Few suffer like the Rohingya Muslims, one of the world’s most persecuted people. Denied citizenship and discriminated against at every turn, they face continued violence in the country’s western Rakhine (Arakan) state. This violence is often instigated by monks and perpetrated by mobs and local militias, including police.
Based on sources within and outside of Myanmar, our report confirms that over the past year, attackers have torched villages and killed more than 1,000 civilians, while driving more than 100,000 into squalid refugee camps where they are routinely denied adequate food, medical aid, and shelter from the oncoming monsoons. Women have reportedly been raped and used as sex slaves by the military and local militias and police have blocked aid to the destitute.
Christians, particularly the Kachin and Chin ethnic minorities, have also endured severe religious freedom abuses and societal discrimination, including restrictions on building houses of worship, destruction of religious venues and artifacts, bans on certain religious ceremonies, and efforts to press their children to embrace Buddhism. In renewed violence in Kachin state in January, the military targeted Christians for rape and forced labor through kidnapping.
Indeed, across the country, the government has failed to halt the military’s depredations or hold individuals accountable for sectarian violence. It also continues to censor religious publications and ban the importing of Bibles and Qurans in indigenous languages.