This news has posted in Islam Online in the year 2002 , however it still serve as a summary of the Plight of Burmese Muslims in Junta ruled Myanmar.
(IslamOnline & News Agencies) – Human Rights Watch on Thursday urged the U.N. special envoy to Myanmar to take up the plight of the Southeast Asian country’s embattled Muslim community when he visits next month.
In a 12-page report released prior to the visit, the New York-based rights watchdog listed a spate of attacks on Myanmar’s Muslims and the steady erosion of their religious freedoms, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
“The government must protect the rights of Muslims. Instead, it has imposed restrictions on Muslim religious activities and taken no action to punish those responsible for destroying Muslim homes and mosques,” AFP quoted HRW director Mike Jendrzejczyk as saying.
Violence against Myanmar’s Muslim minority was triggered by anger among the overwhelmingly Buddhist population at the destruction in March 2001 of ancient Buddhist statues in Afghanistan by the hardline Islamic Taliban regime then in power.
In some cities outside the capital, Yangon, there were credible reports of military intelligence officers “stirring up anti-Muslim violence,” the human rights group said, AFP reported.
The worst violence occurred in May and September last year when Myanmar’s economic crisis was at its most severe.
In Taungoo north of Yangon, more than 1,000 people led by “robed Buddhist monks” attacked Muslim shops, homes and mosques.
There were beatings and at least nine deaths, according to witnesses cited in the report.
Since then, Muslims nationwide have complained of restricted freedom to travel and to worship.
The U.N. special envoy, former Malaysian ambassador Razali Ismail, is due to make his eighth trip to Myanmar August 2.
He is expected to meet with ethnic leaders as well as members of the ruling military junta and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy.
A recent human rights report has accused Myanmar’s military junta of using systematic rape as a weapon of war against ethnic minority women in eastern Shan state.
The report, prepared by the Shan Human Rights Foundation and Shan Women’s Action Network documents the rapes of 625 girls and women in Shan state by Myanmar troops, mostly between 1996 and 2001.
But the government on July 10, 2002, accused the two rights groups which reported on the rape claims of allegedly conspiring with the Shan United Revolutionary Army to scupper its rapprochement drive with Washington.
The U.S. State Department said it had raised its concerns with the regime over the report.
“We are appalled by reports that the Burmese military is using rape as a weapon of war against civilian populations in Shan State,” AFP quoted a U.S. spokeswoman as saying, using the country’s former name.
“We have raised our concerns with the Burmese regime and urged them to fully investigate any and all allegations of the systematic rape of ethnic minority girls and women in Burma and appropriately punish those guilty of such heinous crimes,” she added.
“The report in question presents all sorts of details including dates, and places and battalion numbers and names of individual perpetrators involved,” she concluded, casting doubt on Myanmar’s government’s version of events.