A four-year-long state of emergency has been lifted in Arakan State the day before Burma’s new government took power, leading to calls for restrictions on ethnic Rohingya to also be lifted.
On 29 March 2016, the last day of President U Thein Sein’s administration, emergency rule was lifted from Arakan State which had been the site of inter-communal violence between Buddhists and Muslims since 2012.
Human Rights Watch has called on the new government to also lift the restrictions imposed on Muslim Rohingya civilians.
“President Thein Sein’s last minute repeal of Arakan State’s state of emergency puts the new government on firm footing to ensure basic freedoms for the long persecuted Rohingya minority,” Phil Robertson, HRW’s deputy Asia director, said.
“It’s now up to the new government to work with local officials and security forces to ensure that ending the [state of] emergency translates into real improved respect for the rights of all the state’s people,” Mr Robertson added.
There are an estimated 140,000 Rohingya currently in more than 60 camps refugee across Burma. There have been allegations of the government denying those in the camps proper access to humanitarian aid and food.