CASE 18-2016: State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee (SSMNC – Ma Ha Na)
By Master Yan Maitri-Shi, Prosecutor of Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights
HONORABLE JURY OF INTERNATIONAL BUDDHIST ETHICS COMMITTEE (IBEC) & BUDDHIST TRIBUNAL ON HUMAN RIGHTS (BTHR)
After Legitimating and Validating Evidences and Charges by Buddhist Master Maitreya, President and Spiritual Guide of IBEC-BTHR, it is addressed the case against the accused party “State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee” also known publicly as SSMNC or Ma Ha Na. This investigation was initiated by the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights from the ethic sentence against Myanmar government for Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing and Crimes against Humanity, which was conducted in 2015.
The Charges by which the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights is accusing State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee are enumerated below:
- FALSE BUDDHISM AND VIOLATION OF BUDDHIST LEGAL CODE (VINAYA)
- OPPRESSION AND ILLEGAL DETENTIONS AGAINST BUDDHIST SANGHA
- COMPLICITY WITH DISCRIMINATION
- VIOLATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN AND CHILD
- VIOLATION OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
- VIOLATION OF THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS AND TRIBAL PEOPLES
- CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AND PEACE
- COMPLICITY IN GENOCIDE AND ETHNIC CLEANSING
Therefore, it is detailed a series of EVIDENCES that support the Charges referred so that the Jury members decide about the possible “Responsibility”, “Innocence” or “Insanity” of the accused. Such evidence come from graphic and audiovisual media that have been gathered, sorted and confirmed in their order and context as Means of Proof in order to know, establish, dictate and determine the Responsibility of the Accused for committing the aforementioned Charges.
The procedure established in the Statute of INTERNATIONAL BUDDHIST ETHICS COMMITTEE & BUDDHIST TRIBUNAL ON HUMAN RIGHTS provides both bodies the ostentation to enjoy independence and liberty from state and national regulation and control, besides having the legality and acting as a Buddhist People in order to assert its customs, traditions, practices, procedures, judgments and rights as well as acting in pursuit of the development of Spirituality, of Buddhist Ethics, and of the defense of International Human Rights. This procedure has the particularity, singularity and distinction of having: “Special Jurisdiction of the Tribal Law” and “Universal Jurisdiction of the International Law”, thus having the Character, Juridical validity, Legal Powers, infrastructure, Training and Capability necessary to be Actor, Administrator and Executor of Justice in this realm and exercise, by determining the “Responsibility” of the Accused by means of an Ethical Judgment whose Purpose is Truth, Reconciliation and Learning.-
- PRECEDENT I: ETHIC TRIAL AGAINST ASHIN WIRATHU, 969 MOVEMENT & PATRIOTIC ASSOCIATION OF MYANMAR – MA BA THA
In March 2015, the International Buddhist Ethics Committee found Ashin Wirathu & Movement 969 responsible for the charges of Discrimination, Social Segregation, Apology of violence and False Buddhism. In June 2016 it was developed an Ethical Act in which the complicity of the Patriotic Association of Myanmar (Ma Ba Tha) was detailed with respect to discriminatory actions of Wirathu.
- PRECEDENT II: ETHIC TRIAL AGAINST MYANMAR GOVERNMENT
In May 2015 the Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights found Myanmar government responsible for the crimes of Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing and Crimes against Humanity.
- OPRESSION TO THE SANGHA
Ven. Rewata Dhamma: “In pre-colonial Burma, there was a balance between the state, the people and the Sangha (the community of monks and nuns). The state protected and supported the Sangha, which in turn legitimized the state and by acting as the conscience of society, protected the people. To the kings, the Sangha pointed out the moral path which Buddhist teaching holds out to rulers, correcting them when they departed from the norm, or Dhamma. At village level the monks, dependent for their livelihood on the people, were always aware of the situation of the villagers, and had every interest in promoting their well-being. Monks often acted as spokesmen for the village people in their dealings with the local authorities. In this way, the Sangha protected the people from the depredations of rulers, and supported the rule of righteous kings by encouraging the people to obey them. The basic framework of Buddhist ethics for rulers is set out in the Ten Duties of the King (dasa-raja-dhamma): (…) These principles constitute the basic guidelines according to which the Buddhist ruler’s legitimacy is assessed. It is my contention that the current regime in Burma, by its flagrant and continued violation of all these principles, as well as by its infringement of international and domestic law in refusing to hand over power to the victors in the 1990 elections, and its continued and gross violation of universally-accepted standards of human rights, has lost any vestige of legitimacy in Burma. The colonial period saw the break-up of the relationship of ruler/Sangha/people, since the British rulers refused to act as the protectors of the Sangha. (…) The post-Independence administration of U Nu attempted to restore the balance of State, Sangha and People, and introduce Buddhist practice into public affairs. The military coup of 1962, however, having inherited the psychology, techniques and weaponry of colonial rule, ushered in a secular regime which, like the colonial administration, depended more on force than on ecclesiastical legitimation. From 1962 until 1988, the military regime tried unsuccessfully to crush the Sangha, and on three different occasions, in 1962, 1964 and 1967 there were attempts to undermine the Sangha in the name of purification, with monks accused of immorality, stockpiling of weapons or of being communists. The object of this exercise was to undermine the standing of the Sangha with the people. From the same time began the undertaking to dismantle or absorb the other institutions of civil society, traditional and modern: villages and townships lost a good deal of their autonomy; the fledgling trade-union movement was suppressed, as were the media (there is now only a government-controlled press, radio and television); the judiciary lost its independence; the students on several occasions were subject to severe repression; and all political parties were banned apart from the government party, the Burma Socialist Programme Party. In 1988 after the violent crushing of the democracy movement, the schools and universities were closed, to inhibit the development of the student opposition to the army. (…) The only major institution in Burma proper which has not been absorbed by the state, or demolished, is the Sangha. There is approximately the same number of monks as soldiers in the country (about 300,000) and both institutions recruit from the same cachement area, the Burmese village. Both are organised, disciplined bodies with an esprit de corps, but operate on entirely different principles; the one on the basis of love, compassion, tolerance and nonviolence, the other according to the principle of force, even though 90% of the generals, and a higher proportion of the men, are Buddhist, or claim to be. The Sangha exhorts them to follow Buddhist principles, but they persist in using violent means to crush non-violent actions. (…) In August 1990, monks were prominent in protesting the failure of the government to transfer power to the election victors, and at least two monks were killed in non-violent demonstrations. Following these events, the monks undertook a boycott of religious services to the army. The boycott, announced by the Association of Abbots of all Burmese monasteries and the Young Monks Association of Burma, took a traditional form, namely, turning over the bowl (Thapaik Hmaunk). This is the Burmese term for a strike, which may indicate the leading role which Buddhist monks have frequently played in social protest. On this occasion, they refused to accept offerings from military personnel or their families, which amounts to a kind of excommunication. This non-violent method of protest has been used in notable moments in the past (…) In 1990, the army’s response to the boycott was rapid, and within a short time, at least 130 monasteries in Mandalay alone had been stormed, and a large number of monks arrested. We estimate that there are currently about 400 monks in prison. Some of them are reported to have been forcibly disrobed, though only the individual monk can choose to leave the robe. Not even the Sangha has the power. Some monks are reported to have been tortured and some killed in prison. We recently heard that Venerable U Sumangala-Lankara, who is one of only five monks in Burma who can recite the whole of the Tripikata by heart, has been sentenced to 7 years in prison. People have been warned not to react to such events or there will be serious consequences. Monks’ organisations have been banned and there have been consistent attempts to divide the Sangha internally by giving honours and privileges to some individual monks, who appear on television and speak in defence of the government. These are in a small minority, however. Attempts continue to discredit the Sangha with the people — the usual accusations as noted above. Many monks have fled to the Thai and Chinese borders. The Burmese democracy movement has been essentially non-violent. But against the unrestrained use of force, non-violent action requires the help of the world community, but very few people seem to be listening. (…) In my view it is more the responsibility of the international community to use whatever means it has at its disposal, such as economic sanctions (…). The world community should be strong in non-violent action before more violence occurs. (…) The legitimacy of Burmese rulers has always been judged by their adherence to Buddhist principles, which are perfectly clear in the matter of social justice. It is a pity that the Burmese military who claim to be devout Buddhists appear not to understand the very basic teachings of the Buddha, which are, in short, to live righteously, to develop loving kindness, compassion, sympathy, tolerance and non-violence, in order that people may be able to live in harmony, justice and international brotherhood. It is very clear that the present regime has lost any claim to legitimate rule in Burma both in terms of the norms of domestic and international law, but also in terms of the legitimacy which Burmese rulers have traditionally derived from the Sangha. The issue is more than the rivalry of two groups, but rather the question of whether political rule should be mediated by religious and spiritual principles, or should simply obey the logic of naked force. (…) May all beings be happy (Speech delivered at the Church Center for the UN, New York, November 1989)”
- COMPLICITY WITH RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION and VIOLATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN
Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights: The State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee (SSMNC) is a government-appointed body of bhikkhus that oversees and regulates the Buddhist sangha in Myanmar. Although SSMNC has issued a directive banning and prohibiting use of the 969 movement’s emblem as a symbol for Buddhism, because it were not accordance with the rules set by the SSMNC, certainly this directive makes no mentioned of what actions might be taken against those who violate the prohibition. Therefore, the 969 movement has continued existing and propagating its violent teachings to all society. All 47 of the bhikkhus who are member of the SSMNC have disapproved the use of the 969 emblem as a symbol of Buddhism, stating that it will not legally recognize 969-based networks. But, after this directive from SSMNC a new organization leaded by Ashin Wirathu has emerged, the Patriotic Association of Myanmar, which has the same anti-islamic message of 969 movement, and it also has the support of SSMNC. The support from SSMNC towards Patriotic Association of Myanmar (Committee for the Protection of Nationality and Religion or Ma Ba Tha) is evident in the fact that during the first anniversary of the creation of this association, which was held at Aung San Monastery in Insein township, the event was attended by Bhamo Sayadaw, the head of the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, who said his committee would continue to work together with Ma Ba Tha. He confirmed that the two organizations had cooperated in the developing of the interfaith marriage law in March 2014, which is a law that violates Human Rights treatises.
Myanmar Times: “One of these laws would ban Buddhist women from marrying men of other faiths, while another would force people wishing to change their religion to seek permission from township officials. Some observers have suggested that the monks are being used to build support for conservative political groups at the expense of the more liberal National League for Democracy (…) The marriage law has been criticised by more than 100 local and international civil society organisations, who have described the law as disgraceful and warned it would invite international ridicule. But Sayadaw U Dhammapiya said these groups were ignoring the threat posed by Islam.”
Asian Correspondent Staff: “State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee general secretary U Sandi Marbhivamsa said the Ma Ba Tha should comply with the set of guidelines prepared by the committee.Some of Ma Ba Tha’s ideas are aligned partially with those of Mahana because they are under our guidance. But some Ma Ba Tha members are intense on religion and race and go against the committee’s stance, he was quoted as saying in the Myanmar Times. Some Ma Ba Tha members are fiercely against Muslims and don’t follow the former leader’s guidance. Actually they do not represent the whole committee. The prominent monk said although no action had been taken against any Ma Ba Tha members due to weak implementation of regulations, authorities can take action against them. The announcement by the Sangha was made several hours after Ma Ba Tha leaders sent support letters to protesters staging a demonstration against the use of the term Rohingya to describe the stateless Muslims from Rakhine state. Nationalist protesters in Mawlamyine in Mon State had gathered on Strand Road bearing anti-Rohingyan posters. Protest leader Ko Than Zaw said: We are protesting to show the new government that we are against the use of the term ‘Rohingya’ instead of ‘Bengali’. An estimated 1,000 people attended the nationalist protest on Friday, which Ko said was not organised by any particular group or party. The members of the new government must know that they cannot accept the Rohingya. If they do, they will be breaching the citizenship act, Ko said. During a third anniversary gathering today, the Ma Ba Tha monks vowed to continue protecting race and religion under the new government. They also want to maintain the fight against citizenship for those who self-identify as Muslim Rohingya. Organisation chair U Tilawka Bhivamsa told a crowd of 1,000 monks and followers that they must focus on uniting 135 recognised ethnic groups of Burma. Whatever the party and whoever the president is running the government, Ma Ba Tha shall protect nationalism for future generations, he said. At the event, U Tilawka also raised the Rohingya issue: I heard now the Myanmar government has stopped building the border fence in Rakhine State due to a lack of funding under the current budget. We must support its completion if the current government can’t implement the needs of the country’s security.”
