USCIRF Annual Report 2014 | Burma
The Plight of the Rohingya Muslim Minority
Muslims in Rakhine (Arakan) state, and particularly those of the Rohingya minority group, continue to experience the most severe forms of legal, economic, religious, educational, and social restrictions and discrimination. The government denies citizenship to Rohingyas. Without citizenship, Rohingyas lack access to secondary education in state-run schools, cannot be issued government identification cards (essential to receiving government benefits), and face restrictions on freedoms of religion, association, and movement. In some areas, Muslims were allowed to gather for worship and religious training only during major Muslim holidays. The government recently ordered the destruction of mosques, religious centers, and schools. In his 2013 report, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Burma again reported to the UN Human Rights Council on the systematic and endemic discrimination against the Muslim community.
In the past year, Rohingya asylum seekers have been turned away from Bangladesh and Thailand, including being forcibly pushed back to sea by Thai military forces. Untold numbers have died attempting to seek refuge in third countries. About 300,000 Muslim Rohingya live, often in squalid conditions, in refugee camps in Bangladesh, Thailand, and other Southeast Asian countries, and face discrimination, trafficking, and other hardships.