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An ethnic Rohingya Muslim refugee breaks down during a protest in Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia Photograph: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images

Two sets of high-definition images of Myanmar taken from outer space: both are shot in the morning, both show the same villages populated by Rohingya Muslims of Rakhine state. The first set, collected from 2014, displays a small collection of homes where the virtually stateless minority has settled. The buildings, lying between trees and set back from dirt roads, number more than 100. In the second set of images, taken in the past two months, the homes have vanished, and all that remains is square patches of burnt earth.

Provided by Human Rights Watch, the images reveal 430 buildings that have been destroyed in three different villages, and support the claim from a United Nations official that Myanmar is seeking the “ethnic cleansing of the Muslim Rohingya” from its territory.…  Seguir leyendo »

Amnesty describes it as "collective punishment". A senior UN official suggested the goal appears to be "ethnic cleansing". Regardless of how it is described, it is clear the violence unleashed by Myanmar against its minority Rohingya Muslim population has been devastating.

John McKissick, with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said security forces in Myanmar were "killing men, shooting them, slaughtering children, raping women, burning and looting houses, forcing people to cross the river into Bangladesh". He accused the Myanmar military and border guard police of engaging in collective punishment of the Rohingya minority, arguing that they are using the killings of nine border guards in October as an excuse for the current crackdown.…  Seguir leyendo »

The world is watching Myanmar as election day nears. The governments of the United States and other countries, which view this contest as a potential watershed for democracy, hope that Sunday’s voting will be “inclusive and credible.” But with just days to go, the election is shaping up to be just the opposite.

A central issue has been the deliberate exclusion of Myanmar’s Muslim minority, including my people, the Rohingya. Like other ethnic and religious minorities in Myanmar, the country’s Rohingya — estimated to number over one million — suffered under years of repressive military rule. Today the pseudo-democratic government continues to treat us as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, even though our people have been in Myanmar for centuries.…  Seguir leyendo »

There is perhaps no religion that Western liberals find more appealing than Buddhism. Politicians fawn over the Dalai Lama, celebrities seek out Buddhist meditation, and scientists and philosophers insist that Buddhism has much to teach us about human nature and psychology.

Even some of the so-called New Atheists have fallen for Buddhism’s allure. For most of its Western sympathizers, Buddhism is a deeply humanist outlook, less a religion than a philosophy, a way of life to create peace and harmony.

The Rohingya people of Myanmar take a very different view of Buddhism. The Rohingya are Muslims who live mostly in Rakhine, in western Myanmar, bordering Bangladesh.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rakhine state, on the western coast of Burma, is among the most dangerous places in the world to be a Muslim.

Just over a year ago, simmering tensions and small-scale clashes erupted into mass violence between Buddhist Rakhines and Muslim Rohingya, a minority of about 800,000 whose roots in Burma are several centuries old. During these rampages, Buddhist mobs stormed Muslim enclaves, setting fire to villages, destroying schools and mosques and leaving scores of Rohingya dead.

One victim of the violence was Ayessa, a 55-year-old woman who lived in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine state. Her husband and brother were killed, and she was forced to flee her home for a displaced persons’ camp.…  Seguir leyendo »