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    US lifts sanctions against Myanmar despite persecution of Muslims

    Described by the UN as being amongst the most persecuted people in the world, over 80,000 Rohingyan people have been left without shelter and protection from the recent violence in Myanmar. Photo Muslim AID

    Press TV:

    May 03, 2013

    The United States
    has eased another set of sanctions against Myanmar despite the ongoing
    persecution of the Rohingya Muslim community.

    The Obama
    administration made the announcement on Thursday, calling for an ease of
    restrictions on many of Myanmar’s military rulers, their business partners and
    immediate families.

    Last year,
    Washington lifted a set of sanctions against Myanmar that limited trade between
    the two countries, including removing Myanmar’s President Thein Sein from the
    list of banned officials.

    “Since 2011, the
    civilian-led Government of Burma has takenimportant steps toward significant
    social, political, and economic reform that demonstrate substantial progress on
    areas of concern,” the US Department of State said.

    government has been repeatedly criticized for failing to protect the Rohingyas.

    Recently, hundreds
    of Buddhist extremists armed with bricks stormed shops and homes of Muslims in
    the western village of Okkan.

    In March, more than
    40 people were killed and a number of mosques and homes of Muslims were burned
    in central Myanmar, indicating a rise in the persecution of Muslims.

    The Muslim minority
    of Rohingyas in Myanmar accounts for about five percent of the country’s
    population of nearly 60 million. The persecuted minority has faced torture,
    neglect, and repression since the country achieved independence in 1948.

    The UN Special
    Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Tomas Ojea Quintana, said on March 28
    that he had received reports that Myanmar’s soldiers and police sometimes stood
    by “while atrocities have been committed before their very eyes” by
    well-organized Buddhist mobs in the central city of Meiktila.

    International and Human Rights Watch have called on Myanmar’s government to
    address the plight of the Rohingya Muslim population and to protect the
    community against extremists.

    In April, the
    European Union also lifted most of its sanctions against Myanmar, a move
    criticized by Human Rights Watch.