News / Asia

Unrest in Burma Clouds View of Government Reforms

VOA News
After a second round of communal violence between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims broke out in Burma's Rakhine state last month, there are worries that the instability could spread. Observers say the conflict threatens the government's heralded political and economic reforms.

The United Nations says there are now 110,000 people who have been displaced by fighting in Rakhine state since violence first started in June.

Aid groups are still scrambling to treat the wounded and displaced but their workers say they continue to face intimidation and threats for aiding those in need.
 
United Nations authorities were granted access in late October to the affected areas to assess the situation. Ashok Nigam is the Resident Coordinator of the local U.N. mission.

"They were certainly very fearful and they were also very uncertain of what their future was, so we have tried to calm them down and immediate for these people is also the humanitarian assistance, but also the government wants to keep the two communities apart," said Nigam.
 
Thousands of Rohingya have now fled Burma by boat, with uncertain destinations. Some analysts say the government's inadequate response to the violence calls into question its commitment to reform, particularly in ethnic areas. 

"The ethnic minority areas are certainly lagging behind in terms of the effects of the reform effort and the most recent violence in Rakhine state is leapfrogging that situation to the fore it no longer allows the government to ignore or to put off legal reform in the ethnic minority areas," said human rights lawyer Ben Zawacki. 

In Rakhine’s burnt-out villages, tensions are still running high. Muslims across the country cancelled Eid celebrations last week. There are worries that the security forces deployed to protect the Rohingya are not sufficient, says Abu Taher, a Rohingya politician.

"In the whole country there is no security for the Muslim communities to celebrate Eid. That's why that celebration was suspended, because a lack of security," he said.

In the heart of one of Rangoon’s main Muslim neighborhoods, far from the violence in Rakhine state, there are few outwards signs of religious tensions.

But while daily prayers continue at the 150-year-old Bengali Sunni Jameh Mosque, there are still worries among Muslims who are not ethnic Rohingyas. They say they are still worried about religious tensions, and concerned they could be targeted by Buddhist monks who worship at the pagoda next door.

You May Like

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down nearly three percent, while US market indexes were off around two percent in early trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Maung Lwin from: Canada
November 06, 2012 6:22 PM
Please CNN, We don't have Bangalis so called Rohingya in Our Ethnic Group. They are "Illegal Immigrant and Illegal Occupy in Our Country". I hope you have to learn "Our History" and "The root of Problem". They are Lair. I hope you already learned about "Islam and Islamist".
Also Please You have to learn about "Buddhist Monk" who never kill any kinds of creature.
In Future, You have to take responsible for making wrong news.
Thank you.
In Response

by: mandyswe from: USA
November 07, 2012 10:48 AM
Maung Lwin,
How much time have you spend reading history on Arakan region? As for your " Buddhist Monk never kills", please stop making the world laugh at you. YOU need to take responsibility for what you say in this information age.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs