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Burma Lifts Curfew That Has Been In Place For Four Years In Rakhine State

A curfew that has been in place in Western Rakhine state since the 2012 pogroms stoked by extremist Buddhist nationalists against Rohingya Muslims has been lifted. The AP reports that, “State media reported President Thein Sein lifted the nighttime curfew on Monday on the recommendation of the state government, which felt it was no longer necessary.”

Questions remain: will the Rohingya who are locked up in concentration camps be allowed to finally return to their homes and reclaim their lost property? Will they be recompensed for damages and injuries? What process of reconciliation will be put into place to achieve the much needed communal harmony? How will prevalent narratives of hatred and misunderstanding be challenged and vanquished?

The lifting of the curfew has not been received enthusiastically by all, one Rakhine state lawmaker expressed uncertainty, while at the same time denying the Rohingya their self-identity and generalizing them as violent: “Maung Kyaw Zin, a lawmaker of the lower house from Rakhine state said, ‘I’ve read about (the lifting of the curfew) in the newspapers but I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not because there are a lot of Bengalis there. I don’t want to talk about it.'” These attitudes are commonplace in Rakhine state where scapegoating of the Rohingya by political and community leaders for all the ills faced by ethnic Rakhine is pervasive.

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