Oppression of Rohingya Muslims increased after Suu Kyi took power, rights group says

DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL
Published 05.09.2017 08:47
Updated 05.09.2017 09:00
Rohingya refugees stretch their hands for food near Balukhali in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, September 4, 2017 (Reuters Photo)
Rohingya refugees stretch their hands for food near Balukhali in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, September 4, 2017 (Reuters Photo)

Muslims in Myanmar have been facing more persecution since the election of Aung San Suu Kyi, with restrictions on identity documents and places of worship and the creation of 'Muslim-free' villages, a human rights group said in a report published Tuesday.

Oppression of Islamic communities spreads beyond the north-western Rakhine state, where 90,000 Rohingya - members of a persecuted Muslim minority - have fled violence in recent days, according to the report from the Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN).

"Being a Muslim, I can't go anywhere in my own country," said Kyaw Win, executive director of BHRN, at the report's launch in Bangkok.

He called the persecution a "very systematic and calculated strategy," pointing to examples like the monitoring of people worshipping at mosques and the creation of at least 21 villages that have banned Muslims from entering.

BHRN interviewed more than 350 people across 46 towns since March 2016 for the report, published days after attacks on security forces by Rohingya militants prompted an allegedly brutal crackdown by the army.

Violence erupted in Myanmar's Rakhine state on Aug. 25 when the country's security forces launched an operation against the Rohingya Muslim community. It triggered a fresh influx of refugees towards neighboring Bangladesh, though the country sealed off its border to refugees.

Media reports said Myanmar security forces used disproportionate force, displacing thousands of Rohingya villagers and destroying their homes with mortars and machine guns.

The region has seen simmering tension between its Buddhist and Muslim populations since communal violence broke out in 2012.

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