Monday, June 3, 2013

Weekly Highlights: Burma Government Must End Impunity and Promote Religious Tolerance

27 May - 2 June 2012
Weekly Highlights
Burma Government Must End Impunity and Promote Religious Tolerance
This week, mosques, schools and shops were burnt down, Muslims populations displaced, people injured and killed, and journalists attacked. These dramatic events are now common news coming out of Burma. In the last three months, religious violence took place in more than 18 townships hundreds of kilometers apart from each other, more than 44 people died, and more than 13,000 have been displaced. Yet, no appropriate actions have been taken to halt the spread of violence, extremist religious views and distrust among communities.
On 28 and 29 May, violence spread to Lashio, Shan State, where one Muslim was killed and four Buddhists wounded. Mobs of young men on motorcycles roamed the city with swords, destroying shops and shouting they would "kill any Muslims they see on the road." Two Democratic Voice of Burma reporters were injured and their SIM cards stolen. The police again failed to stop the violence and protect the population. According to a New York Times source, the first police units arrived two hours after the violence started and did not confront the rioters. More than 1,400 Muslims were displaced and found shelter in a Buddhist temple. On the night of 29 May, violence spread to the town of Mone in Kyauk Gyi Township, Pegu Region, where mobs destroyed a mosque and madrasa.
There have been numerous calls from the United Nations to hold perpetrators accountable, and the government has so far failed to adequately address the situation. According to the Ministry of Information, dozens of people have been arrested for their suspected roles in the fighting, and yet another committee will be formed "to investigate and determine who instigated the unrest." Previous committees to investigate different problems in the country have not been impartial, and have by and large not resulted in accurate reports or constructive recommendations. Groups of Buddhist extremists continue to freely travel around the country diffusing hate speech. So far, charges have only been pressed against Muslims and there have been no reports of Buddhists being charged for taking part in anti-Muslim violence in central Burma and Oakkan in Rangoon Region.
The government of Burma must ensure that perpetrators of violence are prosecuted regardless of their religious or ethnic affiliations and in compliance with international standards of due process of law. It is fundamental that the international community keeps pressuring the government to end impunity for acts of violence and discrimination and monitors that the emerging trend of charging and sentencing mainly, if not only, Muslims does not continue and become a new form of discrimination.
An end to impunity is essential. However, accountability and upholding the rule of law are not enough to tackle this human tragedy. As explained by Physician for Human Rights, "the government's weak response to stop the violence and its reluctance to help Muslim victims is a symptom of a larger problem—ethnic groups are not benefitting from fledgling democratic reforms [...] it is a continuation of abuses against ethnic groups that are done with impunity and either tacit or outright government approval." Religious and ethnic discrimination and Buddhist nationalism have been institutionalized by successive military regimes over decades. The continued violence, and government's failure to end it, underline questions about the willingness and ability of an overwhelmingly Buddhist government to maintain long-term peace and stability among the country's many other ethnic and religious groups.
The government, the State Sangha Council and local communities must address the root causes of the religious conflict. Pressure must be increased on the government to transform speeches into actions. To transition to a truly peaceful and democratic country, there must be national reconciliation, including ending religious and ethnic minority discrimination and intolerance, and promoting a harmonious religious and ethnically diverse Burma.
News Highlights
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi says little progress has been made in establishing rule of law and peace, and questions the two-child policy for Rohingya
Authorities say two-child policy for Rohingya is for family planning, dismissing criticism that it's evidence of oppression; but say they will review the policy
Inside Burma
88 Generation Students seek legal status
Meikhtila residents reject the government's resettlement plan
Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and government peace committee meet in Myitkyina; KIA says a ceasefire agreement could only be signed with international observers from the UK and the US
Minister Aung Min says internally displaced people in Kachin State could soon return home and that the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) will be removed from the government's list of unlawful associations, and detainees would be freed
The Burma Army issues an ultimatum to Karen ethnic armed groups to remove their flags from buildings in Myawaddy District
Karen armed groups form the Unity Committee to avoid skirmishes among them and seek a peaceful solution in case of conflicts
Global consulting company warns of "major risk of disappointment" for companies entering Burma
Human Rights Working Group, a leading Indonesian human rights organization, urges the government to actively support a United Nations resolution on the Rohingya
The Commander-in-Chief of the Burma Army, Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing, receives the Knight Grand Cross, Order of the Crown of Thailand Award
Profiling of refugees starts on the Thai-Burma border
Japan gives Burma a US$504 million loan and forgives debt
US urges Burma to eliminate two-child policy and the UN says it would be discriminatory and a violation of human rights
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomes the agreement reached between the government and the KIO
The World Bank urges Burma to enhance budget transparency
The head of the British military, General Sir David Richards, will visit Burma
Myanmar Needs a New Nationalism
By Matthew J Walton
By Asia Times
Burma Must Take Steps to Quell Ethnic Violence
By Andrea Gittleman and Bill Davis
The Democratic Voice of Burma
Latest from the Blog
Two-Child Policy in Arakan State: Latest Act of Ill-treatment, Unlikely to be the Last
By Burma Partnerships
TAKE ACTION! Write to UK Foreign Office for the release of Aung Ko Latt and the remaining political prisoners
More than 400 farmers from the Letpadaung copper mine area in Sagaing Region urge local authorities to immediately release three detainees and stop their manhunt for people accused of supporting and assisting the displaced farmers
Statements and Press Releases
Burma: Revoke 'Two-Child Policy' For Rohingya
By Human Rights Watch
Statement of the 9th Karen National Unity Seminar
By Karen National Unity Seminar Committee
Burma: Failing to Demobilize Child Soldiers
By Human Rights Watch
Myanmar: UN Expert Urges Government to Act on Local Regulations Targeting Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State
By Tomás Ojea Quintana, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights situation in Myanmar
Agreement Between the Union Peace Working Committee and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO)
By Union Peace Working Committee and Kachin Independence Organization
Union Government – Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) Peace Talks
By US Embassy Rangoon
Myanmar: Annual Report 2013
By Amnesty International
Sold to Sea: Human Trafficking in Thailand's Fishing Industry
By Environmental Justice Foundation
Briefing for the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict Regarding the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers in Burma (Myanmar) and Implementation of the Joint Action Plan
By Human Rights Watch
Myanmar: Protecting Minority Rights is Non-Negotiable
By Refugees International

Contact Us | Privacy Policy
© Burma Partnership
Visit us at the following social networking sites.       

Burma Partnership | | Muang, Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand
Email Marketing by iContact - Try It Free!
Manage Your Subscription  |  Forward This Message

No comments: