A long-simmering ethnic conflict in Myanmar (Burma) recently broke into American newspapers: At least 89 people have been killed and more than 35,000 displaced in what is being described (not entirely accurately) as Buddhist-Muslim violence. With President Obama as the first US head of state to visit this country, there are four points to bear in mind about this detour from Myanmar’s road to a more open society:
When President Obama meets with President Thein Sein of Myanmar (Burma) today, he should emphasize Washington’s commitment to Myanmar’s progress, while stressing the importance of preventing discrimination and violence against ethnic minority Muslims and Christians.
On the same day that Myanmar's president is set to receive a peace award, Human Rights Watch accused his government of failing to stop ethnic cleansing carried out against ethnic Rohingya.
Police are blaming the blaze in Yangon on an electrical short, but some of Myanmar's Muslims are suspicious following religious violence around the country.
Myanmar (Burma) has a long way to go on human rights. An issue that demands immediate attention is a crisis involving a sizable ethnic and religious group, the Rohingya – one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. This stateless people deserve citizenship and tolerance.