Evidence of Rohingya massacre by security forces deepens crisis in Myanmar
The Associated Press uncovered evidence of a military-led mass killing of a Rohingya community in late August that left at least 75 and as many as 400 dead.
The report detailed documentary evidence of at least five mass graves in and near the village of Gu Dar Pyin along with videos and survivor reports of acid use to attempt to cover up the massacre.
While the Burmese government insists it is only targeting “terrorists” and denies mass killings, the international community is facing growing pressure to declare ongoing state violence against the Rohingya a genocide.
One of the most important days in the Christian holiday canon, Christmas is celebrated by the devout, the lapsed, and the unbelieving alike as a time of gift-giving, decorating, and shared cheer. However, many of the worlds Christians, minorities in their communities, continue to face persecution as religious-extremist, nationalist, and other reactionary forces gain footholds around the world. From Indonesia to Egypt, religiously diverse societies have experienced increased sectarian tensions as parallel forces—anti-Christian sentiment and Islamophobia—have disrupted what was once stable co-existence. This roundup takes a look at recent developments in the plight faced by some of the most vulnerable Christians around the world. Continue reading Global Event | Christmas→
The Radical Intolerance of Fake News in Myanmar’s Internet Debut
The debate over fake news and disinformation took center stage in the post-election analysis in the U.S. Facebook in particular has come to stand as an avatar of disinformation tactics, with the rapid spread of factually incorrect stories on the social media platform having contributed, some analysts argue, to the outcome of the election. On the other side of the planet, Myanmar has seen its own struggles with digital information culture as it has begun rapidly digitizing in the wake of its transition to civic government in 2015. As conflict between Muslims and Buddhists in the majority-Buddhist nation has deepened in recent months, false and sensationalist stories masquerading as news have contributed to anti-Muslim sentiment in the country, further inflaming tensions.BuzzFeed News examines how Myanmar is integrating online information culture into both civic and everyday life as its complicated relationship to diversity, inclusion, and free expression is being challenged in countries with longer histories of online engagement.
Women report mass rapes and looting by military as violence against Rohingya explodes in northwest Myanmar
Locals from U Shey Kya village allege that soldiers stormed their homes, committed mass rape, stole valuables, and burned homes, accusations dismissed as “illogical” and “propaganda” by governmental spokespeople.
The raids in northern Rakhine State follow coordinated attacks by an emergent group of Rohingya militants on multiple border patrol posts, leading to nine police officers’ and five soldiers’ deaths.
Many homes in the village were left with only women after men evacuated from fear of being indiscriminately identified as insurgents, with many fearing disregard of recently imposed political constraints on the Burmese military.
Anti-Muslim protests in Myanmar increase following new government installation
Hundreds of Buddhist nationalists staged anti-Muslim protests ahead of a visit from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who took up the issue of the persecution of Myanmar’s Muslim minority with state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi.
“No Muslims allowed” signs and anti-Muslim patrols have popped up in villages like Thaungtan, with those even suspected of being Muslim harassed and assaulted.
State counselor Aung San Suu Kyi reportedly instructed U.S. diplomats not to use the term “Rohingya,” echoing Buddhist nationalists who consider the Rohingya to be illegal immigrants and Muslims and Hindus “associate citizens.”
More than 70 arrested in Myanmar after labor demonstration
Police reportedly detained 71 protesters and charged 51 after they attempted to march from their wood-processing factory in Sagaing State to Naypyitaw, the capital.
Protesters organized to call for organizing rights and the re-hiring of terminated factory workers.
Myanmar’s government has come under fire from rights groups for a proposal to retain junta-era restrictions on assembly and free speech, including the exclusion of non-citizens (including the Rohingya minority) from demonstration rights.
Ethnic health groups in Myanmar call for government recognition as new president sworn in
The Health Convergence Core Group (HCCG), a coalition eight ethnic and community health organizations, has led the effort to see local health organizations recognized under the new Burmese government.
At a conference that brought together 110 people from 21 organizations ahead of the swearing in of Myanmar’s new president, healthcare leaders called for the decentralization of public health services to be more inclusive of healthcare provided by community organizations.
Ethnic health groups provide a broad range of services, from reproductive healthcare to health education, that are shaped by the cultural and health specificities of Myanmar’s ethnic minorities.
With a non-military political party now leading Myanmar for the first time in decades, Burmese citizens are looking forward to democratic reforms to make the political process more inclusive of its diverse population. Historically, LGBT security in Myanmar has been minimal to nonexistent: colonial-era anti-homosexuality laws are still on the books and arbitrarily exercised, police extortion is rampant, trans individuals are targeted for violence and fetishization, and widespread conservative attitudes promote anti-LGBT discrimination. But now that newly empowered politicians have made promising (if vague) expressions of support for diversity and burgeoning advocacy groups have begun generating visibility and awareness, the LGBT Burmese community has expressed hope that the first signs of a more secure future have appeared.
Myanmar’s ethnic minorities organize as landmark elections near
Groups of ethnic minorities across Myanmar have worried as Aung Saan Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party, favored to lead in the Nov. 8 elections, have run candidates in ethnic strongholds favored by the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD).
Ethnic parties seek to establish a presence in the Burmese parliament to counteract longstanding persecution of minorities in the country, particularly in the border state of Shan.
The NLD has prioritized defeating the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), while ethnic parties hope to use to their advantage the winning party’s need for their support to form a government.