Religion


Hundreds of villagers took to the streets in Mon State on October 24 to demand the restoration of their religious rights. The demonstrators, in Kawt Ka Dut village, Bilin township, say they want to retake control over a local pagoda.

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Amid a dearth of independently verifiable information coming out of heavily militarised northern Rakhine State, a report that hundreds of Muslims were recently forced from their village was met with twin denials yesterday.

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In the immediate aftermath of the October 9 attacks on security forces in northern Rakhine State’s Maungdaw township, rumours, accusations and outright propaganda quickly crowded out what little was actually known about the situation.

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Myanmar authorities should release from prison and reverse all charges against interfaith activists Zaw Zaw Latt and Pwint Phyu Latt who have been held in detention since their respective arrests on July 14 and July 19, 2015, the Seagull and Civil Rights Defenders said in a statement today. An appeal was submitted to the Mandalay Division High Court on July 16, 2016 and a verdict is expected later this week.

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Burma’s government appears to be backing away from claims that attacks that took place in Arakan State earlier this month were carried out by a Islamist group with links to Pakistan.

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One can make a strong argument that the ongoing insurgent violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State has been in the making for some time now.

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The police, Burma border guard police (BGP) and army have turned northern Arakan – Maungdaw and Rathedaung – in to a hell for Rohingya, crackdowns on innocent Rohingya civilians following attacks by unidentified assailants on three separate police outposts – the BGP headquarters, Kyein Chaung and Koe Tan Kauk- in northern Arakan on Sunday 9 October, according to Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO) press statement on October 11.

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Burma’s State Counselor and Foreign Affairs Minister Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said on Wednesday that she would not accuse any individual or organization before obtaining evidence regarding the culprits of the recent violent attack in Arakan State.

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In the immediate aftermath of last Sunday’s attacks on security forces in northern Arakan State’s Maungdaw Township, rumours, accusations and outright propaganda quickly crowded out what little was actually known about the situation.

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Sectarian tensions have simmered for decades here on the country’s western frontier with Bangladesh, and they exploded with deadly violence in 2012 when mobs of ethnic Rakhine Buddhists drove minority Muslim Rohingyas from their homes. Four years later, about 120,000 people remain displaced and, with hostilities as high as ever, the government is struggling to help them return home.

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A team led by Information Minister Dr.Pe Myint will visit Rakhine State from October 11 to 14 to conduct briefings on attacks on police outposts in Maungdaw and Rethetaung townships in order to restore stability and to inform people about the truth, according to a government press statement.

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Last week a series of attacks on Myanmar’s border posts attracted little international attention. But they should have. These assaults in which nine Myanmar policemen died, marked the start of a violent reaction by the Rohingya people to their continuing official repression, even in a country that is now run by a much-admired Nobel Peace Laureate.

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When it became obvious last November that the National League for Democracy was heading for a landslide election victory, party leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi urged her supporters not to gloat. After becoming de facto government leader earlier this year, Aung San Suu Kyi has spoken with national reconciliation in mind. She has rarely, if ever, publicly criticised the former ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, the Tatmadaw or any other elements that have displayed antagonism toward the NLD.

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At least 24 people were believed on Monday to have died in western Myanmar after unknown assailants attacked police outposts on Sunday near the border with Bangladesh.

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More than three years after houses and properties were destroyed by a mob in an anti-Muslim riot in Myanmar’s central town of Meikhtila, many Muslims are still unable to go home.

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For the past three years, U Zawana has lived in simple quarters made from recycled building materials in the grounds of a shuttered monastery near Thanlyin Bridge in Yangon’s Thanlyin Township.

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A nationwide inventory is being conducted to determine the legality of religious buildings, according to the Ministry of Religion and Culture. Those found not to be in compliance with the laws could be denied funding from their local state and regional religious authorities.

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Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW),in a statement on 27 September, called on the Rakhine State Government to halt plans to demolish more than 3,000 buildings associated with the Rohingya population on the pretext that they have been built illegally. This includes 12 mosques and 35 madrasas in the Muslim-majority townships of Maungdaw and Buthidaung.

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A Lower House lawmaker has asked that the government restrict birth rates within the Muslim community in two Arakan State townships: Maungdaw and Buthidaung—a move that was rejected by the Union health minister and described as “disturbing” by an international rights group.

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On a recent cloudy Yangon afternoon, a group of workers was taking a lunch break at a small roadside restaurant.

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