts tell of Muslims being pulled off local buses and beaten. There are also reports of looting as well as shops being burned.

    Muslim shops were burned and looted in the town

    Clashes broke out as Buddhists marched into Muslim populated areas

    'Act in restraint'

    After its rally, the BBS marched into Muslim areas chanting anti-Muslim slogans, reports say, and the police used tear gas to quell the violence. Unconfirmed reports say security forces also used gunfire.

    Witnesses say Muslim homes and a mosque were stoned.

    President Mahinda Rajapaksa has announced an investigation.

    "The government will not allow anyone to take the law into their own hands. I urge all parties concerned to act in restraint," he tweeted.

    Correspondents say tension has recently been high between the two sides, with Muslims calling on the government to protect them from hate attacks by Buddhists, and Buddhists accusing minorities of enjoying too much influence.

    For the past couple of years, Sinhalese Buddhist revivalist groups have been staging demonstrations heavily laden with anti-Muslim rhetoric, usually led by monks, our correspondent reports.


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    Malnutrition, disease rising in camps of Burma’s Rohingya Muslims

    By Annie Gowen July 29

    A little girl balances a bag of donated rice on her head as she begs for her family of eight. Other children play in fetid, trash-clogged pools of water. And at a religious class at a makeshift mosque, more than a third of the children had not eaten that day. Or the day before.

    The United Nations says that 135,000 ethnic Rohingya Muslims are still stuck in refugee camps on the western coast of Burma, two years after the government rounded them up in the wake of religious violence that left villages scorched, thousands homeless and more than 200 dead.

    The Rohingya, a long-persecuted ethnic minority, have been forced to live as virtual prisoners in temporary huts, scraping by on donated bags of rice and chickpeas and whatever fish they can pull from the ocean. The situation is so dire that some 86,000 people have tried to flee by boat, and Human Rights Watch has accused the government of a campaign of “ethnic cleansing.” Yanghee Lee, the United Nations special rapporteur for human rights in Burma, said recently that the situation is “deplorable” and that restrictions on movement have had a severe impact on the Rohingya’s access to jobs, water and sanitation, health care and education.

    “The Muslim community . . . continues to face systematic discrimination, which includes restrictions in the freedom of movement, restrictions in access to land, food, water, education and health care, and restrictions on marriages and birth registration,” Lee said.

    The humanitarian crisis worsened over the winter, after the Burmese government suspended operations of the aid group Doctors Without Borders in the area, leaving more than 700,000 people without proper medical care. The government said only late last week that the doctors could return. Violence forced other organizations to evacuate, then struggle to ramp up aid.

    Now, children are starving. Aid workers say they have seen an alarming uptick in child malnutrition in recent months because for so long, local hostilities hindered their access to mothers and pregnant women and interrupted water, food and sanitation supplies.

    “What we have observed from March to June is a dramatic increase in admissions for severe acute malnutrition. We saw the figures doubling,” said Bertrand Bainvel, UNICEF’s representative in Burma. “We’re all still very concerned about the situation.”

    ‘Economic isolation’

    The Rohingya camps are spread out over miles of the western state of Rakhine, some so remote they are reachable only by boat. With so much time having passed, life has established a rhythm of its own for the residents. In some camps, small markets have sprung up, with goods supplied by Rakhine traders on the outside, the same ethnic group the Rohingya have long clashed with.

    Fish from the nearby ocean dries on long poles, and some residents have planted gardens next to their huts with donated seeds to augment the meager food supply. They are not allowed to leave for the most part, although the residents near the town of Sittwe can take trips in guarded trucks to the one remaining Muslim neighborhood across town.

    The Rohingya are an ethnic minority in Burma, the predominantly Buddhist Southeast Asian nation of more than 55 million people. Tensions between the Rohingya and their ethnic Rakhine Buddhist neighbors existed long before the recent flare-up of violence.

    During five decades of harsh military rule in Burma, the Rohingya were persecuted by the government, human rights experts say, forced to endure hard labor, revocations, rape and torture. Although Rohingya have lived in Burma for generations, a strict 1982 citizenship law rendered many of them stateless, and the government continues to consider them refugees from Bangladesh. This year, census workers refused to count those who identified themselves as Rohingya.

    Ye Htut, the spokesman for the Burmese president, Thein Sein, bristled when the word “Rohingya” was used in an interview.

    “I would like to point out that the government of Myanmar and Myanmar people didn’t accept the word Rohingya,” Ye Htut said. “We recognize there are Islamic Bengalis in our country.” But, he said, “We recognize there are tensions and challenges in our country, especially communal violence.”

