A draft government plan would entrench discriminatory policies that deprive Rohingya Muslims in Burma of citizenship and lead to the forced resettlement of over 130,000 displaced Rohingya into closed camps, Human Rights Watch said today. Burma’s international donors, the United Nations, and other influential actors should press the government to substantively revise or rescind its Rakhine State Action Plan.
The plan follows the April 2013 recommendations of the Rakhine Investigative Commission, established by President Thein Sein after widespread killings and violence against Rohingya in 2012 in the state. The plan, a copy of which was obtained by Human Rights Watch, does not recognize the term Rohingya, referring throughout to “Bengalis,” an inaccurate and derogatory term commonly used by Burmese officials and nationalist Buddhists. Muslims are only mentioned in the plan with reference to religious schools.
“The long-awaited Rakhine State Action Plan both expands and solidifies the discriminatory and abusive Burmese government policies that underpin the decades-long persecution of the Rohingya,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director. “It is nothing less than a blueprint for permanent segregation and statelessness that appears designed to strip the Rohingya of hope and force them to flee the country.”