Nobel Zaw (The Irrawaddy): “Burma’s Lower House on Thursday passed two bills that are part of a controversial package of four Race and Religion Protection bills, bringing the legislation, which is being pushed by an influential group of nationalist Buddhist monks, closer to becoming law. Parliamentarians told The Irrawaddy that the house majority approved the Population Control bill, which aims to establish government control over women’s reproductive rights, and the Buddhist Women’s Special Marriage bill, which would require Buddhist women to seek permission from local authorities before marrying a man of another faith. (…) May Win Myint, a Lower House lawmaker with the NLD, said she had suggested amendments to the Population Control bill so that women would have more free choice in their plans to have children, but the majority of lawmakers declined to consider her proposal. The Upper House last month voted in favor of the Population Control bill and the Religious Conversion bill. The former legislation would mandate a number of administrative hurdles for religious converts. According to May Win Myint, the Upper House will soon discuss the Buddhist Women’s Special Marriage, also known as the Interfaith Marriage Law. (…) The Population Control bill is now scheduled for a joint vote in Union Parliament, after which it could be signed into law by President Thein Sein. The bill is in the most advanced stage among a package of four bills dubbed the Race and Religion Protection legislation, which the government has been drafting after coming under pressure from an influential group of nationalist Buddhist monks, the Ma Ba Ta, who have been accused of spreading anti-Muslim hate speech and whipping up nationalism. The government has accepted the bills proposed by the group and Thein Sein sent them to parliamentary bill committees to prepare them for a vote. The government and USDP have been accused of using the bills to play nationalist politics with the Buddhist-majority public during an election year. The Population Control bill aims to establish government control over women’s reproductive rights and grants authorities the power to identify regions where women will be encouraged to have only one baby every three years. (…) Opposition lawmakers and women’s and rights activists say it violates women’s basic rights, while the vaguely-worded legislation would give local authorities broad powers to apply population control measures in areas of ethnic or religious minorities, in particular in Muslim-majority parts of northern Arakan State. (…) In December, a group of 180 civil society groups voiced their concern over the Race and Religion Protection bills. A brief legal analysis by the groups said the Population Control Bill would violate the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of a Child. The briefing warned that children born not in line with the rules of the bill would be at risk of not being registered by local authorities. Khin San Ye, a NLD Lower House lawmaker, told The Irrawaddy, said the Population Control bill violates Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women that [Burma] signed it and it should be not enacted.”
- AUTHORITARISM, CORRUPTION AND COMPLICITY WITH MYANMAR GOVERNMENT
U Pyinya Zawta (Pakada): “It’s time to reexamine the relationship between the State-sanctioned Sangha Council and the military-dominated government of Burma. (…) Buddhism recognizes all ordained monks as members of a Sangha as long as they adhere to the moral discipline outlined in the Vinaya Pitaka of the Buddhist scripture. There is no requirement to register with any government authority to prove one’s identity of monkhood. Monks have always lived a simple and meditative life by paying respect to the senior monks and by fostering harmonious relations among the monastic members. No monk can be involuntarily expelled from a Sangha, except when the Buddhist monastic code of conduct, called the four Parajika Dharma, has been violated. Even if the monk’s robe is forcibly removed, the person’s monkhood still remains. One can only ordain or disrobe a monk by following strict rules of the Buddhist Canon. Disrobing cannot take place without a proper ceremony, but those who are Buddhists in name only incorrectly assume that removing the robe will reduce a monk to a layperson. In 1980-81 the Maha Nayaka, the government sanctioned Sangha Council in Burma, was formed with 47 monks under the rule of the BSPP (Burma Socialist Program Party). Many prominent monks denounced the government’s use of a registration system to control Burma’s Sangha. Even at the height of the BSPP dictatorship, monks bitterly resisted the government’s intrusion into Buddhism. They believed that by requiring the monks to register with the authority, Ne Win’s government was putting collaborating monks in charge of the Sangha community to control religious freedom inside Burma. Some senior monks candidly told Sein Lwin, a government recruiter, that they would rather not become part of an instrument to tyrannize the monks. When more and more monks began speaking out against the government’s attempt to undermine the religion, some were arrested under false charges of violating the most serious Parajika-Dharma, the monks’ moral code of conduct. After accusing those monks as fakes, the Central State Sangha Council was formed amidst criticism by the prominent monks in Burma. Again, in 1991 and in 2007, activist monks were arrested under false charges of being fake monks when they refused to receive alms from the members of the military because of their failure to help the people in dire poverty. At the founding of the Maha Nayaka or Mahana, the BSPP raised enormous amounts of funds by partnering with popular entertainers. They brought in large amount of alms offerings, telephones, cars, land, and above all, power and influence, to the Mahana monks who collaborated with the authorities. From time to time some monks were even suspected of offering bribes for lucrative Sangha Council positions, causing conflicts within the previously harmonious monks’ communities. Profits from bribery and kickbacks have become a big business for the justices and middlemen at the Ka-bar-aye office of the State Sangha Council, where monastic disputes over lands, buildings and violations of the monks’ Parajika-Dharma code of conduct are settled. Regardless, it is still the responsibility of the Nayaka council to protect and promote the humanitarian and religious efforts of the Burmese monks. Together with local authorities, the Nayaka Council should try to clean up the unethical behaviors of a few monks —such as gaming, gambling, panhandling at bus depots, consumption of alcohol, and eating after noon. Though the Mahana was founded to preserve the growth and integrity of the Buddhist institutions in Burma, monks with true convictions were powerless against the regime’s handpicked Nayaka Council members. Although a number of new Pariyatti Buddhist institutes for higher learning were opened in the past, young Burmese monks were still not able to practice religion freely. Young intellectual monks with true convictions were prohibited from openly discussing their views and were often threatened with expulsion and failed grades. Following the downfall of the BSPP, under the SPDC (The State Peace and Development Council), the Nayaka Council continued to harass these monks over trivial offenses while it routinely offered the preferred seats at the religious seminaries to monks who collaborated with the regime. Additionally, the government’s Na-pa-tha Buddhist universities have not been able to promote Burmese Buddhism abroad because of the shortage of talent, inadequate supplies, and the dictatorial tendency of the Nayaka Council. Burmese Theravada Buddhism was brought to other countries only by those monks who were supported by private donations. Except for a brief period, religious freedom and Buddhism study came to a standstill under the present leadership of the Nayaka Council in Burma. While there were ecclesiastic Vinichaya courts available to handle charges brought against Burmese monks, without the help from the Mahana Sangha Council, Burmese monks were instead tried in military-controlled criminal courts during the Saffron Revolution. Monks were forcibly disrobed and sentenced to years in prison. In order to preserve their own privileges, the government-sponsored Mahana monks usually comply with the orders from the authority without weighing the moral consequences of their actions. As witnessed during the 2007 Saffron Revolution, a weak and ineffectual Maha Nayaka State Sangha did not try to stop the nighttime raids on monasteries and the brutality against the monks by the military regime bent on crushing the freedom of the young monks. Buddhism is a path of enlightenment from future sufferings, as well as the sufferings of the present life. According to Buddha’s teachings, Burmese monks are expected to contribute toward the wellbeing of those around them, in healthcare, education and many other ways all across Burma. Historically, monasteries have been the bastions of intellectual studies; and their contributions to the quality of life have earned them religious merits and recognition as champions of the oppressed. Since ancient time, monks have acted as pillars of the community, and their efforts and advice were kept in high esteem throughout Burmese society, where accepted etiquette and codes of conduct taught by the monks provided guidance to rulers and lay people alike on how to live in peace and harmony. Burma, where Buddhism has flourished for centuries, deserves a much better Sangha Council, one which is unafraid to tell the truth, and which can remain independent of outside influences. It must be able to resist the temptation of the four offenses of Buddhism, and be able to provide proper guidance to the monastic communities across Burma. To create an independent Sangha Council, the monks must be allowed to make free choices, and while the authorities and lay people can offer support, religious matters must be left only in the hands of the monks. As long as the present Sangha Council remains in place there is no hope for the preservation of Buddhism in Burma. First, the Council collaborated with the BSPP, and then with the SPDC. And now under Thein Sein’s government, the Maha Nayaka Council is still serving the interests of the authorities instead of the people. While the Burmese military is moving toward political reform, the State-sponsored Mahana is stuck in the authoritarian past. Indeed it is time now to replace the old and corrupt authoritarian Maha Nayaka Council permanently, with a new, democratic, just, kind, and truthful Sangha Council, according to the teachings of the Buddhist Canon.” 
Ingrid Jordt: “Foreign media produced a spate of man-bites-dog stories expressing astonishment that those who had so recently marched in non-violent demonstrations using expressions of universal kindness and compassion towards all beings could now be inciting hate and advocating the withdrawal of human rights from another religious community. (…) For 60 years Burmese rulers have been trying to disentangle this spiritual-political dynamic and allow the government to function independent of the Sangha. After seizing power in a 1962 coup, the country’s military assured its economic and political supremacy by divide-and-rule politics and the perpetuation of a continuous war against minorities (…) In the ensuing protests, several students and a monk were shot to death. This triggered a strike by the Sangha in which thousands refused to accept the alms of the military and their families. (…) Respected monk elders demanded that the regime publicly repent its actions. Thereafter, the generals (…) sought to divide the Sangha by cultivating a separate segment of monks loyal to the regime who would serve as the merit fields of the armed forces. (…) The tradeoff was loyalty and subjugation to the patron-client ties that kept the military government functioning, including support of the military’s monks. (…) When the 2007 monk-led demonstrations erupted, the generals were ready. They imposed curfews on military compounds so that military families were confined to limited engagements with the outside, including monks. Battalions were brought in from the hill tribe areas (where the regime has fought ethnic insurgencies since 1948) to prevent loyalty conflicts among soldiers, monks, and citizens. With uncompromising violence, the regime killed some monks (unofficial estimates put the number between 30 and 40) and rounded up many more, interring them in a Yangon soccer stadium. Patriarchs from the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee —installed by the military to adjudicate in the Sangha courts— were instructed to go to the stadium and disrobe the monks, thereby demonstrating that their monastic status was bogus and their protests, a political ruse. The patriarchs refused. This refusal was a sign to the people that the Sangha had not been captured by the military and was not (entirely) corrupted. Within days, the junta filled the committee with more compliant patriarchs. But (…) could not recover from this crisis of legitimacy. On May 2, 2008, Cyclone Nargis, the worst natural disaster in the recorded history of Burma, struck the Irrawaddy Delta. The storm was interpreted by Burmese Buddhists as a sign of Than Shwe’s illegitimacy, its devastation as a karmic consequence of his violence against the monks. In Burma, the weather is inseparably linked to the ruler, the people, and the sacred geography of the realm. It is, according to traditional Burmese Buddhist thinking, an index of the ruler’s legitimacy. (…) Fearing that it would provide a cover for foreign military intervention, the generals blocked international humanitarian aid for the victims of Nargis for a month. All donations were to go through the military, thereby preserving the principle that the ruler is the chief donor of the land. The generals were also concerned lest incipient donation networks grow into political action parties that might contest their authority. After Nargis, Than Shwe pushed through a sham referendum in support of the military’s draft constitution. The time has now come to change from military rule to democratic civilian rule, the state media reported. With hundreds of millions of dollars of state resources secured in personal accounts in Dubai, Than Shwe had long since prepared his golden parachute. Now he distributed national assets to his loyal generals and cronies in the name of opening the country to democracy and free market capitalism. (…) And the rest of the world poured in, ready to take advantage of one of the world’s last great economic development opportunities. Commercial greed and the possibility of reasserting some Western influence in the Asian region made it easy to overlook the warning signs. (…) Discrimination against Rohingyas has been a recurring phenomenon. In 1978 Ne Win launched Operation Naga Min (Dragon King), expelling 250,000 Rohingyas to Bangladesh. (…) Rohingyas were variously excluded by citizenship laws (1982), expulsions (1992, 1994), and restrictions on marriage and reproduction (2005). On each occasion, the flare-up against this population served national political purpose even as it reflected religious and economic tensions. (…) For many Burmese Buddhists, their displacement by immigrating ethnic groups makes it self-evident that the sasana (religion) is under threat. The threat has also been evident from the weakening of the Sangha, which relies on lay support. By controlling the flow of lay donations, the military restricted the movement of monks, and imposed curfews and the requirement to seek governmental permission for every sermon made to gatherings of more than five people. Agents planted in significant monasteries operated openly, jotting down the names of laity who came to make offerings to monks. Big donors were then solicited to contribute to state construction projects. (…) The fear is that secularism and private ownership will work together to destroy the Buddhist public sphere. (…) Nevertheless, the United Nations and international NGOs have tied the 969 movement and Buddhist monks to anti-Muslim violence. The Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, which adjudicates monks’ orthodoxy and behavior, has declared it illegal to form monk networks based on the principles of the 969 Movement and bars linking its emblem to the religion. However, the Committee has not sought to defrock U Wirathu for alleged engagement in politics or inciting violence. Rather, he is portrayed as speaking against violence. (…) Tying the violent anti-Muslim riots to the religion and the monkhood surely benefits some persons, it is believed, while simultaneously discrediting the Sangha, weakening its capacity to confer legitimacy to the ruler. That U Wirathu enjoys the backing of the regime is strongly suggested by the fact that he has been given freedom to travel the country and preach without any governmental constraints, as well as by evidence of the military’s involvement in the production and distribution of DVDs of his sermons. By contrast, monks who have protested land-grabbing —for example, by the Chinese-backed Letpadaung copper mine— have been immediately and violently put down and jailed by security forces. Longtime Burma-watchers believe that elements in the military have deliberately orchestrated the anti-Muslim campaign in an attempt to foil the democracy movement and Aung San Suu Kyi’s popular support in advance of the 2015 elections. UN observers have pointed to the strategic efficiency and planning involved in the anti-Muslim riots, noting that government security forces have stood by and even participated in the violence against Muslims.”
Sylwia Gil (Specialist on South East Asia and Theravada Buddhism): “The Sangha Maha Nayaka State Committee, the highest administrative body of the Burmese sangha, is regarded by the new generation of monks rather as a care-taker of the government’s religious activities and maintenance of its status quo, than as the body of moral authority for ordinary monks. Most of the members of the Committee are elderly, traditional monks enjoying high privileges and material welfare. They have no real power on community matters, because this lies in hands of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. (…) Regarding the numbers of monks and the easy access to the monkhood there is no question about the need of the State Sangha Mahanayaka structure and controlling role. The problem is how to restore its moral authority, real representation of the community and executive power, so that it could be perceived as more than a puppet institution, exercising regulations of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.”