    Phil Robertson, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch in Asia, said that the government has engaged in a policy of “social and economic isolation of the Rohingya” for years, particularly since June 2012, when three Muslim men allegedly raped a Buddhist woman.

    Since then, Robertson said, “It’s been a downward spiral in terms of humanitarian access and accountability. The situation is going badly downhill. You have about 140,000 people in displaced-persons camps and another 40,000 locked in their villages without adequate access to food and medical services.

    Ye Htut said that the Rohingya are being kept in the camps for their own protection.

    The crisis has given rise to widespread international outrage, and questions about whether the United States — which eased economic sanctions on Burma after the government began a process of democratic reform in 2011 — has painted a rosier picture of the emerging democracy than is warranted.

    “No one is turning a blind eye to anything. In fact we’re working continually to help address problems on the ground,” said Derek J. Mitchell, the U.S. ambassador to Burma. “What we are doing out here is in anticipation of continued reform, although we need to remain patient as the country deals with increasingly difficult issues going forward.”

    Doctors Without Borders said in a statement Friday that they were “cautiously optimistic” after the government’s surprise announcement that doctors could return to the area after they were expelled in February for treating victims of a January clash that left more than 40 Rohingya dead — a confrontation the government denies took place. Some, however, viewed the news with skepticism, arguing it could be a public relations ploy ahead of an expected visit by U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry in August.

    The group was the main provider of medical care for more than 700,000 people in Rakhine state, and the ouster of the 600 staffers and the shuttering of clinics and traveling medical teams left huge gaps. The government compensated with a small mobile team that now numbers around 100.

    The impact of the suspension has been profound. One recent humid day in the back of a makeshift pharmacy at a camp just outside Sittwe, dozens of Rohingya waited in line to receive a few tablets of donated medicine. A woman, Ommar Khulsom, 30, clutched her feverish newborn niece. The little girl’s mother had suffered from edema throughout her pregnancy and had been under the care of Doctors Without Borders, a local staffer who had worked with the aid group said. When they were forced out, however, her treatment stopped. The night she gave birth, the woman bled to death.

    Looking for hope

    Maung Hla Tin, 33, a carpenter and camp leader, said that about 50 people had died in his section, including more than a dozen babies, in the past two years. His area was without food for 15 days in April, and a nongovernmental organization stopped delivering soap, fresh water and other sanitary supplies, which gave rise to widespread diarrhea and other diseases, he said.

    “We have no hope,” he said.

    The government’s unexpected decision to allow Doctors Without Borders back into the camps followed a June meeting at which local leaders, U.N. officials, civil activists and others drew up an action plan to address the crisis. While that was viewed as a positive step, some feel little is being done to address the larger question of the Rohingya’s fate.

    “In the long term, solutions must be found” for the displaced people and thousands of others living in isolated villages, said Pierre Peron, spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Rangoon.

    Many Rohingya said they fear they may never resume normal lives.

    “We’re suffering here. We want to go back to our homes,” said Thin Mg, 44, who had a small goods-trading business before the violence displaced his family. “One day is like one year.”


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    Rohingya Muslim Refugees Can No Longer Wed In Atheist Bangladesh Under New Marriage Ban: Report


    Bangladesh law minister Syed Anisul Haque announced on Thursday that the country would cease officiating marriages for Rohingya Muslims, an ethnic minority group that has been displaced from Myanmar due to persecution.

    The marriage ban affects Rohingyas attempting to wed one another and those seeking unions with Bangladeshi nationals, the Malaysian Insider reports. Haque claimed that Rohingyas seek marriages in order to obtain Bangladeshi passports and even citizenship for those marrying country nationals, which the ban would prevent.

    Marriage registrars face disciplinary action if they fail to comply, law ministry spokesman Abdullah Al Shahin said.

    Lifestyle restrictions are nothing new for Rohingya Muslims, who the U.N. considers to be among the most persecuted minority groups in the world. Rohingyas are denied citizenship in Myanmar, and more than 100,000 have fled their homes in recent years to escape brutal attacks -- often carried out by Buddhist extremists in the country.

    Because they lack citizenship in Myanmar, Rohingyas are unable to move, marry or find jobs without permission from the government. Despite the restrictions on marriage, Rohingya couples are only allowed to live together if they are married and then are subject to a strict two-child policy. Bearing children out of wedlock is prohibited.

