Burma has refused to grant visas to Pakistani human rights advocate Asnar Burney and a colleague, who wanted to come to Burma on a fact-finding mission regarding reports of Rohingya Muslims arbitrarily arrested and killed in Arakan State.
The Burmese embassy in London informed Burney, who heads the Ansar Burney Trust International, a nonprofit human rights group, in London that they would not allow any journalists and human rights activist to come to the country on a fact-finding mission.
“The embassy has told me that they are not allowing journalists and human rights activists in the country. I am completely gutted. This action proves that Burma has something to hide from the world,” said Asnar Burney, according to reports.
The former Pakistani Federal Minister for Human Rights and secretary of the Pakistan Press Club (UK) on July 19 applied for visa to visit Burma. On Tuesday, he was told the visa would not be granted.
Burney, who is also a former member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, said that wanted to go to Arakan State in western Burma to determine if the reports were true that Muslim Rohingyas have been arbitrarily arrested, beaten and killed by security forces.
On July 18, Mizzima reported that a coalition of 58 civil society groups had condemned what they said was a “wave of abuse launched by state authorities in Myanmar against the Rohingya community.”
The coalition group – led by Refugees International, the Arakan Project, and the Equal Rights Trust – issued a series of recommendations that were delivered to the governments of Burma and Bangladesh.
The statement said: “The stateless Rohingya of Myanmar have suffered from extreme persecution and discrimination for decades. They are now facing another crisis,” and the Rohingya population “needs urgent measures to be taken for their protection.”
“In Myanmar, what began as inter-communal violence has evolved into large scale state-sponsored violence against the Rohingya.”
The violence began on June 3, mainly in Sittwe and Maungdaw townships.
“Many Rohingya continue to be victims of violence and cannot leave their homes for fear of persecution, and are thus deprived of their livelihood and most basic needs,” said the advocacy groups. “The urgent humanitarian needs of those displaced (IDPs) – including those not in IDP camps – are not being adequately met and there is concern that those displaced will not be allowed to return to their homes as soon as it is safe to do so, thus creating a situation of protracted displacement.”
Established in 1980, the Ansar Burney Trust was organized to introduce human rights in Pakistan, according to its website. It works to raise awareness, provide free legal advice and services, and medical treatment to people in need.
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