Waiyan Moe Myint, San Maw Aung and Kyaw Kyaw Aung (RFA’s Myanmar Service): “A prominent monk group in Myanmar marked the anniversary of the Saffron Revolution in 2007 by calling for reforms to the country’s official Buddhist monastic committee, saying the state-appointed body does not reflect the will of the clergy. Speaking at a rally in Yangon marking the seventh anniversary of the failed uprising by monks against the previous military junta, the groups said the State Sangha Maha Nayaka (Mahana), which oversees and regulates the Buddhist clergy in Myanmar, had become a tool for the government to lessen the influence of monks on society. The Mahana doesn’t stand on the side of the monks, Zawana of the All Burma Saffron Revolution Monks’ Association, whose members helped lead the democracy movement in 2007, told RFA’s Myanmar Service. It even removes and confiscates monasteries, and arrests monks. That’s why we are urging a reform of the Mahana today, he said. Zawana said that the Mahana should stand in support of Myanmar’s Buddhist clergy, but instead it has only done what the authorities tell it to. The 47-member Mahana consists of a chairman, six vice-chairmen, one secretary general, six joint general secretaries and 33 ordinary members, all of whom are appointed by Myanmar’s Ministry of Religious Affairs. A quarter of the committee’s membership is replaced every three years, rotating among senior monks. Zawana called for a new and fair selection process for representatives of the Mahana to ensure they better represent the interests of the Buddhist-majority country’s monks. We want the Mahana to select new representatives through a step-by-step process, beginning with the village level and then at the township level, and we want the selection be fair, he said. If the selections are unfair, we won’t accept them. He said that while members of his organization have no plan to hold protests, they are considering launching a petition seeking the signatures of monks from various regions and states in support of reforms to the Mahana. Powerful committee: In theory, the Mahana oversees violations of the Vinaya, the traditional regulatory framework of monks representing Theravada Buddhism adhered to by nearly all of Myanmar’s Buddhists. The committee has the power to disrobe monks who have violated its decrees and edicts as well as Vinaya regulations and laws, and expel monks from their resident monasteries. During the Saffron Revolution, the Mahana announced new regulations to prohibit monks from participating in secular affairs. Despite a host of democratic changes ushered in by President Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government after taking power from the former junta in 2011, Zawana claimed that monks have experienced more hardship at the hand of the Mahana under the new administration than during the military regime. Twenty-four monasteries in (the capital) Naypyidaw have been destroyed by the authorities and mango trees were planted in their place, while their monks were arrested and sentenced, Zawana said. He also referred to a June 10 incident in which about 300 riot police and the Mahana raided the Mahasantisukha monastery in Yangon over a longtime land-ownership dispute, while its abbot was visiting Japan. Twenty monks were arrested, but 15 were freed a day later. The other five, including a British national, were defrocked, charged with disobeying the Mahana and defiling a place of worship with the intent to insult Buddhism, and jailed in the country’s notorious Insein prison, before being released several days later on bail. Their court hearing has been set for Sept. 26. Their arrests prompted threats of protest from other monks. The controversial raid also led to the dismissal of Hsan Sint, the country’s religious affairs minister. In mid-June, he was charged with corruption for misappropriating state funds, although some suggest the charge was a pretext to remove him from office. Marking a movement: Zawana said that the 2007 monk-led Saffron Revolution calling on Myanmar’s former military regime to adopt democratic reform had led to positive changes in the country, despite the brutal crackdown by authorities on the movement which left at least 31 people dead and saw hundreds of monks arrested. We are on a path towards becoming a democratic country, as our people have wanted, he said. But others at Thursday’s ceremony —which included former monk protesters, representatives from Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition National League for Democracy Party (NLD) and the pro-democracy 88 Generation Students group, and religious leaders— said the goals of the movement were never met. Shwe Tontay Sayardaw, another monk at the ceremony, said that the Buddhist clergy was still awaiting an apology from authorities for their actions against protesters during the Saffron Revolution. The authorities who ordered the crackdown haven’t apologized to us yet, he said. I urge them today to apologize to us as soon as possible. Monks have refused donations of alms from the military and ceased providing religious services to them as a form of political protest since the crackdown, and say that they would not consider lifting the ban until they receive an official apology. Buddhists have a longstanding practice of donating food and other necessities to monks, but the clergy boycotted alms from the army in 1990 when the government refused to hand over power to Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD, despite a decisive victory at the polls.”
Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights: In 2010 the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee (SSMNC), with the control of the military government of Myanmar, calls upon a meeting in order to discuss changes in the sangha discipline, revealing a plan to introduce restricting new rules for the activities of bhikkhus from all the nine gana or Buddhist groups.
Democracy for Burma: “Observers also said that it was also clear that the government was behind the push to impose tighter restrictions on monks. Although the State Sangha Committee is headed by senior monks, it is controlled by the Ministry of Religion, said Ashin Javana, a former abbot of a monastery in Rangoon who is now a leading member of the Thailand branch of the All Burma Monks’ Alliance. The Sangha Committee cannot do anything without ministry approval. The worst thing is that the committee allowed the junta to forcibly disrobe and imprison monks, said the monk, who was disrobed in 1993 and spent 16 years behind bars for opposing military rule in Burma. After his release in September 2009, Javana tried to reordain as a monk, but was denied permission by the State Sangha Committee because he had been imprisoned for political reasons. It wasn’t until he fled to Thailand late last year that he was able to return to life as a monk. In 2008, as part of its effort to rein in monks considered a threat to the ruling regime, new ID cards were issued to monks to make it easier for the authorities to keep track of their movements, according to monastic sources. Under the new ID process, monks from different divisions and states were given different-colored ID cards, said Ashin Kaythira, a longtime friend of Ashin Gambira, one of the imprisoned leaders of the 2007 uprising. Other monks who took part in the mass protests of September 2007 said that the government was not the only source of pressure on monks. Speaking to The Irrawaddy in the Thai border town of Mae Sot, exiled monks said that those still involved in politics inside the country also faced opposition from their families and the abbots of their monasteries.Their parents are now asking them to give up the monkhood if they want to join the monks’ movement, said Ashin Naymeinda, a leading monk during the 2007 protests. Abbots are also telling young monks to leave their monasteries if they are active in the movement, he added.”
Cherry Thein and Aung Kyaw Min: “A rare gathering of senior Buddhist monks has brought to the fore tensions over government control of the Sangha and the inability of the national body that oversees monks to control extremist teachings. A total of 2558 monks from the nine recognised Buddhist orders attended the Fifth All Orders Sangha Conference at Kabar Aye Pagoda from May 11-13 (2014), at which they called for reform of the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, the body that oversees all monks in Myanmar. They proposed 18 changes to the committee’s rules, including one that would give monks the right to form religious associations freely, without having to seek the committee’s permission. They also stressed the need for the committee to be independent of the government. Participants also discussed the need to strengthen understanding of Buddhism, particularly given recent communal tensions. They said improved understanding of Buddhism is essential for avoiding conflict with followers of other religions and to ensure peaceful coexistence with other faiths. (…) Speaking at the conference, influential monk Ashin Nyannisara, better known as Sitagu Sayadaw, suggested Myanmar follow the path of Thailand, Cambodia or Laos, which do not have a ministry for religious affairs. Monks are instead administered by an independent national Sangha council and he said this had improved the discipline of the Sangha, he said on May 12. He said the rules under which Myanmar’s national Sangha body operates were drafted with a one-party mindset and do not encourage cooperation between the different orders. If an organisation does not have respectable rules and regulations it will never be successful, he said. All Buddhist orders should work together and each should respect the contributions of others. He said changes introduced after the military coup in 1962 had damaged Buddhist teaching and missionary work. It is time to change some useless sections of the rules … such as giving more opportunities to younger monks, regardless of how long they have been in the monkhood, Ashin Nyannisara said. Noting that the number of Buddhist monks has increased from 300,000 to 500,000 since the conference was last held, Minister for Religious Affairs U San Sint said at the opening ceremony that the aim of the event was to discuss ways to reform and strengthen the rules and regulations of the Sangha committee. Participants discussed the current structure of the Sangha committee. While it has a broad reach, with almost 1000 offices around the country, monks said most were barely functioning. In some areas it has been difficult to open offices because of bureaucratic delays and opposition from locals of other religions. Monks also discussed censorship of Buddhist literature, including books and audio and video recordings, and strengthening of the vinaya, the disciplinary code for Buddhist monks and nuns. They also focused on the need to reorganise Buddhist missionary programs to make them more effective, with speakers expressing frustration at the disorganisation and lack of cooperation in missionary work. (…) Participants also discussed the need to purify and preserve Theravada Buddhism from political and communal issues. One monk, who works as an assistant to a prominent sayadaw who attended the conference, said it was essential to reform the Sangha committee into a more credible body that engages with the community in order to combat extremist religious teachings. He expressed frustration at those behind the formation of the Committee for the Protection of Nationality and Religion, arguing that its activities, which include proposing a law that would ban marriage between Buddhist women and men of other faiths, have heightened social and communal tension. It is very funny that this group claims to be protecting our religion, he said. But I think that if the Sangha committee can work more freely and help people to understand Buddhism better than it can defuse some of the tension. We need to work with better cooperation and coordination in the future.” 
Aung Kyaw Min: “U Zar Ni Win, deputy director general of the Department of Religious Affairs, agreed that some of the current rules are defective. Rules will be changed in accordance with the current customs, times and circumstance. Some rules and regulations of the Sangha will be tightened up, while others will be loosened, he said. (…) We will also invite the suggestions from Sangha who propagate [Buddhism] in other countries. (…) Observers said significant changes were needed to the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, which oversees all monks in Myanmar, as it has been ineffective at resolving disputes and taking action against rule-breaking monks. The Sangha rules are quite perfect. What needs to be amended is the policy for those who are not obedient because [the state committee] can’t resolve controversial cases and situations that arises from a failure to follow the rules, said U Nyanissara, a second-year student from the International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University. In some cases, the committee has made incorrect judgments … These cases are normally related to money. The State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee should be changed and reformed … Decisions should be made with the consent of all Sangha through voting, he said.”
Aung kyaw Min: “The 2008 constitution maintains several prohibitions on mixing religion and politics. Section 364 states, The abuse of religion for political purposes is forbidden. The constitution also bars monks from voting or forming political parties. Local religious authorities appear not to have taken a position on the matter. The State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, known as Ma Ha Na, has issued no directive to the Ministry of Religion, a ministry spokesperson told The Myanmar Times yesterday. We would welcome guidance from Ma Ha Na, he said. The issue could become acute in view of the recent triumphal progress around the country of the hard-line Buddhist nationalist organisation Ma Ba Tha, which has been celebrating the adoption of strict laws they say are designed to protect Buddhism and traditional family life. The laws have been strongly criticised in Myanmar and abroad as anti-Muslim and for weakening women’s rights. Clerics have also been accused of effectively favouring the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party and attacking the opposition National League for Democracy, accusing the NLD of favouring Muslims. A prominent abbot, Nayaka Sayadawgyi, has instructed monks not to take part in politics, and on September 29 the Mandalay Region Sangha Nayaka religious authorities issued a written instruction to the same effect. Yesterday U Gunarlinkarra, deputy head of Yangon Ma Ha Na, said directives reiterating the constitutional ban on political activities by monks had already been issued, and there was no need to revisit the issue. (…) Our Maha Nayaka committee has issued instruction 83 and 91 ordering monks not to get involved in politics, he said. Directive 91, in particular, orders monks not to conduct illegal violence. However, U Gunarlinkarra said that only two days ago he had to admonish a monk personally to abandon his protest during the electoral campaign. On October 4 Ashin Nyanissara, widely known as Sitagu Sayadaw, told a Ma Ba Tha gathering of thousands of monks at Yangon’s Thuwanna Stadium that it was important not to “trespass” in the political realm. He added, however, that while respecting the boundary between the political and the religious, monks should carefully monitor political developments.” 
Aung Kyaw Min: “An outspoken monk has launched a fierce attack on corruption and abuse of authority in the clergy. Shwe Nya Wah Sayadaw U Pinnyasiha, who has already defied a ban on preaching imposed by the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, said monks who defy the orders of the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, also known as Ma Ha Na, are being forced into submission by military-era laws, particularly the 1990 Law Relating to the Sangha Organisation. Religion was moulded under military rule, and laws enacted by the military regime are still being used to control monks who refuse to do everything Ma Ha Na wants. Monks are being led by the nose, he said at a press conference in north Yangon on June 26. U Pinnyasiha cited recent cases where the law has apparently been used to punish dissident monks, including the dispute over Maha-santisukha Monastery in Tarmwe township, Yangon, which was raided by police in June last year. He said monks were also targeted in the violent crackdown on demonstrators at the Letpadaung copper mine in 2012. Calling senior clerics privileged persons above the law, he said lower-ranking monks had no right to file complaints against them. There are many stories of dishonesty and partiality inside every Sangha organisation, said U Pinnyasiha, which he said was disgusting. Myanmar has been denounced throughout the world for its corruption. What a shame, he said, adding that some monks were not content with the four things Buddha had prescribed for them – a monastery, a robe, food and medicine, but hungered for more than they need. He called on laypeople to speak out about clerical corruption. The influence of religion is too strong. A layperson who points out wrongdoing will be condemned by the majority. When Buddha was alive, monks would apologise in public if people pointed out their mistakes. Today, monks themselves are trying to destroy the religion. They know they are being exploited by the government for political interest, he said. Ma Ha Na imposed the preaching ban on U Pinnyasiha last March, allegedly for speaking out of line with Buddhist doctrine and disobeying his superiors. U Pinnyasiha says it was because of his preaching about Bogyoke Aung San in advance of the independence hero’s centenary celebration. I’m not a politician. But I want people to speak out and not be afraid. Almost every outspoken person is in jail now, including the students who demanded education reforms. If we don’t speak out, who will? he said. Despite the ban, U Pinnyasiha has continued to speak, reportedly to large audiences, both in Myanmar and overseas, including Japan, Thailand and Singapore. (…) London Sayadaw U Ottara, who is on trial on charges relating to the raid on Mahasantisukha Monastery, has also told reporters outside the court, Don’t we have the right to sue Ma Ha Na for what they have done wrong? U Pinnyashiha has courted controversy before and is known for his criticism of the anti-Muslim 969 movement, which is backed by nationalist Buddhist monks. In 2013 he acted to calm communal violence between Buddhists and Muslims that exploded in the central city of Meiktila, and has also spoken out in defence of political prisoners.” 
