Human Rights


Minorities in Burma are among the world’s most vulnerable to mass killing, a leading rights group warned on Wednesday, as the country struggles to appease the international community amid a refugee crisis at its western shore.
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Rohingya women who are sheltering in Kedawang here are finally able to enjoy restful sleep as they no longer fear abductions and rape that they endured constantly in their villages in the Rakhine state of Myanmar.
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Twenty-seven international humanitarian aid and advocacy organisations have written today, 20 May, to the United Nations Secretary-General, urging him to give his “personal attention” to the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State, Myanmar (Burma) and to take “a personal lead” in negotiating for humanitarian access to all areas of Rakhine State.
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A senior U.S. state department official will visit Myanmar on Thursday for talks with the government about a “boat people” crisis in the Andaman Sea.
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An extra $6m in humanitarian aid will be given to agencies working in Burma’s Rakhine state, an area that houses the majority of Rohingya people, the foreign minister Julie Bishop has announced.
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In a genocide silence is complicity, and so it is with Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma’s desperate Rohingya community. The Burmese government’s ongoing persecution of the Rohingya has, in the last two years, reached a level so untenable that the Rohingya are faced with only two options, to remain and risk annihilation or flee. The current exodus of those seeking asylum is just one manifestation of genocide.
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Recent events reveal surprising insights into which national political figures are most engaged with the democratic challenge of Myanmar’s ‘vote winning’ process. These insights challenge the expectation of the national election is a lopsided political battle between U Thein Sein’s government and an overwhelmingly popular Daw Aung San Suu Kyi led opposition, with ethnic minority parties campaigning principally on the periphery. (more…)

Myanmar is moving towards a general election later this year which, while likely to bring about significant changes to the government and parliament will essentially not change the underlying power structure of the land. The country has been under military rule or military-run civilian rule for the past 53 years and nobody should expect this institution, arguably the strongest, best-financed and best-managed in a country that has precious few institutions, to fade away quickly. “The military are not ready to give up power,” said one veteran western observer in Yangon who preferred to remain anonymous. “They are not yet convinced that the country is ready to handle democracy without their guidance.”
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The month of May has brought a terrifying humanitarian crisis to the seas of Southeast Asia. Thousands of people, Rohingya Muslims from Burma and Bangladesh, fleeing persecution and poverty, are adrift on rickety boats in the Andaman Sea and the Straits of Malacca, risking their lives in search of a better life. But Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia have turned unwelcoming. There is a very real chance thousands will die at sea from hunger, dehydration or drowning.
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Myanmar’s membership of the Association of South-East Asian Nations, achieved in 1997, has always been a test of the rules and norms that govern the regional body.
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Muslim people fleeing dire conditions in Burma are entitled to “human rights”, a spokesman for Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition urged on Monday, in strikingly bold comments on the group who are deeply marginalised in the Buddhist-majority nation.
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Burma’s Information Minister Ye Htut on Monday said that Burma will repatriate any so-called ‘boat people’ – so long as they can show evidence of Burmese citizenship.
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Troops belonging to the military branch of the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) have left the Karenni State capital of Loikaw after causing a stir by entering the town carrying weapons in defiance of a government ban.
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President Thein Sein pledged to take the concerns of Burma’s dozens of political parties into “serious consideration,” but urged patience in addressing the country’s challenges as he met representatives of those parties on Monday in Rangoon.
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Activist Moe Thway, a member of the pro-democracy group Generation Wave, said he will be charged with two counts of unlawful assembly for his participation in protests in Rangoon.
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The photo of Aung Min Khaing desperately fleeing a dozen baton-wielding police officers has become the defining image of the crackdown on student protesters in Letpadan.
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Following investigations the authorities have arrested 22 people for being involved with the Arakan Army (AA) as of 18 May, said Police Major Khin Maung, the head of Kyauktaw Township Police Station in Arakan State.
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Just one in five Myanmar youngsters finishes high school, according to analysis of data gathered by a Comprehensive Education Sector Review (CESR), which began in 2012 and is now in its final phase. Lack of interest has been found to be the primary reason for dropout.
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The Southeast Asian grouping known as ASEAN has made a point of not pressuring member nations over internal issues such as rights abuses, and in the case of Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya minority, the policy has come back to haunt it.
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The Philippines has said it is open to sheltering up to 3,000 “boat people” from Myanmar and Bangladesh according to a 19 May report on rappler.com.
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