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Analysis: Are the Rohingyas better treated under Democracy?

By Islam Channel
May 20, 2014

The relationship between Burma's Buddhist population and the minority Rohingya Muslims has long been strained. But In the past few years, violence between the two has dramatically increased. 

In 2012, Buddhist extremists attacked the Muslim dominated village of Rakhine, resulting in hundreds of Rohingya being killed, and thousands more displaced. And last year, more than 40 Rohingya were massacred in the town of Meikhtila, in Central Myanmar.

The Rohingya have also face a great deal of discrimination at both local and regional levels. According to the most recent reports, the Rohingya have less access to healthcare, education and basic necessities, and theyre also more likely to be arrested, abused and harassed by the authorities. In fact, even as Burma prepared for its first ever democratic election in 2010, they were not allowed to vote because the state didn't recognise them as citizens.

So what is the situation in Burma, one year after the Meiktilla Massacre? Why is there so much animosity to the Rohingyas? And why has the international community remained silent on the issue?

We spoke to Assed Baig, a freelance journalist who was on the ground covering the Mektilla massacre.

Joining Jonathan Steele to discuss this is Tun Khin, President of the Burmese Rohingya Organization in the UK, and Kyaw-Win, Secretary of the Burmese Muslim Association. And on Skype, we are joined by Lillianne Fan, Research Fellow and the Overseas Development Institute.

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