For Immediate Release
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has expressed concern over reports of mass killings and arrests of Rohingya Muslims in Burma, and called on the Burmese authorities to urgently investigate the incidents and hold all those responsible accountable for these crimes.
The United Nations has said more than 40 Muslims were killed in a village in western Burma last week, and called on the Burmese government to immediately launch an investigation. Reports have also cited that a verbal order was issued to arrest all Rohingya boys and men over the age of 10 in the area around Du Char Yar Tan, a village in northern Rakhine state where the killings reportedly took place.
“If the order to indiscriminately arrest Rohingya proves to be true, it would be a shocking escalation of the government’s trend of state-sponsored violence against the Rohingya community,” said Andrea Gittleman, PHR’s senior legislative counsel. “The government of Burma must immediately end any unlawful arrests and detentions, and turn a corner on its long-standing persecution against the Rohingya.”
PHR stressed the need for unfettered access for humanitarian organizations, journalists, and human rights investigators. While the United States has eased some sanctions against Burma, the U.S. government should assert its authority under the remaining frameworks for sanctions to press the government of Burma to ensure humanitarian access in these areas.
PHR has documented the massacre of Muslims in the central Burmese town of Meiktila in March 2013 and subsequently published a report on systematic patterns of anti-Muslim violence that have spread throughout the country. About 140,000 Rohingya are internally displaced in Rakhine state, and hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee Burma. The Rohingya have long been discriminated against and are believed to be one of the world’s most persecuted ethnic groups.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.