Religion


A U.N. human rights investigator said on Wednesday she expects Myanmar to guarantee her security, despite failing to censure a radical Buddhist monk who called her a “whore” and incited his followers against her.
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Christian Solidarity Worldwide says it is deeply concerned about the violations of freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression in Myanmar, amid growing religious intolerance, as illustrated by two current cases of “religious defamation,” according to a press release on March 17.
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The recent re-sentencing of three prominent Rohingya community leaders in Arakan State and the ongoing detention of two others points to the uneven application of the rule of law in the restive region, their lawyer claims.
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Buddhist monks have prepared a lawsuit against Myanmar’s interior minister, accusing police of using poisonous chemicals to break up a protest in 2012, the monks and a human rights organisation said on Monday.
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The leading committee for compiling the human rights report on Myanmar held their second meeting at the Ministry of Home Affairs in Nay Pyi Taw on March 9, reports Myawady on March 10.
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The United Nations (UN) special rapporteur on human rights in Burma, Yanghee Lee, has issued a report that paints a bleak picture of the rights situation in the country, following a ten-day trip earlier this year, noting severe and sometimes worsening restrictions on democracy.
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Stateless Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State were dealt the latest blow to their prospects for obtaining recognition as one of Burma’s ethnic minorities when the government announced last month that their temporary identity cards would be rescinded.
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Buddhists and Muslims in the central city of Meiktila were separated along faith lines after interreligious violence destroyed roughly 800 homes in 2013. Now residents have petitioned the government to allow them to reintegrate, but some remain skeptical about the neighbors’ prospects for peace.
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Burma’s highest religious authority has publicly rejected key planks of student demands for education reform, as the upper house announced on Tuesday that its Draft Law Committee would conduct hearings on the amendment of the National Education Law next month.
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The Burmese government recently came under fire for back-pedaling on a pledge to grant the country’s beleaguered Rohingya minority the right to vote. On February 12, the government announced the imminent suspension of all temporary ID cards held by over half a million Rohingya Muslims in western Burma, dashing hopes that they might be allowed to vote in Burma’s first general election in over fifty years, scheduled for the end of this year.
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In this teeming camp for displaced Rohingya Muslims in western Burma, it’s easy to overlook the Internet huts. The raw emotion they generate is much harder to ignore.
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Fifteen people have been jailed for their role in an attack on Muslim buildings during last year’s religious conflict in Mandalay, but a lawyer says the organisers of the attack remain at large.
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The controversy over the use of the term “Bengali” to describe Muslims in Rakhine State known as “Rohingya” seems set to continue following the second visit by UN Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee to Myanmar.
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Final arguments in the “Buddha bar” court case are expected in early March, with the bar’s New Zealand manager and two Myanmar nationals facing more than four years’ prison.
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On Feb. 11, Myanmar’s President Thein Sein rescinded a voting rights offer to the country’s Rohingya community amid intense pressure from far-right Buddhist groups. Last week hundreds of Buddhists took to the streets to denounce the continuation of a 2010 law that extended the right to vote to the country’s more than 1 million ethnic Rohingya. Myanmar does not regard the minority group as citizens.
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Myanmar’s decision to revoke temporary identification cards for minorities is raising tensions among its 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims, who have effectively been disenfranchised just days after parliament approved a law affirming their right to vote in a referendum.
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Despite democratic reforms and international pressure that have pushed Myanmar to improve its human rights record in recent years, religious freedom remains heavily constrained across the country.
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An eight-member delegation of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), led by Malaysian former Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar, wrapped up a two-day trip to Arakan State capital Sittwe on Thursday after visiting camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and meeting with local Arakanese officials and civil society groups.
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Rakhine Chief Minister U Maung Maung Ohn has told the state’s Emergency Coordination Centre that a plan to resettle about 170,000 people living in camps for the internally displaced has been delayed, ECC member U Than Tun told Mizzima on August 27.
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A curfew imposed in Mandalay following an outbreak of violence in July was lifted last week, but police officials said additional security forces would remain in the city.
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