Obama urges Myanmar to end violence against Arakan Muslims

The US Annual Report on International Religious Freedom said Rohingya Muslims face serious legal, economic, social and educational discrimination as well as violence.

Obama urges Myanmar to end violence against Arakan Muslims

World Bulletin/News Desk

President of the United States (US) Barrack Obama called on Myanmar President Thein Sein to stop ethnic killings of Arakan (Rohingya) Muslims in western Myanmar's Arakan (Rakhine) state.

At the first visit of a Southeast Asian leader to the US within 47 years, Obama expressed Washington's concern about violence against Muslims in Myanmar and called on the president to end the violence against Arakan Muslims in Myanmar.

Meeting at the Oval Office on Monday in the US capital of Washington D.C., Obama and Sein discussed the violence against Arakan Muslims in Myanmar's Rakhine state and US assistance to Myanmar in political and economic reforms.

"I also shared with President Sein our deep concern about communal violence that has been directed at Muslim communities inside Myanmar. The displacement of people, the violence directed towards them needs to stop," Obama said.

Thein Sein asked for US "help and understanding" in the efforts to make difficult reforms and end the violence, saying "We must ensure both ending inter-communal violence and bringing the perpetrators to justice. We will need the maximum assistance and understanding of the international community, including the United States, to achieve all this to train and educate, share knowledge, trade and invest, and encourage others to do the same."

Obama said the Myanmar president guaranteed that he would release more political prisoners and implement political reforms for his country's transformation.

Taking office as a civilian in 2011, Thein Sein, a retired general who was taken out of the U.S. Treasury Department's visa blacklist last year to enable engagement, surprisingly freed hundreds of political prisoners and eased censorship.

As an appreciation to the Myanmar government's political reforms, Obama used for the first time the name Myanmar to refer to the country recognizing the change of the name from Burma to Myanmar in the 1980s by the country's military rulers.

According to the Annual Report on International Religious Freedom issued by the US Department of State, Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims face serious legal, economic, social and educational discrimination as well as violence and denial of their citizenship. The report includes the claims that some local governmental officials were involved in the social violence targeting Rohingya Muslims.

The US Religious Freedoms Report cites confidential reports saying Rohingya Muslims are also subjected to arbitrary arrests under which they are deprived of food, water and sleeping, sometimes resulting in death.

250 people died in last year's ethnic violence by Buddhists in Rakhine against Rohingya Arakan, the report also says. More than 100 thousand people were displaced in the attacks and live in poor conditions in camps, most of whom were Muslims.

US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Suzan Johnson Cook also stated "We observe no further developments in religious freedom in Myanmar. Unless a progress in religious freedoms takes place, US sanctions will continue." 

Last Mod: 21 Mayıs 2013, 11:36
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