A report released yesterday alleges that the Myanmar government has in place official policies that deny Rohingya Muslims the same rights as others in the country, including population control measures and restrictions on their movements.
Released by Fortify Rights, a Southeast Asia-based human rights organisation, the report also highlights other discriminatory policies applied to the Rohingya, including restrictions on marriage, childbirth and construction of places of worship.
Matthew Smith, executive director of Fortify Rights, said analysis of a dozen leaked official and public records detail restrictions on the right to travel freely, practice religion, repair homes, marry and to have families — the only place in the Buddhist nation of 60 million that has limited parents to two children.
While these policies have long been known, in some cases dating back decades, this is the first time the orders have been made public, he said, describing the chilling effect of seeing them in writing.
"It represents a level of planning and knowledge among Myanmar authorities that raises the abuses to the threshold of crimes against humanity," said Smith. "These abuses have been carried out for years with complete impunity, driving the population into the ground."
There was no immediate reaction from the government.The group said, to the best of its knowledge, almost all the policies are still in place and enforced.
Myanmar, which only recently emerged from a half-century of brutal military rule, has been hit by sectarian violence since it began its bumpy transition to democracy in 2011. As many as 280 people have been killed, most of them Rohingya attacked by Buddhist mobs, and another 140,000 forced to flee their homes.
Confidential documents published in the 79-page report reveal that official orders issued by Rakhine state authorities from 1993 to 2008 outline consistent state policies restricting Rohingya.