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Myanmar

    September 13, 2017
    ‘Your brother has been killed,’ the Myanmar soldier said. ‘You can come out of hiding and take him.’

    By Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International crisis response director

    As you approach the fishing village of Shamlapur, near the long, sloping sand beach of Cox’s Bazar, the sense that something is wrong grows. Tens of thousands of exhausted people step out of ramshackle boats that have carried them across the Naf River after an arduous journey from Myanmar. Weary and traumatized, they seek shelter anywhere they can — in one school I entered, hundreds, about half of them children, had gathered in silence. There wasn’t a cry or a laugh; even the babies were listless and deathly silent.

    September 12, 2017

    Follow Tirana Hassan, Amnesty's director of the research and crisis response unit, for live updates from Bangladesh @TiranaHassan.

    In recent weeks, around 250,000 Rohingya refugees have fled into Bangladesh, as a result of an unlawful and totally disproportionate military response to attacks by a Rohingya armed group.

    Here, Amnesty International explains this people’s plight, their state-sponsored persecution, and the crisis’ wide-ranging humanitarian effects.

    TAKE ACTION > Sign Amnesty's petition to the government of Myanmar

    A persecuted people 

    The Rohingya is a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority of about 1.1 million living mostly in Rakhine state, west Myanmar, on the border with Bangladesh.

    Though they have lived in Myanmar for generations, the Myanmar government insists that all Rohingyas are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. It refuses to recognize them as citizens, effectively rendering the majority of them stateless. 

    September 11, 2017

    Two new landmine incidents today, including a blast blowing off a young man’s leg, bring to three the number of known sites where Myanmar authorities have mined border crossings used by Rohingya fleeing violence, Amnesty International said.

    A Bangladeshi farmer in his early 20s stepped on a landmine near the Bangladeshi village of Baish Bari this morning when he was herding cattle in a buffer zone along the border with Myanmar. Witnesses told the organization of a Rohingya man being rushed to medical treatment in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh today, after a separate landmine blast near the Bangladeshi village Amtali, another known border crossing point.

    “All indications point to the Myanmar security forces deliberately targeting locations that Rohingya refugees use as crossing points. This a cruel and callous way of adding to the misery of people fleeing a systematic campaign of persecution,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty international's Crisis Response Director, who is currently on the Bangladeshi side of the border.

    September 09, 2017

    Myanmar’s security forces planted internationally banned antipersonnel landmines along its border with Bangladesh which have seriously injured at least three civilians, including two children, and reportedly killed one man in the past week, Amnesty International confirmed today.

    Based on interviews with eyewitnesses and analysis by its own weapons experts, Amnesty International has documented what seems to be targeted use of landmines along a narrow stretch forming part of the north-western border of Rakhine State, where the United Nations estimates 270,000 people have fled a major military operation in the past fortnight.

    “This is another low in what is already a horrific situation in Rakhine State. The Myanmar military’s callous use of inherently indiscriminate and deadly weapons at highly trafficked paths around the border is putting the lives of ordinary people at enormous risk,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director, who is currently near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

    September 05, 2017
      Prime Minister Narendra Modi should use his official visit to Myanmar to urge authorities there to take urgent steps to protect civilians in violence-hit Rakhine State and lift restrictions on international humanitarian aid to Rakhine, Amnesty International India said today. Thousands of people, mainly Rohingya, are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign in Rakhine.

    “Prime Minister Modi needs to tell Myanmar’s leadership that they are not doing enough to protect all communities in the state, whether it is stopping military abuses targeting the Rohingya or restricting crucial humanitarian access for people in need,” said Aakar Patel, Executive Director at Amnesty International India.

    “As a historic friend of Myanmar, India can play an important role in defusing tensions and saving civilian lives. Prime Minister Modi must urge the Myanmar authorities to address the long-standing and systematic discrimination against Rohingya and other Muslims in Rakhine State, which has left people trapped in a cycle of violence and deprivation.”

    September 04, 2017

    The Myanmar authorities’ restrictions on international aid in Rakhine state is putting tens of thousands of lives at risk in a region where mainly Rohingya people are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign, Amnesty International said today.

    Aid workers told Amnesty International of an increasingly desperate humanitarian situation in Rakhine state, where the military has been engaged in a large-scale operation since attacks on dozens of security posts on 25 August, claimed by the armed group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.

    “Rakhine state is on the precipice of a humanitarian disaster. Nothing can justify denying life-saving aid to desperate people. By blocking access for humanitarian organizations, Myanmar’s authorities have put tens of thousands of people at risk and shown a callous disregard for human life,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Director for Crisis Response.

    “These restrictions will affect all communities in Rakhine State. The government must immediately change course and allow humanitarian organizations full and unfettered access to all parts of the state to assist people in need.”

    August 24, 2017

    Reacting to the final report issued today by the Kofi Annan-led Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “People in Rakhine State, in particular the Muslim Rohingya minority, have suffered a horrific catalogue of rights abuses for decades. This comprehensive report released by the Commission today clearly outlines many of the steps Myanmar’s authorities must take to end discrimination and segregation in the region.

    “The government has spent the past year playing for time and trying to hide behind the Commission, but has now run out of excuses not to act. Authorities in Myanmar must swiftly move to implement the report’s recommendations for improving the human rights situation and ending discrimination. In particular, they must urgently lift restrictions on movement, allow full access for humanitarian workers and media, and review and amend the country’s discriminatory citizenship laws.

