Muslims in western Myanmar’s multiethnic Rakhine state are still being squeezed by tightened restrictions on their movements, suggesting that the government has yet to make tangible progress on loosening controls on the religious minority in the Buddhist-majority nation.
Ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, Christians, and Rohingya and Kaman Muslims have lived together in the multiethnic state for generations, but authorities subject the Rohingya, who were stripped of their Myanmar citizenship in 1982 and are seen as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, to routine discrimination and deny them access to basic services.
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Many Rohingya say that one of the greatest obstacles to their ability to make a living and get health care are draconian restrictions on their movements. Those who live in townships or in displacement camps are usually confined to local areas and must receive permission from authorities to travel.
Ei Myat Thu, a Rohingya resident of Thandwe township in south Rakhine state, found herself in such a situation this year when local authorities stopped issuing her permits for her periodic trips to Yangon where she was enrolled in distance-education studies.
After high school, Ei Myat Thu was accepted to study law at Taungup Degree College in the town of Taungup, north of Thandwe township. But she chose instead to pursue legal studies through a distance education program at Dagon University in Yangon, because she feared that sectarian tension and violence between Buddhists and Muslims might flare up again in the costal township.
A mob of mostly Buddhist ethnic Rakhine people beat and killed Muslims traveling on a bus near Taungup township in June 2012, after blaming some of them for the gang rape and murder of a young Buddhist woman in another part of Rakhine state. They then torched the bus.
Dec 18, 2018Since late August 2017, more than 725,000 mainly-Muslim Rohingya have fled Rakhine state, across the border into southern Bangladesh, fleeing widespread and systematic ethnic violence. The “small-scale quick impact projects” were designed in consultation with affected communities and aim to improve livelihoods, build trust and promote social-cohesion among the various communities. ALSO READ- It’s […]
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