Myanmar violence must stop
WE ARE deeply concerned at the sectarian violence since last Friday in the town of Maungdaw of the Rakhine state of Myanmar, which borders Bangladesh. Rakhine state is home to the Rohingyas, an ethnic Muslim minority, who are being persecuted. They sought refuge in many places including Bangladesh.
The latest violence erupted after the police detained three Muslim men in relation to the rape and killing of a Buddhist woman in May. Anger over the case fuelled an attack by about 300 local people on a bus in the Taungup area of Rakhine that killed 10 Muslim passengers on board. Clashes have multiplied since then.
The minority Muslim population, comprising both ethnic Rakhine and Rohingya, has been facing majority Buddhist resentment for long. They are not treated as citizens of the country, rather seen as immigrants from Bangladesh. Over the years, many of them have been forced to flee by sea in small boats to Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh.
According to the UN, more than two lakh Rohingya refugees are still living in Bangladesh. Of late, Bangladesh has received a request from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to allow the victims of the latest violence also to enter the country.
The UN should come up with detailed strategies in consultation with the Myanmar government to ensure the integration of the minority Muslim population with the mainstream Myanmar people.
Mohammed Jashim Uddin
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