AT LEAST 40 Rohingya Muslim men, women, and children have been
killed by police and villagers in the western state of Rakhine, in
Burma, the UN has reported.
On Thursday of last week, the UN confirmed that it had received
"credible information" that, on 9 January, eight Rohingya Muslim
men were attacked and killed in Du Chee Yar Tan village by local
Rakhine. Clashes took place on 13 January, in the same village, and
a police sergeant was captured and killed by the Rohingya
villagers. On the same evening, at least 40 Rohingya Muslim men,
women, and children were killed.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, called
on the authorities "to carry out a full, prompt and impartial
Rakhine state has a history of sectarian violence. Last October,
the UN special rapporteur on the human-rights situation in Burma,
Tomás Ojea Quintana, said that the situation posed "one of the most
serious threats to the process of democratic reform and national
reconciliation in Myanmar".
On Tuesday, the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) published
an account of violations of the religious freedom of Chin
Christians in Burma in 2013. Chin state, a north-western area of
Burma, is home to about 500,000 ethnic Chin, who are largely
The country co-ordinator at CHRO, Salai Bawi Pi, said: "The main
problem is that the government treats Buddhism as the de
facto state religion in the country. That seriously undermines
religious freedom for Chin Christians."
Last November, Chin churches, pastors, MPs, and others held a
national conference, resulting in the creation of 12
recommendations for the government, calling on it to grant
land-ownership rights for religious purposes, and to replace the
Ministry for Religious Affairs with an "impartial religious affairs
commission, in order to eliminate religious discrimation".