[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called Saturday for an end to the sectarian violence in Myanmar [text] between the Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims. HRW detailed an arson attack [materials, PDF] in the coastal Rohingya neighborhood at the edge of Kyaukpyu city. HRW also called on the government to do more to end the violence and protect the rights of the Rohingya, whose civil rights were effectively taken away with their citizenship in 1982. Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, detailed steps the government should take:
Burma’s government urgently needs to provide security for the Rohingya in Arakan State, who are under vicious attack. Unless the authorities also start addressing the root causes of the violence, it is only likely to get worse. … Deploying sufficient security forces to restore order impartially and protect basic rights in Arakan State is necessary, but not enough. Burmese government officials and opposition leaders need to condemn the violence and work for lasting solutions to Arakan’s ethnic problems.
The recent violence has displaced even more people to the already overcrowded internally displaced persons (IDP) settlement camps. While the violence is not one sided, HRW reported that the Rohingya have faced the worst of it. As a result of widespread discrimination, thousands of Rohingya and non-Rohingya Muslims have been driven from the larger cities and into these IDP camps.
Concern over Myanmar’s human rights record has been growing recently. In August Physicians for Human Rights reported that Myanmar’s army is still committing human rights abuses [JURIST report] against ethnic minorities in Karen state. Earlier that month, HRW accused [JURIST report] Myanmar security forces of human rights abuses against a minority religious community. In July UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay also expressed concern [JURIST report] about both the continued violence in Myanmar and the country’s human rights abuses committed in dealing with it.