BANGKOK: Myanmar security forces opened fire on Rohingya Muslims, committed rape and stood by as rival mobs attacked each other during a recent wave of sectarian violence, a rights watchdog said Wednesday.
The authorities failed to protect both Muslims and Buddhists and then "unleashed a campaign of violence and mass roundups against the Rohingya", New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report.
The violence which erupted in June in Rakhine state between Buddhists and Rohingya has left about 80 people dead from both sides, based on official figures - an estimate that HRW said appeared "grossly underestimated".
Hundreds of Rohingya men and boys have been rounded up and remain incommunicado in the western region of the country formerly known as Burma, it said.
Members of both Muslim and Buddhist communities committed horrific acts of violence with reports of beheadings, stabbings, shootings and widespread arson in Rakhine, also known as Arakan state, the report added.
"What is remarkable is that if the atrocities that we saw in Arakan had happened before the government reform process had started, the international reaction would have been swift and strong," said HRW Asia deputy director Phil Robertson.
"But the international community appears to be blinded by a romantic narrative of sweeping change in Burma, signing new trade deals and lifting sanctions even while the abuses continue," he told a news conference.
The report, based on dozens of witness interviews, said that the events in Rakhine "demonstrate that state-sponsored persecution and discrimination persist" despite the government's pledge to end ethnic unrest.
Police and paramilitary forces "opened fire on Rohingya with live ammunition", it added.
It quoted one Rohingya man in the Rakhine state capital Sittwe as saying that security forces watched as a Buddhist mob started torching houses.
"When the people tried to put out the fires, the paramilitary shot at us. And the group beat people with big sticks."
Another Rohingya man said: "I was just a few feet away. I was on the road. I saw them shoot at least six people -- one woman, two children, and three men. The police took their bodies away."
Decades of discrimination have left the Rohingya stateless, and they are viewed by the United Nations as one of the world's most persecuted minorities.
Myanmar's government considers the estimated 800,000 Rohingya in the country to be foreigners while many citizens see them as illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh and view them with hostility.
President Thein Sein in July told the United Nations that refugee camps or deportation was the "solution" for the Rohingya.
HRW also criticised Bangladesh for turning away "hundreds and perhaps thousands of asylum seekers" fleeing the recent deadly unrest in Myanmar.
The clashes erupted following the rape and murder of a Rakhine woman and the subsequent lynching of 10 Muslims by a crowd of angry Buddhists.
The violence, along with fighting in northern Kachin state, has cast a shadow over widely praised reforms by Thein Sein over the past year, including the release of hundreds of political prisoners and the election of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to parliament.
Myanmar's government this week rejected accusations of abuse by security forces in Rakhine, after the United Nations raised fears of a crackdown on Muslims.
Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin told reporters on Monday that the government had exercised "maximum restraint" in bringing an end to the violence.
Fears about the situation have spread across the Islamic world, with threats of violent reprisals against Myanmar from extremists from Pakistan to Indonesia.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ
Dear respected all, pls be advised to kindly see the following link:
Dear Respected All,
There are many scams of Burmese killing thousands of rohingya muslims. The media behind is a piece of crap which makes the small conflict bigger and bigger. And the woman murder is not a normal murder. 3 of the rohingya muslims rape her, take out her womb, cut the nipples, etc, but that's just rumor and I don't care. Right now, people from Rakine state, Sit Twe state are defending against terrorism. Many of Burma villages are being burned which leads to Military must take control of those states before more massacre happens. Take a look at these damn photos of terrorism in Rakine state that is taken on those days. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.428915563796596.98837.228916213796533&type=3 https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.428313900523429.98723.228916213796533&type=3 https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.428480230506796.98754.228916213796533&type=3 THIS IS NOT SCAM
Dear Respected All,
There are blackmails happening. 'When is it all we see from so-called media and internet information are 100% reliable and true?' There are some 'gangs' behind the curtains who want to create 'doubts' 'fears' 'blam. es ' 'misunderstanding' among people and nations.
There is NO one-sided MASS killings. Real Myanmar people have respects to every religion, (not only Muslins, but also all others, as every religion teach the right things) and every ethnics.
Peace be with you and everyone, every ethnics, every religion...
@I AM A MUSLIM: Pls don't let spread unreliable Rumors. Pls be Constructive to Peace, making Solution, not causing Problems.
The only context I can imagine in this case of is the context of fake WikiLeaks. BTW, I am touched by you faith in yoga exercises.
@I AM A MUSLIM:
Just now I have received the latest secret information that the actual number is more than 9 billion! For god's sake don't spread rumors. You will end up hurting the real cause...the cause of the actual victims.
@MUNIB: its not 77 it has been reached till 20,000. brother wake upp
This is not an good thing which is happening in Burma, May allah bless all the muslims of Burma, and take care of those innocent muslims, Allah please do something of our muslim brothers and sisters, We all muslims should participate in to save our muslim brothers and sisters, We should raise our voice for getting justice for Burma muslim and all over the world. Please brothers of Islam be united and be unique and raise over voice all over the world, May Allah blessed us for helping our Muslim brothers and sisters. Awake Brothers awake before we would be the next Victims of those Buddhist Monk.........
