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23 November 2017

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10/26/2012 MYANMAR

Rakhine: More than 100 dead in clashes between ethnic Burmese and Rohingya

Fighting between majority Buddhists and minority Muslims restarted on Sunday. So far, in addition to the dead, 72 people have been injured and some 2,000 homes set on fire. Myanmar president rails against manipulators who are behind the violence, pledges action by the military and the authorities to restore stability. Bangladesh tightens controls to stop refugees from reaching its coasts.

Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Interethnic clashes between majority Buddhists and minority Rohingya Muslims have caused the death of more than 100 people in Rakhine, a state in western Myanmar on the border with Bangladesh, this according to official government sources. The authorities are now concerned that the strife could harm the country's reputation, undermining the peace process and democratisation. In view of this, President Thein Sein warned that the military and police would act to restore peace by force if necessary.

Rakhine State spokesman Win Myaing said 112 people died in clashes that began Sunday between Buddhist Rakhinese and the Muslim Rohingya, with 72 people reportedly injured, including 10 children. Earlier, the authorities had announced that almost 2,000 homes had been burnt down during the violence. As a result, they imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

Parts of the state have been under a state of emergency since 10 June. Matters could still get worse. Until yesterday, the official number of victims was low according to the media because of delays by local officials in making public the real figures.

In a strongly worded statement, Myanmar President's Office warned that manipulators responsible for the recent sectarian clashes in Rakhine state would be exposed. Because of them, Burmese Muslims have cancelled celebrations for the Feast of Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha).

The situation is undermining Myanmar's international image, the president said. For this reason, "The army, police, and authorities in cooperation with local people will try to restore peace and stability and will take legal action against any individual or organisation that is trying to instigate the unrest".

Back in June, the District Court in Kyaukphyu (Rakhine) imposed the death sentence on three Muslims for the rape and murder in late May of Thida Htwe, a young Buddhist Rakhinese woman. The decision sparked sectarian violence between Muslims and Buddhists. In the days following the trial, an angry mob attacked Muslims unconnected with the incident, killing ten.

As hatred spiralled out of control, 29 more people, 16 Muslims and 13 Buddhists, were killed. According to official sources at least 2,600 homes were also set on fire, whilst hundreds of Rohingya sought refuge abroad.

According to United Nations estimates, Myanmar is home to 800,000 Rohingya. But the government does not count them as one of the country's 135 ethnic groups and denies them citizenship.

Similarly, neighbouring Bangladesh treats as illegal immigrants with no citizenship rights, to be expelled whenever they try to land on its beaches.






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For Archbishop of Yangon, marriage, conversion and the vote are inviolable human rights
Archbishop Bo stresses the importance of civil rights, the basis of a democratic society. Marriage must be free from coercion and open to people of different faiths. The right to convert and the right of the religious leaders, be they Buddhist, Christian, Muslim and Hindu, to vote are equally crucial. An interfaith meeting was recently held in Yangon on the topic of 'social harmony'.

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Mosque shuttered, prayer ban on Rohingya during Ramadan in Myanmar
During the Muslim month of fasting, mosques were sealed off. Not even for the festivity of Eid ul-Fitr were they reopened. Burmese Muslims and activists complain that pressure is being put on Muslims to leave the country. Human Rights watch calls it "state-sponsored persecution".

20/09/2017 16:49:00 MYANMAR
Aung San Suu Kyi says she was “firm with the military before” and still is

Myanmar’s democratic leader rejects the accusation that she’s gone “soft”. World figures have criticised her for her silence over the Rohingya. Her party always sought “national reconciliation”. Relations with the powerful military remain an issue. Under the constitution Aung San Suu Kyi cannot play a role in security matters. She sees a solution to the Rohingya crisis with the international community.



07/09/2017 14:52:00 MYANMAR
Myanmar seeking Russian and Chinese support to block UN resolution on Rakhine

Negotiations are underway with the two permanent members of the Security Council. For Myanmar National Security Adviser Thaung Tun, the issue will not go forward. Government rejects allegations of ethnic cleansing, complaining of "disinformation". Rohingya militants set fire to 59 villages. More than 26,000 tribal escaped from Rakhine.



16/10/2017 14:46:00 MYANMAR – VATICAN
Pope Francis’s visit to Myanmar will also be a blessing for Protestant youth

The pope’s apostolic visit raises hopes and expectations. For Patrick Loo Tone, president of Myanmar Council of Churches, the pope’s visit will open a window on the country’s Christians. Myanmar has 700,000 Catholics in 14 dioceses.




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