Authorities in the western Burmese state of Rakhine have imposed a two-child limit on Muslim Rohingya families living along the Bangladesh border. Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has denounced the policy, saying it is illegal and a human rights violation. She stated on Monday, “It’s not good to have such discrimination. It is not in line with human rights.” Activists around the world echo her statement.
The United Nations has identified the Rohingya as one of the world’s most persecuted people. Burmese authorities openly labelled the Rohingya as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, and have denied them access to basic services and education. In the past year, the Rohingya community has been the target of violent attacks and human rights abuses, including sexual violence, by the Buddhist population in Rakhine state.
Burmese authorities declare that the policy is intended as a protective measure for national identity and as a means to stem the Muslim communities population growth, which a government-appointed commission identified as a cause of the sectarian violence in the region. The policy will only be implemented against the Muslim Rohingya population in the Rakhine townships of Buthidaung and Maungdaw where the population is the highest in the country, at 95%. The Buddhist population is exempt from the policy.
Burma: Revoke ‘Two-Child Policy’ For Rohingya, Human Rights Watch, 28 May 2013.
Suu Kyi criticizes two-child limit on Muslims in western Myanmar, CNN, 28 May 2013.
Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, rights activitsts criticize 2-child limit for Muslim Rohingya, The Washington Post, 27 May 2013.