World

Rights group blasts Myanmar over Muslim policies

YANGON, Myanmar — An independent human rights group presented evidence Tuesday directly implicating the Myanmar government in abusive and discriminatory policies targeting members of the Rohingya Muslim minority, including restrictions on family size and freedom of movement.

Matthew Smith, executive director of the Southeast Asian-based Fortify Rights, said the findings were based on a dozen leaked documents and reviews of public records.

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Although persecution of the minority group has been well documented, it is the first time that official edicts have been made public, he said, describing the chilling effect of seeing them in writing.

‘‘It represents a level of planning and knowledge among Myanmar authorities that raises the abuses to the threshold of crimes against humanity,’’ Smith said. ‘‘These abuses have been carried out for years with complete impunity, driving the population into the ground.’’

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Presidential spokesman Ye Htut did not respond to requests for comment. He was quoted by the Myanmar Times as saying government officials ‘‘do not remark on baseless accusations from Bengali [Rohingya] lobby groups.’’

Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist nation of 60 million, only recently emerged from a half century of brutal military rule. The United States and other nations worry that an outbreak of sectarian violence since June 2012 threatens the country’s fragile transition to democracy. As many as 280 people have been killed, most of them Rohingya attacked by Buddhist mobs.

Nowhere have Rohingya — described by the UN as one of the most persecuted religious minorities in the world — been more pursued than in Rakhine state.

Associated Press

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