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Extremist monk in Burma calls himself the "Burmese Bin Laden"
Wirathu, the extremist monk behind the hateful 969 movement in Burma, which has been fueling hatred against Muslims, calls himself the "Burmese Bin Laden," according to a report by The Guardian.
Watch the story on the man who is behind the massacres of Muslims below.
Satellite photos show Meiktila destruction
Human Rights Watch released satellite images of the central Burmese town of Meiktila, showing the destruction following the killing of Muslims by extremist Buddhist mobs.
The violence persisted from March 20 to 22, 2013, before the government finally called in military backup and instituted a state of emergency.
At least 40 were killed, and Human Rights Watch estimates that 828 buildings were destroyed.
According to the human rights group: "The spread of anti-Islamic sentiment and religious intolerance is a serious challenge to the rights of Muslims in Burma. Some well-known members of the Buddhist monkhood, or Sangha, have given sermons and distributed anti-Muslims tracts and directives that call on Buddhists residents to boycott Muslim businesses and shun contact with Muslim communities."
Take Action: Violence against Muslims spreads to central Burma
Two days of rioting against Muslims in the central Burmese city of Meiktila has left at least 5 dead, likely many more.
A dispute between a Muslim and Buddhist man in the garrison city led to Buddhists raging through the Muslim part of town.
The violence that had been targeted against Rohingya Muslims in western Burma has now slowly spread to other parts of the country. Muslims who have been granted citizenship in Burma are now being targeted.
Take action against this violence today!
Download our Action Alert and send it to your friends. Make a call to the Burmese Embassy and the Secretary of State's office.
Call the Secretary of State's office at (202) 647-5291, then press Option #1 and then Option #8. Call the White House at (202) 456-1111.
Burmese security forces rape 13 Rohingya women
In an extremely disturbing reporting in The Guardian, a teenage Rohingya woman from Burma said security forces raped at least 13 women in one night.
"At least 13 women, including teenagers, have been subjected to prolonged rape by Burmese security forces in a remote village in the western state of Arakan. Human rights groups have warned that the incident threatens to trigger further violence in a region where several waves of ethno-religious rioting since June last year have killed more than 1,000 people.
The women all belong to the Muslim Rohingya minority, which has borne the brunt of fighting between Muslim and Buddhist communities. One victim, an 18-year-old girl who cannot be named for security reasons, described how a group of uniformed soldiers from Burma's border security unit, known locally as NaSaKa, entered her house in northern Maungdaw township shortly after midnight on 20 February.
'They took us separately to different places and tortured and raped us,' she said, referring also to her mother and younger sister, 15. The ordeal lasted until dawn, she said. 'They came in and out of the house at least 15 times. They also beat my mother with a gun and dragged her outside to the road and beat her to the ground.'"
Read the entire story here.
UN envoy visits Rakhine state, warns of human rights abuses
U.N. human rights envoy Tomas Quintana recently visited Burma and warned that human rights abuses are continuing in the country, despite some reforms made by the government.
While visiting Rakhine state, Quintana said the Rakhine Buddhist and Rohingya Muslim communities continued to be divided by anger and distrust.
"Mutually respectful dialogue cannot be had while discrimination based on grounds of ethnicity and religion remains unaddressed," he said, recommending that the government amend citizenship laws to end such discrimination.
Quintana also visited camps where at least 120,000 Rohingya now reside. He said conditions and medical care were still deplorable, mostly because of harassment of medical staff by Rakhine Buddhists.
He also said that lack of freedom of movement in the camps was oppressive and "felt more like a prison than a camp".
Read the entire story here.
Rohingya unable to receive aid; take action
Thousands of Rohingya who were uprooted from their homes are forced to beg for food and live in deplorable conditions because they are not receiving international aid.
A disturbing report out of Burma shows that many Rohingya are not being officially registered by the government as official "internally displaced persons," which means they are not able to get food or shelter.
Oddny Gumaer, with Partners Relief and Development, said conditions in some area are akin to concentration camps.
“What most of the world is not aware of are the refugees that are not living in [registered] camps,” Gumaer said. “And those people are living in conditions that are so bad that I’m sure if the international community doesn't do something very soon they are going to die.”
Read the entire story here.
Download our latest Action Alert below and urge the Burmese government to take proper care of the Rohingya in need.
Human Rights Watch condemns Burma
Human Rights Watch recently released its "World Report 2013," and Burma did not fare well in the eyes of the organization.
The report outlined, among other abuses, the way the Burmese officials participated in the violence against the Rohingya in June and October of last year. Burmese state authorities were complicit in the burning of homes and killing of Rohingya Muslims. Because of the state-sponsored violence, at least 100,000 are displaced.
Human Rights Watch also called out world leaders, including those from the United States, who were too quick to applaud the minimal efforts Burma made to release political prisoners.
“Burma’s reforms over the past year are hindered, not helped, by international oversell and hasty praise in the face of continued serious human rights abuses,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
Al Jazeera releases photos of Rakhine State
Al Jazeera recently released photos of the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State, where at least 115,000 people, mostly Rohingya Muslims, have been displaced and are in desperate need of aid following violence in June and October of last year.
The displaced have been living in temporary relief camps, where sanitation is a commodity and water supplies are low.
View the photos below and read the entire story here.
Thank you for visiting us
Thank you for your interest in the Rohingya Muslims of Burma. They need the support of the world to gain the rights that were taken away from them in their homeland.
Please visit our "Action Alerts
" page to sign up to receive weekly alerts on things you can do to help the persecuted Rohingya of Burma.
You can also visit our "Donate
" page to help us with much-needed funds so that we can continue our work.
Please visit our "News
" and "Blog
" page to keep updated on the latest information on the Rohingya.
Finally, if you'd like to give more of your time, visit the "Volunteer
" page to fill out a form and see options on how you can help.
It's because of volunteers like you that the Burma Task Force has been able to make a difference. Please continue to help us as we launch new programs in 2013 to ensure that the genocide of the Rohingya Muslims ends.
Al-Jazeera airs report on the genocide of the Rohingya
Al-Jazeera ran a report this weekend called "The Hidden Genocide
," about the massacre of Rohingya Muslims in Burma.
The piece includes interviews with several Rohingya refugees who watched family members and friends die in the violence that took place over the summer in Rakhine state.
The story also chronicles the events leading up to the violence and how the Burmese government has reacted. The Burmese government had already issued a statement decrying the Al-Jazeera report prior to its airing, saying that what's happening to the Rohingya is not genocide.
However, in the broadcast, Professor William Schabas, the former president of the International Associate of Genocide Scholars, says:
"When you see measures
preventing births, trying to deny the identity of the people, hoping to
see that they really are eventually, that they no longer exist; denying
denying the legitimacy of their right to live where they live, these
are all warning signs that mean it's not frivolous to envisage the use
of the term genocide."
Watch the full investigative piece below.
CNN visits Sittwe, finds starving Rohingya children in camps
A CNN film crew went to the Rakhine State of Burma to see what was happening in the camps where Rohingya have been forced to live since violence broke out in the region earlier this year.
Dan Rivers, who three years ago worked on the documentary "The Forgotten People" about the Rohingya, reports that he was shocked by the latest conditions of the Rohingya. He writes:
"I was expecting the camps to be grim -- but I wasn't prepared to see
children starving to death. This isn't journalistic hyperbole. The two
western doctors working unofficially here have watched several children
perish before their eyes -- not from a rare tropical disease or an
untreated chronic condition, but simply from malnutrition."
Read the entire story here
You can also watch "The Forgotten People" in its entirety here
Human Rights Watch images show extent of violence against Rohingyas
Human Rights watch released new satellite images
of the destruction of homes and property of Rohingya Muslims in the Pauktaw, Mrauk-U and Myebon townships of Rakhine state. The images show the region in February and then again after the violent attacks in October.
About 130,000 Rohingyas are in concentration camps currently according to Human Rights Watch. While their women and girls are raped as an instrument of ethnic cleansing.
Human Rights Watch had previously shown how the attacks against Rohingya Muslims were carried out at times with the support of state security forces and local government officials. The violence was a state-sponsored ethnic cleansing of the Rohingyas.
Human Rights Watch idenitfied a total of 4,855 destroyed structures in the Rakhine state and in Sittwe, the capital of the region. The destruction goes out over 348 acres of land, largely home to the Rohingya Muslims.
In their report, Human Rights Watch said:
"Rohingya from Pauktaw
now at camps near Sittwe told Human Rights Watch that for weeks they
faced hostile Arakanese mobs, sometimes led by Buddhist monks, who
threatened violence against them and anyone else found selling or
providing the Rohingya with food or other assistance. They said they
repeatedly notified local authorities of these threats, but insufficient
action was taken. In late October, just prior to the violence, Rohingya
were called to a series of community meetings held by local Arakanese
members of a nationalist political party and local government officials
apparently aimed at convincing the local Muslim population to abandon
Human Rights Watch said that the images show that nearly all of Yan Thei village in Mrauk-U Township was destroyed.
"Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that
Arakanese mobs armed with swords, spears, homemade guns, bows and
arrows, and other weapons descended on the village on October 23, and
fighting ensued. The Rohingya were ultimately surrounded and
overwhelmed, and survivors fled by land to an area outside the village.
