I am still haunted by the testimony I heard from a survivor of the March massacre of dozens of Muslims in the central Myanmar town of Meiktila. He told me how he saw his best friend, a boy of 13, doused with gasoline and burned alive by two Buddhist men who were part of an attacking mob, while police and community leaders watched from an embankment.
This disturbing event is unfortunately one of far too many in Myanmar. The Myanmar government has failed to protect its Muslim minority population, including Rohingya, against an unprecedented wave of violence that has spread across the country since mid-2012. The lack of response on the part of the government has provided for a culture of impunity for perpetrators, increasing the likelihood of more human rights abuses.
Over the past year, my colleagues at Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) and I have heard from dozens of informants and eyewitnesses about horrific acts of violence in 18 locations across Myanmar. These attacks have resulted in injury, displacement, economic hardship and death. Over the past two years, entire villages have been burnt to the ground, children have been killed, schools and mosques have been destroyed, and upwards of 250,000 people have been displaced.
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