Recommendations from “Human Rights Watch” to “State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee”:
- Provide assistance to members of the monastic orders who face politically motivated actions from state officials, including threats, violence, arbitrary arrest and detention, unfair trials, and mistreatment in custody.
- End government controlled appointments to the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee.
- Permit religious orders to choose their own leaders.
- Encourage monks and monasteries to participate freely in social work such as education, health, and local development initiatives outside the control of local and national authorities.
- Permit free discussions in monasteries about the Sangha’s social and political role in Burmese society.
- Call on the SPDC to investigate allegations of raids and arrests of monks and nuns in monasteries and religious institutions, and end the use of household registration laws to monitor monks’ movements. 
- ILLEGAL DETENTION, TORTURE AND POLITICAL PRISONERS
Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights: On 26 September 2007 the military government began a massive crackdown that involved excessive force against civilians, including unnecessary and disproportionate lethal force. The army troops and police clubbed and tear-gassed protesters, firing shots on protesting monks, and arrested hundreds of bhikkhus who were at the heart of the demonstrations. The soldiers along as the police has chased and beated protesters and carted others away in trucks. The government authorities raided more that 53 monasteries throughout Burma multiple times, beating, disrobing and arresting monks and residents. During raids the government has also cut phone lines, computers and other donations, detaining thousand of monks. The government declared no-go zones around several Buddhist monasteries in Rangoon, continuing their house by house Searching for people that has participated in anti-government demonstrations, taken hostage as a form of pressure to the relatives of suspects who could not be found. The government hunted down those individuals who provided water or food to the monks and arrested bystanders who applauded protesters. Lated, after the government assurances to UN Special Advisor on Burma that arrests had ceased, the authorities continued to arrest monks and activists, like the leader of the All Burma Monks Alliance U Gambira. Moreover, the international community believes that the government has killed at least 31 people during the crackdown, including nine monks that died in custody. However, a large number of bodies were burned in the Ye Way crematorium in Rangoon, where military personnel burning 71 bodies of demonstrators, since more than 80 individuals were the victims of enforced disappearance. Regarding to the Political prisoners, they have detained in cells without ventilation or toilets, lacking of food and drinking water, being denied adequate medical attention, since they have been severely tortured and verbally abused by prison authorities during interrogation sessions. In the other hand, the government has also detained five generals and more than 400 soldiers for refusing to fire on monks and protesters in Rangoon, and an arrest warrant was issued against Cpt Win Htun Aung for giving water to monks during the protests in Mandalay. Some estimates said that over 100 policemen from 16 police brigades have deserted since the crackdown.
One of the monks that Human Rights Watch interviewed in Mandalay said: “There are military intelligence agents outside, and they watch everyone who goes in and out of the gates. A man from the security services comes every morning and evening to check who of the monks are here, then he leaves.” 
Buddhist monk U Viccita, talking about his role in the peaceful 2007 demonstrations, Burma, 2008: “For us, it was not politics, but a question of religion. We just went out into the streets to recite metta sutta, loving kindness. We did not advocate violence to overthrow the government… We wanted the government to have a better policy for the people. So we decided to boycott the junta with our bowls turned upside-down. That’s called patta nikkujjana kamma. We did not accept food, medicines or anything from the authorities. That’s the only way we can fight for our rights. This has nothing to do with politics. The same thing happened during the time of the Buddha when there was a bad king, an evil king, who hurt the monks and the people. At that time, the monks also protested. But then the king had to apologize, and it was all over. But this junta refused to apologize. That was why we continued our protests. And they are continuing —we are still opposed to the junta, but we can’t fight against men with guns. We’re biding our time. But we are not afraid to protest again” 
Buddhist monk and protest leader U Gambira, November 2007: “The regime’s use of mass arrests, murder, torture, and imprisonment has failed to extinguish our desire for the freedom that was stolen from us. We have taken their best punch. Now it is the generals who must fear the consequences of their actions. We adhere to nonviolence, but our spine is made of steel. There is no turning back. It matters little if my life or the lives of colleagues should be sacrificed on this journey. Others will fill our sandals, and more will join and follow.” 
Buddhist monk U Manita, Burma, July 2008: “I’m being watched all the time. I am considered an organizer. Between noon and 2 p.m., I am allowed to go out of the monastery. But then I’m followed. I had to shake off my tail to come to this meeting today. I’m not afraid, not for myself. I’m not afraid to tell foreign journalists what happened. And I’m prepared to march again when the opportunity arises. We don’t want this junta. And that’s what everyone at my monastery thinks as well.” 
Buddhist monk U Igara, Burma, July 2008: “[S]omething was achieved [in September 2007]. A whole new generation of monks has been politicized. We’re educating them. We’re still boycotting the military. We are not accepting gifts and offerings from them. One of the reasons why the regime will fall is globalization. No country can be isolated like before. Look at Indonesia, that regime fell. Now it’s a democracy. We want the UN’s Security Council to take up the Burma issue, that the UN investigates what really happened…. But China and Russia can use their veto. Please tell the world what’s happening in our country!” 
U Kosalla: “I want the outside world to put pressure on China because the Chinese support the junta in our country (…) I and the monks here don’t like the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee. When monks were killed in 2007, they kept silent. They should have issued a statement saying that it’s unacceptable to kill or hurt monks. But they did nothing. When they at last said something on the radio and TV, they said we should not oppose the junta. Their statement was sent to all senior monks in Mandalay. They [the members of the State Maha Sangha Nayaka Committee] are just puppets of the regime. Even if they know something about old scriptures they haven’t got a clue how people live. They know nothing about the country in which they live. Here in our monastery we say that we respect them. But we don’t. We respect only the Buddha. Not a committee made up of puppets of the military.”
U Sovanna: (about the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee) “I don’t like them at all. They should have said: ‘Stop shooting and beating monks!’ But they didn’t say anything like that. They obey the regime. Personally, I would like to overthrow that committee. No monks have any confidence in them anymore.”
Human Rights Watch: “The Burmese military government’s repression of members of the Buddhist monkhood who dared to take to the streets in 2007. In September of that year, thousands of crimson-robed monks began marching (…) to address declining living standards for an already poor population and begin a genuine dialogue with the country’s political opposition. In the end, weeks of gradually growing demonstrations were violently dispersed by security forces, a crackdown transmitted across the world’s televisión screens thanks to internet and cell phone technology. Hundreds of monks and nuns were arrested, detained, interrogated, and tortured. Many more were ordered or threatened to disrobe by the authorities and sent back to their home villages. In one sense, this was nothing new. Burmese monks have played an important role at many critical historical junctures and, in response, the authorities have often cracked down hard. Monks have long been seen as a political and social threat to military rule in particular and, since 1962, successive military governments have gone to great lengths to sideline the Sangha from the country’s political life. In another sense, however, the protests and the government response were unprecedented. The events of September 2007 were the worst ever assault on the Sangha, worse than anything that happened to the Sangha during the British colonial period (…) The crackdown on monks in 2007 meant that the government lost whatever shred of legitimacy it may have had in the eyes of many, if not most, Burmese. These events also discredited the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, the official leadership body of the Sangha, which lined up in support of the military government. It is unclear how the monks will react in the future to continued repression. The crackdown, massive prison sentences for many monks and nuns, the exile of many, and the constant surveillance of many of those remaining suggest that political activism by monks could be sharply curtailed. Ahead of the second anniversary of the 2007 crackdown, surveillance of monasteries and intimidation and restrictions on movements of monks has increased to deter any repeat of the 2007 demonstrations. Yet, given Burma’s history, it is unlikely that the challenge from the Sangha is over. As one monk defiantly told Human Rights Watch: We don’t have any organization any more. We have no way of keeping in touch with each other. Before, both monks and laymen could communicate with each other. Now everything is crushed. We have no contact. Many have disappeared, or they have been arrested, or moved to other monasteries outside Rangoon. We can just wait and see. We are still not accepting offerings from the military. We’re waiting to go out and protest again. (…) Successive military regimes since 1962 have attempted to control and coopt Buddhism and the loyalty of the monks to their own political and security agendas by bestowing religious titles and extending financial support and patronage, so that monks will be compliant and neutral. Attempts by politicians and other leaders to use the patronage of the Sangha for political gain have been a tactic of successive elites (…) Monks were at the forefront of major anti-government demonstrations in 1974, 1988, and in 2007. (…) Many monks interviewed by Human Rights Watch stated unequivocally that their involvement in the demonstrations (of 2007) was motivated by widespread public frustration over declining living standards and denial of basic freedoms. Anger had long simmered due to close government monitoring of neighborhoods, workplaces, and monasteries for signs of dissent. Standards of education, health care, and basic services had declined dramatically over the preceding several years and corruption was rampant. The government’s violent responses to the demonstrations indicate how seriously the SPDC took the threat to its rule. Monks were publicly beaten, shot, and violently arrested around iconic sites of worship such as the Shwe Dagon pagoda in Rangoon. The security forces raided monasteries at night, dragging away hundreds of monks to abusive interrogations and arbitrary detention. (…) The government’s crackdown on the monks continues to this day, with oppressive surveillance, continued arrests of monks suspected of involvement in political activities, and many monks undergoing secret and unfair trials and receiving draconian sentences. In late 2008, the authorities sentenced scores of monks and nuns to long prison terms for their involvement in the 2007 demonstrations. Many monks who were arrested in the raid on Rangoon’s Artharwaddy Monastic School in September 2007 received sentences with hard labor. (…) It remains to be seen what impact the events of 2007-2008 will have on Burma’s future. If they spell the beginning of the end of military rule in Burma, history will show that monks were at the forefront of that long awaited change (…). The establishment of a Ministry of Religious Affairs in 1950 marked the beginning of a new era of Sangha reform. The government also tried to introduce a system of registration of Buddhist monks, but it failed as the monks at a meeting in Rangoon declared that the Lord Buddha had laid down 227 rules of discipline, to which none more could be added. The monks said that the government had no right to introduce new rules for the Sangha. (…) the army chief, General Ne Win, who even more vigorously tried to establish government control over the Sangha. His Sasana Purification Association supported the move to have the monks registered and the general was determined to push it through. (…) Ne Win and the military realized that the Sangha could pose a threat to the new order and, therefore, had to be brought under state control. (…) In 1980-81, Burmese army general Sein Lwin —feared for his leading role in the Rangoon University Student Union massacre in July 1962— served as the Minister of Home and Religious Affairs, and was responsible for reining in the Sangha. In May 1980, he convened in Rangoon the First Congregation of All Orders for the Purification, Perpetuation and Propagation of Sasana. A number of monks were purged and forced to disrobe from the monkhood. To control the rest, the 47-member State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee was formed, a governing body for all Buddhist monks in the country, and monks were finally forced to register and get their own ID cards. (…) Even the well-respected and internationally renowned teacher of Vipassana meditation, Mahasi Sayadaw, was targeted in the campaign. The regime distributed leaflets accusing him of talking to nat (spirits). The Tipitaka Mingun Sayadaw, Burma’s top Buddhist scholar, was accused of having been involved in some unsavory incident after entering the monkhood. Both sayadaws had shown reluctance to cooperate with the newly established State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, the official Sangha organization controlled and directed by the military government, and which is the object of widespread suspicion among many monks Human Rights Watch interviewed. (…) The committee occasionally issues decrees and orders that have to be obeyed by all monks in the country. These decrees and orders are sent to senior monks on state/divisional level as well as township and ward level, and then announced locally. Monks who fail to abide by these decrees and orders are expelled from the monasteries and disrobed. (…) By the late 1980s, the state thought it had brought the Sangha under its control and quelled all dissent within the ranks of the monks. But the events of 1988 were to show that dissent was still strong in monastic circles, and that the government and the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee —despite the new, draconian rules which had been introduced in 1980— were unable to completely control the country’s hundreds of thousands of monks. On August 8, 1988, massive demonstrations shook Rangoon and almost every town across the country. Millions of people from all walks of life —including monks— took to the streets to vent decades of pent-up frustrations with a regime that had turned what once was one of Asia’s most prosperous countries into an economic and political wreck. The ruling BSPP government responded as it had always done: by sending out the military. But this time the military’s brutality was more intense than ever —an estimated 3,000 protesters were gunned down in Rangoon and elsewhere after the army went into action. (…) The Mandalay monks played an especially important role in the 1988 uprising (…) The carnage continued for two days, while the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), a new junta headed by army chief General Saw Maung, announced that it had to prevent the disintegration of the Union —and that no more than 15 demonstrators were killed. Diplomatic sources in Rangoon thought otherwise: they reported back to their capitals that at least 1,000 people had been killed. According to eyewitness accounts, even some of the wounded were carted away in trucks to be disposed of and buried in mass graves or cremated while they were still alive. (…) But the monks continued their opposition to the military government, and on November 16, 1989, a group called the Radical Buddhist Monks United Front (RBMUF) was set up in Mandalay, led by U Zawana from the town’s Phayagyi monastery. The leadership included other monks from Mandalay, and from Moulmein and Tavoy in the southeast. According