Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Burma's Rohingyas still suffer: rights group | ABC Radio Australia

A Bangkok-based human rights group says Burma's notionally civilian government hasn't made substantial progress toward improving the plight of the ethnic Rohingya population.
The founder and director of the Arakan Project, Chris Lewa, says that while Rohingyas have three representatives in the new national parliament, their presence hasn't improved the treatment of Rohingyas in north Arakan state.

"One shocking situation ... is the fact that [Rohingyas] have to apply for an official marriage permission for a couple to get married," Ms Lewa told Radio Australia's Asia Pacific program.
"And when they get that, they need to sign an undertaking that they won't have more than two children."
Ms Lewa says if couples marry without official permission, husbands can be prosecuted and receive up to five years in detention.
She says Rohingyas are also barred from travelling between townships without permission.
But Ms Lewa says there has been some progress on forced labour, with Burma's government signing an agreement with the International Labour Organisation to eradicate the practice by 2015.
The issue of forced labour will be on the ILO's agenda when it meets in Geneva next month, with Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi due to address the conference.

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