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

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.