"I had only asked for a reference to support your claim that Hindus in Pak provoke violence against themselves."
So you mean that those hapless thousands of innocent Sikhs and Muslims killed in India in organized manner intentionally provoked violence against themselves. Excellent logic. You raised the bar even higher. I never claimed that Hindus provoke violence against themselves in this or in any other article. Please read all of my comments in this article after doing some yoga exercise and then perhaps you understand what I said and in what context.
Sir, I had only asked for a reference to support your claim that Hindus in Pak provoke violence against themselves. Asking for reference is logical and conforms to universally accepted code of conduct for a discussion. So, please provide the reference.
We got a fair share of Internet Hindus here... If you got nothing to say on the topic in hand its better to stay quiet. Totally irrelevant comments get smothering with such frequent usage in every other news item. Thank you.
This is Sad
@hedgefunder. I suggest you stop trolling and mind your own (indian) business. No need for you to be coming here and making useless and biased comments
Feel sorry for that Rakhine woman who was raped and murdered by Rohingya men. No body is talking about her human rights. It is not necessary that retaliation has to be equal to the level of provocation.
@Lala Gee: "Sikhs provided provocation and 5,000 got killed in retaliation." This is the only case in which Congress thugs (not in the name of Hindus) carried out a pogrom and for which every Indian shall hang his/her head in shame forever. God only knows how much rage I personally felt and continue to feel when reminded about it. Since then, India has relentlessly, unforgivingly pursued the prosecution of those thugs and criminals. Can you say the same thing about the organized pogrom against Pakistani minorities (not only Hindus and Sikhs but various sects of Muslims) with even legal sanction for murders? Look at your blasphemy law that has terrorized non-Muslims. Barring this case, in which perfectly innocent people suffered, we stand by how we have conducted ourselves whether in Kashmir or Gujarat or Maoist-infested states now. If there are any regrets, it is for the extraordinary restraint shown in retaliation.
"You preaching about logic is like Paris Hilton preaching about chastity"
LOL. There was no dearth of Bollywood actresses in your own country. Shouldn't have borrowed from Hollywood. Aren't you proud of your film industry? Or, all off them are Mother Teressa?
@Lala Gee: but such a deficit of comprehension and responses totally devoid of logic is just amazing.
Oh yeah,considering your history of responses you've posted, You preaching about logic is like Paris Hilton preaching about chastity
@Yuri Kondratyuk: @1984:
Although the intellectual prowess and integrity of the Indian commentators is certainly unparalleled, but such a deficit of comprehension and responses totally devoid of logic is just amazing. Please read my comment several times and then come up with an answer based on universally accepted principles and ethics.
@ Kuldeep Singh stop committing the fallacy of 'Appealing to Shame,' also known as 'Appealing to Guilt.' This is a different issue and no other issue should stop u or anyone else to talk about this,.
The violence which erupted in June in Rakhine state between Buddhists and Rohingya has left about 80 people dead from both sides, based on official figures – an estimate that HRW said appeared “grossly underestimated”.
It looks like you missed the part in bold.
@Lala Gee: Good, finally it's clear that provocation leads to retaliation. And an Indian retaliation is a nasty thing.
When did that happen? Any references?
Now its time to open the eyes of O.I.C & U.N for Muslims killing in Myanmar’s Burma Now I appeal to all Muslim worlds take action against Buddhists .
"Don’t like the retaliation? Then, don’t provide the provocation."
Sikhs provided provocation and 5,000 got killed in retaliation.
Kashmiris provided provocation and 90,000 got killed in retaliation.
Gujrat Muslims provided provocation and 2,000 got killed in retaliation.
Babri Mosque provided provocation and Muslims in Ayodhya got killed in retaliation.
Muslims in Bombay provided provocation by protesting against Babri Mosque demolition and 2,000 got killed in retaliation.
Why is it that when a Hindu is killed in Pakistan by provoking Muslims, you forget this rule.
on the same tribune there are news of persecution of shia and christians and hindus. what if the whole world stands against pakistan just like pakistanis are proposing to stand against burma
@Omar: Have you ever talked to muslims of Gujarat? Have you ever seen Gujarat? What do you know about Gujarat? Muslims in Gujarat are more secure than Muslims of Pakistan and living much better life than average Pakistani muslim. They get 24/7 electricity in Gujarat, no one bomb them in the middle of the market place. Shias and Ahmedis are not descriminated and allowed to go to any Masajid they want and can built one their own. They get proper education in publis/private schools, not like madresa education in Pakistan. They are living much better life in Gujarat than Muslims of Pakistan. See what this Pakistani tells about Gujarat after meeting CM Mr. Modi. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7Ft8X9DE_U
@Hedgefunder: A bit rich of you to talk about the Bengalis, don't you think? Let's not get started on Kashmir, northeast India etc. please. Like I said, if anyone needs a lesson in religious violence, India is a shining model.
