Rohingya seminar in Yangon blocked by gov’t

02 January 2016
Rohingya seminar in Yangon blocked by gov’t
Displaced Rohingya in Taung Paw camp in Myebon, Myanmar. Photo: David Ohana/UNOCHA

Rohingya Muslims have been denied the right to hold a seminar in Myanmar to discuss their origin and ethnic identity. 
Not officially recognized by the state and systematically denied citizenship and other basic rights, Rohingya mainly live in Rakhine bordering Bangladesh. 
Yangon’s regional government blocked the seminar, expressing concern that it might renew anger among the public, according to Anadolu, the state-owned news agency in Turkey.
“The seminar is not necessary at this time as even the President doesn’t accept the ‘Rohingya’ word, and [he] already said these so-called Rohingya are illegal Bengali immigrants from the neighboring country,” said an official. “It will only make people angry again.”
More than 1 million Rohingya live in western Myanmar, which has witnessed deadly clashes between Rakhine Buddhists and minority Muslims since mid-2012, leaving hundreds dead and more than 140,000 people living in displacement camps. 
Some human rights groups have claimed the Rohingya are among the most discriminated minorities in the world. Myanmar has responded to criticism by accusing outsiders of interfering in its affairs.