News / Asia

Burma Urged to Prosecute Perpetrators of Sectarian Unrest

Burma Urged to Prosecute Perpetrators of Sectarian Unresti
X
April 01, 2013 6:29 PM
Burma is being urged to hold accountable those responsible for sectarian violence in March, mainly targeted at Muslims, that left at least 43 people dead, dozens injured, and thousands homeless. The attacks shook Muslim communities and raised concerns about sectarian unrest spreading. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Bangkok.
Burma Urged to Prosecute Perpetrators of Sectarian Unrest
VOA News
Burma is being urged to hold accountable those responsible for sectarian violence in March, mainly targeted at Muslims, that left at least 43 people dead, dozens injured, and thousands homeless. The attacks shook Muslim communities and raised concerns about sectarian unrest spreading.

A dispute between a Muslim gold shop owner and a Buddhist customer in central Burma's Meiktila township escalated into three days of mob violence, mainly against the Muslim population.
 
Satellite photos released Monday by Human Rights Watch show entire neighborhoods burned to the ground, a disturbing echo of last year's clashes in western Rakhine state.
 
Extremists have learned they can attack Muslims and get away with it, deputy director for Asia Phil Robertson said.

 "What we saw in Meiktila was police forces sitting around or standing behind various different mobs as they were attacking mosques and attacking communities. Why weren't they restoring order?" he asked."Why aren't they investigating to find out actually who is behind this? Who, not only committed the violent acts but also who instigated and incited people to do so?"
 
In a national broadcast, President Thein Sein acknowledged the damage done to Burma's image and warned against letting religious tensions spiral out of control and disrupt reforms.
 
Authorities have announced about 70 arrests in the violence, but it is unclear if those detained will be prosecuted.
 
United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Burma, Ashok Nigam, stressed the need to enforce the law.
 
“It is important that the rule of law prevails and that those who perpetrated this are brought to justice that is important," he said. "That also sends out very important messages in terms of prevention in the future.”

Few have been held accountable for last year's clashes in Rakhine state that left almost 200 dead and 120,000 segregated into relief camps, most of them stateless Rohingya Muslims.
 
An estimated 25,000 Rohingya have since taken to crowded boats and fled toward neighboring countries.

According to Phil Robertson, those remaining are losing hope and the coming rainy season will bring more disaster.

“So, we're looking at a major health crisis coming for the Rohingya as well who have already been weakened by a lack of food and basic nutrients," he explained. "So, it is a slow-moving humanitarian disaster that is going to have a significant uptick when the rains start.”
 
Al Haj Aye Lwin, a Muslim leader in Rangoon and member of the Religions for Peace Council says attacks on Muslims appear coordinated to create sectarian tensions 

“I noticed at the grassroots level we have a very very good relations, but there was instigation, and there were some systematically planned traps laid by those people to turn this into a racist and also a religious problem,” he said.

As Burma's democratic reforms lead to majority rule, rights activists stress the need to protect minority rights and for the country to value its rich ethnic and religious diversity.

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' 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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs