While the news that Médecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) will be allowed to continue their work in most of Burma is certainly welcome, the decision by the Burmese government to shut down the MSF’s operations in Rakhine state continues a trend of denying rights to the Muslim population who lives there.
November 9, 2013 marks the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, or “crystal night.” On this day in 1938, Nazis in Germany staged state-sanctioned, anti-Jewish riots that demolished windows of Jewish shops & burned down synagogues, hospitals, & cultural institutions.
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.