• Press Release

Myanmar: Investigate violent destruction of mosque buildings

June 26, 2016

 The Myanmar authorities must undertake a prompt, independent, thorough, transparent and impartial investigation into the violent destruction of buildings in a mosque compound on Thursday in Bago Region in central Myanmar, said Amnesty International.

“The authorities must take swift action to show that it is treating such incidents against Muslims and other religious minorities seriously. This incident must be immediately and independently investigated and those suspected of involvement must be brought to justice and victims receive effective remedies including reparations,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

On 23 June, an unidentified mob partially destroyed a mosque and other buildings in the mosque compound in Thuyethamain village, Bago Region. According to information received by Amnesty International, the attack erupted after a dispute about a building under construction in the mosque compound.

One Muslim man was injured during the attack, and is currently receiving treatment for head injuries in hospital. The authorities have since taken control of the scene, however some Muslim villagers fled in fear, and are afraid to return to their homes.

“Failure to investigate and hold those suspected to be responsible to account would send a worrying message that attacks against religious minorities can continue to go unpunished,” said Rafendi Djamin.

The past years in Myanmar have seen a disturbing rise in religious intolerance, often fuelled by hard-line Buddhist nationalist groups, directed particularly at Muslims.

Such sentiments were stoked in the past when the former government failed to effectively investigate similar instances of violence. 

“The new government must condemn this attack, and other attacks on religious minorities, and make it clear that such violence is a criminal offence and will not be tolerated. It must also condemn unequivocally all incitement to hatred, violence and discrimination and take concrete action to protect the rights of all people in Myanmar regardless of their religion,” said Rafendi Djamin.