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Myanmar

    January 17, 2018

    Reacting to the police shooting dead at least eight protesters in Mrauk-U in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “These shocking killings are yet another example of Myanmar security forces’ contempt for human life. Even if protesters were throwing stones and bricks, nothing can justify police apparently firing into a crowd of thousands. This is a clear case of excessive use of force in violation of the right to life.

    “The lethal use of force must be independently investigated, and those responsible held to account. Far too often, police in Myanmar are allowed to escape unpunished after committing violations, allowing the cycle of impunity and abuse to continue.

    “The Myanmar authorities have a long and chequered history of using any means necessary to curb expressions of dissent. It is high time the Myanmar police better train and equip their staff in non-violent methods of crowd control. In particular, the authorities need to ensure that police have non-lethal means of force at their disposal to use where unavoidable.”

     

    January 16, 2018

    Responding to an announcement by the Bangladeshi Foreign Ministry that it will aim to repatriate all Rohingya refugees within two years, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “With memories of rape, killing and torture still fresh in the minds of Rohingya refugees, plans for their return to Myanmar are alarmingly premature. The timeframe announced today was made without any consultation with the Rohingya themselves, and offers no assurances that people will be able to return voluntarily.

    “The most recent campaign of violence against the Rohingya was preceded by years of entrenched discrimination and abuse and for most of the 650,000 refugees who fled Myanmar last year, returning so soon will be a terrifying prospect. The obfuscation and denials of the Myanmar authorities give no reason to hope that the rights of returning Rohingya would be protected, or that the reasons for their original flight no longer exist.

    January 10, 2018

    Following today’s admission by Myanmar’s military that security forces and villagers summarily killed 10 captured Rohingya people and buried them in a mass grave outside Inn Din, a village in Maungdaw, Rakhine State, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “This grisly admission is a sharp departure from the army’s policy of blanket denial of any wrongdoing. However, it is only the tip of the iceberg and warrants serious independent investigation into what other atrocities were committed amid the ethnic cleansing campaign that has forced out more than 655,000 Rohingya from Rakhine State since last August.

    “It is appalling that soldiers have attempted to justify extrajudicial executions by saying they were needed as reinforcements elsewhere and did not know what to do with the men. Such behaviour shows a contempt for human life which is simply beyond comprehension.

    January 09, 2018

    The Myanmar authorities must immediately release two journalists from the Reuters news agency who have been arbitrarily detained for investigating military abuses in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, Amnesty International said.

    The two journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, are due in court tomorrow. They had been investigating the recent military operations in Rakhine State when they were arrested on 12 December 2017.

    “Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo must be immediately and unconditionally released. They have done absolutely nothing but carrying out their legitimate work as journalists. This is clearly an attempt by the authorities to silence investigations into military violations and crimes against Rohingya in Rakhine State, and to scare other journalists away from doing the same,” said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    December 20, 2017

    Reacting to the news that the Myanmar authorities have denied access to UN Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “The Myanmar government’s decision to bar the Special Rapporteur from accessing the country is outrageous. It is a further indication that authorities will do anything they can to avoid international scrutiny of their human rights record.

    “At a time when the security forces stand accused of crimes against humanity during their vicious campaign against the Rohingya, accountability for human rights violations are crucially important. The international community must urge the authorities to allow Yanghee Lee access. It is the ordinary people and victims of human rights abuses who continue to suffer.

    “The Myanmar military claim they have done nothing wrong during the past months. If so, the authorities should have nothing to hide – why are they denying access for independent and impartial investigators?”

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    December 14, 2017

    Contrast VR and Amnesty International immerse viewers in Rohingya crisis with Forced to Flee

    DOHA, SAN FRANCISCO, LONDON (December 12, 2017) – A man forced to bury his son after watching Myanmar’s military kill him, a woman who was gang-raped by soldiers, and another woman who had her family murdered and house burnt down – these are only three of the Rohingya refugees who share their harrowing stories in a hard-hitting new virtual reality documentary released today.

    Forced to Flee, launched jointly by Contrast VR, Al Jazeera Media Network’s new immersive studio and Amnesty International was directed and produced by Contrast VR Editorial Lead Zahra Rasool, co-produced by Viktorija Mickute and edited by Maria Fernanda Lauret. It was shot in late October in Kutupalong camp, Bangladesh, which is now home to more than 620,000 Rohingya refugees who fled ethnic cleansing in neighbouring Myanmar’s Rakhine State since late August.

    In the immersive film, Rohingya women and men recount the horrors of fleeing systematic and widespread violations and urge the world to secure their basic rights.

    December 11, 2017

    New virtual reality film Forced to Flee drives home dire situation of Rohingya refugees

    December 05, 2017

    Responding to the failed attempt by China, Philippines and Burundi to vote down a UN Human Rights Council resolution on the situation of the Rohingya and other minorities in Myanmar, Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “The adoption of today’s resolution demonstrates the broad international concern about the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people so brutally impacted by the ongoing crimes against humanity in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. By voting against it, China and others showed how woefully out of step they are with world opinion on the crisis.