    There are roughly 300,000 Rohingyas living in Bangladesh, though the country recognizes only about 30,000 who are eligible for food, housing and other basic aid provided by the U.N. Other Rohingya refugees are dispersed in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

    "They live under open sky, with no support from the United Nations or the Bangladeshi government," human rights activist and Rohingya refugee Nijam Mohammed told Al Jazeera. "People are dying every day, there is a lack of food, treatment and education. You can't imagine how life is."

    Although the Rohingya say they originally come from western Myanmar, Buddhist extremists say they immigrated illegally from Bangladesh in the 1800s with British imperial troops. Bangladesh border guards regularly intercept Rohingyas attempting to cross the Myanmar border, though on either side Rohingyas risk discrimination, poor living conditions and even human trafficking.


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    Myanmar Buddhists raid Muslim village, destroy mosque


    A group of about 200 Buddhist extremists have raided a Muslim village in central Myanmar, destroying parts of a mosque and forcing residents to seek refuge overnight in a police station.

    The Buddhists rampaged through the area of Thuye Tha Mein village in Bago Province on Thursday, following an argument between the residents over the building of a Muslim school.

    The violence erupted after “a Muslim man and a Buddhist women started to argue and then people came to fight him,” said Hla Tint, the village administrator.

    The assailants “also destroyed the fence of the Muslim cemetery,” he added.

    They forced around 70 Muslims, including children, to seek shelter in a police station, said the administrator, adding that the violence caused no serious injuries, and that peace had been restored in the area.

    However, one of the Muslim residents of the village said his community of around 150 people is now living in fear.

    “We had to hide as some people were threatening to kill Muslims,” said Tin Shwe OO.

    “The situation has never been like this before,” he said. “I do not dare to stay at my house. For the safety of my family, I want to stay somewhere else for about a week or so.”

    In recent years, a large number of Rohingya Muslims have been killed and thousands displaced in attacks by extremist Buddhists, especially in Rakhine State.

    The violence against Muslims struck central Myanmar and western Rakhine State when the army began loosening its stranglehold on the country in 2011.

    Western Rakhine State is home to the Rohingya Muslim minority, who are labeled “Bengali” by hardline Buddhists.

    Many government officials brand the Rohingya Muslims as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh even though many can trace their ancestry back generations.

    Some 140,000 people, mainly Rohingya, have been trapped in grim displacement camps since they were driven from their homes by waves of Buddhist violence in 2012.

    The violence against Muslims triggered an influx of refugees into neighboring countries, namely Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.


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    Burma is Open for Business: On the Back of Genocide and Racism


    Obama administration lifting sanctions on Burma even though the genocide of the Rohingya continues.

    Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and icon of democracy in Burma encounters condemnation in the US from human rights groups and activists everywhere she goes. The reason for this is simple: the image of her as a pure ‘champion of the people’ only lingers in the minds of those who know little about Suu Kyi, “the politician.”

    Suu Kyi, during the long years of struggle to attain power lobbied the US to place increasingly restrictive sanctions on Burma for rights violations and the suppression of democracy by Burma’s military dictators. As the leader of the civilian government she has just successfully gotten President Barack Obama to remove all remaining sanctions on Burma. The US was the only nation that still had conditional sanctions in place, now the whole world is doing business with a nation presiding over a slow-burning genocide against the Rohingya that has seen “21st century concentration camps” proliferate. It also seems that 100 Burmese tied to the genocidal military regime will be taken off the SDN list (Specially Designated Nationals that cannot conduct business with the US).

    The Rohingya face genocide as a number of studies and international experts have concluded, yet they are also essentially being treated as ‘collateral damage,’ that ugly euphemism employed by militaries when they actually mean innocent civilians they have victimized. To be collateral damage implies that according to the state’s calculus, you are an acceptable, inevitable casualty in pursuit of the state’s higher interests. In this instance the higher interest is economic: the US wants a slice of the mineral, gas rich resources and cheap labor of a ‘frontier economy,’ while sending China the message that “we run things in your backyard.”

    Supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi point to the creation of an Advisory Commission headed by Kofi Annan to blunt the criticism of Suu Kyi’s actions and policies. They don’t mention however that the commission doesn’t have a single Rohingya representative and the two Rakhine Buddhists who have been appointed supported crimes against humanity.

    The New York Times’ report on the lifting of sanctions quotes John Sifton of Human Rights Watch, rightly noting that, “It sends a terrible message to say you’re not going to reward a government unless they do something, and then reward them anyway.” This is exactly what the Obama administration has done. While the rhetoric has been generally decent from the administration: saying the name ‘Rohingya,’ calling for restoration of rights for the group, and an end to ‘crimes against humanity,’ positive actions have been few and far between.

    The decision to lift sanctions without a word about the genocide means that Rohingya lives are reaffirmed as expendable. Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican noted with dismay during his meeting with Suu Kyi today that he was “appalled by her dismissive reaction to concerns I raised this morning about the problem of human trafficking in her country.” We are asked to place our trust and faith in Aung San Suu Kyi, the politician, whose party has already declared that the Rohingya are “not a priority.”

    Human Rights organizations will now be focused on strengthening the bipartisan Congressional legislation “Cardin-McCain Burma Strategy Act 2016” introduced on Tuesday, and ensuring it be as strong a monitoring mechanism as possible. For the sake of the Rohingya cause let’s hope they succeed, otherwise in the future we may be speaking of the Rohingya of Burma in the past tense, victims of a “21st century” genocide that happened on our watch.


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    Burmese soldiers accused of raping and killing Rohingya Muslims


    Just five months after her party took power, Burma's Nobel Peace Prize-winning leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, is facing international pressure over recent reports that soldiers have been killing, raping and burning homes of the country's long-persecuted Rohingya Muslims.

    The US State Department joined activist and aid groups in raising concerns about new reports of rape and murder, while satellite imagery released Monday by Human Rights Watch shows that at least three villages in the western state of Rakhine have been burned.

    The government has long made access to the region a challenge, generally banning foreign aid workers and journalists. But the UN's special rapporteur on human rights in Burma, Yanghee Lee, said serious violations, including torture, summary executions, arbitrary arrests and destruction of mosques and homes, threaten the country's fledgling democracy.

    "The big picture is that the government does not seem to have any influence over the military," said Chris Lewa, director of the Arakan Project, an advocacy group that focuses on the Rohingya. Burma's widely criticized constitution was designed to give the armed forces power and independence.

    A three-week surge in violence by the military was prompted by the killings of nine police officers at border posts on 9 October in Rakhine, home to Burma's 800,000 Rohingya. There have been no arrests, and a formerly unknown Islamist militant group has taken responsibility.

    Although they've lived in Burma for generations, Rohingya are barred from citizenship in the nation of 50 million, and instead live as some of the most oppressed people in the world. Since communal violence broke out in 2012, more than 100,000 people have been driven from their homes to live in squalid camps guarded by police. Some have tried to flee by boat, but many ended up becoming victims of human trafficking or were held for ransom.

    When Ms Suu Kyi's party was elected earlier this year after more than five decades of military rule, the political shift offered a short, tense window of peace. But that quickly ended as the former political prisoner and champion of human rights failed to clamp down on military atrocities.

    The current crackdown has prompted an estimated 15,000 people in the Rakhine area to flee their homes in the past few weeks. The satellite images from Human Rights Watch show villages burning, and residents report food supplies are growing scarce as they are living under siege.

    Families in Rakhine depend largely on humanitarian aid for food and health care, but that support has been cut off for weeks by officials who will not allow outsiders into the region. A government-sponsored delegation of aid agencies and foreign diplomats was supposed to visit the region on Monday, but local officials said they hadn't seen anyone yet, and have not been informed they were coming.

    "The government should end its blanket denial of wrongdoing and blocking of aid agencies, and stop making excuses for keeping international monitors from the area," said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.


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    Myanmar army throwing Rohingya Muslim children into the fire in front of their mothers!

    Rohingya woman reveals horror tale

    Rohingya Muslim woman who recently arrived in Bangladesh talks about her daughter being raped and killed by Myanmar army...

    'They raped us one by one'

    November 26, 2016

    The brutal gang rape that Habiba and her sister endured is a story that is becoming depressingly familiar among the thousands of Rohingya refugees fleeing to Bangladesh to escape the violence of Myanmar's soldiers.

    "They tied both of us to the bed and raped us one by one," said 20-year-old Habiba, who has now found shelter with a Rohingya refugee family a few kilometres (miles) from the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

    "We're almost starving here. But at least no one is coming here to kill or torture," said Hashim Ullah, Habiba's older brother who escaped with his sisters.

    Habiba and her sister Samira, 18, say they were raped in their home in Udang village by troops who then burnt down their house.

    "They torched most of the houses, killed numerous people including our father and raped many young girls," said Habiba, who agreed to be identified in this story.

    "One of the soldiers told us before leaving that they will kill us if they see us around the next time they come here. Then they torched our house."

    The satellite images released by Human Rights Watch show Wa Peik Village in Maungdaw District, Myanmar. The left picture was recorded in 2014 and the right one on November 10, 2016 show burnt out homes.

    Widespread allegations of rape have raised fears that Myanmar's security forces are systematically using sexual violence against the Rohingya.

    The violence has forced thousands to flee, prompting a UN official to accuse Myanmar of carrying out "ethnic cleansing" of the Muslim minority.

    Similar stories of violence and dispossession fill the rows of plastic-roofed shacks that have become the only refuge for thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled Rakhine state.

    The escapees have told of gang rapes, torture and murder being carried out by Myanmar troops in the small strip of land that has been under military control after allegedly deadly raids on police border posts last month.

    Foreign journalists and independent investigators have been barred from entering the area.

    While the military and government have rejected the charges, rights groups have long accused the military of using rape as a weapon of war in several other ethnic conflicts which simmer in the country's borderlands.


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    Dhaka bans NGOs from helping Rohingya

    Three foreign aid groups barred from helping refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar, saying their work encourages influx.


    Bangladesh has ordered three international charities to stop providing aid to Rohingya refugees crossing the border from Myanmar where they have fled persecution and violence.

    Local administrator Joynul Bari said on Thursday that France's Doctors without Borders (MSF), Action Against Hunger (ACF) and Britain's Muslim Aid UK have been told to suspend their services in the Cox's Bazaar district bordering Myanmar.

    "The charities have been providing aid to tens of thousands of undocumented Rohingya refugees illegally. We asked them to stop all their projects in Cox's Bazaar following directive from the NGO Affairs Bureau," Bari told the AFP news agency.

    Bari said the charities "were encouraging an influx of Rohingya refugees" from across the border in Myanmar's Rakhine state in the wake of recent sectarian violence that left at least 80 people killed.

    The charities have provided healthcare, training, emergency food and drinking water to the refugees living in Cox's Bazaar since the early 1990s.
    MSF runs a clinic near one of the Rohingya camp which provides services to 100,000 people.

    Fleeing violence

    Speaking a Bengali dialect similar to one in southeast Bangladesh, the Rohingyas are Muslims seen as illegal immigrants by the Buddhist-majority Myanmar government and many Burmese.

    They are viewed by the United Nations as one of the world's most persecuted minorities.

    Obaidur Rahman, country head of Muslim Aid UK in Bangladesh, confirmed to AFP that his group had stopped its Rohingya project following the order.

    The government says some 300,000 Rohingya Muslims are living in the country, the vast majority in Cox's Bazaar, after fleeing persecution in Myanmar. About 30,000 are registered refugees who live in two camps run by the United Nations.

    In recent weeks, Bangladesh has turned away boats carrying hundreds of Rohingya fleeing the violence in Myanmar despite pressure from the United States and rights groups to grant them refuge.

    Myanmar security forces opened fire on Rohingya Muslims, committed rape and stood by as rival mobs attacked each other during the recent wave of sectarian violence, New York-based Human Rights Watch said Wednesday.

    The authorities failed to protect both Muslims and Buddhists and then "unleashed a campaign of violence and mass roundups against the Rohingya", the group said in a report.


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    Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi accused of 'legitimising genocide of Rohingya Muslims'

    Protests have been held in Thailand, Indonesia and Bangladesh over the situation in Rakhine state


    Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi, stands accused of not protecting Rohingya Muslims in the country and potentially “legitimising genocide”.

    Military operations in Rakhine State have caused thousands to flee across the border to Bangladesh. A UN official said Rohingya in Burma were being ethnically cleansed with Rohingya alleging that government soldiers have killed and raped civilians.

    The military action – launched in response to coordinated attacks by armed men on border posts in October - has left scores of people dead.

    The army says it is fighting an armed insurgency in the region and the government denies abuses. “The international community misunderstood us because of Rohingya lobbyists who distributed fabricated news,” the presidential spokesman, Zaw Htay, said this week. “No one in the world would accept attacks on security forces, killings and looting of weapons.”

    Ms Suu Kyi’s failure to speak out in support of the Rohingya "is baffling to an international audience that persists in casting her as a human rights icon", said David Mathieson of Human Rights Watch.

    "One version to explain her silence is callous indifference, another is calculated limited messaging ... but the most likely is she simply has no control over the Burmese army," he added.

    Researchers at Queen Mary University London said her silence amounts to “legitimising genocide” and entrenching “the persecution of the Rohingya minority”.

    "Despite the fact that this is the most significant test of Suu Kyi's leadership, the country's de facto leader has remained remarkably indifferent," they said.

    Rights groups say the military has used the attack on police border posts last month as an excuse for a crackdown on the Rohingya.

    The Rohingya, a group of around a million, have been resident in Burma for decades – but are treated as illegal immigrants and denied citizenship.

    Ms Suu Kyi took power this year after winning the country's first free elections in a generation. She stood on a platform of reconciliation for people across the country, but she has been hampered by a junta-era constitution that gives the army a quarter of parliamentary seats and control over security.

    She also faces a prevailing view among many of Burma's Buddhists that the Rohingya are illegal immigrants and any move to support them would risk a public backlash.

    Reports in Rakhine state cannot be independently verified because the government restricts access for journalists and aid workers. Aung San Suu Kyi has said a government-led investigation is under way.

    Malaysia will summon Burma's ambassador over the crackdown on the Rohingya Muslims, it said on Friday, as protesters across South-east Asia demonstrated against the rising violence.

    The Malaysian foreign ministry called on all parties involved to refrain from actions that could aggravate the situation.

    "Malaysia also calls on the government of Myanmar [Burma] to take all the necessary actions to address the alleged ethnic cleansing in the northern Rakhine State," the ministry said in a statement.

    "The ministry will summon the ambassador of Myanmar to convey the government of Malaysia's concern over this issue," it added, without giving a timeframe.

    Hundreds of Rohingya Muslims marched in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, condemning the bloody crackdown on the persecuted minority and criticising Nobel Peace Prize winner Ms Suu Kyi for her inaction on the matter.

    Protesters demanded humanitarian aid for Rakhine, and urged that the military seize all attackers.

    Protests were also held simultaneously in Bangkok, the capital of neighbouring Thailand, in Bangladesh and in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.


    ================================================== ===============================
    This Muslim Purge In Myanmar Is So Awful You Can See It From Space

    By Patrick Winn - November 15, 2016

    A satellite image from Nov. 10 shows a Muslim village burned down in an arson spree committed by Myanmar's army. According to Human Rights Watch, at least 400 buildings in Muslim-majority parts of Myanmar have been destroyed.

    If Myanmar’s notorious army is to be believed — that’s a very big if — its soldiers are facing a highly deranged adversary.

    Along Myanmar’s marshy coastline, villages keep going up in flames. All of them belong to the Rohingya, a horribly persecuted Muslim group. The arsonists? Muslims themselves, according to the army.

    The Rohingya, we are told, are burning their own homes to attract well-armed government platoons — and then sprinting at them with knives, berserker style, so that they can get mowed down by the dozens.

    This narrative defies logic. But it’s hard to challenge directly — and that’s how the army likes it.

    Myanmar’s military has turned much of the Rohingya’s homeland into a no-go zone for aid workers and non-compliant journalists. It has become, in the words of one expert, an “information black hole.”

    Relieved of prying eyes, the military is aggressively purging Muslim villages that have been infiltrated by an “extremist violent ideology.”

    These raids began shortly after the October emergence of a poorly armed Rohingya militant group numbering in the hundreds. According to government reports, a series of clashes have killed about 17 officers and more than 65 militants.

    Richard Horsey @rshorsey :
    Simply not plausible that villagers "burned their own houses".

    Jonah Fisher @JonahFisherBBC State media reports most recent group detained "preparing to attack government troops". Possesed no guns. Just wooden clubs and machetes.

    Jonah Fisher @JonahFisherBBC The story is always the same. Troops enter Rohingya village on "clearance operations". Discover "violent attackers". Arrest or shoot.

    The military is now in a highly advantageous position. It brings superior firepower — columns of troops and attack choppers — to combat a ragtag group that is mostly armed with “small guns, swords, spears and sticks.”

    Furthermore, Myanmar’s predominately Buddhist citizens appear to broadly support the army’s purges. In one of Asia’s most ethnically diverse nations, no group is as denigrated as the Rohingya.

    Even fresh claims of soldiers gang-raping Rohingya women at gunpoint have stirred little domestic outcry. One official, speaking to the BBC, has refuted the claims by insisting Rohingya women are too “dirty” to arouse troops.

    The army is operating in a void, free of critical onlookers who might defy the official narrative. However, technology offers a few ways to illuminate the facts.

    Using satellite images, Human Rights Watch has monitored the remote region where the army’s purge is ongoing. Their findings: a widespread torching of villages that has incinerated at least 400 buildings.

    “These satellite images of village destruction could be the tip of the iceberg given the grave abuses being reported,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director with Human Rights Watch.

    In addition to cameras orbiting the Earth, mobile phone cameras are also helping to reveal Rohingya suffering. Shaky footage, allegedly capturing the aftermath of air strikes, appears to show the corpses of children sprawled out on the grass.

    The exact nature of these videos is hard to verify. But they suggest the Rohingya death toll is not limited to wild-eyed terrorists rushing suicidally at soldiers.

    The plight of the Rohingya, already among the world’s most tormented groups, appears to grow increasingly dire.

    About 10 percent of the population of approximately 1 million already lives in bleak internment camps controlled by the army. Food and medicine is scarce. Travel outside is restricted. Hunger is rampant.

    As for the nation’s much-celebrated pro-democracy crowd that swirls around Myanmar’s iconic, de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi? They have seemed largely dismissive of Rohingya woes for years.

    The emergence of inept militants, vowing to liberate their Rohingya people, has only legitimized the public’s distrust of Muslims. But there are signs that their tragedy could worsen from here.

    Myanmar’s government now plans to arm and train an all-Buddhist militia in the same state the Rohingya inhabit. This new armed wing would be composed of ethnic Arakanese, Buddhists who are also native to the area.

    One international monitoring group, the International Commission of Jurists, has called this a “recipe for disaster.” But the plan is favored by one of the loudest anti-Rohingya organizations, the Arakan National Party, which favors “inhuman acts” to rid their homeland of Muslims.

    Last week, as the army stormed Muslim villages, the group found time to congratulate Donald Trump for winning the US presidential election.

    “Being engulfed in Islamization and illegal immigration problems,” the party wrote, “we the Arakanese people look up to you as a new world leader who will change the rigged system being infested with jihadi infiltrators.”


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    What Genocide Agenda reveals

    * Evidence that Myanmar government agents have been involved in triggering anti-Muslim riots

    * An official military document that uses hate speech and claims the Myanmarese are in danger of being 'devoured' by Muslims

    * A confidential document warning of "nationwide communal riots" was deliberately sent to local townships to incite anti-Muslim fears

    * A report by Yale Law School that concludes there is "strong evidence" genocide is taking place in Myanmar

    * A former United Nations Rapporteur on Myanmar who says President Thein Sein should now be investigated for genocide

    * Evidence that monks involved in the 2007 Saffron Revolution in that challenged military rule were offered money to join anti-Muslim, pro-government groups

    * A report by the International State Crime Initiative at London University, which confirms that genocide is taking place. The team gathered independent evidence that riots in 2012 that left hundreds of Rohingya dead and over a hundred thousand homeless were preplanned

    'Strong Evidence' of Genocide in Myanmar

    Al Jazeera investigation reveals government triggered deadly communal violence for political gain.


    Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit has uncovered what amounts to "strong evidence" of a genocide coordinated by the Myanmar government against the Rohingya people, according to an assessment by Yale University Law School.

    The Lowenstein Clinic spent eight months assessing evidence from Myanmar, including documents and testimony provided by Al Jazeera and the advocacy group Fortify Rights.

    "Given the scale of the atrocities and the way that politicians talk about the Rohingya, we think it's hard to avoid a conclusion that intent [to commit genocide] is present," concluded the clinic.

    Exclusive evidence obtained by Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit and Fortify Rights reveals the government has been triggering communal violence for political gain by inciting anti-Muslim riots, using hate speech to stoke fear among the Myanmarese about Muslims, and offering money to hardline Buddhist groups who threw their support behind the leadership.

    As the first fully contested general election in 25 years approaches on November 8, eyewitness and confidential documentary evidence obtained by Al Jazeera reveals that the ruling, military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) has attempted to marginalise Muslims and target the Rohingya.

    Al Jazeera has made several requests for comment to the Myanmar President's office and government spokespeople but has not received any response.

    Genocide Agenda

    The investigation, presented in a new documentary, Genocide Agenda, consults legal and diplomatic experts on whether the government's campaign amounts to systematic extermination.

    The University of London's Professor Penny Green, director of the International State Crime Initiative (ISCI) said: "President Thein Sein [of USDP] is prepared to use hate speech for the government's own ends, and that is to marginalise, segregate, diminish the Muslim population inside Burma.

    "It's part of a genocidal process."

    An independent report by the ISCI concluded that riots in 2012, which saw conflicts between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims erupt, were preplanned. The violence saw scores killed, and tens of thousands of people displaced after several thousand homes were burned.

    "It wasn't communal violence," said Green. "It was planned violence. Express buses were organised" to bring Rakhine Buddhists from outlying areas to take part in the aggression.

    "Refreshments, meals were provided," she said. "It had to be paid by somebody. All of this suggests that it was very carefully planned."

    Former United Nations Rapporteur on Myanmar Tomas Ojea Quintana, meanwhile, called for President Thein Sein of the USDP and the ministers of home affairs and immigration to be investigated for genocide.

    Stirring hatred

    Genocide Agenda presents evidence that Myanmar government agents were involved in sparking anti-Muslim riots.

    An official military document, a copy of which has been obtained by Al Jazeera, shows the use of hate speech, claiming the Myanmarese are in danger of being "devoured" by Muslims.

    Al Jazeera is releasing the documents with translations alongside the documentary.

    The investigation also reveals how the government uses hired thugs to stir hatred.

    A former member of Myanmar's feared Military Intelligence service described how she witnessed agent provocateurs from the army provoke problems with Muslims.

    "The army controlled these events from behind the scenes. They were not directly involved," she said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "They paid money to people from outside."

    Among other findings is a confidential document warning of 'nationwide communal riots' that was deliberately sent to local townships to incite anti-Muslim fears.

    Further evidence from and sources within the Sangha, or monkhood, reveals that monks who challenged military rule in the 2007 Saffron Revolution were offered money to join anti-Muslim, pro-government groups.

    While there has been evidence that Myanmar's military rulers deliberately provoked communal unrest during the years of dictatorship, until now there has been no evidence that this continued after the transition towards a partial democracy.

    Matt Smith, founder of the advocacy group Fortify Rights, said that taken as a whole, the evidence indicates this trend is resurfacing.

    "In the case of the Rohingya, in the case of Rakhine State, that could amount to the crime of genocide," Smith said. "Several of the most powerful people in the country should reasonably be the subject of an international investigation into this situation of Rakhine State."

    Disenfranchised Muslims

    In the November general election, the USDP is running against numerous ethnic and other parties, but primarily against the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung Sang Suu Kyi.

    In the November general election, the USDP is running against numerous ethnic and other parties, but primarily against the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung Sang Suu Kyi.

    The vote is seen as a crucial next stage in steps towards full democracy.

    Reform in Myanmar has been under way since 2010 when military rule was replaced by a military-backed civilian government.

    But since the military junta stepped aside in 2011, hardline Buddhist groups have taken advantage of liberalisation to gain influence in the country's politics.

    Muslim candidates have been largely excluded from the upcoming election, in what also appears to be an attempt to assuage hardliners.

    Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims were disenfranchised earlier this year when the government withdrew the temporary citizenship cards that allowed them to vote.


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    Video shows alleged site of mass murder of Rohingya Muslims by soldiers


    Warning: Video contains graphic mobile phone footage of charred bodies

    Rohingya refugees have been describing the horrific violence that forced them to flee their homes in Burma and escape across the border to informal camps in Bangladesh.

    One man, a teacher named Osman Gani, passed a video to international media which he says shows the charred bodies of some 300 people massacred by the Burmese army. He says many people were gunned down by government aircraft before the bodies were burned.

    Violence against the Rohingya Muslim minority has flared up since last October, a bloody reaction to deadly strikes by unknown assailants on police posts near the border with Bangladesh.

    Another refugee, 20-year-old Mohsena Begum, described how soldiers arrived at her village of Caira Fara, killing four village leaders, beating the men and raping the women.

    Ms Begum told the Associated Press her husband, a farm labourer, was beaten and then murdered by having his throat slit. She says she was separated from her young son and raped, before they managed to escape.

    And Sufia Begum, an older refugee at the camp, described how soldiers launched a sneak attack on her village, “shooting people one by one and setting fire to the houses”. She said she survived by lying down on the floor.

    The Burmese government has blamed Rohingya sympathisers for the attacks on police posts and acknowledged using helicopter gunships in the military sweep that followed.

    Satellite images analysed by the rights group Human Rights Watch show 1,250 structures destroyed in Rohingya villages in November.

    But the government says stories like the younger Ms Begum’s are exaggerations, and lodged a formal protest against a UN official in Bangladesh who said the state was carrying out "ethnic cleansing”.

    The Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, has led criticism of the Burmese government in recent days, calling its actions “genocide” and declaring at a protest rally that "enough is enough".

    Burma has blocked international investigators and foreign journalists from entering Rakhine state, the province where much of the violence has taken place, to report on what is happening there.



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