Rohingya crisis: Burma govt implicated in ‘Crimes against Humanity’

Rohingya crisis: Burma govt implicated in ‘Crimes against Humanity’

Regional orders issued in Burma’s western Arakan State amount to persecution, one of the highest offences in international law, says Southeast Asia-based NGO Fortify Rights.

A report entitled “Policies of Persecution: Ending Abusive State Policies Against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar”, released by Fortify on Tuesday, implicates authorities in crimes against humanity by virtue of explicit targeting of Rohingya Muslims in policies restricting marriage, childbirth rights and movement.

“The policies explained in this report appear to be designed to make life so intolerable for Rohingya that they will leave the country, and indeed many have,” reads the executive summary.

The 79-page report is based on 12 leaked documents, eight of which were made public for the first time in the publication. Four remain undisclosed for security reasons, said Fortify.

Three regional orders disclosed in the report detail restrictions on the rights of Muslims to marry, reproduce and reside, establishing strongly prohibitive registration and approval processes. Addenda to the orders detail and intensify restrictions, explicating punishments for offences. Some carry prison sentences of up to ten years.

The regional orders exposed in the report date from 1993 – 2008, and are accompanied by five addenda issued prior to 2007.

One of the orders outlines restrictions on childbirth. While the order itself does not specify a numerical limit to the number of children that a Muslim woman can have, the report suggests that, ““Regional Order 1/2005” appears to lay the foundation for the two-child policy.”

A controversial two-child policy has reportedly been imposed on Rohingya women for nearly a decade, which Fortify suggests has led to illegal abortion and maternal deaths.

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Fortify Rights is a non-governmental organisation providing technical support to human rights defenders. Board members include UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights to Burma, Tomás Ojea Quintana, and Phil Robertson, the Asia Director for Human Rights Watch.

The group issued recommendations to the government of Burma including: the abolition of all regional orders restricting the lives of Muslims in Arakan State; support for an international investigation into the events in Arakan State from 2012 to present; amendment of a 1982 citizenship law that renders the Rohingya stateless; and ensuring public access to laws and policy, which must meet international standards.

At least 200,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled their homes since June 2012, when riots erupted in northern Arakan State that left entire villages razed to the ground and triggered a rash of similar episodes spanning Arakan State and eventually spilling over into central Burma. An estimated 138,000 Muslims (which includes Rohingya and other ethnic minorities affected, such as Kaman Muslims) are currently displaced within Burma, living in isolated and impoverished camps which they are not allowed to leave.

Read full report: http://www.fortifyrights.org/index.html

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