World Bulletin / News Desk
Myanmar security forces killed, raped or carried out mass arrests of Rohingya Muslims after deadly sectarian riots in the northeast in June, a rights group said on Wednesday, adding the authorities had done little to prevent the initial unrest.
Aid workers were blocked and in some cases arrested, and Rohingyas bore the brunt of a government crackdown in Rakhine state after a week of arson and machete attack by both ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingyas, New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a report.
Based on 57 interviews with Rakhines and Rohingyas, the report seeks to shed light on a conflict that exposed deep-rooted communal animosity and put the spotlight on promises by the civilian government in office since 2011 to protect human rights after decades of brutal army rule.
"Burmese security forces failed to protect the Arakan (Rakhine) and Rohingya from each other and then unleashed a campaign of violence and mass round-ups against the Rohingya," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
"The government claims it is committed to ending ethnic strife and abuse, but recent events in Arakan State demonstrate that state-sponsored persecution and discrimination persist."
Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin said on Monday the authorities had exercised "maximum restraint" in restoring law and order and that the rioting was not fuelled by religious persecution.
He rejected what he said were attempts to "politicise and internationalise the situation as a religious issue", adding that the government was eager to promote "racial harmony among different nationalities".
In veiled criticism of the United States and European Union, which praised the government for its handling of the unrest, Adams said the international community had been "blinded by a romantic narrative of sweeping change" in Myanmar.
The former Burma has a diverse ethnic and religious make-up, but the Rohingya Muslims are not included by the government. There are at least 800,000 Rohingyas in the country but they are not recognised as one of its ethnic groups.
Neighbouring Bangladesh does not accept them and pushed boatloads back out to sea when they tried to flee the unrest.
Myanmar President Thein Sein has declared a state of emergency in the country and threatened to expel Muslims and called on UN to look after them in refugee camps in a suggestion firmly rejected by UN for that it was not his agency's job to resettle the Rohingya, who live in western Myanmar and are not refugees.
UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres replied it could only resettle refugees that fled from one country to another.
The riots followed two brutal incidents in Rakhine state: the May 28 rape and murder of a Rakhine woman by three Rohingya males, who were sentenced to death, and the June 3 lynching in response of 10 non-Rohingya Muslims travelling on a bus.
Human Rights Watch said police and troops did not intervene to stop the mobs from beating the Muslims to death. During the riots that followed, it said some Rohingyas who tried to flee or put out fires at their homes were shot at by paramilitaries.
It called for the government to end abuses, grant full humanitarian access and invite in international monitors. Access to the area remains restricted.
Minister of Border Affairs Thein Htay says 858 people have been detained for involvement in the violence, including five UNHCR staff and a U.N. World Food Programme employee. It was unclear how many of the total were Rohingya or ethnic Rakhine.
The Foreign Ministry has said 77 people died and 109 were injured during the violence, and nearly 5,000 homes burnt down. But rights groups say real number are much higher than official count.
Begum Khaled Zia failed to appear to face graft charges in court
Israels refusal to hand over $100 million in tax revenue from Palestinians has caused severe difficulties in Palestine, who is already struggling from Israeli bullying.
U.S. Army Europe Commanding General Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges says Washington was keen to see a ceasefire deal signed in Minsk between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists get implemented and expresses doubts over fragile ceasefire.
After a spate of negative press on Canadian Muslims, the Choudry family have devised a unique way to tackle Islamophobia.
Palestinian movement Hamas sharply blames such implications and remarks after the decision of Egyptian court that Egypt would arrest any Hamas members found on its soil.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Tuesday the original briefing was inaccurate and that military officials should not discuss war plans in any case.
Libya has not had government since ousting of Gaddafi, with the North African state in chaos
Previous "gas wars" have led to supply disruptions to Europe, which gets around a third of its gas from Russia, and 40 percent of this via Ukraine.
More than 350 Israeli troops had been receiving treatment for full psychological trauma after last year launched a weeks-long onslaught on the Gaza Strip.
The Arab League does not take positions after an Egyptian local court designated Hamas a "terrorist organization"
The fugitive and former NSA contractor Edward J. Snowden seeks to come to U.S, after nearly two years in exile in Russia, according to his Russian lawyer
IAEA) representatives will meet Iranian officials in Tehran on March 9
Egyptian authorities decided to arrest any members of Hamas movement although Hamas denied accusations.
Iraqi troops, backed by Shiite groups, have launched a ground offensive against ISIL on Monday to recapture Tikrit city. Tikrit, a Sunni-majority city, was the homeland of the deceased Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Family of U.S slain Muslim says they are impressed due to Turkey's reactions to this case and Syrian refugees
Israel demolished makeshift homes for the fourth time on the grounds that economic and security buffer zone for Jewish settlements