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For Immediate Release

Latest Wave of Killings and Arrests in Burma Must be Investigated

More than 40 Muslims Reportedly Killed in Latest Incident

Media Contact

Vesna Jaksic Lowe, MS

Media Relations Manager, New York
Tel: 917-679-0110

New York, NY - 01/23/2014

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has expressed concern over reports of mass killings and arrests of Rohingya Muslims in Burma, and called on the Burmese authorities to urgently investigate the incidents and hold all those responsible accountable for these crimes.

The United Nations has said more than 40 Muslims were killed in a village in western Burma last week, and called on the Burmese government to immediately launch an investigation. Reports have also cited that a verbal order was issued to arrest all Rohingya boys and men over the age of 10 in the area around Du Char Yar Tan, a village in northern Rakhine state where the killings reportedly took place.

“If the order to indiscriminately arrest Rohingya proves to be true, it would be a shocking escalation of the government’s trend of state-sponsored violence against the Rohingya community,” said Andrea Gittleman, PHR’s senior legislative counsel. “The government of Burma must immediately end any unlawful arrests and detentions, and turn a corner on its long-standing persecution against the Rohingya.”

PHR stressed the need for unfettered access for humanitarian organizations, journalists, and human rights investigators. While the United States has eased some sanctions against Burma, the U.S. government should assert its authority under the remaining frameworks for sanctions to press the government of Burma to ensure humanitarian access in these areas.

PHR has documented the massacre of Muslims in the central Burmese town of Meiktila in March 2013 and subsequently published a report on systematic patterns of anti-Muslim violence that have spread throughout the country. About 140,000 Rohingya are internally displaced in Rakhine state, and hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee Burma. The Rohingya have long been discriminated against and are believed to be one of the world’s most persecuted ethnic groups.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. We are supported by the expertise and passion of health professionals and concerned citizens alike.

Since 1986, PHR has conducted investigations in more than 40 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the United States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe.

  • 1986 — Led investigations of torture in Chile gaining freedom for heroic doctors there
  • 1988 — First to document the Iraqi use of chemical weapons on Kurds providing               evidence for prosecution of war criminals
  • 1996 — Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans and Rwanda to provide evidence for               International Criminal Tribunals
  • 1997 — Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  • 2003 — Warned US Policymakers on health and human rights conditions prior to and               during the invasion of Iraq
  • 2004 — Documented genocide and sexual violence in Darfur in support of international               prosecutions
  • 2010 — Investigated the epidemic of violence spread by Burma’s military junta
  • 2011 — Championed the principle of noninterference with medical services in times of               armed conflict and civil unrest during the Arab Spring
  • 2012 — Trained doctors, lawyers, police, and judges in the Democratic Republic of the               Congo, Kenya, and Syria on the proper collection of evidence in sexual               violence cases
  • 2013 — Won first prize in the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention with MediCapt, our               mobile app that documents evidence of torture and sexual violence

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