Date: 28/05/2013

Myanmar state sets 2-child limit for Muslims

Yangon: Authorities in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state have introduced a two-child limit for Muslim Rohingya families in an effort to ease tensions with the Rohingya’s Buddhist neighbours after a spate of deadly sectarian violence, an official said on Saturday.
Local officials said the new measure — part of a policy that will also ban polygamy — will be applied to two Rakhine townships that border Bangladesh and have the highest Muslim populations in the state. The townships, Buthidaung and Maundaw, are about 95% Muslim.
The measure was enacted a week ago after a government-appointed commission investigating the violence issued proposals to ease tensions, which included family planning programmes to stem population growth among minority Muslims, said Rakhine state spokesman Win Myaing. The commission also recommended doubling the number of security forces in the volatile region. “The population growth of Rohingya Muslims is 10 times higher than that of Rakhine (Buddhists),’’ Win Myaing said. “Overpopulation is one of the causes of tension.’’
Sectarian violence in Myanmar first flared nearly a year ago in Rakhine state between the region’s Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya. Mobs of Buddhists armed with machetes razed thousands of Muslim homes, leaving hundreds of people dead and forcing 125,000 to flee, mostly Muslims.
Since the violence, religious unrest has morphed into a campaign against the country’s Muslim communities in other regions.
Containing the strife has posed a serious challenge to President Thein Sein’s reformist government as it attempts to institute political and economic liberalization. It has also tarnished the image of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been criticized for failing to speak out strongly in defence of the embattled Muslim community. AP