to a statement issued at the time, the aims of the RBMUF were to establish a democratic order, to wipe out political and religious persecution, and build a prosperous Burma. It is impossible to say how much impact the RBMUF had, but it nevertheless kept resistance alive in some monasteries in Burma even after the July 1989 crackdown. (…) On August 8, 1990, the second anniversary of the 1988 uprising, thousands of monks marched through the streets of Mandalay. It was not officially a demonstration —the monks were out on their morning alms round— but the choice of the date and the vast number of monks who took part in the ceremony made their intentions obvious enough. Tens of thousands of people showed up in the streets to offer food to the monks, while nervous soldiers looked on. At one point along the route, some students hoisted a peacock flag, the symbol of Burmese nationalism, and now also of the NLD and the pro-democracy movement. Some soldiers apparently overreacted. They opened fire with their automatic G-3 rifles and bullets ripped through the crowd. Shi Ah Sein Na, a 17-year-old novice from Mogaung monastery in Mandalay, was wounded and bullets punctured one of his lungs and shattered his shoulder. He fell to the ground, bleeding profusely. Nine more monks and at least two onlookers were also hit. Alms bowls broken by bullets lay in the street while the soldiers charged the crowd. Fourteen monks were badly beaten and at least five were arrested. Several of the wounded went missing after the incident. Some were presumed dead. (…) The brutality against the monks appalled everyone. The government’s response was to flatly deny that any shooting had occurred in Mandalay on August 8. The state-run radio claimed that the students and the monks had attacked the security forces and that one novice had been slightly injured in the commotion. The official whitewash of the incident was not accepted by the monks in Mandalay. On August 27, more than 7,000 monks gathered in the city. They decided to refuse to accept offerings from soldiers and their families, or to perform religious rites for them, in effect excommunicating anyone associated with the military. The boycott soon spread all over Mandalay, the home of some 80,000 monks, and to other towns in upper Burma, including Sagaing, Monywa, Pakokku, Myingyan, Meiktila, Shwebo, and Ye-U. In Rangoon, 2,000 monks met at the Buddhist study center of Ngar Htat Gyi to join the campaign against the military. On September 27, an open letter was sent to General Saw Maung, to inform that the Sanghas within Rangoon City Development Area boycott the military government and support the decision taken by the Sanghas of Mandalay to undertake a pahtani kozana-kan (excommunication, in proper Pali ´patta nikkujjana kamma´) on the military government. According to this practice, the monks turn their bowls upside down to show that they are on strike. The Sangha had only invoked this act once in modern history: against the Burmese Communist Party in 1950. (…) The SLORC decided to use force to quell the opposition. More than 65 MPs-elect were arrested. On October 20, General Saw Maung ordered the dissolution of all Buddhist organizations involved in anti-government activities. Those who refuse will not be allowed to remain monks, he stated. Local military commanders were also vested with martial law powers, enabling them to disrobe monks and have them imprisoned or executed if they did not comply with the government order. Two days later, leaflets ordering the monks to give up the boycott were dropped from army helicopters over several Mandalay monasteries. The army moved into action. Heavily armed troops raided 133 monasteries and arrested scores of monks. General Saw Maung, who had traveled to Mandalay to direct the action against the monks, returned to Rangoon on October 24 after the end of the operation. Among those arrested were some of Burma’s mostrespected senior abbots, including U Thumingala, head of a renowned teaching monastery in Rangoon. In many ways, the last hope for the democratic opposition had been pinned on the monks. When the army demonstrated that it would not hesitate to move against even the most respected segment of Burmese society, most people lost heart. The pro-democracy movement crumbled and all overt opposition to the SLORC ceased. On October 31, the government enacted a new law relating to the Sangha, the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) Declaration 20/90, which stipulated that, there shall be only one Sangha Organization in the Union of Myanmar… [and] no one shall organize, agitate, deliver speeches or distribute writings in order to disintegrate the Sangha Organizations at different levels. Any monk or novice found violating the new law would be subject to imprisonment from a minimum of six months to a maximum of three years. The exact number of monks who were arrested during the sweeps in late 1990 and early 1991 is not known, but it is believed to be in the hundreds. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) reported that it was as many as 3,115. (…) A government booklet, published in June 1991, has pictures and bio-data of 77 monks and novices who had been arrested, ranging in age from 15 to 63. They were accused of causing disturbances, and anti-government leaflets had been found on some of them. One, U Zotika, was arrested because he had written two anti-government poems in his diary. (…) The ruling junta was clearly realizing the political potential of Buddhism and did its utmost to control the Sangha and its followers. (…) A number of leading clergy were also replaced by monks believed to be more favorable to the SLORC, leading to the expression SLORC monks by their critics. International Buddhist figures reacted badly (…). After crushing the 1990 monks’ movement, the SLORC —which in November 1997 renamed itself the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC)— became even more firmly entrenched in power than it had been at any time since 1988. (…) The demonstrations in August and September 2007 were the largest popular protests against military rule in Burma in nearly 20 years. Human Rights Watch documented the demonstrations and the brutal crackdown by security forces, interviewing more than 100 eyewitnesses to the events. Our report, Crackdown: Repression of the 2007 Popular Protests in Burma, and an investigation by then United Nations special rapporteur for human Rights in Burma, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, demonstrated that SPDC security forces killed, beat, tortured, and violently dispersed peaceful protesters, including monks. Unsurprisingly, the SPDC has not conducted its own investigation; disappointingly, neither the United Nations, regional bodies, nor governments have mounted any further investigation or pressed for perpetrators of abuses to be brought to justice. The demonstrations in 2007 were fuelled by widespread social frustration over declining living standards, a fuel price increase, and denial of basic freedoms. Monks, far from the common view of them as being almost other-worldly, depend on community support for their lives: this is a symbiotic relationship whereby the Sangha provide spiritual guidance and comfort and maintain safe spaces (…) and basic social services, while lay people provide them with material support. Monks thus were well aware of the hardships most Burmese were facing and themselves directly felt the impact of Burma’s economic stagnation. Many young monks in particular were vocally critical of the government’s role in producing increasingly desperate living conditions. (…) Since the crackdown, many have wondered, What happened to the monks? Several hundred monks, possibly more than 1,000, were arrested, and 237 remain in prison as of August 2009. Some fled overseas, but more went back to life as laypeople. Many monasteries in Rangoon and elsewhere now have less than half as many monks as they had in September 2007. Ahead of the second anniversary of the crackdown, many monasteries inside Burma have been the subject of increased surveillance, visits by security personnel to check on monks suspected of activism, and curbs on movements and even public sermons by monks. The government’s fears of resumed protests led by the monks remains well founded. Beginning in late 2008, Burmese courts summarily tried and sentenced hundreds of Political activists to lengthy prison terms. Some were sentenced to as much as 65 years. Many were Buddhist monks and nuns. Some had been arrested during protests on the streets, while others were rounded up during brutal nighttime raids on monasteries and religious schools in Rangoon in September and October. During the late 2008 sentencing wave of more than 250 political activists, 46 monks and four nuns were sentenced to prison, many with hard labor. Five monks from the Ngwe Kyar Yan monastery, which suffered a bloody and brutal raid on the night of September 26, were sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison. The nuns imprisoned include 84-year-old Daw Ponnami (who was eventually released in February 2009), 70-year-old Daw Htay Yi, and 64- year-old Daw Pyinyar Theingyi, each from Rangoon’s Thitsa Tharaphu School and each sentenced to four years of hard labor. Also sentenced at the same trial were senior abbots of the Artharwaddy Monastic School, such as 65-year old U Yevada. His school was brutally raided on the night of September 26 as security forces were searching for activist monks. All seven monks and nuns were charged under sections 295 and 295(a) of the Penal Code, which prohibit insulting a group’s religion by harming or defiling a place of worship, or committing deliberate and malicious acts to outrage religious feelings by insulting a group’s religion or religious beliefs. In some specific cases, U Kaylartha, a monk from Mandalay, received 35 years’ imprisonment; U Sandar Wara was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years; and Abbot U San Dimar of Kyar Monastary in Rangoon’s Pazundaung township received eight years and is facing additional charges that could add to his sentence. A young monk, U Thaddama from Garna Puli monastery, was sentenced to 19 years of imprisonment.”
Bhikkhu U Pannacara: “Traditionally, we monks are not supposed to be politically active. The military has ruled our country for more than 40 years, and they don’t care about the welfare of the people, they care only for themselves and their relatives, and how to remain in power forever. That was why the people rose up against them. There are three powerful groups in Burma: the sit-tha (sons of war), that’s the military, the kyaung-tha (sons of the school), the students, and the paya-tha (sons of the Buddha). That’s us, the monks.” 
Bhikkhu U Eitthariya, one of the organizers of the September 2007 demonstrations in Burma: “Most of the Sangha have families, so they see the social problems. All monks have feelings for their families, and we didn’t have an opportunity to express this. Low living standards of the people affect the monks because we depend on the people to support us. Especially in Pakokku and Mandalay, there are lots of monks who cannot be supported. Everyone knows the justice system doesn’t work and that you need money and contacts with the authorities. This makes the economic hardships even worse. Secondly, there was bloodshed against the monks in Pakokku. Even under the British we were not treated like this” 
Michael Mendelson: “All politically active monks tended to be labeled by the colonial authorities as political agitators in the yellow robes. Interestingly, a similar term is used by Burma’s current leaders to describe protesting monks.”
Gustaaf Houtman: “During the arrangement for U Thant’s funeral in 1974, several monks were bayoneted and 600 were arrested. (…) In 1976, the regime sought to discredit La Ba, a monk critical of the regime who it accused of murder and cannibalism. In 1978, more monks and novices were arrested, disrobed, and imprisoned. Monasteries were closed and their property seized. Also in that year a senior monk, Sayadaw U Nayaka, died in jail after being tortured.”
Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma): “These monks were forced to disrobe, sent to hard labor camps and used as porters at the front-lines of the civil war in the ethnic border states.”
Bhikkhu Ashin Pyinnya Jota: “The first time I was arrested, soldiers raided my monastery. They took me to a detention center in downtown Rangoon. (…) The officials tried to get a senior abbot to formally disrobe the young monk, but the abbot refused: In Buddhism, a monk cannot simply be disrobed by the authorities. Unless a monk chooses to leave the monastic order or is found guilty of a serious offense against his precepts, he should remain in his robes. (…) I did not believe that monks could be beaten like this in Burma, a Buddhist country. Everyone in Burma respects monks, I thought. But I was wrong to expect our country’s evil rulers to treat monks with respect. It saddened me to learn that this was possible in a Buddhist land. (…) Raiding monasteries is like raping Buddhism. This is an unspeakable offense against the religion, and it is also inexcusable from the point of view of social ethics. Even the British colonialists did not storm monasteries, beating and arresting monks and forcibly closing these sacred places to the public.”
Bhikkhu Ashin Pannasiri: “I was also slapped and punched in the face. My interrogators stepped on my toes with their army boots. They demanded to know what organizations I was in touch with and who I had contacted. (…) The worst persons during torture were MAS [Military Affairs Security] officials Ko Ko Aung and U San Win. They kicked my chest with their combat boots and stomped on my face with my hands handcuffed behind me. Every question was accompanied by kicks and punches to my head and body. I was almost unconscious. I fell on the table in front of me when they kicked me from the back. At last I could not endure anymore such torture. They twisted my arms and tried to break them, which affected the nervous System in my hand. They pressed between my rib bones. They slapped me on my temple and pulled my earlobes violently. They stepped on my shins which left me with severe pain until I was sentenced to prison term. I could not walk well. They interrogated me by all means available to them. My little toes were swollen. (…) When I could not endure any more torture, I head-butted the table in front of me, trying to knock myself unconscious. Police officer U Aung Win, sitting beside me, held me and said: Please don’t do like that, my reverend. We are acting under the command of higher authority. (…) (After that he was transferred to an isolated labor camp near Burma’s western border with India) There, I was chained on both legs and, like the other prisoners, had to break stones and dig ditches. I and about 140 other prisoners worked seven days a week, from dawn to dusk, without any break. (…) It seems that they had got some information about me from monks and other activists who had been arrested and interrogated. I was beaten again; they punched me in my chest and head. I was interrogated from nine in the morning to six in the evening, and I was not allowed to eat or drink anything. I realized that I would be killed if they took me to another place, which I think they intended to do. So I made up my mind. I had to escape. There was no choice if I wanted to survive.”
U Gotipala: “I know that many leading monks, who organized the protests, have fled to other countries. They would be apprehended if they returned. The State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee has no will of its own. They only obey the government. We don’t care about them anymore. They have no power over the monks in Burma”
U Kusalasami: “Our abbot decided that no monks from our monastery should participate in the marches. Many younger novices were upset, they wanted to march, but they obeyed the abbot’s orders. He supported the protests but was worried that the monks and the novices could get hurt or even be killed. So we lent passive support to the protests. Some argue that monks should concern themselves only with religion and not get involved in politics. That’s correct, in a way. At the same time, it’s the duty of the monks to help the people whenever they can. There’s no contradiction here. To go out in the streets and recite the Metta Sutta, or to boycott the regime, is not politics. Politics is to overthrow the government, and that was not what we were trying to do. We can only meditate, pray and make appeals. That’s the way of religion. We boycott the regime and don’t accept offerings from them. But we can’t do more than that. We were distraught when the soldiers opened fire on the monks and beat them. But what could we do? We had no guns. As monks we cannot fight. We follow the path of the Buddha. But we’ll never forget what the junta did to the monks and the people. This regime has been in power since 1962. Since that time, many have demonstrated and protested against the regime, but nothing has changed. September 2007 was just one of many such protests.”
