Religion


APRIL 22, 2015: ASEAN members of parliament to present report on the Rohingya crisis and the risk of atrocities in Myanmar to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia

The longstanding persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar has heightened the risk of atrocities and produced a regional human trafficking epidemic that threatens Myanmar’s political transition, puts strains on regional economies, and supports the rise of extremist ideologies that pose security threats throughout Southeast Asia. On the eve of the ASEAN Summit, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), an organization of members of parliament from several ASEAN countries, is releasing a report, based on a recent fact-finding mission to Myanmar, which documents the high risk of atrocities there and the failure of ASEAN nations to adequately respond. The report represents a call to action and urges the inclusion of the Rohingya crisis on the ASEAN Summit agenda, the deployment of monitors, and the initiation of an independent investigation into the crisis.
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The Burmese civil society is “divided” over the issue of citizenship for Rohingya refugees mostly lodged in Bangladesh, a Myanmar political analyst has said in a Dhaka conference.
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“Bangladesh should appoint a PR in Myanmar for improving relations,” Khin Zaw Win says, “and solve refugee issue using third party, UN or others”. (more…)

Temporary identity cards, also known as white cards, expired on 31 March and should be returned to the authorities by the card holders, said U Khin Soe, the director of the Arakan State Immigration Department.
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The story could pass as the plot of a legal thriller. A foreigner in a distant land upsets a powerful religious group and finds himself in prison. No lawyer wants to take the case. With the family in despair, a tough-talking attorney emerges from retirement and, despite health problems, confronts the system head on.
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A bill that opponents say threatens to curb women’s reproductive rights was passed by Burma’s Union Parliament on Monday, with the controversial legislation now awaiting the president’s signature before it goes into effect.
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The Myanmar authorities have collected about 40,000 temporary identification cards from displaced and stateless Rohingya Muslims in restive Rakhine State, part of the process of applying for citizenship, reports Radio Free Asia on April 6.
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Sixteen-year-old Zaw Myint Tun wants to be an engineer. In mid-March, he sat Myanmar’s national matriculation exams in the hope of going to university and pursuing his goal.
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A prominent Buddhist monk banned from holding public sermons in Burma has led religious talks in Japan.
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Another court hearing in the trial of well-known writer and former opposition party official Htin Linn Oo, who has been charged on religious grounds for criticising nationalist Buddhist monks, was held at the Chaung-U township court in Sagaing Division on Thursday. (more…)

Shwe  Nya War Sayadaw, an outspoken monk who has challenged the Buddhist establishment, says he intends to keep on preaching – if called upon by the people – in defiance of a ban imposed by his government-appointed seniors.
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A presidential order revoking temporary identity papers came into effect last night despite widespread criticism by the international community of the government’s move that mostly affects Rohingya Muslims and leaves an estimated 1 million “white card” holders across Myanmar facing an uncertain future.
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Eight years and three months in a Myanmar jail did nothing to soften, let alone change, U Wirathu, the notorious monk who has become the face of right-wing Buddhist nationalism in the country.
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A prominent Buddhist abbot has reportedly been banned indefinitely from giving public sermons by the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, also called the Mahana, Burma’s highest religious authority.
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A United Nations request to move more than 10,000 “highly vulnerable” displaced Muslims out of two camps in Rakhine State before the onset of the monsoon season has met with a tough response from the chief minister, who said they must first comply with the citizenship verification process.
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Police in Burma have rejected a lawsuit by monks who suffered phosphorus burns at the hands of officers when they protested against a controversial copper mine in 2012, a lawyer said on Tuesday.
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An internal dispute has caused confusion among worshippers looking forward to the Sarimari Yaman Hindu Temple festival. The original dates fixed by the temple’s religious authority, the Brahmin, were March 20-29, but the All Myanmar Hindu Central Council wants it to run from March 27 to April 5, citing a one-day clash with matriculation exams.
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The Justice Trust has just released a report, “Hidden Hands Behind Communal Violence in Myanmar: Case Study of the Mandalay Riots,” documenting the use of organized gangs of armed men to commit anti-Muslim riots under the guise of spontaneous mob violence.
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The National League for Democracy has been forced to expel more than 8000 members who hold associate or temporary citizenship, but says it will help them get full citizenship if they are eligible so they can rejoin the party.
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Burma’s Lower House on Thursday passed two bills that are part of a controversial package of four “Race and Religion Protection” bills, bringing the legislation, which is being pushed by an influential group of nationalist Buddhist monks, closer to becoming law.
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