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ISNA Calls for Human Rights for Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

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(Washington, DC - July 12, 2012) The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) expresses its profound concern about the current violence against members of the Rohingya Muslim community, which have long experienced great hardship and oppression in their home country of Myanmar.  In addition, Rohingya Muslims require government permission to marry, are forbidden from having more than two children per family, and are subjected to modern-day slavery through forced labor.  Because the national government denies them the right to citizenship in their homeland, many Rohingyas have their land confiscated and they are restricted from travel.

ISNA rejects these ongoing oppressive policies and is deeply sorrowed by the recent killing of innocent Rohingya Muslims.  We stand firmly against the usage of ethnic and religious differences to perpetrate the persecution of minority communities, regardless of country, religion, or circumstance.   The government of Myanmar's current course of action is unacceptable, and the Rohingya people must be afforded basic human rights.  

After sectarian violence broke out last month in the Arakan state of Myanmar, Human Rights Watch reported that military and law enforcement officials have responded with "biased" and "brutal force" against Rohingya groups.  While the government of Myanmar stated that the situation was improving, the World Food Programme reported that the most recent wave of violence displaced approximately 90,000 people. Amnesty International noted many of these displaced individuals "still lack adequate food, water, shelter, and medical attention" and are hindered from obtaining access to local and international aid groups.

On Monday, ISNA joined Amnesty International and other organizations for a press conference to draw attention to this devastating humanitarian crisis.  Together we urged the State Department not to forget the plight of the Rohingya Muslim people in its conduct diplomatic negotiations with Myanmar.  At this critical moment, the U.S. and all nations must call for peaceful coexistence in Myanmar and a new way forward for the Rohingya people. 

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