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.
“AP finds evidence for graves, Rohingya massacre in Myanmar” (The Associated Press | February 2018)
“Evidence of Rohingya mass graves uncovered in Myanmar” (Al Jazeera | February 2018)
“Myanmar denies report of new mass graves in Rakhine” (Reuters | February 2018)
Bahrain strips Shiite leader of citizenship as anti-dissident campaign continues
- The Interior Ministry stripped Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, a prominent Shiite cleric, of Bahraini citizenship, stirring protest among the Gulf country’s Shiite majority.
- The denaturalization took place soon after a court ordered the suspension of Bahrain’s main opposition group, Al-Wefaq, which has led pro-democracy protests in the country since 2011.
- The Sunni-led government has accused Shiite leaders of promoting foreign interests (namely Iran’s) and fomenting sectarian division and extremism in the country, leading to their denaturalization and expulsion.
“Bahrain strips Sheikh Isa Qassim of nationality” (Al Jazeera)
“Bahrain’s Sunni Rulers Revoke Citizenship of Top Shiite Cleric” (The New York Times)
“Bahrain strips top Shi’ite Muslim cleric of citizenship” (Reuters)
(Image Credit: AP via Al Jazeera)
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.”
“‘No Muslims allowed’: how nationalism is rising in Aung San Suu Kyi’s Myanmar” (The Guardian)
“Myanmar Nationalists Stage Protest in Mandalay Against Use of Term ‘Rohingya’ by U.S.” (Radio Free Asia)
“‘No Rohingya’: Behind the US Embassy Protest in Myanmar” (The Diplomat)
(Image Credit: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters, via The Guardian)
Bahrain revokes citizenship of dissidents as denaturalization campaign continues
- Five Bahrainis were stripped of their citizenship and sentenced to five to 15 years of jail time after being convicted of terror affiliation, public-institution disruption, and weapon possession.
- Political dissidents and human rights organizations have accused the Sunni monarchy of weaponizing citizenship for demographic redistribution and the suppression of dissent and rights advocacy among the Shia-majority population.
- Denaturalization is a controversial practice that leaves many effectively stateless and subject to deportation, with 208 Bahrainis having been denaturalized in 2015 alone.
“Manama Deprives Five More Bahrainis of Citizenship” (Tasnim News Agency)
“Bahrain: Stop Deportations of Nationals” (Human Rights Watch)
“Bahrain citizen expulsions ‘chilling’, says Amnesty” (Arabian Business)
(Image Credit: via Human Rights Watch)
Syria’s Stateless Refugees
More than half a million in number, Syrian-born Palestinians face a unique and particularly challenging vulnerability when applying for refugee status. While they have been born in Syria, many lack Syrian citizenship (and thus a Syrian passport) due to Syria’s citizenship laws as well as the desire to maintain their Palestinian nationality to retain the right to return to Palestine. Most of Syria’s neighbors have traditionally denied entry to Palestinians as part of complex politics resulting from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As residents of Syria, Palestinian Syrians have faced the same circumstances as other Syrian refugees, and immigration officials have been instructed to extend the same consideration to Palestinian Syrians as other Syrians. Al Jazeera investigates cracks in the process of asylum application and other challenges faced by Palestinian-Syrian refugees.
“Palestinian Syrians: Twice refugees” (Al Jazeera)
“Palestinian Refugees from Syria” (Inter Press Service)
“Arab Countries Are Forcing Palestinian Exiles Back Into Syria” (The Daily Beast)
(Image Credit: UNRWA via AP, via Al Jazeera)