December 31, 2012
Thousands of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar have fled the country, with many taking incredible risks to reach Australia, to avoid religious persecution, Press TV reports.
Myanmar’s government refuses to recognize Rohingya Muslims as citizens and labels the minority of about 800,000 as “illegal” immigrants.
The persecuted minority have faced torture, neglect, and repression in Myanmar since it achieved independence in 1948.
Saeed Kazim, a Rohingya Muslim who fled to Australia, told Press TV on Monday, “The Burmese military came and arrested me. They took me to a military camp. They really tortured me. They beat me.”
On December 25, the United Nations General Assembly issued a resolution expressing concern over the persecution of Muslims in Myanmar. The resolution called on Myanmar’s government to “protect all their (Muslims) human rights, including their right to a nationality.”
The UN resolution also stated that there are “systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms” in Myanmar.
Hundreds of Rohingyas are believed to have been killed and thousands displaced in attacks by the Buddhist extremists. The assaults have been mainly carried out in the western state of Rakhine.
Myanmar’s army forces have reportedly provided the extremists with containers of petrol for torching the houses of Muslim villagers.
Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition leader in Myanmar, has come under fire for her stance on the ethnic violence. The Nobel Peace laureate has refused to censure Myanmar’s military for its persecution of the Rohingyas.
Rohingya Muslims are said to be descendants of Persian, Turkish, Bengali, and Pathan origins, who immigrated to Myanmar as early as the 8th century.