Monday, April 22, 2013

Myanmar (Burma) accused of ‘ethnic cleansing’ by Human Rights Watch

Agence France-Presse via Raw Story
April 22, 2012.

Houses burn in riot-hit Meiktila, 
Central Myanmar/Burma, March 21. (AFP)
Myanmar has waged “a campaign of ethnic cleansing” against Rohingya Muslims, a top rights watchdog said Monday, citing evidence of mass graves and forced displacement affecting tens of thousands.

The Rohingya, who are denied citizenship by the country also known as Burma, have faced crimes against humanity including murder, persecution, deportation and forced transfer, New York-based Human Rights Watch said.

Myanmar officials, community leaders and Buddhist monks organised and encouraged mobs, backed by state security forces, to conduct coordinated attacks on Muslim villages in October in the western state of Rakhine, HRW said.

The Burmese government engaged in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya that continues today through the denial of aid and restrictions on movement,” said HRW deputy Asia director Phil Robertson.

The report was released on the same day that the European Union was expected to lift all remaining sanctions against Myanmar, except an arms embargo, in a move that Robertson said was “premature and unfortunate” and would diminish the EU’s leverage with the regime.

He called on all international donors, including the United States, to step up pressure on Myanmar to promote democratic change in the former pariah state, which ended decades of military rule in 2011.
Read the rest here.
Comment: See the HRW report: "'All You Can Do is Pray': Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Burma’s Arakan State" (April 22) here.

Also see a discussion of the report and the Rohingya situation by HRW entitled: "Burma: End ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ of Rohingya Muslims" here.

Despite the concerns expressed by HRW the European Union lifted all sanctions against Burma today - except for an arms embargo.  See Reuters report "EU lifts Myanmar sanctions despite human rights concerns" (April 22). 

Aung San Suu Kyi's immoral advocacy not to tie economic sanctions to the conditions of the Rohingya Muslims has obviously worked wonders. 

Now we know why the military despots freed her.


UPDATE (April 23): See David Mepham's opinion piece "Burma: the EU has been too quick to lift sanctions" (April 23) in The Guardian (UK).

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