Last month, human rights group Fortify Rights called on the Myanmar government to drop charges against Muslim men on discriminatory grounds. There has been continued persecution of the Muslim community in the country – particularly against the Rohingya, who are subject to arbitrary arrest, institutional discrimination, detention, harassment, and killings.
The recent injustice against Muslims in Myanmar involves six men charged for publishing a calendar that described the country’s persecuted Muslim Rohingya as a recognized ethnic minority. According to Fortify Rights, on November 24, police chief Major Khin Maung Lat arrested the men and they were charged under Section 505(b) of the Myanmar Penal Code for creating material with the intent to cause “fear or alarm to the public.” The law has historically been used by the Myanmar junta as a tool to silence and arrest political dissidents.
“It’s a blatant violation of freedom of expression and a flagrant example of anti-Rohingya discrimination that cannot be permitted to stand – so the courts should dismiss these charges, and the prosecutors and other government officials involved in bringing this case should be severely disciplined,” Phil Robertson, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch in Asia told The Diplomat in Bangkok.
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