On November 3, 2013, a boat carrying at least 70 Rohingya men, women, and children sank off of the coast of Burma. The boat was allegedly headed for Malaysia, where these displaced Rohingyas sought safety from the ongoing persecution and violence in Burma.
Rakhine state, on the western coast of Burma, is among the most dangerous places in the world to be a Muslim. Just over a year ago, simmering tensions and small-scale clashes erupted into mass violence between Buddhist Rakhines and Muslim Rohingya, a minority of about 800,000 whose roots in Burma are several centuries old.
August 8, 2013 marks the 25th anniversary of the 8/8/88 uprising in Burma, when the Burmese military brutally suppressed pro-democracy protesters. Student leaders initiated the demonstrations in Rangoon to protest corruption, government mismanagement, and the lack of economic reforms.
PHR has joined 75 other organizations in expressing concern about the ongoing human rights violations and humanitarian crisis occurring in Burma. Their joint statement expresses deep concern for the Rohingya, a stateless minority that has long been persecuted and subjected to countless acts of violence, persecution, and discrimination.
A presidential statement by the Human Rights Council for an end to violence against Muslims in Burma is a welcome step but does not go far enough to protect minorities and should call for an international investigation.