Bhikkhu U Manita: “A lot of trucks were parked outside the monastery. I and other monks were forced onto those trucks. There were no benches, nothing to sit on. We were so many monks that there was hardly any place for all of us. We were forced to sit down with our hands on our heads. I saw several monks being beaten with batons and iron rods. They were beaten both by soldiers and some kind of militia. A friend of mine was very badly beaten. They aimed their pistols and rifles at us, shouting: Don’t move! We didn’t move. But we began to recite the Metta Sutta, about loving kindness. Then they shouted: You’re not allowed to chant or talk (…) Instead of driving us back to our monastery, we were taken to Insein Jail [in Rangoon division]. There, we were forced to take off our robes. We were forced to strip naked and leave all our belongings outside the prison. Then we were given prison uniforms. There were many monks in the cells. The cells were so crowded it was impossible to lie down and sleep. We had to sleep in a sitting position, which was difficult. We were given food and water only once a day in the morning. A bit of rice, egg, and cabbage. But we got toothbrushes and blankets. All the monks who had been arrested were photographed by the security services. And then we were interrogated again. And again. After three days we were sent back. There was not enough space for all the prisoners! One prison guard said to me: Politics is for the military, religion for the monks. I don’t want to see your face in the streets again.” 
Bhikkhu U Gawsita: “Soldiers were blocking our way. There was a confrontation near the Shwedagon Pagoda. Soldiers started beating the monks. Smoke bombs were fired and we couldn’t see the Shwedagon for all the smoke. I was beaten on my head and I believe four monks were killed. Both the army and the Lon Htein [riot police] took part in the beatings. The laypeople couldn’t stand seeing the monks being beaten, but there was nothing they could do. They were beaten, too. (…) This continued into the night. Army trucks crashed through the gates of several monasteries. It happened after midnight, so no laymen could witness it because of the curfew that the authorities had imposed. Because I was wounded, I stayed in a room beside the main building at Meggin. From where I was staying, I first saw civilians from the USDA [mass-based social movement organized and controlled by the SPDC] come up to the monastery. They claimed that they had come to check the night attendance at the monastery, so the monks opened the gates. But as soon as the gates were open, about 50 soldiers stormed in and began arresting the novices. They made them lie down on the floor with guns at their heads, demanding: Where are the senior monks? The young novices cried and said that they didn’t know. But the soldiers found them. The first senior monk to be arrested was in his 80s. Four other senior monks were also arrested. Two of them were later released, but we don’t know what happened to the other two.” 
Bhikkhu from Ma Soe Yin monastery: “Outside these temple walls, there is dictatorship. But inside the Ma Soe Yin monastery, there is democracy. We say whatever we want. We’re not afraid. Here are 30 senior monks and 600 monk students and novices. It is a Pali university, and we were also active in the 1988-90 democracy movement. We’re inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and his struggle against British colonialism. We’re also well aware of our own traditions, the role of Buddhist monks in Burma’s political and social history. We had contacts with other sympathetic monasteries and we communicated in code. We’ve got mobile phones, but we don’t know how to use the internet. We sent messages mainly by personal couriers, and then verbal messages. Nothing in writing. It was safer that way. But now we’re keeping a low profile and we don’t communicate with other monasteries because we are under surveillance. There are secret organizations made up of monks who are opposed to the government. But it’s better for us not to know how they work and who are active in those organizations. That way we can’t say anything if we are arrested, tortured and interrogated” 
U Sovanna: “Then, some soldiers appeared and said: We’ve got our orders. If you move your foot we’ll shoot you in the foot. If you move your head, we’ll shoot you in the head. So we went back to the monastery. What else could we do? It was too dangerous. And then it became impossible to demonstrate because soldiers and police surrounded several monasteries, including ours. We saw helicopters in the sky above us. Our monastery was raided in 1990 as well, because we supported the democratic cause”
U Pannacara: “Our school is being watched, and major monasteries are also under strict surveillance. Agents come at midnight to check if the monks who are registered at a particular monastery are there. They even break up boxes and chests belonging to the monks to look for anti-government literature, or phone numbers to foreign countries” 
Monks Who Were Wounded on August 8, 1990, in Mandalay
Shin Ah Sein Na from Mogaung monastery; wounded on left shoulder with punctured lung and shattered shoulder
U San Di Mar from Phayagyi monastery; wounded on right knee
Shin Zawana from Phayagyi monastery; wounded on right shoulder
U Tay Za Ni Ya from Taung Taman monastery; gunshot wound on head
Bhin Kay Tha Wa from Taung Taman monastery; gunshot wound below knee
U Thuriya from Pagan monastery; gunshot wound on shin
No name given from Nyaung Kan monastery; gunshot wound
Shin Thuriya from Pagan monastery; gunshot wound on arm
No name given from Phayagyi monastery, alms bowl broken by bullets
Shin Thondara from South Htilin monastery, gunshot wound on arm, arrested but later released
Monks Who Were Beaten
Shin Wizaya from Nandi Thaynar Rama monastery; beaten on shin and calves
U Kawithara from Phayagyi monastery; beaten on arms and head
U Pyin Nya Wara from Phayagyi monastery; beaten and arrested
Shin Sarana from Phayagyi monastery; serious injuries on arms and head
Shin Theik Kha from Phayagyi monastery; beaten while on then ground
U Zanaka from Nyaung Kan monastery; beaten
Shin Egga from Nyaung Kan monastery; beaten
U Kay Thaya from New Ma Soe Yein monastery; beaten
U Nan Taw Batha from New Ma Soe Yein monastery; beaten twice on cheek
Shin Pyin Nya Thiri monastery unknown; beaten on head
U Kokkhana from New Ma Soe Yein monastery; beaten on left arm
U Thiri Kinzana from Padetha monastery; beaten on head
No name given from Myin Wun monastery; beaten on arms
U Kuthala from New Ma Soe Yein monastery; kneed on chest and stamped with boots
Monks Who Were Arrested
Shin Weseiktha from Old Ma Soe Yein monastery
Shin Yarzeinda from Old Ma Soe Yein monastery
U Kokkana from New Ma Soe Yein monastery
U Pyin Nya Wuntha from West Htilin monastery
Shin Thondara from South Htilin monastery
(Source: List compiled by Mandalay monks after the incident, on file with Human Rights Watch.)
Reuters: “Shin Gambira, a Myanmar monk jailed for his role in protests in 2007 and released in a January amnesty, faces action by the authorities because he has repeatedly broken Buddhist monks’ code of conduct and the law, state newspapers said on Sunday. The reports accused him of rejoining the religious order without requesting authorisation after the Jan. 13 amnesty, of being in the Magin Monastery, which has been sealed by the government, and breaking the locks of two other monasteries. Monks from Magin, in the eastern suburbs of the main city of Yangon, were involved in opposition activity under the military regime that ruled Myanmar for almost 50 years until a nominally civilian government took over in March last year. The civilian government, while full of former generals, has initiated a series of political and economic reforms at a speed that has taken the outside world by surprise, although some observers remain sceptical of its motives. Shin Gambira, 33, was a leader of the Alliance of All Burma Buddhist Monks that led a peaceful protest known as the Saffron Revolution in 2007, which the military put down with force. The papers said the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee (SSMNC), the highest level of a state-sponsored Buddhist monks’ organisation, had summoned Shin Gambira three times but he failed to show up, so the police were asked to bring him in on Feb. 10. According to the newspapers, Shin Gambira had said in a statement to the SSMNC that he did not need permission to rejoin the order of monks so he would not ask for it. The United States, which has made the freeing of political prisoners one of its conditions for easing sanctions on Myanmar imposed when the junta was in power, had expressed concern at his brief detention this month. Shin Gambira was arrested in November 2007 and sentenced to 68 years in jail. He told Reuters after his release that he had been badly treated, both physically and mentally, during his interrogation and in jail. In his statement to the SSMNC, Shin Gambira had also objected to the body’s ordering another prominent monk, Shwenyawa Sayadaw, to leave his monastery for political activities including giving a speech at the opening of an office of the opposition National League for Democracy party of Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. (…) Buddhist monks have a long tradition of standing up to authorities in the country, which is also known as Burma. They were often at the forefront of opposition to British colonial rule, which ended in 1948.” 
Khin Su Wai: “Ahead of his slated July 1 release date, former monk and Saffron Revolution leader U Gambira will face criminal hearings in two Yangon townships. The extra charges could potentially leave him behind bars beyond the six months he is already serving on an immigration conviction internationally decried as politically motivated. The new charges date back to December 2012, when U Gambira, whose legal name is U Nyi Nyi Lwin, forcibly opened up monasteries that had been sealed by authorities since the 2007 monk-led uprising. He faces charges under sections 427 and 448 of the penal code –covering mischief and trespassing, respectively– at the Thanlyin Township Court today and Bahan Township Court on July 4, according to family sources. Robert San Aung, the former monk’s lawyer, said the 2012 incident occurred because at the time U Gambira had only recently been released from prison under a presidential amnesty and did not have a place to stay. (…) A court in Mandalay rejected multiple bail requests during the immigration trial of U Gambira, who suffers from mental health issues brought on by the trauma of torture while detained for his role in the Saffron Revolution. (…) Daw Yay, U Gambira’s mother, questioned why U Gambira was passed over in a series of political prisoner amnesties granted since the National League for Democracy government took power in April (2016). Most politic prisoners went free and had charges dropped, with the exception of U Gambira, she said.” 
The Irrawaddy: “Rights group Amnesty International on Wednesday called for the immediate and unconditional release of former Buddhist monk U Gambira who was arrested in Mandalay on Tuesday evening on immigration charges. Gambira appeared at Maha Aung Myay Township Court on Wednesday and was charged with entering the country illegally under Section 13(1) of the 1947 Burma Immigration (Emergency Provisions) Act, according to the rights group. Amnesty labeled the charges against Gambira, who was a leading figure of the 2007 Saffron Revolution, contrived, arbitrary and politically motivated and called on authorities to ensure he is provided with the medicine he requires to manage a medical condition pending his release. Gambira, also known as Nyi Nyi Lwin, is one of Burma’s most prominent political prisoners. He was arrested for his role in the Saffron Revolution and forcibly disrobed while in detention. While traveling back and forth between Thailand and Burma since his release in 2012, he has been re-arrested at least four times on various charges largely viewed as spurious. Gambira had been monitored by Special Branch officers since his arrival in Burma on Friday, Amnesty said, citing a source close to the former monk. He is now being detained in Mandalay’s Oh Bo prison with a next court hearing scheduled for Feb. 3. (…) Marie Siochana, expressed concern over his existing health condition. He is mentally ill and needs to take medicine regularly, she said. He needs to look after his health, and I wonder why they still want to arrest him.”
Aung Hla Tun: “A Myanmar court laid additional charges against a former monk and leader of the 2007 Saffron Revolution anti-junta uprising on Tuesday, accusing him of trespass and mischief committed four years ago. Nyi Nyi Lwin, better known as Gambira, was arrested in January for illegally entering Myanmar from neighboring Thailand. The new charges relate to the reopening of monasteries that were sealed off after the monk-led protests. The alleged violations took place in 2012, after Gambira’s release from prison where he had served time for his involvement in the demonstrations. Gambira force-opened the gates of three monasteries in Yangon, which were sealed off by the military in the crackdown on the protests, since the activist monks couldn’t find anywhere to live after their release in the amnesty in 2012, said Gambira’s lawyer, Robert San Aung. The charges were laid days before he was about to be released from prison, where he has been serving time for allegedly crossing the Thai-Burma border without an official visa. He has now been moved to Yangon’s notorious Insein prison from Mandalay to face the new charges. The fact that a high-profile political prisoner is moved around the country and charged for seemingly minor offences committed years ago shows democratic reforms in Myanmar under Aung San Suu Kyi’s leadership are still in their early stages, as many junta-era institutions, mechanisms and laws remain unchanged. He was due to be freed on July 1, but the authorities seem afraid of him and don’t want to let him out, said Robert San Aung. The government cracked down harshly on the 2007 demonstrations, opening fire on protesters and sweeping up those who took part. At least 31 people were killed by security forces and thousands arrested, according to the United Nations. Gambira was freed from prison during a 2012 general amnesty, a year after the junta handed power to a semi-civilian government, following 49 years of direct rule of the Southeast Asian nation. Since his release, he has divided his time between Myanmar and Thailand, but Myanmar authorities have re-arrested him several times in what rights groups have described as continued harassment for his criticism of the previous military-backed government. It just shows things still remain as bad as they were under the former regime, political analyst Yan Myo Thein told Reuters. They always find some pretext whenever they don’t want to free a prominent politician or an activist.”
Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights: U Gambhira has denounced the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee for ordering Shwenyawa monk U Pinnya Sila to leave Sadhu Buddha Tekkatho Monastery within one month. He also denounced State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee for doing nothing to release 43 monks included 415 prisoners. 
