Friday 12 October 2012

President Barack Obama Eases Sanctions on Burma Even as Violent Onslaught Against Rohingya Muslims Continues

Source Loonwatch,

11 October 2012 by Garibaldi

The central mosque in Sittwe was torched by anti-Rohingya rioters.

President Barack Obama's administration has moved to further ease sanctions on the Burmese government, easing a ban on imports,

Washington's decision to ease a ban on imports from Myanmar won praise Thursday in the emerging Southeast Asian democracy, with a government official giving credit to both the country's reformist president and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

This comes at a time when the Rohingya Muslims, considered one of the most oppressed peoples in the world are continuing to face daily violence.

Anti-Rohingya protests have been continuous in Western Burma, with the past several weeks seeing a wave of fresh protests and violence. Most significantly there are conflicting reports about which mosque was burnt down in Sittwe on Sunday, some reports say it was the 800 year old "Sawduro Bor Masjid" that was torched and burned to the ground while other sources are reporting that it was the 150 year old main mosque known as Jame-Mosque. The West-Burma-Bangladesh region is becoming increasingly unstable, as we are also now witnessing for the first time reprisal attacks in Bangladesh against Buddhists, fostering a dangerous climate that has the potential to become an unspeakable nightmarish zone of violence,

YANGON: Hundreds of Buddhist women protested on Wednesday in western Myanmar against the presence of stateless Rohingya Muslims in the violence-hit region, an organiser said.

The demonstrators urged the Organisation of the Islamic Conference to stop its assistance to Rohingya in Rakhine state, where tensions have been running high since deadly Buddhist-Muslim clashes broke out in June.

"We protested against the OIC and also Bengalis as we don't want them on our soil," organiser Nyo Aye told AFP by telephone from the state capital Sittwe.

Myanmar's estimated 800,000 Rohingya are viewed as illegal immigrants by the government and by many Burmese, who refer to them as Bengalis.

The rally came a day after hundreds of monks took to the streets of Sittwe to protest against local Muslims and the OIC's activities.

The tensions in Rakhine have spread to neighbouring Bangladesh, where police said last week they had arrested nearly 300 people in connection with a wave of violence targeting Buddhist homes and temples. afp

The Obama administration's easing of sanctions on the Burmese government also comes at a time in which Human Rights researchers and activists are warning about the "permanent segregation of Rohingyas," who are being herded into "temporary" refugee camps,

Following sectarian violence in the western Myanmar state of Rakhine in June, human rights researchers are now warning that the government appears to be attempting to permanently house parts of the stateless Muslim-minority Rohingya in "temporary" refugee camps, segregating them from the rest of the population.

"There has been no acknowledgement that people have to go home eventually – the solution appears to be that the Rohingya can simply live where they have come to be," John Sifton, with Human Rights Watch (which released a related report in August), said in Washington on Tuesday. "Segregation has become the status quo."

Aung Aung Oo, a Burmese national who has been reporting on the Rohingya crises since June for Salem-News discusses what it will take to restore communal harmony between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims, a harmony that existed for centuries,

To maintain communal harmony between these two ethnic groups, the restoration of the Rohingya's rights is essential. Without it, the very idea of a peaceful community might be a legend.

The restoration of Rohingyan rights, i.e. citizenship is a fact which US deputy assistant secretary of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration has echoed as well in a speech to the Open Society Foundation and Refugree International, essentially saying that, 'the lack of citizenship must be addressed for any long-term solution to the distress in the Rohingya community to dissipate.'

Related Articles:

BBC: Muslims Homes Razed in Burma's Rakhine State

-An Open Letter from the Buddhist Community on Islamophobia

-Warrior Monks: The Untold Story of Buddhist Violence (I)

-Burmese Buddhists Attack Muslim Pilgrims, Killing 9

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