October 27, 2012
The Guardian (UK)

Burma's Leader Admits Deadly Attacks on Muslims

Satellite images show huge swath of coastal town destroyed in a wave of violence which has left dozens dead

by Peter Beaumont

Burma's president has admitted an unprecedented wave of ethnic violence has targeted his country's Rohingya Muslim population, destroying whole villages and large parts of towns.

Thein Sein's acknowledgement follows the release of satellite images showing the severe scale of the destruction in one coastal town, where most - if not all - of the Muslim population appears to have been displaced and their homes destroyed.

The pictures, acquired by Human Rights Watchshow destruction to the coastal town of Kyaukpyu in the country's west. They reveal an area of destruction 35 acres in size in which some 811 buildings and boats have been destroyed. . . .

The attacks in Arakan province in the country's west - also known as Rakhine - appears to have been part of a wave of communal violence pitting Arakan Buddhists against Muslims that has hit five separate towns and displaced thousands of people. . . .

The Rohingya are officially stateless. Buddhist-majority Burma's government regards the estimated 800,000 of them in the country as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, and not as one of the country's 135 official ethnic groups, and denies them citizenship. . . .


Chris Lewa, "The Plight of Burma's Stateless, Rohingya Muslims," Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, June 2003

"Burma's Forgotten Rohingya Muslims," BBC News, March 11, 2006

Tony Cliff, "Without a homeland, without a hope,", April 9, 2011

Jacob Zenn, "No way home for Myanmar's Rohingya,", June 27, 2012

Subir Bhaumik, "Myanmar conflict threatens regional stability,", August 16, 2012

Jerome Taylor and Oliver Wright, "Burma's Rohingya Muslims: Aung San Suu Kyi's blind spot,", August 20, 2012

Gwen Robinson, "US courts military contacts with Myanmar,", September 20, 2012

"Myanmar bans world Islamic body from opening office,", October 15, 2012

[Today, there are about 70,000 displaced from the conflict, mostly Muslims. The two communities are almost completely segregated in towns such as Sittwe, where the Arakan Buddhists are able to roam freely while the Rohingya are mostly confined to a series of camps outside the centre.--"Burma clashes spread to new districts,", October 15, 2012]

Pete Pattisson, "Refugees accuse Burmese government of ignoring ethnic cleansing: 'If we stayed, we would have been killed',", October 28, 2012

Tim Heinemann, "US's lost moral compass in Myanmar,", October 30, 2012

Phil Radford, "Nowhere to go for the Rohingya,", November 9, 2012

Syed Tashfin Chowdhury and Chris Stewart, "Rohingya miss boat on development,", November 10, 2012

PHOTOS: " Burma's Muslim lose home, and hope,", November 15, 2012

Jim Lobe, "Myanmar takes place in US 'pivot',", November 17, 2012

VIDEO: "The Burmese monks who preach intolerance against Muslim Rohingyas," BBC News, November 21, 2012

[In recent months, Suu Kyi has been subjected to unusually sharp criticism for her perceived as limp response to conflict in Rakhine State, where Buddhist Rakhine's have clashed violently with Muslim Rohingyas. In an interview with the New York Times in September 2012, Suu Kyi said, "I know that people want me to [speak on the issue], they want strong and colorful condemnation, which I won't do, because I don't think it helps."--Billy Tea, "Suu Kyi's fading glory,", February 9, 2013]

[The United Nations, which calls the Rohingya one of the most persecuted minorities in the world, says that of the 13,000 mostly Rohingya Muslims who fled Burma and Bangladesh last year, at least 485 were known to have drowned.--Jason Motlagh, "Muslim refugees flee Burma by boat after sectarian violence,", February 11, 2013]

"The bin Laden of Buddhism,", March 28, 2013

[Violence and discrimination against Muslims is currently framed by some Buddhist groups as a necessary response to the imminent threat of Islam's expansion into the Buddhist community; in a situation like this, some Buddhists have argued that any actions can be justified in order to protect the religion.--Matthew J Walton, "Buddhism turns violent in Myanmar,", April 2, 2013]

VIDEO: Kate Hodal, "Thousands watch YouTube videos of 45-year-old 'Burmese Bin Laden' who is inciting violence against country's Muslim minority,", April 18, 2013

Dan Murphy, "Myanmar's ruler to get peace prize, despite 'ethnic cleansing' charge,", April 22, 2013

