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Human Rights Watch: Myanmar’s solution to ethnic clashes is chilling and disturbing

Residents walk past
buildings burning in riot-hit Meiktila, central Myanmar. (Credit: AFP)

Radio Australia 
April 30, 2013

Plans to control
the birth rate of Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar has been described as

A Myanmar
Government Commission report has recommended a family planning program be
implemented to curb the growth of the country’s Muslim Rohingyas.

The region has been
plagued by ethnic clashes between the Buddhist majority and Muslim minority.

Fighting over the
past year has left hundreds dead and tens-of -thousands homeless.

The Commission
found that the high birth rate of Rohingya has been a factor in the tensions.

It also recommends
sending more troops into troubled regions to quell the violence.

But Human Rights
Watch says the recommendations are disturbing and will only increase tensions.

Phil Robertson says
Government troops are guilty of stoking the flames of racial hatred in the
fledgling democracy.

“Human Rights
Watch released a report last week documenting that security forces had been
involved in ethnic cleansing against humanity and crimes against humanity,
against the Rohingya in Arakan State.”

And he believes the
idea of population control has insidious undertones.

“When you talk
about one ethnic group trying to limit the population growth og another ethnic
group. Even though it’s voluntary, nevertheless, it is very chilling.”

Rohingya leaders
also say they weren’t consulted by the Government Commission and their views
aren’t represented in the report.

The Commission
report also recommends that Muslim Rohingya be segregated from Buddhists but it
acknowledges that is not a permanent solution to the problem.

There are
reportedly 800,000 Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar but the Government regards them
as illegal immigrants.