Gruesome casualties were sustained on both sides, including beheadings
and killings of women and children."
Rohingya women are kept as sex slaves by Burmese military
A British reporter in Burma has found firsthand accounts of Rohingya women being held as sex slaves by the Burmese military.
"Eyewitness testimony of a military camp situated a few miles from Sittwe town (and home to Regiment 270) describes around 20 women ... being held at the camp. One of the witnesses, Amina (name changed), described walking past the camp when she heard voices calling out to her. The imprisoned women asked Amina if she was Muslim; she is.
'Please help us. If you can help us escape from here you will go to jannah (heaven),' one woman told her. 'Many military men come, we can't breathe. We want to become Muslim again. If we stay like this we will go to hell.' The intended meaning of what was said was, Amina felt, clear: these women are being raped, and they don't have to say it explicitly for anyone to understand what's taking place."
Read Assed Baig's full report here.
Please download our Action Alert on this issue and distribute it to your friends and family.
British reporter provides firsthand account of destruction in Meiktila
A British Muslim reporter who traveled to Meiktila talked to people involved in the violence against Muslims in the central Burmese town.
One sister said she was forced to prostrate to monks after they burned her husband alive.
"They beat them in front of me. I was watching. I can still see it." Noor Bi is crying as she describes the moment when she saw her husband and brother murdered in front of her eyes as she fled Meiktila.
Read the entire report here.
Huffington Post Live talks about the Rohingya
The Huffington Post held a roundtable discussion on the Rohingya.
The segment provides a good overview on the persecution the group has been facing and gives good background information on Burma in general.
Watch the video below.
Rohingya refugees rescued in Indonesian waters
More Rohinyga who are desperately fleeing Burma by boat were found in the Aceh province of Indonesia.
Like others who were previously rescued by the Sri Lankan navy, this group said Thai officials sabotaged their boat and later shot at them while they were at sea.
"We want to stay in any country with Muslims. We don't mind where, Aceh is good too. But please don't send us back to Myanmar. Just shoot all of us -- we are better off dead than going back to our country," said 21-year-old Farid Alam, one of the refugees.
Read the entire story here.
Two Nobel Laureates speak up about Rohingya
Jose Ramos-Horta and Muhammad Yunus, winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, wrote an editorial for the Huffington Post about the Rohingya.
"The minority Muslim Rohingya continue to suffer unspeakable persecution, with more than 1,000 killed and hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes just in recent months, apparently with the complicity and protection of security forces.
The charge that the Rohingya are illegal immigrants to Myanmar is false. There is evidence that the Rohingya have been in present day Myanmar since the 8th century. It is incontrovertible that Muslim communities have existed in Rakhina State since the 15th century, added to by descendants of Bengalis migrating to Arakan (Rakhine) during colonial times."
The two laureates said the fact that Burma took away the Rohingya citizenship in 1982, along with their ability to travel or marry without a permit, was deplorable.
"The 20th century gave us a term for the ugly phenomena of stripping individuals of their nationality and persecuting them for no reason other than the color of their skin, their religion, or their ethnicity: ethnic cleansing."
Read the entire piece here.
Rohingya prisoners face abuse, torture
A recent report shows that almost 1,000 Muslim Rohingya -- many of them children as young as 10 -- remain jailed in Arakan State for supposedly inciting the violence that killed so many Rohingya last year.
Many have died in custody, and the rest are subject to "pervasive" abuses. DVB news said that torture, violence and the sexual exploitation of minors is rampant in the prisons in Arakan.
Read the entire story here.
Doctors Without Borders calls on authorities to stop intimidation
Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres issued a press release on Feb. 7 calling on the Burmese government to help aid reach all those who need it in the country, especially the Rohingya.
"Ongoing insecurity and repeated threats and intimdation by a small but vocal group within the Rakhine community have severely impacted our ability to deliver lifesaving medical care," said Arjan Hehenkamp, General Director of Doctors Without Borders.
One Rohingya man said clean water was available near the refugee camps where thousands are living but access was denied to them.
Doctors Without Borders said they are facing increased threats for trying to help the Rohingya and other displaced people. Some members of the Rakhine community are accusing the workers of having a pro-Rohingya bias in pamphlets, letters and Facebook postings, threatening aid workers.
Read the entire Doctors Without Borders release here.
Read the story here.
Take action with Thai officials
The BBC is reporting that Thai officials, including those in the navy and police forces, have been selling Rohingya feeling from Burma to human traffickers.
