Yangon Muslims face risk of genocide in Myanmar

“The government tolerates all the violence. Those who massacre innocent people are not punished. Mosques, shops are torched. Buddhists have become more and more aggressive as they are not punished"

Yangon Muslims face risk of genocide in Myanmar

World Bulletin/News Desk

If violence aimed at Arakan and other Muslims spreads to other regions, then 10 million Muslims would be under threat, said Muhammed Naeem, chairman of Foreign Relations Department and 2nd Secretary General of National Democratic Party for Development of Myanmar.

Naeem told a Turkish press reporter by phone that Buddhist monks were very influential throughout Myanmar and they had a voice in many social events. Naeem who lives in Yangon in lower Myanmar said they faced attacks in the villages of Yangon almost every day.

"We face the risk of genocide. We are concerned that what has been done to the the Muslims in Arakan may spread to Yangon. More than ten percent of Myanmar's population is Muslim. There are Muslims in every region of Myanmar. At least 10 million Muslims live in Mynmar. The government can solve the problems if they want. However they are trying to denationalize us. They claim that we came to the country illegally from Bangladesh," said Naeem.

Stating that they had been under pressure for a long time, Naeem said they did not want an armed struggle and they were open to peace negotiations.

Speaking to Turkish press, Said Demir, the Coordinator of Myanmar for The Foundation for Human Rights, Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH), said that each Muslim in the region thought that he/she would be the next to get killed.

"If violence spreads to Yangon, it means genocide. I believe it will spread. The government tolerates all the violence. Those who massacre innocent people are not punished. Mosques, shops are torched. Buddhists have become more and more aggressive as they are not punished," said Demir.

Eyup Ural who is in charge of IHH Myanmar Desk said China and the US were the two actors in the region, adding that they did not put any effort to end the violence.

"The international community remains silent. There is no obstacle in front of the genocide growing bigger and bigger," Ural added. 

Myanmar's promise

Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Thein Sein, meanwhile, promised that he would do everything in his power to protect the rights of Muslims in the predominantly Buddhist country. Calling on the people of Myanmar to “resist hatred,” Thein Sein said that “some people are abusing the freedom of expression and triggering religious conflicts.”

Sein also indicated that they would take into consideration the suggestions of a commission established under the instruction of the Myanmar government to investigate the violent incidents in the Arakan state.

The commission had suggested that security forces in the region be doubled and that the Muslim population apply for family planning programs so that their size does not increase.

Nearly 200 people lost their lives in the violence that erupted in Myanmar last year. 43 were murdered in the incidents which lasted 3 days in Meikhtila in March.

Last week violence against Muslims spread to Yangon, 80 kilometers from the capital, and 1 person was killed, and many mosques, homes and workplaces were damaged.

Last Mod: 07 Mayıs 2013, 15:10
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