VIDEO: "Burma riots: Video shows police failing to stop attack,", April 22, 2013

Nafeez Ahmed, "The Dirty Fossil Fuel Secret Behind Burma's Democratic Fairytale," Guardian, April 26, 2013

"Burmese Muslims given two-child limit," Associated Press, May 25, 2013

Ramzy Baroud, "Rohingya Population Control - The Onslaught in Burma Continues,", June 6, 2013

"Burmese leader defends 'anti Muslim' monk Ashin Wirathu,", June 24, 201

[The killings of Muslim Rohingyas in Rakhine state in the west of the country that started the violence in 2012 has spread this year to the wider Muslim population.--Tom Fawthrop, "State complicity in Myanmar pogroms,", July 1, 2013]

[ . . . both laws are directed against the country's minority Muslim community. The first will severely limit the conversion of Buddhist women to Islam and the second will restrict Muslim families to no more than two children.--David I Steinberg, "Laws enforce discrimination in Myanmar,", March 18, 2014]

[Washington wants to establish a military presence in the Bay of Bengal in order to control China's pipelines through Myanmar (both of which go through Rohingya-inhabited Rakhine State)--Andrew Korybko, "American plan for a South Asian 'Kosovo' in Rohingyaland,", September 6, 2015]

Sebastian Shakespeare, "'No-one told me I was going to be interviewed by a Muslim': Moment Burma democracy heroine Suu Kyi lost her cool with BBC's Mishal Husain after being quizzed over violence towards Muslim minority,", March 25, 2016

"Myanmar bans officials from saying 'Rohingya',", June 22, 2016

"Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi: Falling Star or Beacon of Hope," Associated Press, July 9, 2016

Nicola Smith, "'Mass destruction' of ethnic Rohingya villages underway in Burma, human rights group warns,", November 21, 2016

"Amnesty accuses Myanmar military of 'crimes against humanity',", December 19, 2016

Oliver Holmes, "Nobel laureates warn Aung San Suu Kyi over 'ethnic cleansing' of Rohingya,", December 30, 2016

Poppy McPherson, "Extremist Buddhists target Mandalay's Muslims,", May 8, 2017

["First, this is a game against China, as China has very large investments in Arakan [Rakhine]," Mosyakov told RT. "Second, it is aimed at fuelling Muslim extremism in Southeast Asia. . . . Third, it's the attempt to sow discord within ASEAN [between Myanmar and Muslim-dominated Indonesia and Malaysia]."--"Soros and Hydrocarbons: What's Really Behind the Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar,", May 9, 2017]

Kayleigh Long, "Rohingya insurgency takes lethal form in Myanmar,", June 20, 2017

Muhadjir, "Myanmar Says It Will Not Let Outside World Investigate Rohingya 'Genocide' Claims,", July 2, 2017

Mike Winchester, "Rohingya insurgency declares 'open war' in Myanmar,", August 28, 2017

Will Worley, "Burma: Rohingya children 'beheaded and burned alive' as refugees continue to flood into Bangladesh to escape violence,", September 3, 2017

"The Rohingya Of Myanmar - Pawns In An Anglo-Chinese Proxy War Fought By Saudi Jihadists,", September 4, 2017

"Rohingya crisis: Exodus swells 'as 270,000 flee Myanmar',", September 8, 2017

"Rohingya crisis: 'Last chance' for Aung San Suu Kyi,", September 17, 2017

[These forces are currently working to spread chaos to a second region, South-East Asia. . . . we now have the Muslims against the Buddhists.--Thierry Meyssan, "Clash of Civilisations 2,", October 10, 2017]

David Scott Mathieson, "Country's armed forces have predictably absolved themselves of any wrongdoing in violence that has recently forced over 600,000 Rohingya refugees to flee the country,", November 14, 2017

"Myanmar Rohingya crisis: Deal to allow return of Muslim refugees,", November 23, 2017

[throughout history some Buddhists - like any faith - have used religion to justify violence. . . .

"By labelling Muslims as adversaries to Buddhism, which historically has not been true, it solidifies the perception that the relationship is adversarial," he warns.--Jerome Taylor, "Rise of violent Buddhist rhetoric in Asia defies stereotypes,", March 12, 2018]

"An Unholy Alliance: Monks and the Military in Myanmar," Al Jazeera, March 18, 2019

[Ten years after she left house arrest and vowed to fight for justice, Myanmar's civilian leader has instead become a jailer of critics and an apologist for the slaughter of minorities.--Hannah Beech, "How a Human Rights Angel Lost Her Halo,", November 14, 2020]

back button