Myanmar under immense strain to stop violence



AGENCIES

Published — Monday 19 November 2012

Last update 19 November 2012 1:50 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

PHNOM PENH: Myanmar is under immense pressure to stop unabated violence against the minority Rohingya Muslims, which is allegedly being orchestrated by security forces in tandem with a political party supporting the radical nationalists.
Taking the issue under consideration, Southeast Asian leaders attending the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has decided to put pressure on Myanmar to resolve violence between Buddhists and minority Muslims, a senior regional official said yesterday. The unrest has left scores dead and as many as 100,000 people displaced since June.
Myanmar President Thein Sein has blamed nationalist and religious extremists for unrest in June and October that killed at least 167 people, but has faced criticism for failing to address underlying tensions in Rakhine State, where an estimated 800,000 Rohingya Muslims are not recognized as citizens.
At least “800,000 people are now under tremendous pressure,” the AEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan told reporters on the sidelines of the summit in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh.
“If that issue is not handled well and effectively, there is a risk of extremism,” he said.
Surin said he expected ASEAN leaders to raise the issue with Myanmar, which is a member of the bloc, during bilateral talks.
The ASEAN chief admitted the Rohingya Muslims were the victims of “disturbing” ethnic violence, but stopped short of calling the bloodshed genocide. He did not agree with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which on Saturday had called the Rohingya victims of “genocide”.
A Reuters investigation painted a troubling picture of organized attacks led by Rakhine nationalists tied to a powerful political party in the state, incited by Buddhist monks and, some witnesses said, abetted by local security forces.
US President Barack Obama is expected to raise the issue of ethnic tensions today, when he travels to Myanmar and meets Thein Sein. Obama will be the first sitting US president to visit Myanmar, also known as Burma.
“In addition to the democratic reforms, we’ve been concerned about the continued ethnic conflicts in Burma,” Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser, told reporters accompanying Obama aboard Air Force One.
“I think the president will be underscoring that national reconciliation is also going to be a part of Burma’s democratic transition,” he said.
The United Nations said yesterday Thein Sein had sent a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon promising action to tackle the problems.
In a statement, Ban’s office said Thein Sein had promised that “once emotions subside on all sides”, his government was prepared to “address contentious political dimensions, ranging from resettlement of displaced populations to granting of citizenship”.
Many Rohingyas are subject to travel and work restrictions.
Rohingyas have lived for generations in Rakhine State, but Rakhines and other Burmese view them as illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh who deserve neither rights nor sympathy.
A leading international rights group yesterday accused Myanmar security forces of supporting some of the brutal anti-Muslim violence last month that forced 35,000 people from torched homes. The government rejected the allegations, which came one day before President Barack Obama’s visit to the Southeast Asian nation after a year and a half of unprecedented democratic reforms there.
Human Rights Watch said soldiers in some parts of western Rakhine state also tried to stop Buddhist attacks and protect Muslim civilians, known as Rohingya. But the group said the government needs to do much more to protect the stateless minority, who are denied
citizenship because they are considered foreigners from Bangladesh.
The New York-based rights group also released new satellite imagery detailing the extensive destruction of several Muslim areas, including a village attacked by Buddhist mobs armed with spears and bows and arrows where adults were beheaded and women and children killed.
“The satellite images and eyewitness accounts reveal that local mobs, at times with official support, sought to finish the job of removing Rohingya from these areas,” said Brad Adams, the watchdog’s Asia director.
He urged US President Barack Obama to press Myanmar’s reformist leader Thein Sein on the issue when he makes a historic visit to Yangon on Monday following sweeping political changes in the former pariah state.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

Huge projects change the faces of cities and great ambitions help create such projects. Madinah had its date with a quantum leap to usher in a new era of urban development. Such huge projects help achieve formidable civilization advancements and sign...
RIYADH: The Japanese ambassador to the Kingdom, Noriheiro Okoda, has held a meeting with Hashem Abdullah Yamani, president of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE), and discussed bilateral cooperation in the fields of atom...
AL-BAHA: Forty three percent of Al-Baha cannot be developed easily because of the region’s mountainous terrain.This is the view of Khaled Al-Sayegh, undersecretary for construction at the municipality, who was speaking at an event held at the College...
JEDDAH: An official at the Council of Saudi Chambers said the council’s members are discussing a regulation to submit to the Ministry of Labor and other government agencies to deny a number of privileges to companies that force its labor to work unde...
ABHA: With many families wanting new furniture during Ramadan, furniture and interior decorating shops are raising prices to more than double what they were before the month.Homeowner Zaina Mohammed says she used to change her home furniture every Ra...
RIYADH: Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) President Prince Sultan bin Salman described the first visit by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman to Madinah as “historic.”In his comments following the visit which saw th...
MADINAH: Economists expected the volume of investments in Madinah’s economies during the coming few years to reach SR500 billion.The forecasted growth in the population, to reach 2.6 million people after 25 years, and the number of visitors to 12.2 m...
JEDDAH: It seems that many Saudi families are gradually coming to terms with the new reality of living in apartments, as building villas is not possible due to shortage of appropriate land.With the increasing display of housing units by the Ministry...
RIYADH: Migrant rights advocacy group Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) has lambasted their country’s leadership over the claim that the number of overseas Filipino workers are declining due to sustained economic growth in the Philippines.The group has cal...
RIYADH: A charitable foundation called “Smile” will be launched on Sunday night at the Al-Hokair Land in the Saudi capital to make people happy. “The foundation will be launched to make Saudi Arabia a center of smiles,” well-known television host and...
MAKKAH: The Kingdom has seen a sharp rise in the number of Umrah pilgrims to around 6 million from 1.5 million in the last 16 years. Moreover, the number of pilgrims overstaying their visas has come down to about 1 percent. The Ministry of Haj has be...
RIYADH: The King Khalid Foundation (KKF) said here recently that it has financed small enterprises (SMEs) run by 130 widows in some of the Kingdom’s provinces.KKF hosted an iftar party last week for local media at its headquarters in Riyadh at which...
JEDDAH: Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz bin Musaed, governor of the Northern Borders province, has died.He will be buried after Taraweeh prayers in Jeddah on Saturday, the Royal Court said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency. No other det...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Education has suspended all parallel education programs, except in medical and engineering specialties, as well as bridging programs for health diploma certificates.Education Minister Azzam Al-Dhakil gave directions to the rec...
RIYADH: The Cooperative Health Insurance Council said it had suspended operations of six medical insurance companies for violating health insurance regulations by issuing insurance policies without completing the required documentation and violating...

Stay Connected

Facebook