Throughout 2017, the horrific human rights abuses in Rakhine State drew the international community’s strong condemnation, directed at both the Rohingya insurgents who targeted security personnel and the military’s brutal response. Yet Burma met the international community’s scrutiny with silence, denial, and distortions of fact. Rather than embrace transparency and collaboration, Burma’s military and ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) government closed ranks, largely cutting off access to affected areas by international human rights monitors, independent media, and humanitarian aid and workers. While the scope and scale of the human rights and humanitarian crisis— including religious freedom violations—in Rakhine State is unique to Rohingya Muslims, it is nonetheless symptomatic of the endemic abuses perpetrated for decades by both state and nonstate actors against religious and ethnic minorities in Burma. For nearly seven decades, anyone not belonging to the majority Bamar ethnic group or the majority Buddhist faith has been at risk of discrimination, deprivation of rights, imprisonment, and violence, particularly violence stemming from the military’s longstanding conflicts with ethnic armed organizations (EAOs).
In fact, in 2017, fighting intensified in Kachin State and northern Shan State as the government-led peace process failed to move forward. Moreover, the internal and external displacement prompted by these conflicts heightened the risk of trafficking and exploitation, particularly of individuals who attempted to cross the country’s border. (For further information describing how religious freedom and related human rights concerns transcend borders, refer to USCIRF’s September 2017 report, A Right for All: Freedom of Religion or Belief in ASEAN.)
Download full Burma Chapter in English HERE.
အစီရင္ခံစာ ျမန္မာဘာသာကုိ ဤေနရာတြင္ ရယူႏုိင္သည္။