Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Markus Löning today (29 October) issued a statement on the outbreaks of violence in Rakhine state in Myanmar:
“I am very concerned about the renewed outbreaks of violence in Rakhine. In the last few days alone, more than 70 people have again been killed in ethnic-religious conflicts. In the last few months, tens of thousands of people have been displaced and their villages destroyed. The vast majority of the victims are from the Muslim Rohingya minority.
We have high hopes for the opening up of Myanmar. Democracy-building offers people huge opportunities. However, the weak must not be forgotten.
I call on the parties to the conflict in Rakhine to end the violence immediately. Furthermore, I appeal to all politicians and those in authority in Myanmar to protect the weak and to find a solution for Rakhine without delay. This means calling loud and clear for moderation, dialogue and an end to the violence. Buddhists and Muslims, as well as other ethnic and religious groups, should be able to live together in peace and freedom.”
Around 800,000 Rohingya live in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. In 1982 the Muslim minority was denied Burmese citizenship following an amendment to the law. There have been repeated violent conflicts between Buddhists and the Rohingya during the last few months. Several hundred people have been killed, while more than 100,000 people have been displaced or have fled their homes.