    August 04, 2017
      Responding to mounting reports of violence in northern Rakhine State, including the deaths of Buddhist and Rohingya villagers in the last week, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific James Gomez said: 

    “The alarming reports of attacks in northern Rakhine State underscore the need for everyone operating in the area to refrain from violence before it spirals out of control. 

    July 27, 2017
      The Myanmar authorities must immediately and unconditionally release three journalists who were arrested in conflict-ridden northern Shan State last month, Amnesty International said ahead of their trial tomorrow.                                    Aye Nai and Pyae Phone Aung, both reporters for the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), and Thein Zaw (aka Lawi Weng), a reporter for the Irrawaddy newspaper, were arrested on 26 June, along with four other people they were travelling with.   They have since been charged under the Unlawful Association Act and could face up to three years in prison if convicted. Three others arrested with them are also facing charges, including under the same Act, while a seventh man arrested on 26 June has since been released.  
    July 14, 2017
    Joint Statement by 68 organisations   We, the undersigned civil society organizations, condemn the arrest, detention and prosecution of six people, including three journalists, under the 1908 Unlawful Associations Act in Myanmar. We demand that the charges against them are dropped and that the three journalists are immediately and unconditionally released, as they have been detained solely in connection with their peaceful journalistic activities.   The three journalists, Thein Zaw (also known as Lawi Weng) from the Irrawaddy magazine, Aye Nai and Pyae Phone Aung from the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), as well as those with them at the time, Mai Tun Aye, Mai San Nyunt, and Mai Aung Kham, were detained by the military on 26 June, 2017 in northern Shan State. They were detained after attending a ceremony in an area controlled by the ethnic armed organization, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).  
    July 14, 2017
    Joint Statement by 68 organisations   We, the undersigned civil society organizations, condemn the arrest, detention and prosecution of six people, including three journalists, under the 1908 Unlawful Associations Act in Myanmar. We demand that the charges against them are dropped and that the three journalists are immediately and unconditionally released, as they have been detained solely in connection with their peaceful journalistic activities.   The three journalists, Thein Zaw (also known as Lawi Weng) from the Irrawaddy magazine, Aye Nai and Pyae Phone Aung from the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), as well as those with them at the time, Mai Tun Aye, Mai San Nyunt, and Mai Aung Kham, were detained by the military on 26 June, 2017 in northern Shan State. They were detained after attending a ceremony in an area controlled by the ethnic armed organization, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).  
    July 14, 2017
    Pastors Dumdaw Nawng Lat and his nephew Langjaw Gam Seng are now in police custody after showing journalists the destruction in Monekoe town caused by what they say was Myanmar Army airstrikes.

    Pastors Dumdaw Nawng Lat and his nephew Langjaw Gam Seng are now in police custody after showing journalists the destruction in Monekoe town caused by what they say was Myanmar Army airstrikes. Photo courtesty of Baptist News Global.

    Download PDF of most recent update to UA 13/17 Myanmar

    13b Myanmar.pdf 13b Myanmar.pdf

     

    June 19, 2017

    By Matthew Wells, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International

    When Ngau Masar watched her husband Le Mei Tah speed off on his motorbike on the morning of 4 December 2016, little did she know she might never see him again.

    Two weeks earlier, heavy fighting had prompted the family to flee to China from their village in northern Myanmar. When they returned, they joined thousands of others in makeshift camps near the border. Soldiers remained ubiquitous in the area’s villages, where some houses showed damage from airstrikes. There was no feed left for their farm animals, so Ngau Masar asked Le Mei Tah if he could go to a neighbouring village to grind grain. That was the last she saw or heard of him, as he was one of two people disappeared by the Myanmar Army that day.

    June 14, 2017

    Released  05:30GMT/12:00 noon MMT on 14 June 2017

    Civilians from minority ethnic groups suffer appalling violations and abuses, including war crimes, at the hands of Myanmar’s military and ethnic armed groups in the country’s Kachin and northern Shan states, Amnesty International said today in a new report based on three recent trips to the conflict area.

    ‘All the Civilians Suffer’: Conflict, Displacement and Abuse in Northern Myanmar details how soldiers from the Tatmadaw, as Myanmar’s Armed Forces are known, mete out torture and extrajudicial executions, shell civilian villages indiscriminately and place punitive restrictions on movement and humanitarian access.

    Meanwhile, some ethnic armed groups at times abduct civilians seen to support an opposing party, forcibly recruit men, women and children into their fighting forces and impose “taxes” on impoverished villagers trapped in the conflict.

    March 24, 2017

    An internationally mandated fact-finding mission to look at human rights violations in Myanmar is welcome, urgently needed and long overdue, Amnesty International said today.

    “The announcement of an independent international fact-finding mission to look into human rights violations in Myanmar is long overdue. After the Myanmar government’s failure to establish a credible investigation into the security forces’ crimes against the Rohingya in northern Rakhine State, there is an urgent need for a team of international experts examine alleged violations there, in Kachin and in northern Shan State,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    “The Myanmar government should welcome the fact-finding mission and assist it in every possible way with its work. The world has a right to know the full truth of events after Amnesty International and the UN both found that human rights violations against the Rohingya may amount to crimes against humanity.”

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