The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) calls for an independent investigation of the alleged human rights crimes committed against members of the Muslim Rohingya minority in Burma. Eyewitnesses reported to the human rights organization about an incident during which 60 Rohingya were killed when Burmese security forces and Buddhist extremists attacked the village of Du Chee Yar Tan in Maungdaw district (Arakan State) on January 14, 2014. Most of the 4,000 inhabitants managed to escape. Burma’s authorities deny the attack against the minority group – but are also trying to keep international observers and members of the Rohingya people away from the village.
“If Burma’s authorities are really trying to stop the circle of violence, they should allow human rights activists, foreign diplomats and United Nations officials to access the conflict area,” said Ulrich Delius, the STP’s Asia-consultant, in Göttingen on Tuesday. He also called for a ban of the Buddhist nationalist “969” movement because their anti-Muslim agitation has led to a new outbreak of violence against the Muslim minority. In Maungdaw district, the tensions between the Buddhist Rakhine and the Muslim Rohingya have increased significantly since December 2013, when the Buddhist extremist monks of the 969 movement paraded through the village calling up to exclude the Rohingya people and to expel them from the settlements.
“The agitation of the 969 movement is stirring up the violence against the Muslims,” criticized Delius. “The organization, which is mainly supported by Buddhist monks, provoked an outbreak of violence throughout through the country. Wherever their hatemongers appear, there are bound to be attacks against the Muslim population within the next few weeks. If Burma’s government is serious about trying to protect the Muslim minority, 969 must be banned.”
The 969 movement – lead by the monk Wirathu – is trying to stop the Muslim population from gaining influence on Burma’s politics and society. “We are deeply concerned about 969’s recent campaign for a new law that is supposed to prohibit marriage between Buddhist women and non-Buddhist men without consent by the local authorities,” said Delius. Despite the hate propaganda, President Thein Sein refers to the popular 969 movement as “a sign of peace”.
Ulrich Delius is available for further questions: +49 (0)551-49906-27.
Translated by Robert Kurth