Maynmar formerly Burma is going the Indian way. India has conducted thousands of pogroms on Muslims all over India, they even drove pigs over them when they were offering Eid prayers in Moradabad. These were not riots although misnomered as such. What have they not done? As if creation of a separate Muslim state within the Indian sub-continent gave them a licence to commit every possible crime while the world kept watching quitely and did not want to be disturbed in their relaxation. Even we allowed it and in a way were complicit and aided and abetted by silence. I suspect RSS is at work in Burma too. Pakistan has a moral responsibility of taking the case to the UN and other world bodies. For God's sake do something. You cannot allow poor Muslims to suffer in your vicinity.
How many non-muslims are killed everyday in this world? Do muslims care about them? Why no one from our so called unmah talking about them? Why only we paskistanis are so much worried about muslims of other parts of the world? Why not any other muslim country protesting drone strikes in Pakistan? Please mind our own business and try to make life better for muslims of Pakistan first then think about muslims of Burma. Our protest does not affect the affairs of other country.
@Someone: we don’t go on random killing sprees against minorities neither do our security forces do anything to the scale of what is described in this article.
No, Ofcourse you don't ! You simply send them to your neighbours in form of Non State Actors ! Try asking the bengalis this question as to what happened to them at the hands of your Army in 1970 !
Different communities in Pakistan are facing the same by the hands of Jihadis groups and no one suggests to call UN and ICO? plz call these Burmese Ahemids every thing will be ok.
Hazara`s men, women and children are being butchered on daily basis and we are condemning other people on doing the same. What i am missing here
@Hedgefunder and G. Din: Occasional sectarian violence aside, we don't go on random killing sprees against minorities neither do our security forces do anything to the scale of what is described in this article. Things like these probably only happen in India and Burma. Pot calling the kettle black.
@kumail: Are these no in 20,000? Stop this hatred towards Pakistan and be rational.
This is terrible. Being a Rohingya Muslim in Burma is almost as bad as being a Hazara Muslim in Pakistan.
@G. Din: Thank you to support Moist and other groups.
So what ? Hello ! Is anyone listening to you ? What concern is it of Pakistan ? Its not an case that you have perfect record in any area of Human Rights yourselves ! I suggest you look at yourselves in the mirror first !
@Kuldeep Singh: Muslims and Sikhs are also persecuted in India, what you say about that?? What about Gujrat??
can we please concentrate on Pakistan and its minorities being killed by common people, who decide to burn them without reason......
Don't like the retaliation? Then, don't provide the provocation.
Sad & even sad fact is that we have failed to help them out because as a nation we r too weak to do that most certainly. World won't listen to us & we have all sorts of problems in our country including the one Kuldeep mentioned. We need to stand up as a nation in order to help ourselves come out of these miseries & come in a position to help humanity across the world.
Munib: I suspect that 77 figure is true by any means but even it was 77, loss of any innocent life is condemnable. Those who've been shouting for the massacre are much better than those 'liberals' like you who were first not ready to even accept that any thing of that sort was happening there. And now as there have been some reports globally, people like you will have problems with the numbers. What if we send all liberals like you there, I am sure Pakistan would be a much better place.
@Munib...a classic example of picking the stuff which supports someone's views. What do you think about this line in the same para: "an estimate that HRW said appeared grossly underestimated”.
Thanks Tribune for highlighting the Issue, But Why there was a silence before that, I think New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), were only authorized to report on Muslims. when these Lahore Based Human rights will Start Watching. for thoese who says why we are concerned about Rohingiya, Please remember that we all are Muslims and we should support them.
where is UN now and USA who is issuing 'minority reports' for Pakistan????????
is 77 a low number for you ? ... that's because your not in the same crisis
@MUNIB: 77? and did you check facts before you open your mouth?
@MUNIB: how can you say its only 77? and it took express tribune 2 months to report this as news. while the death of 15 in some cinema at USA was the headline in 5 mins?
why don't you guys just leave your PC for a second and go out there and find it yourself.
@Munib the article clearly states that the figure of 80 deaths is the official figure by the Myanmar govt which is 'grossly underestimated'...Hamid Mir is probably right in his figures this time...
@Munib These are govt. official figures. The very govt. which is involved in genocide!
---80 people dead from both sides, based on official figures – an estimate that HRW said appeared “grossly underestimated”---
@MUNIB: ironically what you said in your comment applies more to you than anybody else
@MUNIB: They are just official figures which are “grossly underestimated”.
If true it is very sad. Let OIC and UN take it up
and 77 is nothing for you. RIGHT?
Every religion (including some sects of Muslims) are persecuted in Pakistan. What do you have to say to that?
The liberals have made a mockery out of the Burma tragedy by blaming the Islamists for exaggeration of the issue! But NOW that the proof is there, what do the liberals have to say? Isnt a taliban style militant struggle justified now since the UN and other champions of human rights (US, Europe) have maintained a criminal silence on the issue?
77 died ? And guess what the Jihadiz on facebook are shouting ? Even Hamid mir in his program said 15000 muslims killed.
Why we never check facts before opening our mouths ?