Christians stand up for Rohingyas censuring human rights abuses

Pakistani Christians stand up against atrocities being committed in Myanmar. Raising their voice against human rights abuses against Rohingya Muslims, Christians staged a protest in the Capital. They urged the international community to act in order to thwart violence and save lives of Rohingyas.

Myanmar a Town Divided

As condemnation continues to pour in from international community, Pakistani Christians also staged a protest in front of National Press Club in Islamabad. Christians from all walks of life took part in this protest. They urged the international community to provide security to the Rohingya Muslims who are facing systematic genocide.

Also Read: Christian student’s lynching discussed in National Assembly of Pakistan

The protesters said that the killings of Rohingya Muslims can be termed as a genocide which needs to be checked. Addressing the gathering, Christian lawyer Advocate Sheheryar Shams Chairman of Pakistan’s Christian Citizen Forum said that Rohingya Muslims were declared foreigners on unfair and illegal terms.

He said that Rohingyas were illegally deprived of their nationality. Moreover, they were not being accepted by either Myanmar or Bangladesh. He said that out of 60 million total population of Myanmar, there are 25 percent religious minorities including 22 percent Muslims. The protesters were carrying placards while they chanted slogans government and military of Myanmar for carrying out inhumane violence against Rohingyas.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CHRISTIANSINPAKISTAN 

 

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Muslims and Christians in Burma still face persecution, U.S. officials warn

– Rohingya Muslims in Burma, as well as Christians, face continued persecution, destruction of homes and places of worship, and threats to their lives, human rights organizations are warning.

Throughout the country’s history, Burmese officials have maintained control “through a divide and rule strategy, pitting Buddhists, Christians, and Muslims against each other,” said Father Thomas Reese, SJ, Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in a December 13 discussion in Washington, D.C.

“The plight of both Rohingya Muslims and Christians results from successive governments that have both perpetuated and supported religious violations,” Reese continued. “It’s time for Burma to defend religious freedom,” he urged.

Two reports by the organization highlight the abuses suffered by religious minorities in Burma, also known as Myanmar, as well as by practitioners of the majority Buddhist religion who dissent from the mainline practice or government positions.

Christians in the country face discrimination, forced conversions, violence and desecration of churches and Christian communities says the USCIRF Report “Hidden Plight: Christian Minorities in Burma.”

Meanwhile, according to “Suspended in Time: The Ongoing Persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Burma,” members of the Muslim ethnic group are denied basic human rights like food, shelter, water, citizenship, or the ability to move.

The reports come days after international human rights organization Human Rights Watch released an analysis of images taken of a Rohingya village in Rakhine state, which it says link the Burmese army to the arson of the village.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CRUXNOW.COM

Fears of new unrest as Myanmar ponders monk-backed interfaith marriage ban

140529065432-myanmar-monks-interfaith-marriage-story-top(CNN) — Myanmar’s government has begun unveiling drafts of proposed laws that critics say are motivated by religious hatred, and could take discrimination against the country’s marginalized Muslim minority to new heights.

The four bills are based on a petition presented by a group of nationalist Buddhist monks to President Thein Sein in July last year, calling for curbs on interfaith marriage and religious conversions, among other measures. According to the monks, it’s a matter of protecting race and religion and encouraging peace.

Tensions between the Buddhist majority and Muslim minority in Myanmar, also known as Burma, have been high since deadly violence erupted between the groups in 2012, as the country emerged from decades of authoritarian military rule. A faction of Buddhist nationalists has been criticized, accused of drumming up hostility.

The first draft bill — stemming from a request from a coalition of monks known as the Organization for the Protection of Race, Religion, and Belief — was published in state media Tuesday, with a call for public comment by June 20. The proposed law would require anyone seeking to change their religion to obtain permission from a number of different local authorities.

Targeting Muslims?

While the bill applied to all religions, human rights and civil society groups believe it is driven out of a concern to prevent the spread of Islam in the predominantly Buddhist country.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CNN 

0703YANGON-articleLargeAdam Dean for The New York Times

YANGON, Myanmar — Night can be very dark in Yangon, a city where street lamps, when there are any, flicker on and off with the uneven electricity supply. For a group of Muslim men guarding their neighborhood until dawn, it is never clear what is lurking down the potholed roads and alleyways.

“The government cannot guarantee our safety,” said U Nyi Nyi, a businessman who sat on a plastic chair with a half-dozen of the 130 men he has organized for an improvised Muslim neighborhood watch program.

After decades of peaceful coexistence with the Buddhist majority in the country, Muslims say they now constantly fear the next attack. Over the past year, they say several violent episodes across the country led by rampaging Buddhist mobs have taught them that if violence comes to their neighborhood, they are on their own.

“I don’t think the police will protect us,” Mr. Nyi Nyi said.

The neighborhood watch program, a motley corps of men who check for any suspicious outsiders and keep wooden clubs and metal rods stashed nearby, is a symbol of how much relations have deteriorated between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

About 90 percent of the country’s population of 55 million is Buddhist, with Muslims making up 4 to 8 percent.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES 

In Myanmar, a movement for Muslim and Buddhist tolerance

myariot2503(5)eYANGON, MYANMAR

Days after communal violence rocked central Myanmar in late March, leaving more than 40 people dead and raising tensions in the mostly Buddhist country, a group of Muslims and a group of Buddhists decided enough was enough.

Thet Swe Win, a Buddhist, and his friend Minn Paing Soe, a Muslim, gathered with some of their colleagues from Yangon’s active civil society scene to see if they could work together on lowering tensions.

It wasn’t an easy conversation, even for these socially conscious, longtime friends. But then, nothing has been simple about the emergence of anti-Muslim sentiment in Myanmar following the end of decades of autocratic rule.

“We had a very long discussion that day and we got into a lot of arguments,” says Thet Swe Win, a construction manager by day, and the director of the Myanmar Youth Empowerment Program in the evenings. Instead of focusing on blame and disagreements over religion, the activists decided to look for a solution.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR