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US-Based Burmese Muslim Group Calls On NLD Govt To End Rohingya Persecution, Restore Rights

In a conference held in Los Angeles on Saturday by the Burmese American Muslims Association (BAMA), an international panel of speakers condemned the ongoing persecution of Burma’s Rohingya minority, placing it within the framework of genocide, and calling on the country’s current government to restore the marginalized group’s rights.

The event, entitled Myanmar Muslims Genocide Awareness Convention 2016, was broadcast live online and featured speeches by Shwe Maung, a former Rohingya member of Burma’s Parliament, civil rights activist Htay Lwin Oo, and Maung Zarni, a scholar and non-resident research fellow with Cambodia’s Sleuk Rith Institute.

Former United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Burma, Tomás Ojea Quintana, and president of Genocide Watch, Gregory Stanton, delivered pre-recorded talks.

“Many scholars and experts believe that the conditions and elements of a genocide in process have been present in Myanmar against the Rohingya, especially during the military government,” said Quintana, who served as rapporteur from 2008-2014. “But they’re also saying that those conditions are not changing with this civilian government.”

“The situation needs to urgently be addressed by the Myanmar government,” he continued, citing limitations to an estimated 140,000 displaced Rohingyas’ freedom of movement, a lack of food and access to healthcare, and episodes of violence against the community.

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