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Myanmar: Documents expose government-sanctioned persecution of Rohinga Muslims

Leaked official papers show attempts to curb Rohingya people's human rights

Official documents directly implicate Myanmar’s government in abusive and discriminatory policies targeting Rohingya Muslims, the Fortify Rights group said yesterday.

Executive director Matthew Smith said dozens of leaked papers reveal restrictions on Rohingya people’s right to travel, practice religion, marry, have a family and even repair their homes.

“It represents a level of planning and knowledge among Myanmar authorities that raises abuses to the threshold of crimes against humanity,” said Mr Smith.

“These abuses have been carried out for years with complete impunity.”

About 280 people have been killed since Myanmar began its transition to democracy, most of them Rohingya attacked by Buddhist mobs.

Another 140,000 have been forced to flee their homes.

Confidential documents obtained by Fortify Rights reveal that official orders issued by Rakhine State authorities from 1993 to 2008 outline consistent policies restricting Rohingya.

Some regional orders were dated 1993, 2005 and 2008.

However, they have also been discussed on the record since 2011, the group said, adding that to the best of its knowledge almost all the policies are still in place and enforced.

It says the orders laid the groundwork for a two-child policy enforced in Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships, requiring Rohingya “who have permission to marry” to “limit the number of children, in order to control the birth rate.”

One document gives detailed instructions to officials to confirm women are the real mothers of infants, forcing them to publicly breastfeed if it’s suspected they are trying to claim others’ children as their own.

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