Thousands of Rohingya Muslims have been forced to flee Burma following systematic violence against them, which increased dramatically last year. Many try to escape in flimsy boats, which often capsize in water. Others have been intercepted on the Andaman Sea by the Thai navy, which makes deals to sell the desperate refugees to human traffickers.
Ahmed, one such refugee, told the BBC that after he was captured by the Thai navy, he was taken to the Thai-Malaysia border.
"They dug a hole for us to use as a toilet. We ate, slept and excreted in the same place," he said. "The smell was horrible. I was poked with an iron and beaten with a chain."
The Thai government has promised to investigate these allegations of trafficking. We must ensure that they do.
Urgent Action Needed
Call the Thai embassy and urge them to fulfill their promise to investigate officials' involvement in human trafficking of Rohingyas. Press them to punish those involved in the heinous crimes of kidnapping and human trafficking.
Also ask the Thai government to keep any Rohingya in their country as refugees and offer them assistance and asylum.
Make a phone call TODAY
Call the Thai embassy at (202) 944-3600. Call as many times as you can to urge the Thai government to take action.
Read more about the BBC story here.
Download this full action alert to distribute here.
BBC interviews Rohingya refugee on radio program
On the BBC World program Outlook, Rebecca Henschke interviewed Khairul, a 28-year-old Rohingya refugee who fled to Burma.
You can listen to the entire program here
The BBC is also reporting that a humanitarian official for the United Nations visited Rohingya camps in Rakhine state and called the situation "dire".
"The government also has a responsibility, they have to take the lead," Valerie Amos said. "They have to work to bring the communities together and that
work has got to start now."
You can read the entire story here
Burmese President to be given peace award
In the midst of violence against the Rohingya Muslims in his country, Burmese President Thein Sein will be given a peace award by the International Crisis Group.
The group said the award was being given because: “Myanmar has initiated a remarkable
and unprecedented set of reforms since President Thein Sein’s government
took over in March 2011, including freeing hundreds of political
prisoners, liberalizing the press and promoting dialogue with the main
opposition party.” Read the entire story here
While Burma may have made some strides, the continued human rights violations against the Rohingya prove just how far the country has to go before any of its leaders should be given a peace award.
Thein Sein himself has said in the past that the solution to the crisis against the Rohingyas was to send them to any country that would have them. That's hardly a resolution that warrants a prize.
President Obama mentions Rohingya during Burma visit President Obama stopped in Burma for 6 hours on Monday, Nov. 19 and spoke at University of Yangon.
In that speech, Obama made a mention of the violence against the Rohingya Muslim minority in the western state of Rakhine that has left hundreds dead and thousands homeless.
too long, the people of this state, including ethnic Rakhine, have
faced crushing poverty and persecution. But there's no excuse for
violence against innocent people," Obama said during his speech at the university.
Rohingya ... hold within themselves the same dignity as you do, and I
do. National reconciliation will take time, but for the sake of our
common humanity, and for the sake of this country's future, it's
necessary to stop incitement and to stop violence."
Obama also said he welcomed "the government's commitment to address the issues of
injustice, and accountability, and humanitarian access and citizenship".
Forty percent of Burma consist of ethnic minorities. Muslims are also have multiple ethnic minorities. Rohingya Muslims are in South West Burma as this map shows. Chinese Muslims are in North closer to the Chinese border. Then there are other Muslim ethnic minorities in South. Gujarati Muslims were traders in Burma. Most of them lost their businesses when military took over and left the country.
Burmese Muslims are considered one of the most persecuted people in the world according to the United Nations. Doctors Without Borders calls them among the most likely to be extinct.
Since no international media and human rights organizations are allowed, it is difficult to get accurate numerical picture. The numbers vary from 800 killed in the current round of genocide to tens of thousands raped and killed, and made homeless. At least 100,000 are in the concentration camps.
The human rights cause in Burma Muslims pertains directly to the 8 million Muslims who are affected by their ethnic cleansing but also to the 40% of Burmese population who are ethnic minorities. They are all fighting for their survival against the 60% Burmese ethnicity which controls the military and promotes Burmese fascism.
Muslims in Burma are being persecuted for long which has resulted in about 2 million now living as refugees in other countries. The worse is the situation of Rohingya Muslims in the South West of Burma. That is where the current ethnic cleansing is taking place.
Islam came to the Arakan region of Burma in the times of sahaba through Arab traders and sailors. Arabs used to stop in Arakan on the way to China and use the Teak wood of Arakan to repair the masts of their ships/dhows.
Contact us here.
What can you do for Burma Today!
This masjid was burned by Myanmar Military & Buddist
Extremist Youth Group in Akyab Township, Burma. Several mosques have been burned or demolished in the last three months. Some victims put the number of mosques burned or destroyed as high as 300.