Sunday, July 8, 2012

Let Myanmar end Rohingyas’ plight

The sorry plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar has drawn international attention. Every time they are persecuted at home, they have no other alternative but to rush to their neighbour Bangladesh for shelter. This time, Bangladesh has taken a tough stand on their influx. Even the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that the Myanmar security forces responded to sectarian violence in the northern Arakan state with mass arrests and unlawful force against the Rohingya Muslim population. Local police, the military and a border security force known as Nasaka, have committed numerous abuses in predominantly Muslim townships while combating the violence, which broke out in early June 2012, between the Rohingya and the ethnic Arakan who are predominantly Buddhists, it said in a press statement.

The HRW urged the Myanmar government to end any arbitrary and incommunicado detention, and redeploy and hold accountable security forces implicated in serious abuses. The Burmese (Myanmar) authorities should ensure safe access to the area by the United Nations (UN), independent humanitarian organizations and the media, the statement said. The Burmese government needs to put an immediate end to the abusive sweeps by the security forces against Rohingya communities, said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director of HRW.
All reports trickling from across the border say, Myanmar’s security forces had been implicated in killings and other abuses since the sectarian violence broke out in northern Arakan. The violence in the Arakan state has devastated both the Rohingya and Arakan communities, but government efforts to identify and arrest those responsible should not result in further abuses. The sectarian violence and state of emergency provides no excuse for the security forces to continue their past record of abuses and discrimination against the Rohingya community.
The Burmese government restricted international access to the northern Arakan state — an area comprising the predominantly Muslim townships of Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung — and severely curtailed freedom of movement of Rohingya residents.
Bangladesh and Myanmar are immediate neighbours and they have to live side by side for ever as geography dictates. Myanmar should be aware of the intolerable burden its close neighbour endures every time Rohingyas are tortured at home. It is time that Yangon takes note of the Rohingyas’ plight and do the needful to ensure that they live in peace as rightful citizens of Myanmar.

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