14,000 Muslims forced to leave Myanmar: Rights groups

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Asia
Friday, 07 November 2014

Rights groups say thousands of Rohingya Muslims have been forced to leave Myanmar in the last three weeks due to a new controversial government plan.

According to the Rakhine Action Plan passed by the government recently, over one million Rohingya Muslims will face expulsion unless they can prove their family has lived in the Asian country for more than 60 years.

“In the last three weeks alone, 14,500 Rohingyas have sailed from the beaches of Rakhine State to Thailand, with the ultimate goal of reaching Malaysia,” said the Arakan Project, a group that monitors Rohingya refugees.

However, those who can prove their residence qualify only for naturalized citizenship, which carries fewer rights than full citizenship and can be revoked.

Rohingyas could also face indefinite detention under the plan that requires them to either accept ethnic reclassification and register as Bengalis or be detained.

Human Rights Watch has urged the international community to press the Myanmar government to rescind the decree.

The rights group called the plan as “nothing less than a blueprint for permanent segregation and statelessness.”

Local authorities have reportedly rounded up a number of community and religious leaders and tortured some of them to death.

Myanmar’s 1.3 million Muslims, who are denied citizenship, are one of the world’s most persecuted communities, a fact that the UN also attests to.

Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar have faced torture, repression and neglect since the country's independence in 1948.

The Myanmar government has been repeatedly criticized by human rights groups for failing to protect the Rohingya Muslims.

Hundreds of Rohingyas have been killed and over 140,000 displaced in attacks by extremist Buddhists over the past two years.

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