Saturday, October 03, 2015

Class Action Filed Against Burma's President By Persecuted Rohingyas

As reported by Reuters and Courthouse News Service, this week a coalition of 19 Muslim American organizations and a Rohingya Muslim who previously lived in the State of Rakhine in Myanmar filed a class action lawsuit against the President of Burma (Myanmar) and several other current or former government officials of Myanmar or Rakhine state.  The complaint (full text) in Burma Task Force v. Sein, (SD NY, filed 10/1/2015), filed in federal district court in New York, alleges that defendants violated the Torture Victims Protection Act and the Alien Tort Claims Act, contending:
The Rohingya people numbering over 1.3 million is a Muslim minority living in western Myanmar. Although they are living in the country for generations they are denied citizenship and basic necessities including basic healthcare, work and schooling. They are  primary targets of hate crimes and discrimination amounting to genocide fueled by extremist nationalist Buddhist monks and Thein Sein government....
In 1982, the Burman supremacist government stripped most Rohingya of their citizenship. They were re-named “Bengalis,” and reclassified as foreign to Myanmar. Rohingya speak a different language and are not “Bengalis,” a different ethnic group that lives mostly in Bangladesh. Their only common identity is that both groups are Muslim.