News / Asia

Death Toll in Burma Clashes Doubles

An injured Rakhine Buddhist man leans on his father at a hospital in Sittwe, the capital of Myanmar's western Rakhine state after they were recently injured at the four different districts outside Sittwe, October 26, 2012.An injured Rakhine Buddhist man leans on his father at a hospital in Sittwe, the capital of Myanmar's western Rakhine state after they were recently injured at the four different districts outside Sittwe, October 26, 2012.
x
An injured Rakhine Buddhist man leans on his father at a hospital in Sittwe, the capital of Myanmar's western Rakhine state after they were recently injured at the four different districts outside Sittwe, October 26, 2012.
An injured Rakhine Buddhist man leans on his father at a hospital in Sittwe, the capital of Myanmar's western Rakhine state after they were recently injured at the four different districts outside Sittwe, October 26, 2012.
Daniel Schearf
The death toll from sectarian clashes in Burma's coastal Rakhine state has doubled to 112 with over 70 reported injured, including children.  The official figures surpass the bloodshed in fighting this summer and were released after President Thein Sein vowed to restore peace between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims.  But, authorities are struggling to restore order.

The sectarian fighting that erupted this week between Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya is the worst this year in Burma's western Rakhine state.

The violence broke out Sunday and quickly spread to several districts including Kyaukphyu where a Burma-China pipeline begins. More than 2,000 homes were burned to the ground by rioters.  
 
Hundreds of Rohingya took to boats to escape the violence, the worst since June clashes left 90 dead and tens of thousands homeless.
 
Win Myaing is the secretary of Rakhine state's information department.  
 
He says that since Sunday in six townships the death toll is 51 men and 61 women.  He says an additional 68 men and four women were injured, including ten children.  The casualties, he says, were from both sides.
 
Information from the remote region has been slow to emerge while rumors circulated that perhaps hundreds were killed.
 
Burma's President Thein Sein released a statement carried Friday in the official New Light of Myanmar newspaper.
 
Thein Sein said the recurring riots have put Burma's national integrity at stake as it moves toward democratic reform.  He also vowed to take effective measures for rule of law and community peace.  
 
But, Thein Sein also blamed unnamed persons and organizations for conducting "manipulation behind the scenes."  The statement did not elaborate but vowed to expose the wrongdoers and take legal action.
 
Matthew Smith is a research for Human Rights Watch.  
 
"I'd say the violence that began again on Sunday has been spreading and the authorities have failed to provide adequate security as far as we can tell, particularly to the Rohingya population," said Smith.  "And this is a serious concern."

Burma's majority Buddhist population has little sympathy for the Rohingya, who are referred to by most as Bengali immigrants.
 
The Rohingya are a nomadic people, numbering close to a million, but some have lived in Burma for generations.  
 
A 1982 citizenship law did not recognize them as one of Burma's 135 minorities, effectively stripping them of any legal status and leaving them open to exploitation.
 
Smith says authorities have for years violated human rights of both communities in Rakhine state, also known as Arakan.  
 
"This has not helped the situation at all," said Smith.  "And, on top of that, since June we've seen dreadful humanitarian conditions in camps for the displaced in Arakan state.  This has not helped the situation.  And, there's been very little meaningful peace and reconciliation work.  So, a lot remains to be done in order to get to the heart of this situation."

The United Nations says Rohingya are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.
 
A recent wave of Buddhist monk and student-led demonstrations have called for the Rohingya to be deported.
 
A U.N. human rights envoy on Thursday called for Burma to review the citizenship act to address the underlying causes of tension and prejudice. The U.N. Secretary General said authorities should restore order and put a stop to vigilante attacks and extremist rhetoric.

You May Like

Russian Help on Iran Less Promising on Syria, Ukraine

US-Russian collaboration to secure a deal on Iran's nuclear program has raised hopes of closer cooperation on other world issues More

Video US: Millions Exploited by Vast Fortunes of Human Trafficking

State Department's annual report calls exploitation 'modern slavery,' brutalizing girls, women into prostitution and forcing men, women and children into low-wage jobs across the globe More

US-Ethiopia Relationship Strong, But Complicated

While Ethiopia serves as a valuable security ally and a bulwark against terrorism - the U.S., is a major aid donor and economic stimulator More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backersi
X
Michael Bowman
July 26, 2015 8:44 PM
Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Underground Streetcar Station In Washington, DC, to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Rise in HIV Infections Worries Ugandan Officials

Uganda had the third-highest number of new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa last year, reversing its reputation for successfully tackling the epidemic in the 1990s. Although the percentage of people living with HIV/AIDS is still half of what it was in the 1980s, the increase in new infections is worrying to health workers. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs