NAYPYIDAW - Languishing in refugee camps after their homes were burnt down in a recent communal violence in the Buddhist-majority country, Rohingya Muslims in Burma taste the latest episode of humiliation in their own state.
The main reason we came here is to protect our children, otherwise they might have died there, Nawseema Har Tu Fa, a Rohingya refugee, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The Muslim woman fled her village in the western state of Rakhine after attacks by the Buddhist majority on their homes.
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We had no problem with the Buddhist people before. We never quarreled with them before, said Nawseema, who is taking refugee along with thousands of Rohingyas at a nearby village.
We lived together, we used to speak. We went to the market every day together.
Thousands of Rohingya Muslims were forced to flee their homes after ethnic violence rocked the western state of Rakhine after the killing of ten Muslims in an attack by Buddhist vigilantes on their bus.
The attack came following the rape and killing of a Buddhist woman, for which three Rohingyas were sentenced to death.
At least 90 people were killed in the violence and thousands of homes were burnt and hundreds of thousands of people were displaced.
Human rights groups have accused Burmese police and troops of disproportionate use of force and arrests of Rohingyas in the wake of the riots.
Human Rights Watch has accused Burmese security forces of targeting Rohingya Muslims with killing, rape and arrest following the unrest.
Hundreds of Rohingya men and boys have been rounded up and remain incommunicado in the western region of the country, the group said.
Thousands of displaced Rohingyas remain in refugee camps two months after the violence.
There are no houses or shelter in their own villages, they were all burned down, so that's why they are here, said Soe Myint, manager of the Kaung Dokar refugee camp, one of six Rohingya camps in Sittwe.
Access to affected areas is restricted by the authorities, which say that the situation has been relatively calm in recent weeks.
But officials reported that renewed clashes left several people dead earlier this month, underscoring the tinderbox atmosphere.
Rohingya refugees are banned from leaving the camps for fears of being attacked by Buddhists.
But the restriction has left the Rohingya community out of work and reliant on World Food Program supplies.
We do not have enough food, as we do not have the possibility to go to Sittwe downtown to buy everything we need, said displaced Rohingya Abu Shukur.
Described by the UN as one of the world's most persecuted minorities, Rohingya Muslims are facing a catalogue of discrimination in their homeland.
They have been denied citizenship rights since an amendment to the citizenship laws in 1982 and are treated as illegal immigrants in their own home.
The Burmese government as well as the Buddhist majority refuse to recognize the term "Rohingya", referring to them as "Bengalis".Last month, Burmese President Thein Sein said that Rohingyas should be settled in a third country.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net