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  • » 11/08/2012, 00.00

    MYANMAR

    Aung San Suu Kyi calls for more troops to quell violence between Burmese and Rohingya

    Francis Khoo Thwe

    The Nobel Prize winner wants a greater military presence in order to restore peace in Rakhine state. However, both government and opposition have failed to find a political solution to the crisis. Business interests appear to be behind the sectarian violence. Another boat carrying refugees sinks.

    Yangon (AsiaNews) - Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and ethnic minority lawmakers have appealed to the government to send troops to restore peace in the western state of Rakhine torn by sectarian violence between majority Buddhists and minority Rohingya Muslims. Stung by criticism for not speaking up on behalf of the abused and marginalised minority, the Nobel Prize laureate has called for an end to the violence, which has killed so far 180 people and displaced another 110,000, and for more security forces to restore "peace, stability and the rule of law." Meanwhile, another boat carrying Rohingya refugees sank in the Bay of Bengal. Also, economic interests increasingly appear to play a role in the violence.

    In a rare statement on the crisis, the leader of the National League for Democracy said that the government had a duty to inform public opinion about how it was going to handle the issue.

    For Myanmar, the Rohingya are illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh. The latter however refuses to recognise them as its citizens, whilst Burmese authorities dare not go against public opinion on the matter. To the disappointment of the international community, the country's opposition has also failed to come up with a peaceful solution to the crisis.

    The net result is that the 800,000 stateless Rohingya are one of the most persecuted minorities on the planet according to the United Nations. So far, no consensus has emerged on what to do with them, whether to provide them with papers that would legalise their presence on Burmese territory or allow them to become "naturalised citizens." In either case, their status would carry fewer rights than full citizenship.

    Meanwhile, off the coast of Bangladesh at Teknaf, some 320 kilometres south of Dhaka, an overcrowded boat sunk carrying Rohingya seeking peace and work in Malaysia.

    The Bangladesh Coast Guard rescued 51 people, but nothing is known about the others, who are feared dead like the passengers of another boat that sank on 28 October off the coast of Myanmar with only a handful of survivors.

    Ostensibly, the crisis is rooted in ethnic differences between majority Buddhists and minority Rohingya. The latter are commonly referred to as "Bengalis" or by the pejorative 'Kalar'; they are Muslim, darker in complexion and culturally different than ethnic Rakhinese.

    That is not the whole picture though. Certain economic interests could be stirring up sectarian tensions.

    Although one of the poorest states in the country, Rakhine has untapped natural resources, including large oil and natural gas reserves, as some sources have pointed out.

    Burmese authorities have already planned to build a pipeline from the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) to Kunming, in the Chinese province of Yunnan. Two other SEZs exist, one in Thilawa and the other in Dawie.

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    See also

    16/01/2018 18:15:00 BANGLADESH – MYANMAR
    Rohingya to be repatriated within two years

    The agreement involves 156,000 refugees who fled in 2016 and 2017. Myanmar will take back 1,500 Rohingya per week. To do so, it is building a temporary camp for 30,000 people.



    06/09/2017 18:42:00 MYANMAR
    Members of some Rakhine ethnic groups talk about the violence they suffered. For them, peace with the Rohingya is not possible

    The area’s Buddhist and Hindu tribal groups are one tenth of Muslims. Some 25,000 have been displaced and are now in camps set up by the army. Ongoing violence has undermined peaceful coexistence. Fear of possible Islamist infiltrations in the country is widespread. Mizzima News blames the Islamic State for the attacks against military outposts. This is part of an attempt to disrupt Aung San Suu Kyi's peace policy.



    06/07/2017 11:06:00 MYANMAR
    Sittwe, Buddhists attack Rohingya: one dead man and six injured

    The 55-year-old Maung Nu killed. The attack arose from an argument over purchase of a boat. Myanmar considers Rohingya Muslims illegal immigrants from nearby Bangladesh. The worst clashes between Buddhists and Rohingya in Rakhine occurred in 2012. The Church's commitment to the dignity of people and "against all kinds of oppression."



    25/10/2017 14:19:00 BANGLADESH - MYANMAR
    Myanmar and Bangladesh sign agreements on Rohingya, security, and cooperation

    The two countries yesterday signed two Memoranda of Understanding to stop the exodus, restore normality in the Rakhine and discuss plans for the repatriation of some 600,000 Rohingya. The Myanmar army defends its actions in Rakhine. The US imposes new restrictions.



    16/11/2016 16:42:00 MYANMAR
    As clashes and violence against Rohingya intensify, Card Bo calls for a stop to the war

    Since October, Myanmar’s military killed at least 60 Muslims, preventing humanitarian aid and independent observers from entering the combat zone. For archbishop of Yangon, “Myanmar needs only one religion today: peace”.





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