News / Asia

    UN Rights Expert: Endemic Discrimination in Burma

    Tomas Ojea Quintana, UN human rights envoy to Burma, talks to journalists during a press conference at Rangoon International Airport, Burma, August 4, 2012.Tomas Ojea Quintana, UN human rights envoy to Burma, talks to journalists during a press conference at Rangoon International Airport, Burma, August 4, 2012.
    x
    Tomas Ojea Quintana, UN human rights envoy to Burma, talks to journalists during a press conference at Rangoon International Airport, Burma, August 4, 2012.
    Tomas Ojea Quintana, UN human rights envoy to Burma, talks to journalists during a press conference at Rangoon International Airport, Burma, August 4, 2012.
    Margaret Besheer
    The United Nations human rights expert monitoring the situation in Burma has expressed concern over continued sectarian violence between Buddhist and Muslim communities in the country.
     
    Special Rapporteur Tomás Ojea Quintana told reporters Thursday that addressing longstanding human rights issues needs to be an integral part of Burma’s reform process. He said the situation in Rakhine state, where several people were killed and more than 1,000 homes reportedly burned in violence this week, illustrates the need for root causes to be addressed.
     
    “I believe that the government must address ... the impact of deep-rooted prejudices and discriminatory attitudes based on ethnicity and religion," he said. "In this respect, I urge the government to take measures to address endemic discrimination against the Rohingya community and ensure respect for their human rights, which should include a review of the 1982 Citizenship Act."
     
    That law details who qualifies for citizenship, and human rights groups say it discriminates against the country’s Rohingya Muslim population.
     
    Despite having lived in Burma — or Myanmar as it is also known — for generations, they are denied nationality, and most Buddhists in Burma consider them to illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
     
    Quintana's report notes that the Rohingya, which number around 800,000 in Rakhine, are subject to restrictions on movement, education and employment. While he says there are controls placed on their marriages, and harsh penalties for those who marry without obtaining a permit, there is some government interest in resolving the situation.
     
    “I visited last August, Myanmar, and I found part of the authorities ready to look for solutions — sincere commitments to find solutions and to assure humanitarian access to all ethnic communities in Rakhine state," he said, cautioning that they had not yet made "proper decisions toward a real solution.”
     
    The Special Rapporteur, an independent human rights expert appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council, also expressed concern about living conditions in camps for displaced Rohingya and urged the government to ensure aid workers are given access to them.
     
    Tensions between Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine broke out in June over allegations that Rohingya Muslim men had raped a Rakhine girl. A mob attacked and killed a busload of Muslims and spiraling revenge attacks have left close to 90 people dead and tens of thousands homeless.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: myoyinkyay from: yangon
    October 30, 2012 12:04 AM
    I wish to ask the human rights expert why you didn't envisage this will happen in future in Rakhine State if your group was doing Endemic Discrimination in Burma. You and your group are also bias.

    by: Sam from: Whasington
    October 25, 2012 6:34 PM
    Be honest guys.
    What about Endemic Discrimination in America?
    Banks are thieving at best, Government bailing them out.
    Millions of homes are burned in America by Wall Street.
    Anybody talk about it in UN?

    by: Charles Jui from: Salt Lake City
    October 25, 2012 6:34 PM
    As a boy in the early 1970's, I recall meeting Chinese-Burmese refugee children who described a military junta in Burma that tried to eradicate the teaching of Chinese among the ethnic Chinese (read: Buddhist) population. They told me about how they held secret Chinese language schools. Given that ethnic Chinese (read: Buddhist) are still not allowed to attend universities and colleges in Indonesia and Malaysia, I have no doubt that suppression of the Chinese language will continue in Burma will beyond the current "liberalization".

    by: Anonymous
    October 25, 2012 6:00 PM
    Muslims gang robbed many buddhist villages to drive them from town . The latest one being a gang rape case.
    Rakhine killed 10 on the bus not bus load .
    Rohingyas Muslims then launched the riot on June 8
    This is a US sponsored news website , please provide the correct info.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora