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Religion or belief: discrimination based on

  • Discrimination against Muslims
    See also the Arakan (Rakhine) State sub-section under States and Regions of Burma/Myanmar, and Discrimination Against the Rohingya, under Human Rights

    Websites/Multiple Documents

    Title: See also these sections of the Library
    Description/subject: Follow the URL and Alternate URL to the sections on religious violence and the situation in Arakan/Rakhine State
    Language: English, Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ
    Source/publisher: Online Burma/Myanmar Library
    Format/size: html
    Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/show.php?cat=3324&lo=d&sl=0
    http://www.burmalibrary.org/show.php?cat=319&lo=d&sl=0
    Date of entry/update: 02 May 2013


    Individual Documents

    Title: An international task force is needed to help tackle growing religious violence in Burma
    Date of publication: 26 March 2013
    Description/subject: Comment, briefing & analysis from Burma Campaign UK... "The consequences of failing to address the growing religious tensions in Burma are so serious that they justify the urgent creation of a task force which helps Burma’s political and religious leaders, both in government and in opposition, learn from the past experience of the international community in addressing these problems... On 20th March violence erupted in Meiktilar, central Burma, between Buddhists and Muslims. While atrocities were committed on both sides in the ensuing violence, the majority of victims were Muslim, and Muslim shops, Mosques and people were systematically attacked. Many lives have been lost and thousands of people have fled their homes..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Burma Campaign UK (Burma Briefing No. 19)
    Format/size: pdf (140K)
    Date of entry/update: 26 March 2013


    Title: Myanmar: Authorities must protect communities at risk of violence
    Date of publication: 21 March 2013
    Description/subject: "Violence between Buddhist and Muslim communities in Myanmar that reportedly left several people dead demonstrates an urgent need for Myanmar authorities to protect people at risk, Amnesty International said. On Wednesday 20 March, violent clashes broke out between Muslim and Buddhist communities in Meiktila, a town in Myanmar’s Mandalay Division, following a dispute at a Muslim-owned gold shop. According to local sources, several people have been killed. There was also widespread damage to property in the town, including the destruction of mosques and a government building. Tensions between Muslim and Buddhists have been heightened in certain parts of Myanmar, such as in Rakhine state where violence erupted in June 2012..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Amnesty International (Press Release)
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 21 March 2013


    Title: Incident Report: Religious discrimination and restrictions in Papun District, September 2012
    Date of publication: 08 March 2013
    Description/subject: "The following incident report was written by a community member trained by KHRG to monitor human rights abuses in Dwe Lo Township, Papun District, and is based on an interview with a Muslim villager named Saw W---. Saw W--- is a resident of M--- village, situated 20-minutes on foot from K'Ter Tee village, where the incident happened. In the interview, the villager detailed events taking place around the time of September 10th 2012, regarding deterioration in the relationship between Muslim and Buddhist villagers, including a reported attack on a mosque. Further, the community member details the Border Guard Battalion #1013 Company Commander Saw Bah Yoh's issuing of an order prohibiting villagers from buying products from or selling to Muslims and how, after the KHRG community member documented the incident, a Tatmadaw Operations Commander based near K'Ter Tee called a meeting to encourage Buddhist and Muslim villagers to live beside each other peacefully. The community member describes the dissemination of these pamphlets by a monastery to Border Guard soldiers and local monks in K'Ter Tee in a separate situation update, "Papun Situation Update: Bu Tho and Dwe Lo Townships, September to December 2012," KHRG, March 2013.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
    Format/size: pdf (278K), html
    Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2013/khrg13b6.html
    Date of entry/update: 21 March 2013


  • Religious freedom: reports of violations in Burma
    Not a comprehensive list. For more, including updates, go to the publishers' home pages and search. Also use the OBL search function.

    Websites/Multiple Documents

    Title: Religious Groups for Human Rights
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Asian Human Rights Commission - Religious Groups for Human Rights
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 13 September 2003


    Title: US Commission on International Religious Freedom - Countries of Concern: Burma
    Description/subject: USCIRF Annual reports from 2006; Congressional Testimony; Government Correspondence; Hearings & Press Conferences, Press releases etc.
    Source/publisher: US Commission on International Religious Freedom
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 29 April 2011


    Individual Documents

    Title: The state of freedom of religion or belief for Chin in Burma/Myanmar 2013 (English)
    Date of publication: 21 January 2014
    Description/subject: Analysis and recommendations: "Burma’s 2008 Constitution notes the ‘special position’ of Buddhism as the faith practiced by the majority, while Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Animism merely ‘exist’.1 In practice, Buddhism is treated as the de facto State religion in Burma/Myanmar. In the Chin context, this interferes with the basic tenets of freedom of religion or belief as set out in the 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief (the 1981 Declaration) in a number of ways. While State resources continue to be allocated for Buddhist infrastructure, there are ongoing restrictions on land ownership for religious purposes and on building and renovating Christian infrastructure.2 This is in spite of claims made in September by Minister for Religious Affairs U Hsan Hsint that his Ministry had already relaxed some regulations, such as the need to obtain step by step permission for maintaining, renovating, rebuilding, and constructing religious buildings. However, he noted that, "the Ministry will give suggestions" leaving some ambiguity as to how the relaxations would be implemented in practice, or at different levels of government.3 In 2013, senior government officials including President Thein Sein and the Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament Thura Shwe Mann visited Chin State for the first time since the nominally-civilian government took power in March 2011. However, they continued a decades-long pattern of official visits and events held on Sunday mornings in Chin State, with no respect for the right to freedom of religious assembly or the right to observe days of rest in accordance with the precepts of one's religion or belief.4 Discrimination on the basis of religious identity continued to be a serious issue throughout 2013. Christian villagers in a remote part of southern Chin State reported threats to burn down their village if they continued to assemble for Christian worship, made by local government officials. Chin Christians continued to express concern about State resources allocated to the promotion of Buddhism, particularly at the State-run Border Areas National Races Youth Development Training schools (known locally as Na Ta La), where CHRO has previously documented coercion to convert to Buddhism. 5 In a positive development, Chin churches, pastors, Members of Parliament and other key stakeholders have begun to make concerted efforts to challenge the authorities regarding issues of freedom of religion or belief. A panel discussion on freedom of religion or belief at the historic Chin National Conference in Hakha from 12-15 November drew up 12 important recommendations to take forward with the authorities, including calls for the government to grant land ownership rights for religious purposes; guarantee freedom of religious worship, assembly and proselytizing; restore all Christians crosses that were destroyed under various pretexts; and replace the Ministry of Religious Affairs with an independent and impartial religious affairs commission in order to eliminate all kinds of religious discrimination. Recommendations to the Government of Burma/Myanmar 1. Adopt legislation that prohibits direct or indirect discrimination against persons from religious minority backgrounds. Such measures should include lifting the restrictions on land ownership for religious purposes and requirements to seek prior permission for building or renovating religious infrastructure at all levels of government."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Chin Human Rights Organization
    Format/size: pdf (232K)
    Date of entry/update: 21 January 2014


    Title: The state of freedom of religion or belief for Chin in Burma/Myanmar 2013 - အထူးေကာက္ႏုတ္ေဖာ္ျပခ်က္ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံရွိ ခ်င္းလူမ်ိဳးမ်ား၏ ဘာ
    Date of publication: 21 January 2014
    Description/subject: ၁။ေလ့လာဆန္းစစ္ခ်က္နွင့္ အၾကံျပဳခ်က္မ်ား ၂၀၀၈ ခုႏွစ္ ဖြဲ႕စည္းအုပ္ခ်ဳပ္ပံုအေျခခံဥပေဒ တြင္ လူအမ်ားစု ကိုးကြယ္က်င့္သံုးသည္႕ ဘာသာတရား အျဖစ္ ဗုဒၶဘာသာ၏ အထူးအေနအထားကို ေဖာ္ျပထားျပီး ခရစ္ယာန္ဘာသာ၊ အစၥလာမ္ဘာသာ၊ ဟိႏၵဴ ဘာသာ နွင့္ ဘာသာမဲ့ တို႕အခန္းက႑မွာ မူမရွိသေလာက္ျဖစ္ေနသည္။1 လက္ေတြ႕တြင္ ဗုဒၶဘာသာကို ႏိုင္ငံေတာ္ဘာသာ အျဖစ္ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံ အတြင္း၌ က်င့္သံုးေနသည္။ ခ်င္း 2အေျခအေနတြင္မူ အဆုိပါအခ်က္သည္ ဘာသာတရား (သို႕) ယံုၾကည္မႈ ကိုအေျခခံ၍ ပံုစံမ်ိဳးစံုျဖင့္ ခြဲျခားဆက္ဆံျခင္းနွင့္ ညွဥ္းပန္းႏွိပ္စက္မႈမ်ိဳးစံု ပေပ်ာက္ေရးဆိုင္ရာ ၁၉၈၁ ကုလသမဂၢေၾကညာစာတမ္း တြင္ ေဖာ္ျပထားသည္႕ ဘာသာအယူ၀ါဒႏွင့္ ယံုၾကည္ခ်က္ဆိုင္ရာ အေျခခံ ယံုၾကည္ခ်က္မ်ား ႏွင့္ ဆန္႕က်င္ ကြဲလဲြဲေနသည္။ ဗုဒၶဘာသာ အေျခခံအေဆာက္အအံုမ်ားအတြက္ ႏုိင္ငံပိုင္ ရင္းျမစ္မ်ားကို ခြဲတမ္းခ် အသံုးျပဳမႈမ်ား ဆက္လက္ရွိေနသည္႕တုိင္ ခရစ္ယာန္ဘာသာ အေျခခံ အေဆာက္ အအံု မ်ား တည္ေဆာက္ ျပဳျပင္ျခင္း၊ ၀တ္ျပဳကိုးကြယ္ရန္အတြက္ ေျမပိုင္ဆိုင္မႈ စသည္တို႕တြင္ ကန္႕သတ္ တားျမစ္မႈ မ်ား ဆက္လက္ရွိေနေသးသည္။2 စက္တင္ဘာလအတြင္း သာသနာေရး၀န္ၾကီးဌာန ၀န္ၾကီး ဦး ဆန္းဆင့္ မွ ဘာသာေရးဆိုင္ရာ အေဆာက္အအံုမ်ား ထိန္းသိမ္းျခင္း၊ မြမ္းမံျခင္း၊ ျပန္လည္ တည္ေဆာက္ျခင္း နွင့္ အသစ္တည္ေဆာက္ျခင္း စသည္တို႕အတြက္ ခြင့္ျပဳခ်က္မ်ား အဆင့္ဆင့္ ေတာင္းခံေနရျခင္း ကဲ့သို႕ေသာ ကန္႕သတ္ခ်က္မ်ားကို သာသနာေရး၀န္ၾကီးဌာနအေနျဖင့္ မ်ားစြာ ေျဖေလွ်ာ့ေပးထားျပီးျဖစ္ေၾကာင္း အခုိင္အမာ ေျပာၾကားခဲ့သည္႕ ေနာက္ပိုင္းတြင္ပင္ ယင္းသို႕ ဆက္လက္ ျဖစ္ေနျခင္းျဖစ္သည္။ သို႕ရာတြင္ “ ၀န္ၾကီးဌာန အေန နဲ႕ အၾကံျပဳခ်က္ေတြေပးဦးမွာပါ” ဟု လည္း ၀န္ၾကီးမွ ေျပာၾကားခဲ့ျပန္ရာ ကန္႕သတ္ခ်က္မ်ားကို ေျဖေလွ်ာ့ ရာတြင္ လက္ေတြ႕၌ (သို႕) အစိုးရ အဆင့္ဆင့္တြင္ မည္သုိ႕ အေကာင္အထည္ေဖာ္မည္နွင့္ ပတ္သက္၍ မရွင္း မလင္းျဖစ္ ေစသည္။3 ၂၀၁၁ ခုနွစ္ မတ္လတြင္ အမ်ားအေခၚ အရပ္သားအစိုးရ မွ အာဏာလႊဲယူခဲ့ခ်ိန္မွ စတင္၍ သမၼတဦးသိန္းစိန္နွင့္ လႊတ္ေတာ္ဥကၠဌ သူရေရႊမန္းတို႕ အပါအ၀င္ အစိုးရအၾကီးအကဲ မ်ားသည္ ၂၀၁၃ ခုနွစ္အတြင္း ခ်င္းျပည္နယ္ ကို ပထမအၾကိမ္ သြားေရာက္ခဲ့ၾကသည္။ဤသို႕သြားေရာက္ လည္ ပတ္ရာတြင္လည္း လြန္ခဲ့သည္႕ ဆယ္စုနွစ္ မ်ားကအတုိင္းပင္ ျပဳမူခဲ့ၾကသည္။ ခ်င္းျပည္နယ္ သို႕ တနဂၤေႏြေန႕နံနက္မ်ားတြင္သြားေရာက္ကာ အခမ္းအနား မ်ားကို လည္း က်င္းပေစခဲ့တာေၾကာင့္ လြတ္လပ္စြာကိုးကြယ္ယံုၾကည္ခြင့္ ရႈေထာင့္မွ ၾကည္႕ပါက ယင္းသည္ ေဒသခံျပည္သူမ်ား၏ လြတ္လပ္စြာ ၀ပ္ျပဳကိုးကြယ္မႈ (သို႕) ျပည္သူမ်ား၏ အလုပ္ပိတ္ရက္ နားေနမႈ ကို မေလး မစားျပဳျခင္း ျဖစ္ေပသည္။4 ၂၀၁၃ ခုနွစ္တစ္ေလွ်ာက္လံုးတြင္ ကိုးကြယ္ယံုၾကည္မႈအေပၚအေျခခံ ၍ ခြဲျခား ဆက္ဆံ ျခင္း သည္ ၾကီးမားျပင္းထန္သည္႕ အေၾကာင္းအရာ အျဖစ္ ဆက္လက္ျဖစ္ပြားေနခဲ့သည္။ ခ်င္းျပည္နယ္ ေတာင္ပိုင္းရွိ ေ၀းလံေခါင္သီသည္႕ ခရစ္ယာန္ဘာသာ၀င္မ်ား ေနထိုင္ရာ ရြာမ်ားတြင္ ၀တ္ျပဳ ကိုးကြယ္ ရန္ စုေ၀းမႈမ်ား ဆက္လက္ျပဳလုပ္ပါက ရြာမ်ားကို မီးရႈိ႕ပစ္မည္ဟု ျခိမ္းေျခာက္မႈမ်ား ကို ေဒသတြင္းရွိ
    Language: Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ
    Source/publisher: Chin Human Rights Organization
    Format/size: pdf (329K)
    Date of entry/update: 21 January 2014


    Title: US Commission on International Religious Freedom - 2013 - Burma
    Date of publication: 30 April 2013
    Description/subject: "Ongoing and important political reforms in Burma have yet to significantly improve the situation for freedom of religion and belief. During the reporting period, most religious freedom violations occurred against et hnic minority Christian and Muslim communities, with serious abuses against mainly Christian civilia ns during military interventions in Kachin State and sectarian violence by societal actors targeting Muslims in Rakhine (Arakan) State. In addition, Buddhist monks suspected of anti-govern ment activities were detained or removed from their pagodas, and at least eight monks rema in imprisoned for participating in peaceful demonstrations. In addition to sometimes severe restrictions on worship, education, and other religious activities and ceremonies, religious gr oups continue to face a range of problems, including: pervasive surveillance, imprisonment, di scrimination, societal violence, destruction or desecration of property, and censors hip of religious materials. In light of these systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of freedom of religion and belief, USCIRF recommends that Burma again be designa ted as a “country of particular concern” in 2013. The State Department has designated Burma as a CPC since 1999. Over the past year, the Burmese government continued to release po litical and religious prisoners, revised laws on media censorship and freedom of assembly, and allowed Aung San Suu Kyi’s National Democracy Party (NLD) to assume its seats in parliament. Nevertheless, Burma’s overall human rights record remains poor and the government was either unable or unwilling to curtail security forces or social actors who enga ged in serious abuses against religious minorities and others during armed conflicts in Kachin St ate and sectarian violence in Rakhine (Arakan) State. Rohingya Muslims, who are denied Burmese citizenship, experience widespread discrimination, strict controls over their religious activities and ceremonies and societal violence that is often incited by Buddhist monks and carried out with impunity by mobs and local militias, including police in Rakhine (Arakhan) State. In the past year, over 1,000 Rohingya have been killed, their villages and religious structures d estroyed, and women raped during attacks. In Kachin and northern Shan states, home to la rge Christian minority populations, the military conducted large operations beginnin g in January 2013. The military reportedly continues to limit religious worship and forcibly promote Buddhism as a means of pacifica tion in these areas and targets Christians for forced labor, rape, intimida tion, and destruction of religious sites. The government also continues to censor religious pub lications and prohibits the import of Bibles and Qu’rans in indigenous languages . Released prisoners face harassment and restrictions, including U Gambria, the head of the All-Burma Monks Alliance. .."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: US Commission on International Religious Freedom
    Format/size: pdf (116K)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.uscirf.gov/component/tag/burma.html
    http://www.uscirf.gov/reports-and-briefs/individual-country-chapters.html
    Date of entry/update: 02 May 2013


    Title: "All You Can Do is Pray" - Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Burma’s Arakan State
    Date of publication: 22 April 2013
    Description/subject: "This 153-page report describes the role of the Burmese government and local authorities in the forcible displacement of more than 125,000 Rohingya and other Muslims and the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Burmese officials, community leaders, and Buddhist monks organized and encouraged ethnic Arakanese backed by state security forces to conduct coordinated attacks on Muslim neighborhoods and villages in October 2012 to terrorize and forcibly relocate the population. The tens of thousands of displaced have been denied access to humanitarian aid and been unable to return home..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Human Rights Watch
    Format/size: pdf (5MB-OBL version; 15.08-original; Summary and recommendations, 6.73MB)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2013/04/22/all-you-can-do-pray-0
    http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/burma0413_FullForWeb.pdf
    http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/burma0413_brochure_web.pdf (summary and recommendations: Photo feature)
    http://www.hrw.org/features/burma-ethnic-cleansing-arakan-state (slide show)
    http://www.hrw.org/fr/node/115009 (video)
    Date of entry/update: 22 April 2013


    Title: International Religious Freedom Report for 2011
    Date of publication: 30 July 2012
    Description/subject: Executive Summary: "The constitution and other laws and policies restrict religious freedom. The government implemented considerable political reforms, but did not demonstrate a trend toward either improvement or deterioration in respect for and protection of the right to religious freedom. The government maintained restrictions on certain religious activities and limited freedom of religion, although it generally permitted adherents of government-registered religious groups to worship as they chose. While constraints on respect for and protection of the right to religious freedom continued, the community of Christian churches reported a notable easing of restrictions on church building and a positive relationship with the Ministry of Religion, including the ministry’s organization of interfaith dialogues. The government also passed a new law to protect freedom of assembly and procession and provided greater access to ethnic minority areas for U.S. officials and organizations. Religious activities and organizations were subject to restrictions on freedom of expression, association, and assembly. The government continued to monitor the meetings and activities of virtually all organizations, including religious organizations, and required religious groups to seek permission from authorities before holding any large public event. The government continued to restrict the efforts of some Buddhist clergy to promote human rights and political freedom. While some of the Buddhist monks arrested in the violent crackdown that followed prodemocracy demonstrations in September 2007 were released during the year, many remained in prison serving long sentences. The government also actively promoted Theravada Buddhism over other religions, particularly among ethnic minorities. The government eased restrictions on the building of churches following the November 2010 elections. The government continued to monitor Muslim activities closely. Restrictions on worship for other non-Buddhist minority groups also continued. Although there were no new reports of forced conversions of non-Buddhists, authorities in some cases influenced the placement of orphans and homeless youth, preferring Buddhist monasteries to Christian orphanages. Adherence or conversion to Buddhism was an unwritten prerequisite for promotion to most senior government and military ranks. Nearly all senior level officers of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and the armed forces are Buddhists. There were reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice. During the year, social tensions continued between the Buddhist majority and the Christian and Muslim minorities. Widespread prejudice existed against citizens of South Asian origin, many of whom are Muslims. The government continued to refuse to recognize the Muslim Rohingya ethnic minority as citizens and imposed restrictions on their movement and marriage. The U.S. government advocated religious freedom with all sectors of society, including government officials, religious leaders, private citizens, and scholars, diplomats of other governments, and international business and media representatives. Embassy representatives offered support to local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and religious leaders, including through small grants and training programs, and relayed information to otherwise isolated human rights NGOs and religious leaders. Since 1999 the secretary of state has designated Burma as a “Country of Particular Concern” (CPC) under the International Religious Freedom Act for having engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom. The secretary of state redesignated Burma as a CPC on August 18. The U.S. government has a wide array of sanctions in place against the country for its violations of human rights but is taking steps to ease those sanctions as the government has undertaken significant political and economic reform efforts."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of the US Dept. of State
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 06 August 2012


    Title: U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom - Annual Report 2012 (Burma chapter)
    Date of publication: 27 March 2012
    Description/subject: Findings: "The Burmese military is implicated in some of the world‘s worst human rights abuses, including rape, torture, ethnic cleansing, conscription of child soldiers, and particularly severe religious freedom violations. These abuses continued in the past reporting period, despite November 2010 elections that installed a new government and some initial reforms announced during 2011-2012. Religious groups, particularly ethnic minority Christians and Muslims and Buddhist monks suspected of engaging in anti-government activity, faced intrusive monitoring, arrest, mistreatment, destruction or desecration of property, severe restrictions on worship, education, and religious activities, and targeted violence. Monks are still imprisoned for participating in peaceful demonstrations in 2007, and the ban on independent Protestant ―house church‖ activities remains. In light of these continued systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations, USCIRF again recommends in 2012 that Burma be designated as a ―country of particular concern‖ (CPC). The State Department has designated Burma as a CPC since 1999..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)
    Format/size: pdf (119K)
    Date of entry/update: 30 March 2012


    Title: International Religious Freedom Report July-December 2010 (Burma)
    Date of publication: 13 September 2011
    Description/subject: "...There was no change in the government's limited degree of respect for religious freedom during the reporting period. Religious activities and organizations were subject to restrictions on freedom of expression, association, and assembly. The government continued to monitor meetings and activities of virtually all organizations, including religious organizations, and required religious groups to seek permission from authorities before holding any large public event. The government continued to restrict systematically the efforts of Buddhist clergy to promote human rights and political freedom. Many of the Buddhist monks arrested in the violent crackdown that followed prodemocracy demonstrations in September 2007, including prominent activist monk U Gambira, remained in prison serving long sentences. The government also actively promoted Theravada Buddhism over other religions, particularly among ethnic minorities. Christian groups continued to struggle to obtain permission to repair places of worship or build new ones. The government eased some of its travel restrictions on Muslim groups, particularly in the largely Rohingya areas of Rakhine State and predominantly Muslim areas in Rangoon. However, there were reports the government's actions were a quid pro quo to enlist electoral support for the USDP. The regime continued to monitor Muslim activities closely. Restrictions on worship for other non-Buddhist minority groups also continued. Although there were no new reports of forced conversions of non-Buddhists, authorities in some cases influenced the placement of orphans and homeless youth, preferring Buddhist monasteries to Christian orphanages in an apparent effort to prevent Christian groups' or missionaries' influence. Adherence or conversion to Buddhism was an unwritten prerequisite for promotion to senior government and military ranks. Nearly all senior-level officers of the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and the armed forces are Buddhists.."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
    Format/size: html, pdf (129K)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/171649.pdf
    Date of entry/update: 17 September 2011


    Title: Annual Report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom 2011 (section on Burma)
    Date of publication: 28 April 2011
    Description/subject: FINDINGS: "The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), the military junta that governs Burma, remains one of the world‘s worst human rights violators. The SPDC severely restricts religious practice, monitors the activity of all religious organizations, and perpetrates violence against religious leaders and communities, particularly in ethnic minority areas. In the past year, the SPDC has engaged in severe violations of the freedom of religion and belief including: the arrest, mistreatment, and harassment of Buddhist monks who participated in peaceful demonstrations in 2007 or are suspected of anti-government activity; the severe repression and forced relocation of the Rohingya Muslim minority; the banning of independent Protestant ―house church‖ activities; and the abuses, including forced labor, relocations, and destruction of religious sites, against ethnic minority Protestants..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: US Commission on International Religious Freedom
    Format/size: pdf (113K - Burma section; 5.18MB - full report))
    Alternate URLs: http://www.uscirf.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3594
    Date of entry/update: 29 April 2011


    Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2008 - Chapter 12: Freedom of Belief and Religion
    Date of publication: 23 November 2009
    Description/subject: "...Buddhism has traditionally been synonymous with Burman nationalism. The idea of ultra- Burman nationalism has been used by the military regimes to unite Buddhists in solidarity, and to oppress non-Buddhists. Constant rhetoric, such as the saying ‘Buddha Bata, Myanmar Lumyo’ meaning, ‘To be Myanmar is to be Buddhist’ is used by the junta to justify their actions and this ideology remains at the centre of the SPDC’s political philosophy. Consequently, the SPDC has maintained efforts to assimilate all ethnic minority groups into the mainstream Burman society to create a single national identity under the policy of ‘one race, one language, one religion’. Under this ideology, the SPDC promotes Buddhism over all other religions. Evidence of this is seen in the Ministry of Religious Affairs, which contains the Department for the Protection and Propagation of Sasana (Buddhist teaching). Buddhist doctrine features heavily in the state mandated curriculum for all official elementary schools, where students are required to recite Buddhist prayer daily. Moreover, the SPDC continues to operate two Sangha universities, in Rangoon and Mandalay, to train Buddhist monks under the control of the State Monk Coordination Committee. In 2008, there were no official reports of forced conversion of non-Buddhists, however many students and poor youth were pressured heavily by local authorities to convert to Buddhism. Job placement in the public sector and advancement in the military was largely dependent on whether one was a practicing Buddhist or not. Furthermore, one’s religious affiliation was a requirement for all identification cards that citizens and permanent residents were required to be in possession of at all times. In 2008, the military continued to abuse Christians and Muslims and their right to religious freedom. It was reported that members of these religious minority groups were occasionally used for forced labour to serve the military regime. In some cases forced labour was used to destroy mosques, churches or graveyards in order to build Buddhist pagodas.7 Sometimes these Buddhist pagodas would even be built using forced labour in areas with a low Buddhist population even though, the Religious Affairs Ministry claims to only allow the construction of religious monuments in situations that “depends upon the population of the location.” However, this rule seemed to be ignored for the building of Buddhist sites in non-Buddhist areas. Christians and Muslims nonetheless, still experienced trouble when applying for permission to build or repair their own religious sites. In many cases, Christians and Muslims were eventually able to obtain the necessary permits to build, but only when the groups in question had paid bribes to the authorities. There were also occasions when these groups simply had their applications denied for various reasons, such as that the church did not have a proper property permit. At other times, church or mosque leaders were given informal permission to commence construction, only to have SPDC authorities change their mind and destroy the buildings after they had been completed. This raises the question of whether or not in these cases the authorities processed the applications solely in order to collect the bribes required to have the petitions granted.8 In addition to oppressing religious minority groups in 2008, the SPDC increased its control over Burma’s Buddhist population. Even though there are approximately 400,000 monks in Burma, there are only nine state-endorsed monastic orders that are permitted to operate under the SPDC sponsored Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee (SMNC). Furthermore, independent monastic orders are illegal since the establishment of the 1990 Sangha Organisation Law. These laws have since been used to control the Sangha and limit its rights to expression and assembly. For example, abbots are not allowed to deliver instruction on any topics which could be related to politics and monks are restricted from joining together in opposition to the government. Violations of this law, as witnessed during the September 2007 ‘Saffron Revolution’, result in grave consequences. Monks who were accused of participating in the protests were defrocked in jail, where they were not allowed to shave their heads or eat their meals in accordance with the monastic codes. Monks were thus treated as laypersons and common criminals; treatment which comprises one of the gravest offences one can commit within the Buddhist religion..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Human Rights Docmentation Unit (HRDU)
    Format/size: pdf (833K)
    Date of entry/update: 06 December 2009


    Title: International Religious Freedom Report 2009 - Burma
    Date of publication: 26 October 2009
    Description/subject: "Highly repressive, authoritarian military regimes have ruled the country since 1962. In May 2008 the Government announced voters had approved a new draft Constitution in a nationwide referendum. Democracy activists and the international community widely criticized the referendum as seriously flawed. The new Constitution provides for freedom of religion; however, it also grants broad exceptions that allow the regime to restrict those rights at will. Although authorities generally permitted most adherents of registered religious groups to worship as they choose, the Government imposed restrictions on certain religious activities and frequently abused the right to freedom of religion..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: (US) Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 27 October 2009


    Title: Annual Report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom 2009 - Burma
    Date of publication: May 2009
    Description/subject: "The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), the military junta governing Burma, has one of the world‘s worst human rights records. In the past year, religious freedom conditions deteriorated in Burma, particularly following the violent suppression of peacefully demonstrating Buddhist monks in September 2007, and Burma‘s military regime continued its policy of severely restricting religious practice, monitoring the activity of all religious organizations, and perpetuating or tolerating violence against religious leaders and their communities. Buddhist monasteries viewed as epicenters of the September 2007 ―Saffron Revolution‖ continue to face the most severe restrictions, including harsh limitations on everyday religious activities. Muslims routinely experience strict controls on a wide range of religious activities, as well government-sponsored or supported societal violence. Burma‘s Christian populations face forced promotion of Buddhism and other hardships in ethnic minority areas where low-intensity conflict has been waged for decades. In addition, a new law passed in early 2009 essentially bans independent ―house church‖ religious venues, many of which operate because permission to build church buildings is regularly denied. Burma has been designated as a CPC by the Department of State since 1999...
    Language: English, Burmese
    Source/publisher: U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
    Format/size: pdf (2.4MB - English; 67K - Burmese)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.uscirf.gov/images/AR2009/burma%20in%20burmese.pdf
    http://www.uscirf.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1382&Itemid=1
    Date of entry/update: 27 October 2009


    Title: International Religious Freedom Report 2008 - Burma
    Date of publication: September 2008
    Description/subject: "Highly repressive, authoritarian military regimes have ruled the country since 1962. Constitutional protection of religious freedom has not existed since 1988, after the armed forces brutally suppressed massive prodemocracy demonstrations and abrogated the Constitution. In 1990 prodemocracy parties won a majority of seats in a free and fair election, but the junta of senior military officers refused to recognize the results and has ruled the country by decree and without a legislature ever since. The authorities generally permitted most adherents of registered religious groups to worship as they choose; however, the Government imposed restrictions on certain religious activities and frequently abused the right to freedom of religion..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: (US) Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 27 October 2009


    Title: International Religious Freedom Report 2007 - Burma
    Date of publication: 14 September 2007
    Description/subject: "Highly repressive, authoritarian military regimes have ruled the country since 1962. Constitutional protection of religious freedom has not existed since 1988, after the armed forces brutally suppressed massive pro-democracy demonstrations and abrogated the Constitution. In 1990 pro-democracy parties won a majority of seats in a free and fair election, but the junta of senior military officers refused to recognize the results and has ruled the country by decree and without a legislature ever since. The authorities generally permitted most adherents of registered religious groups to worship as they choose; however, the Government imposed restrictions on certain religious activities and frequently abused the right to freedom of religion. There was no change in the limited respect for religious freedom by the Government during the period covered by this report. The Government continued to infiltrate and covertly and overtly monitor meetings and activities of virtually all organizations, including religious organizations. The Government systematically restricted efforts by Buddhist clergy to promote human rights and political freedom and discouraged and prohibited minority religious groups from constructing new places of worship. In some cases, government officials destroyed existing places of worship. The Government also actively promoted Theravada Buddhism over other religions, particularly among members of ethnic minorities. Christian and Islamic groups continued to have trouble obtaining permission to repair existing places of worship or build new ones. Anti-Muslim violence continued, as did the close monitoring of Muslim activities. Restrictions on worship of other non-Buddhist minority groups also continued throughout the country. Although there were no new reports of forced conversions of non-Buddhists, the Government applied pressure on students and poor youth to convert to Buddhism. Adherence or conversion to Buddhism is generally a prerequisite for promotion to senior government and military ranks..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: US State Department, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 23 September 2007


    Title: International Religious Freedom Report 2006 - Burma
    Date of publication: 15 September 2006
    Description/subject: "Highly repressive, authoritarian military regimes have ruled the country since 1962. Constitutional support for religious freedom has not existed since 1988 after the armed forces brutally suppressed massive prodemocracy demonstrations and abrogated the constitution. In 1990 prodemocracy parties won a majority of seats in a free and fair election, but the junta of senior military officers refused to recognize the results and has ruled the country by decree and without a legislature ever since. The authorities generally permitted most adherents of registered religions to worship as they choose; however, the Government imposes restrictions on certain religious activities and frequently abuses the right to freedom of religion. There was no change in the limited respect for religious freedom during the period covered by this report. The Government continued to infiltrate and covertly and overtly monitor meetings and activities of virtually all organizations, including religious organizations. The Government systematically restricted efforts by Buddhist clergy to promote human rights and political freedom and discouraged and prohibited minority religions from constructing new places of worship. The Government also actively promoted Theravada Buddhism over other religions, particularly among members of minority ethnic groups. Christian and Islamic groups continued to have trouble obtaining permission to repair existing places of worship or build new ones in most regions. Anti-Muslim violence continued, as did the close monitoring of Muslims activities. Restrictions on worship of other non-Buddhist minority groups also continued throughout the country. There were no reports of forced conversions of non-Buddhists. Adherence or conversion to Buddhism, however, is generally a prerequisite for promotion to senior government and military ranks..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: US State Department, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 08 April 2007


    Title: The Outsiders
    Date of publication: January 2006
    Description/subject: In a country where discrimination against minority groups is a fact of life, Muslims are bottom of the heap... "There is a saying that if you lose control of your bicycle in Burma’s western Arakan State, you shouldn’t worry as it will stop when it hits a kala. Kala is Burmese slang for outsider, or alien, and although Caucasians are sometimes referred to as white kala, the term is more commonly used for anyone dark skinned, usually of Indian origin. While some shrug the term off, others consider it abusive and degrading: an insult to people whose ancestors may have fought for the country and who consider themselves wholly Burmese...
    Author/creator: Harry Priestley
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 14, No. 1
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 01 May 2006


    Title: International Religious Freedom Report 2005 - Burma
    Date of publication: 08 November 2005
    Description/subject: "...There was no change in the limited respect for religious freedom during the period covered by this report. In October 2004, the military intelligence apparatus that, as part of its responsibilities, covertly and overtly monitored religious activities in the country was disbanded; however, the Government continued to infiltrate and monitor the meetings and activities of virtually all organizations, including religious organizations. The Government systematically restricted efforts by Buddhist clergy to promote human rights and political freedom, discouraged and prohibited minority religions from constructing new places of worship, and actively promoted Buddhism over other religions, particularly among members of the minority ethnic groups. Christian and Muslim groups continued to experience difficulties in obtaining permission to repair existing churches or build new ones in most regions. Anti-Muslim violence continued to occur, as did the monitoring of Muslims' activities. Restrictions also continued on worship countrywide of non-Buddhist minority groups. There were no reports of forced conversions of non-Buddhists or forced labor to build Buddhist pagodas..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: US Department of State - Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 08 April 2007


    Title: Burma: A Land Where Buddhist Monks Are Disrobed and Detained in Dungeons
    Date of publication: November 2004
    Description/subject: Executive Summary: "In Burma, anyone can be detained for being involved in human rights advocacy, democratic activities or peaceful demonstrations. Thus, political activists are not the only stratum of society vulnerable to arrest by the military intelligence, Buddhist monks are also subject to the same fate. It is estimated that there are approximately 300 monks and novices in Burma’s prisons, whereas the number of political prisoners lingers at about 1400 to date. Since the pro-democracy uprising occurred in 1988, the military regime has constantly attempted to crackdown on all strata of society including Buddhist monks who are assumed to be potentially significant revolutionary forces. During the demonstrations that occurred in August and September 1988, the regime killed masses of peaceful demonstrators including monks, students and civilians. Although Buddhist monks have been involved in the movement by non-violent means, they have not been excluded from arrest and imprisonment. Since there is no rule of law but only ‘law and order’ in Burma, all arrests come without a warrant and the victims face brutal interrogations at military detention centers. Almost all the lawsuits concerning such arrests have been tried secretly without granting the accused any rights to seek legal counsel. Trials have been perfunctory; the so-called judges just read out the charges. While the accused is asked to plead guilty or not, the court announces its verdict which has invariably been one of guilt. Most of the monks, including novices, that were arrested were charged under Section 5 (J) of the Emergency Provisions Act which is a widely worded law that has been used to suppress dissent even in the absence of a proclaimed ‘State of Emergency’. Some monks were charged under Article 295 of the Penal Code which describe the charge as ‘of offenses relating to religion’. Aside from these Acts, Buddhist monks are vulnerable to arrest and charge under other Acts described in the Penal Code. In October 1990, immediately after the monks boycott of the regime began, the regime created ‘ The Law Concerning the Sangha Organizations’ or Sangha Organization Law, an intrusion of the state in Sangha affairs. Subsequently, more than 200 monks and novices were found to be guilty of contravening these rules and regulations and were stripped of their monkhood that year. Since the ‘Sangha Organization Law’ describes all nine Sangha Sects as members of the State Sangha Organization, every monk, or member of Sangha, has no alternative but to abide by all the rules and regulations pronounced by the regime. In brief, all the orders and decrees the military regime has issued are designed to keep monks under tight control and thwart them from being involved in any social movements. According to Buddhist principles, disrobing a monk forcibly cannot alter him into an ordinary laymen unless he himself chooses to be. Many monks who were arrested and imprisoned adhered to the principles of monkhood and never assumed that they had become laymen because they were disrobed. However, the authorities concerned in Burma, particularly those in military interrogation camps and inside prisons, treated the disrobed monks inhumanely as they considered the monks to be common criminals as they were no longer in their robes. This report attempts to reveal some of the most offensive incidents perpetrated by a military regime, which is pretending to be the most pious government to ever rule in modern Burmese history. It should be noted that the data and information included in this report is only a sampling of incidents from a decade of arrests as the researchers faced difficulties in obtaining information from inside sources. However, the reliability of the information included in this report is unarguable. This report serves to voice previously unheard voices that have been suppressed since these episodes transpired in Burma. Through the publication of this report, we hope to provide an opportunity for these voices to be heard."... CONTENTS: Acknowledgements; Executive Summary; Recommendations; Introduction; Background History; Buddhist Monks and Burmese Society; Buddhist Monks under the BSPP Regime; Buddhist Monks under the SLORC Regime; Overturning the Bowls; SLORC’s Response to the Monks’ Boycott; Disrobing; Torture and Abuses in Prison and Prison Labor Camp; The Regime’s Image as a Pious Ruler; Recent Arrests of Monks in 2003 for “Overturning the Bowl”... APPENDICES: Appendix 1-a - Photos and List of 26 Monks Arrested from Mahar Ghandaryone Monastery in 2003 for “Overturning the Bowl”;; Appendix 1-b - Photos of Monks Who Have Been Released; Appendix 2 - Sangha Organization Law; (as the SLORC issued on October 31, 1990); Appendix 3 - Analysis of the SPDC’s Sangha Organization Law by Burma Lawyers’ Council; Appendix 4 - Pattam Nikkujjana Kamma (or) “Overturning the Bowl”; Appendix 5 - Entreaty to All Monks and People- by Young Monks’ League (Lower Burma) and League of Monks’ Union from 4 Sides (Mandalay); Appendix 6 - Firsthand Account of a Monk Who Was Imprisoned for Involvement in the Monk Boycott; Appendix 7 - Firsthand Account of a Monk Who Was Imprisoned and Sent to Prison Labor Camp; Appendix 8 - Firsthand Account of a Monk Who Was Involved in the Monk Boycott and Evaded Arrest; Appendix 9 - Firsthand Experience of a Former Political Prisoner who Observed Monks Who Were Taken to Myitkyina Prison and Forced Labor Camps; Appendix 10 - Radio Interview with the Abbot of New Masoeyein Monastery, Mandalay; Appendix 11 - Radio Interview with a Buddhist Monk Regarding the Arrests of Monks; Appendix 12 - Interview with an Eyewitness about the Kyaukse Riot; Appendix 13 - Account of a Monk Regarding the Mahar Ghandaryone Monk Boycott; Appendix 14 - Relationship between Monks and the SPDC (An excerpt from a radio interview with monks inside Burma); Appendix 15 - (Article) Sons of Buddha in Prison by Naing Kyaw; Appendix 16 - (Article) Imprisoned Monks-I by Win Naing Oo; Appendix 17 - (Article) Imprisoned Monks-II by Win Naing Oo; Appendix 18 - (Article) Imprisoned Monks-III by Win Naing Oo... LISTS: Partial List of Monks Who Died in Prisons and Forced Labor Camps; Partial List of Monks Who Are Currently in Prison; Acronyms, Glossary and Bibliography.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) - AAPP
    Format/size: pdf (706K)
    Date of entry/update: 12 November 2004


    Title: International Religious Freedom Report 2004: Burma
    Date of publication: 15 September 2004
    Description/subject: "The country has been ruled since 1962 by highly repressive, authoritarian military regimes. Since 1988, when the armed forces brutally suppressed massive prodemocracy demonstrations, a junta composed of senior military officers has ruled by decree, without a constitution or legislature. Although there is currently no constitution in place, the principles laid out by the Government for its reconvened constitutional convention allow for "freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess and practice religion subject to public order, morality, or healthE" Most adherents of religions that are registered with the authorities generally are allowed to worship as they choose; however, the Government imposes restrictions on certain religious activities and frequently abuses the right to freedom of religion. There was no change in the limited respect for religious freedom during the period covered by this report. Through its pervasive internal security apparatus, the Government generally infiltrated or monitored the meetings and activities of virtually all organizations, including religious organizations. It systematically restricted efforts by Buddhist clergy to promote human rights and political freedom, discouraged or prohibited minority religions from constructing new places of worship, and in some ethnic minority areas coercively promoted Buddhism over other religions, particularly among members of the minority ethnic groups. Under the principles that are to guide the drafting of the constitution, "the State recognizes the special position of Buddhism as the faith professed by the great majority of the citizens of the State." Christian groups continued to experience difficulties in obtaining permission to repair existing churches or build new ones in most regions, while Muslims reported that they essentially are banned from constructing any new mosques or expanding existing ones anywhere in the country. Anti-Muslim violence continued to occur during the period covered by this report, as did monitoring of Muslims' activities and restrictions on Muslim travel and worship countrywide. There were flare-ups of Muslim-Buddhist violence during the period covered by this report. Persistent social tensions remained between the Buddhist majority and the Christian and Muslim minorities, largely due to old British colonial and contemporary government preferences. There is widespread prejudice against Burmese of South Asian origin, most of whom are Muslims. The U.S. Government promoted religious freedom with all facets of society, including government officials, religious leaders, private citizens, scholars, diplomats of other governments, and international business and media representatives. Embassy staff offered support to local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and religious leaders and acted as a conduit for information exchange with otherwise isolated human rights NGOs and religious leaders. Since 1999, the U.S. Secretary of State has designated Burma as a "Country of Particular Concern" under the International Religious Freedom Act for particularly severe violations of religious freedom. ..."
    Language: English, Japanese
    Source/publisher: US Dept. of State: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
    Format/size: HTML (English: 65KB, Japanese: 50KB) , PDF (Japanese: 316KB)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.burmainfo.org/usa/usds_irfr2004-burma_jp.html (Japanese, HTML)
    http://www.burmainfo.org/usa/usds_irfr2004-burma_jp.pdf (Japanese, PDF)
    Date of entry/update: 21 October 2004


    Title: Religious Persecution: Ethnocide Against Chin Christians in Burma
    Date of publication: February 2004
    Description/subject: "This report was prepared with the aim of bringing to light the decades-long systematic denial and violation of religious rights of Chin Christians who inhabit Burma's western territory of Chin State or Chinland by the country's ruling military junta known as the State Peace and Development Council. The report is a compilation of more than eight years of field documentation by Chin Human Rights Organization, and is the first comprehensive report by CHRO on the situation of Chin Christians who have been suffering persecutions under Burma's ruling military regime due to their religious and ethnic identity. More than 90 percent of Chin people are Christians. This report reveals that Burma's ruling military regime is systematically persecuting Chin Christians as part of a program to Burmanize the Chin. Despite Burma's complex ethnic composition, the Chin people are a relatively homogenous society. A predominantly Christian State, the Chin today strongly identify themselves with Christianity. And as a prominent Chin scholar puts it "Christianity is the pillar of today's Chin society." As this report reveals, Burma's ruling State Peace and Development Council is committing an act of ethnocide against Chin Christians by trying to destroy the Chin religious and cultural identity..."
    Author/creator: Salai Za Uk Ling & Salai Bawi Lian Mang
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Chin Human Rights Organization
    Format/size: pdf (461K)
    Date of entry/update: 21 May 2004


    Title: International Religious Freedom Report 2003: Burma
    Date of publication: 18 December 2003
    Description/subject: "Burma has been ruled since 1962 by highly repressive, authoritarian military regimes. Since 1988, when the armed forces brutally suppressed massive pro-democracy demonstrations, a junta composed of senior military officers has ruled by decree, without a constitution or legislature. The most recent constitution, promulgated in 1974, permits both legislative and administrative restrictions on religious freedom: "the national races shall enjoy the freedom to profess their religion, provided that the enjoyment of any such freedom does not offend the laws or the public interest." Most adherents of religions that are registered with the authorities generally are allowed to worship as they choose; however, the Government has imposed restrictions on certain religious activities and frequently abused the right to freedom of religion. There was no change in the limited respect for religious freedom during the period covered by this report. Through its pervasive internal security apparatus, the Government generally infiltrated or monitored the meetings and activities of virtually all organizations, including religious organizations. It systematically restricted efforts by Buddhist clergy to promote human rights and political freedom, discouraged or prohibited minority religions from constructing new places of worship, and, in some ethnic minority areas, coercively promoted Buddhism over other religions, particularly among members of the minority ethnic groups. Christian groups continued to experience increasing difficulties in obtaining permission to build new churches in most regions, while Muslims reported that they essentially are banned from constructing any new mosques, or expanding existing ones anywhere in the country. Anti-Muslim violence continued to occur. Restrictions on Muslim travel as well as monitoring of Muslims' activities and worship countrywide have increased in recent years. There are social tensions between the Buddhist majority and the Christian and Muslim minorities, largely due to colonial and contemporary government preferences. There is widespread prejudice against Muslims. Since 1988, a primary objective of U.S. Government policy toward the country has been to promote increased respect for human rights, including the right to freedom of religion. In March, the Secretary of State designated Burma a "country of particular concern" (CPC) under the International Religious Freedom Act for particularly severe violations of religious freedom. The Secretary of State also designated Burma a CPC in 1999, 2000, and 2001. During the period covered by this report, the U.S. Embassy promoted religious freedom during contacts with all facets of Burmese society, including officials, private citizens, scholars, representatives of other governments, international media representatives, and international business representatives, as well as leaders of Buddhist, Christian, and Islamic religious groups..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: US Dept. of State: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
    Format/size: html (65KB)
    Date of entry/update: 18 December 2003


    Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2002-03: The Freedom of Belief and Religion
    Date of publication: October 2003
    Description/subject: "The US Secretary of State has designated Burma as a "country of particular concern" under the International Religious Freedom Act for acute violations of religious freedom since 1999. According to the US Department of State Annual Report on International Religious Freedom for 2002, there remained minimal respect of religious freedom in Burma. The 1974 Constitution indicates that freedom of religion should be granted to members of the national races as long as their activities do not interfere or disturb existing laws or public interest. Burma does not have an official religion, but the SPDC shows favoritism towards Theravada Buddhism. As the minority religions are associated with ethnic minority groups connected with opposition groups, the SPDC often considers religious freedom as a danger to national unity. As a result, the SPDC keeps all organizations, including religious organizations, under a watchful eye by entering or monitoring meetings. All organizations must register with the Ministry of Home Affairs with the approval of the Ministry for Religious Affairs, except for "genuine" religious organizations. In order to buy or sell property or maintain a bank account, an organization must be registered. Therefore most are compelled to do so. In addition, registered organizations may also receive assistance from the government towards electric and utility services. (Source: US Department of Sate) The SPDC established rules for the proper code and conduct of Buddhist clergy and bans any involvement with political activism or the promotion of human rights. The SPDC has forcibly converted Christians and Muslims, the minority religions and mostly minority ethnicities, to Buddhism. The SPDC does not allow Muslims to build new mosques or to make repairs on the exteriors of existing mosques. Christians must gain permission from many different government levels in order to build new churches. The SPDC has been reported to destroy religious buildings of minority religions and construct Buddhist temples or military buildings in their place. The SPDC has also included Buddhist codes of belief in the state authorized curriculum of all elementary schools. While students are allowed to choose not to partake in Buddhist instruction, the SPDC often punishes those who don’t. (Source: US Department of State)..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit, NCGUB
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 10 November 2003


    Title: Burma’s Muslims: Caught in the Crossfire
    Date of publication: September 2003
    Description/subject: "Burma’s Muslims are gaining the attention of Western observers... Burma’s importance in world affairs has long derived from its critical geo-strategic position. Now, however, it is the country’s large Muslim population and its possible links with pan-Islamist extremist organizations that is attracting the interest of Western scholars and officials. While usually overlooked in surveys of Islam in the Asia-Pacific region, Burma is home to at least two million Muslims, or four percent of the population. Some estimates of their numbers range as high as 16 percent, or eight million people. All statistics on Burma are unreliable, but the difference between these two estimates arises from the fact that a large proportion of the country’s Muslims are denied full citizenship, and therefore not included in official surveys. Also, the latter figure usually includes a large expatriate population, possibly of 1.5 million Burmese Muslims, who are currently living in Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Middle East..."
    Author/creator: Andrew Selth
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 11, No 7
    Format/size: html
    Alternate URLs: http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=3047
    Date of entry/update: 06 November 2003


    Title: Weakness in Numbers
    Date of publication: 10 March 2003
    Description/subject: "Muslim minorities across Asia are under siegeand their persecution fuels fundamentalists' rage...the Burmese government has convinced many Buddhists in the Arakan region that the Rohingyas are fighting for an independent Islamic statea goal embraced by radical militant groups in exile in Bangladesh but not by the majority of Muslims living in Arakan. "It's propaganda," says Christina Fink, a cultural anthropologist at Chiang Mai University in Thailand. "It's a way for the regime to divide the Arakanese and make sure the people are less interested in the pro-democracy movement and more interested in driving the Muslims out." The United Nations has overseen the return to Burma of more than 200,000 Rohingya refugees. But many have found their houses and land appropriated by Buddhist settlers and their basic rights still denied by the authorities. For example, to qualify for citizenship, says Fink, the Rohingyas must prove that their grandparents on both sides were born in Burma, but "there are very few who can." Many have abandoned hope and go back to Bangladesh, only to find they are no longer allowed access to the refugee camps, says French anthropologist Chris Lewa, who studies the Rohingya refugees. "Perhaps as many as 100,000 live in slums around Cox's Bazar," she says. "They are not wanted in Bangladesh or in Burma. Effectively, they are stateless people."..."
    Author/creator: Andrew Perrin
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Time Asia Vol. 161 No. 9
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: International Religious Freedom Report 2002: Burma
    Date of publication: 07 October 2002
    Description/subject: "Burma has been ruled since 1962 by highly repressive, authoritarian military regimes. Since 1988 when the armed forces brutally suppressed massive prodemocracy demonstrations, a junta composed of senior military officers has ruled by decree, without a constitution or legislature. The most recent Constitution, promulgated in 1974, permitted both legislative and administrative restrictions on religious freedom: "the national races shall enjoy the freedom to profess their religion, provided that the enjoyment of any such freedom does not offend the laws or the public interest." Most adherents of religions that are registered with the authorities generally are allowed to worship as they choose; however, the Government has imposed restrictions on certain religious activities and frequently abused the right to freedom of religion. There was no change in the limited respect for religious freedom during the period covered by this report. Through its pervasive internal security apparatus, the Government generally infiltrated or monitored the meetings and activities of virtually all organizations, including religious organizations. It systematically has restricted efforts by Buddhist clergy to promote human rights and political freedom, has discouraged or prohibited minority religions from constructing new places of worship, and, in some ethnic minority areas, has coercively promoted Buddhism over other religions, particularly among members of the minority ethnic groups. Christian groups have experienced increasing difficulties in obtaining permission to build new churches, while Muslims report that they essentially are banned from constructing any new mosques anywhere in the country. While the sharp increase in the level of anti-Muslim violence during the period covered by the previous report (some of which the Government may have tacitly supported, contributed to, or even instigated) has abated, there were reports that restrictions on Muslim travel and worship countrywide have increased, especially since the fall of 2001. There are social tensions between the Buddhist majority and the Christian and Muslim minorities, largely due to colonial and contemporary government preferences. There is widespread prejudice against Muslims. A sharp increase in anti-Muslim violence in 2001 significantly heightened tensions between the Buddhist and Muslim communities, as it had done in the past. Since 1988 a primary objective of U.S. Government policy towards the country has been to promote increased respect for human rights, including the right to freedom of religion. In September 2001, the Secretary of State designated Burma a country of particular concern under the International Religious Freedom Act for particularly severe violations of religious freedom. The Secretary of State had so designated Burma in 1999 and 2000..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: US Dept. of State: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
    Format/size: html (66K)
    Date of entry/update: 18 December 2003


    Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2001-2002: The Freedom of Belief and Religion
    Date of publication: September 2002
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit, NCGUB
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Burma: Crackdown on Muslims
    Date of publication: 18 July 2002
    Description/subject: "...Human Rights Watch said that various factors sparked last year's confrontations between Buddhists and Muslims, including anger over the destruction of Buddhist images in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, in March 2001. Military authorities confiscated pirated photos and videos of the Bamiyan statues being blown up by the Taliban, fearful they would enflame Buddhist sentiment. But in some cities outside Rangoon, there were credible reports of military intelligence officers stirring up anti-Muslim violence..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Human Rights Watch
    Format/size: PDF (28K) 12 pages
    Alternate URLs: http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2002/07/18/crackdown-burmese-muslims
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Easy Targets: The Persecution of Muslims in Burma
    Date of publication: 31 May 2002
    Description/subject: "While extensive reporting has been done on the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State, very little attention has been paid to the persecution suffered by the thousands of Muslim communities which exist in villages and towns throughout Burma. With no political voice or armed group to stand up for them, Muslim communities are forced to endure the denial of all citizenship rights, restrictions on travel, work, and education, prohibitions on practicing Islam, and the systematic destruction of their mosques. This report looks at the systematic way these communities have been persecuted, impoverished and scapegoated by the military regime and by local populations, which culminated in the anti-Muslim riots and massacres of 2001..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG #2002-02)
    Format/size: html and PDF (1300K)
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Myanmar rejects criticism in US report on religion
    Date of publication: 11 November 2001
    Description/subject: "Myanmar has rejected criticism of the country�s record on religious freedom in a report issued by the United States. 'Myanmar has been singled out for reasons other than religion,' said U Thaung Tun, the director general of the Political Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. U Thaung Tun said Myanmar should be regarded as a model society when it came to religious tolerance and freedom. He was reacting to a report on religious freedom released by the US State Department on October 26 which listed Myanmar as a country of "particular concern" for the third consecutive year..."
    Author/creator: Thet Khaing
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Myanmar Times, Bol. 5, No. 88, November 5 - 11, 2001
    Date of entry/update: 25 November 2010


    Title: International Religious Freedom Report, 2001: Burma:
    Date of publication: 26 October 2001
    Description/subject: "There was no change in the status of the limited respect for religious freedom during the period covered by this report. Through its pervasive internal security apparatus, the Government generally infiltrated or monitored the meetings and activities of virtually all organizations, including religious organizations. It systematically has restricted efforts by Buddhist clergy to promote human rights and political freedom, has discouraged or prohibited minority religions from constructing new places of worship, and, in some ethnic minority areas, has coercively promoted Buddhism over other religions, particularly among members of the minority ethnic groups. Christian groups have experienced increasing difficulties in obtaining permission to build new churches, while Muslims report that they essentially are banned from constructing any new mosques anywhere in the country. There also was a sharp increase in the level of anti-Muslim violence during the period covered by this report, some of which the Government may have tacitly supported, contributed to, or even instigated..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: US Dept. of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
    Format/size: html (39K)
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2000: The Freedom of Belief and Religion
    Date of publication: October 2001
    Description/subject: "The military junta shows no sign of diverting from a long trend of discriminating against religious minorities. the Government imposed some restrictions on certain religious minorities...The Government imposed some restrictions on the religious freedom of both Christian and Islamic groups, and individual Christians and Muslims experienced some discrimination by the State. The Government monitored the activities of members of all religions, including Buddhism, in part because clergy and congregation members in the past have become active politically. Christians and Muslims experienced difficulties in obtaining permission to build places of worship and in importing indigenous-language translations of traditional sacred texts. Through the 1990s, the Government increasingly has made special efforts to link itself with Buddhism as a means of asserting its own popular legitimacy. State-controlled news media continued frequently to depict or describe junta members paying homage to Buddhist monks, making donations at pagodas throughout the country, officiating at ceremonies to open, improve, restore or maintain pagodas, and organizing ostensibly voluntary "peoples donations" of money, food, and uncompensated labor to build or refurbish Buddhist religious shrines throughout the country..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit, NCGUB
    Format/size: html
    Alternate URLs: Yearbook main page: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/yearbooks/Main.htm
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Religious Persecution in Myanmar (Burma) Must End
    Date of publication: 09 February 2001
    Description/subject: Petition: "Dear Secretary of State Colin Powell, We, the undersigned, are disturbed by the intolerance to and systematic preaching of hatred against religions other than Buddhism, which is an established fact and policy of the ruling military junta in Burma. Most affected groups are the Muslims followed by Christians and followers of other faiths..."
    Author/creator: Ghazi Khankan.
    Language: English
    Format/size: Petition launched, February 9, 2001.
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: International Religious Freedom Report, 2000: Burma
    Date of publication: 05 September 2000
    Description/subject: Includes sections on the Chin and the Rohingyas and other non-Buddhist groups
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Religious Freedom in Burma: A divisive and suppressive practice of the military regime
    Date of publication: October 1999
    Description/subject: "No official proclamation has been made that Burma is a theocracy based on Buddhism. Yet religious riots and religious suppression can be seen to be a direct result of divisions between Buddhist and non-Buddhist religions. It has become clear that the ruling military regime is using religious issues for its political interests. Burmese peoples who practice other religions have suffered from repression simply because of their religion... All religions in Burma are subject to the political interests of the military regime. However the difference between suppression of Buddhists on the one hand and Christians and Muslims on the other, is that there is no intention to eliminate Buddhism, whereas suppression against Christians and Muslims is so intended. Suppression of Buddhist monks and Buddhist Burmese occurs simply because of their involvement in politics. In contrast, the suppression of Muslims and Christians is carried out to undermine their religions, so that Buddhism will remain as the dominant, and perhaps become the exclusive, religion. The promotion of Buddhism by the military regime at the expense of other religions is undertaken to increase Burmese nationalism based on Buddhism. Religions in Burma have been divided into Buddhist and non-Buddhist. There is enough evidence to conclude that as long as the military regime is in power, religion in Burma will be divisive and oppressive..."
    Author/creator: Khin Maung Win
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Legal Issues on Burma Journal No. 4 (Burma Lawyers' Council)
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Annual Report on International Religious Freedom for 1999: Burma
    Date of publication: 09 September 1999
    Description/subject: Contains sections on the Rohingyas, Chin and other non-Buddhist groups
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, US Dept. of State
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: The Buddha Cracks
    Date of publication: May 1997
    Description/subject: The Buddha-image in the Mahamuni pagoda in Mandalay is one of Burma's holiest shrines. Its bulk is swollen by millions of slivers of gold-leaf placed there by the devout, forming a crust six-inches thick. So when, last month, a crack appeared by the statue's right breast, it was an evil omen.
    Author/creator: Editorial
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 5. No. 2
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 1994: 05 - Freedom of Belief
    Date of publication: September 1995
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit of the NCGUB
    Format/size: html (24K)
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: 1993 Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance
    Date of publication: 06 January 1993
    Description/subject: Paras 45-47 contain a substantial treatment of the persecution of the Rohingyas by the Burmese Army. The report contains the response of the Government of Myanmar.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: United Nations
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003