    “China has the diplomatic, humanitarian and economic resources to make a real difference in the lives of the Rohingya. But its current maneuvering simply seeks to intervene only to preserve impunity for horrific crimes.

    November 29, 2017

    The Bangladesh government must abandon all plans to relocate more than 100,000 Rohingya refugees on to an uninhabitable island, Amnesty International said today.

    On Tuesday, the Bangladesh government approved a $280 million plan to develop the isolated, flood-prone and uninhabitable Thenger Char to temporarily house Rohingya refugees until they are repatriated to Myanmar.

    “It would be a terrible mistake to relocate the Rohingya refugees to an uninhabitable island that is far from other refugee settlements and vulnerable to flooding,” said Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

    “Having opened its doors to more than 600,000 Rohingya over the past three months, the Bangladesh government now risks undermining the protection of the Rohingya and squandering the international goodwill it has earned. In its desperation to see the Rohingya leave the camps and ultimately return to Myanmar, it is putting their safety and well-being at risk.”

    The Thenger Char, also known as Bhashan Char island, only emerged into view 11 years ago. During monsoon season, it is highly vulnerable to flooding.

    November 28, 2017

    Reacting to the remarks by Pope Francis during his visit to Myanmar today, Ming Yu Hah, Amnesty International’s Deputy Campaigns Director for South East Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “While it is disappointing that Pope Francis did not use the word Rohingya during his speech in Myanmar today, his calls for respect for all ethnic groups and an inclusive society are welcome. Pope Francis’ visit has also helped focus international attention on Myanmar and the horrific crimes being carried out against the Rohingya people on a daily basis by Myanmar authorities.

    “The real scandal of the visit was the insistence of Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing that ‘there is no discrimination between ethnic groups in Myanmar’. The Myanmar authorities have trapped Rohingya in a system of repression and segregation that amounts to the crime against humanity of apartheid. Myanmar’s security forces, which Senior General Min Aung Hlaing commands, have also carried out a vicious campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya in recent months.

    November 23, 2017
    In response to news that the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh have signed an agreement to return close to a million Rohingya refugees currently in Bangladesh, Amnesty International’s Director for Refugee and Migrant Rights, Charmain Mohamed, said:   “While precise details of this deal have not yet been revealed, talk of returns is clearly premature at a time when Rohingya refugees continue to trickle into Bangladesh on an almost daily basis as they flee ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.   “There can be no safe or dignified returns of Rohingya to Myanmar while a system of apartheid remains in the country, and thousands are held there in conditions that amount to concentration camps. Returns in the current climate are simply unthinkable.   “Myanmar and Bangladesh have clear obligations under international law not to return individuals to a situation in which they are at risk of persecution or other serious human rights violations.  
    November 20, 2017
    Rohingya segregated and abused in “open air prison” Two-year investigation reveals root causes of current Rakhine State crisis System of discrimination amounts to the crime against humanity of apartheid

    The Rohingya people in Myanmar are trapped in a vicious system of state-sponsored, institutionalised discrimination that amounts to apartheid, said Amnesty International today as it publishes a major new analysis into the root causes of the current crisis in Rakhine State.

    “Caged without a roof” puts into context the recent wave of violence in Myanmar, when the security forces killed Rohingya people, torched whole villages to the ground, and drove more than 600,000 to flee across the border into Bangladesh.

    November 14, 2017

    By Omar Waraich, Deputy South Asia Director at Amnesty International

    STANDING by Bangladesh’s border with Myanmar, we watched the refugees slowly cross the thick, lime-green paddy fields. They wore signs of exhaustion. Their faces were drawn and their bare feet badly bruised. They gratefully accepted the rations being offered by aid workers: a bottle of water to quench their thirst, a high-energy biscuit to restore their strength, and an offer of rest in the shade after days, sometimes weeks-long, arduous journeys.

    A European aid worker suddenly turned to me and asked, “Do you think there’s any Western country that would take in this many people?” It was a question that did not anticipate an answer. At a time when refugees face what Pope Francis has hauntingly termed “the globalisation of indifference”, Bangladesh stands out for opening its doors.

    November 13, 2017

    In response to findings released today after the Myanmar military’s internal investigation into violence in northern Rakhine State since 25 August, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “Once again, Myanmar’s military is trying to sweep serious violations against the Rohingya under the carpet.

    October 20, 2017

    More countries need to step up and pledge their support for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh amid an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, Amnesty International said today.

    The meeting of high-level representatives of donor countries at the UN’s office in Geneva on Monday must include pledges of new money, including from countries in the region, to support rising numbers of Rohingya refugees who have sought shelter in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district.

    The recent influx estimated to be nearly 600,000 people has brought the total Rohingya refugee community in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district to more than 800,000.

    “This is an unprecedented crisis that needs an immediate and sustained response from the international community. This means that more countries, particularly those from the region, need to play a much bigger role and share the burden of responsibility. Bangladesh, a poor country which has shown extraordinary generosity, cannot be left to deal with this situation alone,” said Omar Waraich, Deputy South Asia Director at Amnesty International.

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