Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, September 22nd, 2019

Gross Violation of Human Rights in Myanmar

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Gross Violation of Human Rights in Myanmar

Religious tensions are still felt in Myanmar between the majority Buddhists and the minority Muslims, as minor disputes turned into violent clashes few years back. A number of Muslims were murdered and burnt inhumanely by Buddhists in Myanmar (Burma) – this tragedy, which puts the humanity of the perpetrators under question, was highly traumatic. 
Myanmar is a Buddhist nation of 50 million. But an estimated 1.3 million Rohingya Muslims, who are known to have migrated from neighboring Bangladesh generations ago, live in the northern tip of Rakhine state.
The Rohingya Muslims have been denied Myanmar citizenship and attacked by Buddhist mobs, which has left hundreds dead and more than 140,000 trapped in camps. Few years back, Myanmar authorities launched an aggressive campaign to register Rohingya members as Bengalis and label them as illegal migrants from Bangladesh.
Sporadic violence since 2012 has led to great casualties, most of whom are Muslims. To put it in the words of UN reports, Rohingya Muslims are among the world’s most persecuted people. They are officially stateless, as neither the Myanmar government nor neighboring Bangladesh recognize their citizenship. There are 800,000 Rohingya living in Myanmar, mostly in slums and refugee camps.
Thousands of Rohingya Muslims who left Myanmar in boats in November 2014 have not reached their destinations. The U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee on Nov. 21, 2014, approved a resolution urging Myanmar to provide citizenship on an equal basis to the 1.3 million Rohingya Muslim minority people in the country.
Reports say that authorities commit honor killings against Rohingya Muslim women since 2012 in the State of Arakan as a tactic to drive people out of that land. Hundreds of Rohingya Muslim women, mostly teenagers, became the victims of savagery of the Buddhist Burmese forces, they are deprived of their honor amidst the sufferings as a result of the violence committed by the Buddhist ethnics of Arakan in their villages.
In some cases, locals say, “Security forces entered the village during the night to check out the list of families where those forces raped the Rohingya women in the houses as there were no more men in the houses.”
The Rohingya Muslims are killed while their houses and mosques are burnt down, their properties are seized and honor killings are committed against the women.
Strangely, the Burmese Government appears incapable in facing the brutality of its forces and citizens. According to an elder of Maungdaw, the government is deliberately committing a systematic ethnic cleansing to make the Muslim Rohingya community run away from their land.
In human rights discourse, men are entitled with natural and inviolable rights – rights to life, liberty and property – which must be protected, irrespective of one’s sex, color, race and beliefs. It is rightly stated in the preamble of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as, “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people….”
We live in modern era, in which barbarity and violence is considered against the international propriety and civil rights. Human societies have left bloody history behind and millions of people lost their lives, had their limbs amputated and sustained mortal injuries in wars and conflagrations – especially in World Wars. Historical wars originated from claiming racial superiorities such as apartheid or Nazism, religious beliefs (Crusades), ethnocentrism, etc. To remedy the problems and prevent from war, violence and violation of men’s rights and dignities and to suggest peaceful way of dealing the challenges, the international community was established and international instruments were enacted.
The international community has to address the challenges of the minority groups through putting pressures on the Burmese authorities in Myanmar and prosecute the perpetrators. Since racial and religious tensions lead to further violence and bloodshed and spark regional unrests, the rights and dignities of the minority groups must be protected and recognized in Myanmar. The ongoing violence in Myanmar is highly outrageous to the public conscience.
The international community and the states who claim to advocate human rights should pressure on the Rohingya state to treat all individuals with dignity and stop violating their rights and freedoms. Moreover, the perpetrators must be brought to justice immediately.

Hujjatullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan and freelance writer based in Kabul. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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