Oppression of Rohingyas refutes monk's statements

CIHANGIR YILDIRIM
ISTANBUL
Published 15.06.2015 21:59

Regarding the persecution of Rohingya Muslims, the Pakistani Taliban has urged Muslims in Myanmar to resist and fight against the Myanmar government. It has made a call to the Rohingyas to "take up the sword." The British-based newspaper The Independent has reported that Myanmar's worst nightmare came a step closer to reality after a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban called on Rohingyas to rise up. "Burma's [sic] great terror moves a step closer as Taliban urges Rohingya to take up the sword" Independent said regarding the Rohingya's reactions.

During the conflict between Myanmar forces and Rohingyas, the Buddhist monk U Pinnyasiha asked Buddhists to stay calm. "The way of Buddhism is saving people, helping people, giving loving kindness to all people. Don't take account of skin color or the particular religion of people, just give them loving kindness. People who refuse to give loving kindness to certain sorts of people are going against the way of Buddhism," U Pinnyasiha, commonly known as Shwe Nya War Sayadaw, said.

Despite the peace calls from Buddhists, Rohingyas still face fundamental rights abuses. Myanmar denies them citizenship, freedom to travel, access to education and they face systematic persecution by the Buddhist majority. Rohingyas are not recognized among the 134 official ethnicities of Myanmar because authorities see them as illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh. They are subjected to forced labor, have no land rights and are heavily restricted by the government. They have no permission to leave the camps built for them, have no source of income and have to rely on the World Food Program to survive. The U.N. considers Rohingyas to be one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, in the past three years, over 120,000 Rohingyas have boarded ships to flee abroad. Some 25,000 migrants left Myanmar and Bangladesh in the first quarter of 2015. Between 40 percent and 60 percent of the 25,000 are thought to originate from Myanmar's western Rakhine state. The unrest in Myanmar, which began in 2012, has cost many Muslims their lives, and about 140,000 stateless Rohingyas have been placed in internal displacement camps due to increasingly violent attacks on them. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the nonprofit Arakan Project, as many as 8,000 migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar were believed to be stranded during the refugee crisis in the Andaman Sea in May 2015. More than 88,000 people have attempted the dangerous sea crossing to the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea since 2014. According to the U.N., some 920 mostly Rohingyas died between September and March in the Bay of Bengal.

The Rohingyas are a Muslim ethnic group living mainly in Myanmar. As of 2015, approximately 800,000 Rohingyas live in Myanmar and about 300,000 live in Bangladesh.

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