PRESS RELEASE

 

Burma Human Rights Network publishes research revealing state-led persecution of Burma’s Muslim minority

5th September 2017, London, United Kingdom: A human rights report released today reveals ongoing and systematic persecution of Burma’s Muslim minority by the country’s government.

The Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN) conducted eight months of field work and more than 350 interviews. Testimony was collected from individuals in more than 46 towns and villages across the country, from Karen State in the east to Rakhine State in the west, and throughout central Burma.

Human rights violations, detailed in the report, include:

1. Problems for Muslims obtaining ID cards

Research by the BHRN reveals systematic refusal to allow Muslims to receive a government ID cards (known as ‘NRCs’). The way in which this manifests varies, but commonly reported problems include the flat-out denial of an NRC card to Muslims; the requirement that Muslims provide extensive, and often difficult to obtain, documentation that proves a family lineage dating back to before 1824; and the refusal by immigration authorities to register a Muslim person as solely Bama, the majority ethnicity in Burma. The denial of an NRC in Burma carries both material and ideological implications. Someone who fails to show an NRC when requested by police or another authority is likely to face harassment, and a penalty of a fine, or imprisonment, or both.

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Press Release: Warning on the Use of Media and State Accounts to Inflame Rakhine Situation

1st September 2017, London, United Kingdom - The Burma Human Rights Network is monitoring events throughout Burma and in Burmese media with significant concern as Government outlets, local media and Burmese social media are taking major roles in destabilizing an already chaotic situation in Northern Rakhine State, following attacks on 30 police posts by the insurgent group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on August 25th. Official Government Facebook pages have utilized dehumanizing language and placed restrictions on media outlets insisting they do the same while a major campaign demonizing the Rohingya population and aid workers inside of Rakhine State is underway. These elements combined have the potential to take an already deadly and chaotic situation between insurgents and security forces and turn it into one of communal conflict as well, which could drastically increase the number of injured, killed and displaced, and have already resulted in an attack on four local journalists in Maungdaw. These efforts by the Government, Military and nationalists follow a pattern previously witnessed in Myanmar during times of unrest in Rakhine State and may easily worsen the situation again if not addressed and corrected.

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!!!! Urgent: Help needed for over 30,000 Rohingya trapped on hillsides in Tha Win Chaung and Inn Din

2nd September 2017, London, United Kingdom - A group of displaced Rohingya believed to be larger than 30,000 people are reportedly stranded on a hill area around Tha Win Chaung and Inn Din townships in the most southern point of Maungdaw Township, bordering Rathedaung Township. The numbers of those isolated in the hills has accumulated since August 25th and continues to increase as military operations in the area continue. Those trapped on the hill are caught between the ocean miles south of the mouth of the Naf river and security forces fighting and stationed nearby. For this reason they are unable to escape and are isolated without access to food, water and medicine Some have already been reported as becoming ill, with a 56 year old woman reportedly dying of what is believed to be a heart attack, and a 55 year old woman believed to have died from a poisonous insect bite. Beginning August 25th, security forces carried out operations in Chain Khali and Koe Tan Kauk villages in Rathedaung Township resulting in the expulsion of 14,000 villagers who evacuated to nearby hills in Maungdaw township’s Tin Win Chaung and Inn Dinn townships over the following days. The assaults by security forces are said to have included arson attacks as many as 800 homes with many believed to have been killed in the attacks. Others from Tha Win Chaung and Inn Din fled at this time as well.

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Press Release: Fighting Breaks out In Northern Rakhine State Following Increased Tensions

25 August, 2017 London, United Kingdom – At around 1:20AM civilians in Maungdaw reported to a loud explosion to BHRN which was followed by gunfire to the north of Maungdaw. Within a few hours civilians reported hearing gunfire again. Reports quickly emerged of fighting between the militant group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and the Burmese Military. Reports emerged that ARSA ambushed up to 25 security posts in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung. Estimates from Government sources say that 21 militants, 10 police and one soldier were killed, but totals are suspected to be higher. The Government also claimed that the attacks were carried out by over a thousand men organized and acting in different locations simultaneously. Reports to BHRN indicate many Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh took part in the fighting. It has been relayed to BHRN that many of the refugees who fled last years fighting between ARSA and the Burmese Army were recruited and trained since winter of last year. ARSA has claimed responsibility for initiating the attacks in response to the blockade on Rathedaung, recent killings of Rohingya by security forces and increased troop presence in northern Rakhine State.

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