Aung Kyaw Min: “The State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee and Ministry of Religious Affairs have come under fierce criticism for a nighttime raid on a monastery at the centre of a high-profile land dispute. Police and committee officials raided Mahasantisukha Buddha Sasana Center in Tarmwe township at 11pm on June 10 and evicted 20 monks and 32 laypeople from the site. Influential monks and commentators have condemned the raid as a misuse of power and said it was conducted in a fashion more reminiscent of Myanmar’s previous military dictatorship. The raid late at night to shut down the monastery was dictatorial in nature, said Magway Monastery Sayadaw U Parmaukkha. If they had nothing to hide, they should have done it during the daytime. It is a misuse of power… [and] totally contradicts the democratic way that the president says we are going. He called on the president to form an investigation team to probe the actions of the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee. This is an ugly incident, he said. We profoundly object to this dispute being resolved by force instead of settling it with insight. The raid was headed by the Yangon Region Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee. About 300 police, 280 monks and officials from the Ministry of Religious Affairs took part. It took place while the founder and head of the monastery, U Pannavamsa –widely known as Penang Sayadaw– was visiting Japan for missionary work. U Pannavamsa founded the monastery in 1999, but it was confiscated by the military government in 2002 while he was overseas and given to the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, the body that oversees all monks in Myanmar. In recent years he has lobbied President U Thein Sein to return ownership of the monastery back to him but the Ministry of Religious Affairs has argued that it is impossible because according to Buddhist rules a donation to the Sangha cannot be taken back. Monks in the monastery had been instructed on May 18 to leave by the end of the month in compliance with the March 6 decision of the 47-member State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee. After the raid, monks from the monastery were taken to the Department of Religious Affairs in Mayangone at about 1am. The laypeople were taken to Tarmwe police station and freed the following day after signing a pledge to stay out of the Mahasantisukha dispute in future. At about 10:30pm, six police vehicles and express buses with monks entered into the monastery. Then they blocked the street… to the monastery. Then they surrounded the monastery, said a staff member from the monastery who asked not to be named. With U Pannavamsa out of the country, Thone Htet Monastary Sayadaw U Panyeinda and England Sayadaw U Ottara were detained as the acting heads of the Mahasantisukha. U Panyeinda was freed on the morning of June 11 after signing a similar pledge but U Ottara and six other monks remain in custody. The other monks will be freed after being interrogated, presidential adviser U Ant Maung said at a press conference on June 11. The head of religious affairs for Yangon Region, U Sein Maw, said the raid was conducted at night with the agreement of the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee to avoid unnecessary problems for both monks and laypeople. State media quoted officials at the press conference as saying that U Pannavamsa has no right to privately own the property as the government had already handed it over to the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee. But critics said it was little more than a politically motivated land grab. I have never seen a situation where a monastery was nationalized like this, political commentator Moe Thu Mandalay wrote (…). Neither the head of Sangha Committee or the ministry can expel monks if they are not breaking the rules for monks. Their action is beyond the rules. It means they don’t care about the Buddha. He particularly took aim at the role U Ant Maung, a former director general in the Ministry of Religious Affairs, played in organising the raid. Every monk … knows what kind of person U Ant Maung is. The fact that U Thein Sein appointed this kind of person as his consultant tells us a lot about the nature of the president. The 88 Generation Peace and Open Society issued a statement on June 11 calling on the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, Yangon Region government and Union Government to resolve the case delicately and fairly. Failure to do so could result in unrest, the group said. The shutdown of the monastery comes a month before the planned launch of a missionary training program at the monastery. The program was suspended in 2000 but was due to resume in early July.” 
Myanmar Eleven: “The Yangon Region Religious Affairs Department will proceed with the case of the sealed- Maha Thandi Thukha monastery in accordance with the decisions of State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, said Regional Religious Officer Sein Maw yesterday. We are going to carry out the sealed monastery case according to the decision of the Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee. Currently, we don’t know how to do it. We have not received any information, said Sein Maw. The Maha Thandi Thukha monastery in Natchaung Ward, Tamwe Township was owned by the Penang Sayadaw until last June. While the abbot was visiting Japan to promote Buddhist Sasana on June 10, 2014, Sayadaws from the Yangon Sangha Nayaka Committee, as well as officials from the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the police, raided the monastery and placed it under the control of the Sangha Maha Nayakha Committee. At a press conference, the Penang Sayadaw called the move unjust and called on the government to settle the issue of its ownership. The Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee argued that regional courts should not interfere with religious affairs and that only the highest team organised by Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee would be qualified to adjudicate the case, said Htun Nyunt, Director of the Religious Affairs Department. The Penang Sayadaw wanted the monastery to be a centre for religious education. However, Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee sought to rent the monastery to hold wedding ceremonies, market festivals and dance training courses. Although the public sent letters to the Union parliament, the Rule of Law, Peace and Tranquillity Committee, the Government’s Guarantees, Pledges and Undertakings Vetting Committee, the Yangon Regional Government Committee as well as the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Yangon Region’s Sangha Maha Nayakha Committee to resolve the dispute, no action has yet been taken.”
RFA’s Myanmar Service: “Predominantly-Buddhist Myanmar’s religious affairs minister Hsan Sint was detained and charged with corruption Thursday as the government appointed new leaders to a religious affairs advisory group, local media reported Thursday. President Thein Sein announced on state media that Hsan Sint has been sacked over the case, which arose amid tensions following a controversial raid on a monastery in Yangon which triggered warnings of protests by monks. Hsan Sint, who was appointed to head the Religious Affairs Ministry in January last year, was accused of misusing ministerial funds at a court in the capital Naypyidaw (…). Eleven also reported that sources close to the minister said he had a falling out with cabinet members over the plan to raid a monastery involved in an ownership dispute with the State Sangha Maha Nayaka, or official Buddhist monastic committee, earlier this month. It said that Hsan Sint was against the June 10 raid, during which officials from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, accompanied by around 300 riot police, took control of the disputed Mahasantisukha monastery in Yangon’s Tamwe township, while its popular abbot, Pyinya Wuntha, was visiting Japan. Fifteen of the monks were released a day after the raid, but five others —including a British citizen— were charged, stripped of their clerical status by senior monks and sent to Yangon’s notorious Insein prison on June 13. The raid has raised tensions, with some monks threatening to hold large protests if the five are not released. Eleven said that Hsan Sint, a member of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), has a clean record in his past positions in the military as well as speaker of the Irrawaddy region parliament, which he held before his appointment to the Religious Affairs Ministry last year. The corruption case came as state media on Thursday announced new leaders to a religious affairs advisory group. Former Minister of Religious Affairs Myint Maung was named to lead the group. Myint Maung, a brigadier under the former military junta, had retired from his post after facing blame for failing to assist monks injured in a police crackdown on protesters at the Letpadaung copper mine in 2012. Former ambassador Sein Win Aung, the father-in-law of the president’s daughter, was appointed as the number two in the advisory group. The government is also facing criticism from human rights groups over draft laws aimed at protecting the country’s majority Buddhist identity by regulating religious conversions and marriages between people of different faiths. The international community has also slammed the government’s treatment of minority Muslim Rohingyas in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state.” 
- CENSORSHIP AND ASSAULT ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
Aung Kyaw Min (Myanmar Times): “Shwe Nya Wa Sayadaw, an outspoken monk who has challenged the Buddhist establishment, says he intends to keep on preaching –if called upon by the people– in defiance of a ban imposed by his government-appointed seniors. The popular 50-year-old monk called a press conference in Hmawbi township yesterday to declare that he would defend his right under the constitution to speak freely without damaging religion. U Pinnyasiha, better known to the people as Shwe Nya Wa Saya-daw, learned on March 25 that a plenary meeting of the 47-member State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee in February had decided to impose a nationwide ban on his preaching with no time limit for allegedly speaking out of line with Buddhist doctrine and not following the instructions of his seniors. The ruling followed a report by Yangon Region’s Sangha Committee and allowed regional authorities to take appropriate legal action against him. The State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, known as Mahana, is a government-appointed body of high-ranking Buddhist monks that regulates the Buddhist clergy. (…) Shwe Nya Wa Sayadaw said It will not be an effective attempt to stop my preaching. I will preach according to the rights of a citizen to express freely without making any damage on the religion, according to section 354(d) and 348 of the constitution. Shwe Nya Wa Sayadaw has courted controversy before and has been known for his criticism of the anti-Muslim 969 movement, which is backed by some nationalist Buddhist monks. In 2013 he acted to calm communal violence between Buddhists and Muslims that exploded in the central city of Meiktila, and has also spoken out in defence of political prisoners. In 2011 he met Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, and in 2012 he was evicted from his monastery by the State Sangha committee, allegedly over a property ownership dispute. Speaking yesterday, he challenged the authority of the Mahana appointees, saying they lacked the qualities of a superior. [These qualities are] patience, alertness, (…) sound judgment, mercy and vision. But [the Mahana appointees] have none of them. If you look at members of the Mahana, they have no alertness (…). They never are patient. They can’t stand any criticism. If they can’t stand someone’s criticism, then don’t take part in an organisation related with society, the sayadaw said. He added that in the time when Buddha was alive, he never allowed anyone to rule over monks. And he told his monks to apologise in public if people pointed out their mistakes. Monks did not need to ask for permits to preach. He pointed out that the former military government had enacted the law creating the Sangha organisation, calling it a law to control monks. The monk said he would preach in Thailand during the Thingyan holidays because Myanmar migrant workers had invited him. I have no plan to confront the Mahana. If they ask me to negotiate I will accept, but I can’t follow their ban because I think that they don’t have the quality of a superior, he said. An activist of the 88 Generation known as Jimmy said the ban showed that the country needed to do a lot to reach national reconciliation. The preaching made by the sayadaw never opposed the doctrines spoken by the Buddha. His preaching may also be about nationalism, such as about General Aung San (…). Monks have the responsibility to point out the weakness of a government if it is necessary to do so for the interest of the country. I think the government worries that the power of the monks will grow so it controls monks with new rules (…). Because of this, different groups appeared between monks, and disagreement among them rose. The future of Buddhism is in an anxious situation because of the lack of national reconciliation in Myanmar.” 
Myanmar Eleven: “Despite being banned from preaching by the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, controversial Buddhist monk Shwenyawah Sayadaw insisted Wednesday he will continue to deliver sermons. The State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, a government-appointed body of high-ranking monks that oversees Buddhist clergy in Myanmar, banned him on March 25 in a written statement. The committee explained that the monk, also known as U Pinnyasiha, had been giving sermons that were unrelated to Buddhism. If there is anyone who wants to hear my sermon, I will continue preaching,’ Shwenyawah Sayadaw said. In my sermons, there were no abusive words. Why didn’t the committee take action against those who use abusive words? I’m just preaching without fear to show the weaknesses of the government. Now the situation is to do whatever the ruling government favours. He has frequently been prohibited from giving sermons.” 
Irrawaddy – News agency denounces nationalist monks for obstructing reporter
(Mon 30 May 2016): “In what it has called an assault on press freedom, Burmese news agency Myanmar Cable News has publicly condemned the Myanmar Patriotic Monks Union, one of several hardline Buddhist nationalist groups in Burma, for allegedly obstructing and intimidating one of its junior reporters. The reporter was covering a meeting between the monk’s union and the management of the luxury Sedona Hotel in Rangoon. According to the news agency’s statement issued on Monday, members of the monk’s union stopped the reporter from filming the meeting, and attempted to delete the footage taken, even though the news agency had obtained permission from the hotel to film the meeting. The meeting was held in response to a recent controversy, after photographs were circulated on social media last week of a porter at the hotel receiving guests, and carrying their baggage, while dressed in a supposed royal costume from the Bagan era. The Bagan Kingdom was founded by King Anawratha in Burma’s central dry zone and flourished between the 11th and 13th centuries. The photographs prompted outrage from some Burmese Buddhist conservatives, which has been channeled by the Myanmar Patriotic Monk’s Union, who complained directly to the hotel. Burma’s most prominent Buddhist nationalist group, the Association for the Protection of Race and Religion (known popularly by the Burmese-language acronym Ma Ba Tha), which is led by monks, issued a statement on Friday. The statement denounced it as an insult to the dignity of the country that a hotel porter, who occupies one of the most menial positions within the hierarchy of a luxury hotel, should be dressed in the costume of Burma’s ancient heroes. The news agency’s statement was also addressed to the office of State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, the President’s Office, the Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs, the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee (which regulates Burma’s monkhood), and the Press Council. The statement condemned the behavior of the Patriotic Monks Union as an assault on press freedom, and demanded that action be taken against them. (…) Much of the Buddhist nationalist rhetoric since 2012 has focused on stigmatizing Muslims as an existential threat to Buddhism in Burma. However, this is the first time that Buddhist nationalist outrage has been directed at a seemingly secular subject: the attire of medieval Burmese royalty. In 2014, New Zealand national Philip Blackwood was arrested and later imprisoned for his alleged role in posting an image of the Buddha wearing headphones on a Facebook page promoting a cheap drinks night at the Rangoon bar he was managing. He was released as part of an amnesty for 102 prisoners announced by outgoing President Thein Sein in January, after a year spent in Rangoon’s Insein prison. In June 2015, National League for Democracy (NLD) information officer Htin Lin Oo was handed a prison sentence for outraging and wounding religious feelings (in accordance with provisions of Burma’s colonial-era Penal Code) after delivering a public speech criticizing Buddhist ultra-nationalist groups in October 2014.”
- CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AND PEACE
International Burmese Monks Organization (IBMO), May 2008: “Following the September 2007 street protests in Burma, many Buddhist monks were arrested, disappeared, beaten and even killed. During the crackdown, monks and nuns inside Burma asked monks living outside of the country to continue to their struggle. They asked the IBMO to raise international awareness about Burma’s political struggles. Inside Burma, there is no freedom of speech. To speak out against human rights abuses, to speak out against dictatorship, or to speak out for common human decency, as the Buddhist faith demands, is to invite attack at the hands of the military junta. The IBMO travels the globe in order to provide a voice for our monks and nuns inside Burma who are denied this right. (…) Monks are not politicians but is their duty to help relieve the suffering of all the people of Burma. The Buddha gave ten rules for kings to ensure that kings did not harm their subjects. Burma’s generals violate all of these rules every day. The Burmese military dictatorship has total disregard for the welfare of its people. The junta provides no proper education, health care or other public services. People are forced to turn to the monasteries for help. Monks witness the desperate needs of the people every day and in September, they rose up together to answer these needs. Today, monks inside Burma are working desperately to feed and clothe Cyclone Nargis victims taking shelter in monasteries throughout Southern Burma.”
Human Rights Watch: “On May 2, 2008, Burma was struck by its worst natural disaster in modern history. On that day, Cyclone Nargis tore into Burma’s Irrawaddy delta, the country’s rice bowl and the home of millions of people, mostly small-scale farmers. Nearly 150,000 people died or remain missing. According to a joint assessment by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the UN, and the Burmese government, some 2.4 million people were severely affected by the cyclone, out of an estimated 7.35 million living in the affected townships. More than 40 percent of those affected were children —in a region where young people already suffered from malnutrition. Drinking water was in short supply as most sources had been contaminated by decomposing corpses. Entire villages were wiped out with hardly a building standing —except for the Buddhist temples and monasteries, usually built from stronger material than ordinary, wooden houses. Crops were destroyed by salt water seeping into the fields, which many at the time feared could have a devastating long-term impact on the country’s food supply. While deaths mounted, Burma’s ruling generals were slow to react and flatly refused to accept foreign aid. In the beginning, almost all aid efforts came from Buddhist groups and organizations; Buddhist monks were the first to clear roads that had been blocked by fallen trees, to take care of the victims and offer the homeless shelter in monasteries” 
FIDH (Federación Internacional de Derechos Humanos) & ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation): “At least 1,000 people were documented by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners of Burma (AAPPB) as still in detention at the time of the mission, on top of political prisoners already held before the events. On December 1st, AAPPB still documented the names of 706 detainees, in addition to 1158 political prisoners held prior to August 5, 2007 (…) Witnesses interviewed by the mission reported that many thousands of monks were taken from the streets and in raids on their monasteries in Rangoon, Mandalay and elsewhere, 6,000 on one day. Eye witnesses informed mission participants of monks and civilians who were beaten, rounded up and taken away in trucks. Unknown numbers remain in detention, held under harsh conditions, with no food for the first days, in cramped rooms, with no space to lie down. Others were sent to labour camps. The families of monks and others have been denied access to their imprisoned family members. (…) Those who died in detention are reported to have been cremated without families or witnesses identifying their remains, or knowing the cause of death. (…) The repression was brutal and systematic. Most of the participants witnessed people that were or had been shot, people lying on the street seriously injured, as well as being beaten to death. (…) All those interviewed said they could not live in safety any longer in Burma as they were followed, their homes were raided, and their photographs distributed. In order to escape arrest, they avoided their homes and did not try to seek refuge in monasteries, choosing instead to leave Rangoon by public transport to the Thai-Burma border. They said public buses were stopped, in search for anyone with Rangoon identification cards, Being checked frequently at checkpoints and the police having photo files to identify specific people. People with shaven heads or in robes were particularly targeted. Others escaped to the border by walking, arranging to hire motorbikes and hiding in the jungle as even monasteries or houses could not provide safe refuge. Most were not seeking to resettle in a third country but were considering their refuge in Thailand as temporary. (…) The underlying causes of the protests, named the Saffron Revolution, have not been addressed, on the contrary. The fuel price rise, the economic conditions, the systematic violation of fundamental human rights and basic civil liberties, the lack of rule of law and the impunity of the authorities in their violent actions against the monks and others have fueled the desire for change more than ever. (…) All Burma Monks’Alliance statement on November 26th calling on the State Sangha Maha Nayaka (State Council of Senior Monks) to try for the release of monks in prison and search for the monks missing during the Saffron Revolution. It also called for the State Sangha Council to work for the release of all political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and commencement of a meaningful political dialogue between the military junta, NLD and ethnic nationalities. All organizations and individuals interviewed emphasized the need and desire for continuing non-violent protests, as a means to demand basic rights, that justice be done, for economic reform and for a peaceful transition to democracy. (…) The regime arrested activists including Ma Su Su Nway, a well known labour activist on 13th November, during Professor Pinheiro’s visit. Aung Zaw Oo, a member of the Human Rights Defenders and Promoters (HRDP) was arrested on November. Ethnic leaders and members of the Committee Representing the People’s Parliament (CRPP), Naing Ngwe Thein, U Aye Tha Aung, U Ohn Tin, Khun Htoo and U Soe Win were arrested on 20th Nov. (…) The broader context is that of crimes against humanity committed by SPDC, which include widespread use of forced labor, continuous offensives in ethnic areas that generate hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons, the use rape as a weapon of war, the unlawful detention of more than 1100 political prisoners even before the recent events, as well as the humanitarian situation of malnutrition and possible large-scale starvation. (…) If the international community chooses the wait-and-see approach, the people of Burma may yet be relegated to continue living under brutal repression for years to come. (…) The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon opened a year-long campaign to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Monday, 10th of December 2007. Nobody can continue to ignore the universal scope of human rights. Neither can the international community ignore to need for the rights of the people of Burma to be respected, nor can the SPDC ignore that its country is part of the international community and as such, has an obligation to respect human rights and comply with the international treaties it has signed. Two international legal avenues are today being considered by a number of organizations: prosecuting the Burmese military before the International Criminal Court (ICC), and a referral to the International Court of Justice by the ILO based on the lack of implementation of Convention 29 on forced labour. (…) Criminal accountability for those responsible of the crimes committed in Burma is an issue far less discussed than the need for national reconciliation or the call for economic sanctions. However, this issue begins to feature higher on the list of the priorities put forward by representatives of Burma’s democracy movement. Under Article 7(1) of the ICC statute, the definition of Crimes Against Humanity means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack: (a) Murder; (b) Extermination; (c) Enslavement; (d) Deportation or forcible transfer of population; (e) Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law; (f) Torture; (g) Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity; (h) Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or Other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court; (i) Enforced disappearance of persons; (j) The crime of apartheid; (k) Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health. (…) An open letter to the United Nations Secretary-General and Member States on this issue has been signed by most organizations representing the people of Burma, located on the Thaï-burma border. The NCUB and the Burma Lawyers Council (BLC) encourage human Rights organizations to gather evidence about the existence of crimes against humanity in the whole country. (…) some organizations believe that the international community would be forced to act very differently than it does today should an oficial investigation into the criminal activity of the SPDC demonstrate the existence of genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity. Based on a case of crimes against humanity, various options for international Justice initiatives can be developed. Both NCUB and BLC strongly encourage initiatives both at the international level (International Criminal Court) and by specific countries where universal jurisdiction is recognized. A case on responsibility to protect is another way of engaging the international community and especially neighbouring countries. (…) The perpetrators of crimes committed in Burma, such as those responsible for the killings in 1988, have not yet been brought to Court. Yet international criminal law has improved a lot since 1988, and especially since 2002, with the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) coming into effect. The ICC may investigate acts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity which have occurred after 1 July 2002. As the Burmese junta refused to ratify the Statute of the ICC, the people of Burma have no recourse of their own to have the crimes committed in their country investigated. However, a Security Council resolution could ensure that generalized and systematic human rights violations in Burma are brought before ICC. The Security Council can declare itself ready to invoke the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court regarding the situation in Burma, as it is authorized to do under Article 13(b) of the Rome Statute. A previous example of having a non ICC signatory state investigated by way of a Security Council resolution was Sudan, in the case of Darfur. In Resolution 1593 (2005), the UNSC referred the situation in Darfur to the Prosecutor of the ICC. In that case, NGO’s contributed to the collection and documentation of the alleged criminal acts and then advocated for action. There is little doubt that if all UN human rights bodies and non-governmental human rights organizations put together the evidence they have collected during the years, this would go a long way towards helping to prove the existence of crimes against humanity in Burma under the ICC statute. The crimes committed during the crackdown of the Saffron revolution could be added to this evidence. (…) In the absence of rapid progress inside Burma, it is not impossible that refugees from Burma in various countries try to hold officials accountable before criminal courts. Indeed, several countries have passed universal jurisdiction laws that allow them to investigate and judge the worst crimes such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Such laws exist in the USA (Alien Tort Claim Act, Torture Victim Protection Act), Spain and Italy, for example. In Belgium, a civil action concerning Burma was lodged in 2002. The civil action concerns Crimes against Humanity and complicity in Crimes against Humanity committed in Burma. (…) Of all the international human rights-related institutions, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has conducted the most exhaustive examination of a systematic violation of human rights by the regime, namely forced labour, prohibited by the ILO Convention of Forced Labour, 1930 (n°29), ratified by Burma in 1955. (…) the practice remains systematic and widespread, both by the military and local authorities. It is consistently accompanied by violations of other fundamental rights, including forced relocation, arbitrary detention and execution, rape, torture and the forced recruitment of child soldiers. (…) In June 2000, the International Labour Conference (ILC) adopted a Resolution highlighting the persistence of systematic forced labour in Burma. The Resolution, adopted under art. 33 of the ILO Constitution (which had never been invoked before), called on ILO Constituents and other international organizations to review their relations with Burma and cease any relations that might have the direct or indirect effect of aiding and abetting forced labour. (…) In November 2006, the ILO Governing Body for the first time formally examined how to use international legal mechanisms going beyond its internal procedures. In particular, it examined in detail options available before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Court (ICC). One option would be to refer the matter to the ICJ, asking it to determine, through an Advisory Opinion, what consequences could be drawn under international law from Burma’s consistent failure to implement the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry. The other option would be to make available to the ICC Prosecutor, through the UN Security Council, all available ILO information concerning forced labour falling under the ICC’s mandate. This would be in line with the Conclusions and Recommendations of the 1998 Commission of Inquiry, which had ruled that forced labour, as practiced in Burma, could constitute a crime against humanity and that those responsible for imposing it could be guilty of a crime under international law. Both of these options are described in detail in a report examined by the ILO Governing Body at its 297th Session (Geneva, November 2006) (…) FIDH and ITUC make the following recommendations: the UN Security Council should hold a new meeting on Burma and urgently pass a first binding resolution based on the key huma n rights’ principle of responsibility to protect and on the fact that Burma’s military regime constitute a threat to peace and stability, as was demonstrated in the Havel/Tutu report ‘A Threat to Peace: A call for the UN Security Council to act in Burma’. (…) the UN Human Rights Council should take concrete steps to follow upon its special session on Myanmar/Burma. It should urgently adopt a resolution: (…) calling for the release of all political prisoners, and ensuring an investigation of all human rights abuses.”
Civilian leader who negotiated with the military commander during the protests near the City Hall, Rangoon, September 26th, 2007: “We were surrounded by the soldiers. When the military said the monks could leave, they refused to go without all the people being allowed to leave. The monks said, No, we are in the same boat! The army threatened to shoot if the monks did not leave. Eventually a group of some thousands were allowed to leave, two by two –monks and civilians. Then the military closed the barriers again, stopped anyone further from leaving, and then they opened fire. I was grabbed by supporters and pushed through a gap to safety.” 
Aung Htoo, General Secretary of Burma Lawyer’s Council “Many people think an ICC (International Criminal Court) referral would stop or hurt a political dialogue. But criminal accountability needs to be highlighted. The crackdown was part of crimes against humanity. (…) People should not put too much hope on Political dialogue. Past and existing crimes cannot be left like that. Victims cannot be ignored. (..) It’s about victims.”
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Rajsoomer Lallah, 1998: “These violations have been so numerous and consistent over the past years as to suggest that they are not simply isolated or the acts of individual misbehavior by middleand lower-rank officers but are rather the result of policy at the highest level, entailing political and legal responsibility.”
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, 2006 “As noted by the Special Rapporteur in his previous reports, the above-mentioned serious human Rights violations have been widespread and systematic, suggesting that they are not simply isolated acts of individual misconduct by Middle -or low-ranking officers, but rather the result of a system under which individuals and groups have been allowed to break the law and violate human rights without being called to account.”
United Nations General Assembly: “Discrimination and violations suffered by persons belonging to ethnic nationalities of Myanmar, including extrajudicial killings, rape and other forms of sexual violence persistently carried out by members of the armed forces; the continuing use of torture… and the prevailing culture of impunity; (b) The attacks by military forces on villages in Karen State and Other ethnic States in Myanmar, leading to extensive forced displacements and serious violations of the human Rights of the affected populations.”
UN Commission on Human Rights: “Extrajudicial killings, rape and other forms of sexual violence persistently carried out by members of the armed forces, continuing use of torture… forced relocation… disrespect for the rule of law and lack of independence of the judiciary”
Human Rights Council: “strongly deplores the ongoing systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Myanmar”
U.N. Comm. on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women [CEDAW]: “[The CEDAW Committee] expresses its deep concern at the high prevalence of sexual and other forms of violence, including rape, perpetrated by members of the armed forces against rural ethnic women, including, inter alia, the Shan, Mon, Karen, Palaung, and Chin. The Committee is also concerned at the apparent impunity of the perpetrators of such violence (…), and at reports of threats, intimidation and punishment of the victims. The Committee regrets the lack of information on mechanisms and remedies available to victims of sexual violence as well as measures to bring perpetrators to justice. (…) The Committee is also concerned that such violence appears to be socially legitimized and accompanied by a culture of silence and impunity, that cases of violence are thus underreported and that those that are reported are settled out of court. It is also concerned at information that victims of sexual violence are forced, under the law, to report to the police immediately, prior to seeking health care, and as a consequence such victims choose to not seek health, psychological and legal support.”
The UN Torture Rapporteur: “Women and girls are subjected to violence by soldiers, especially sexual violence, as punishment for allegedly supporting ethnic armed groups. The authorities sanction violence against women and girls committed by military officers, including torture, inter alia, as a means of terrorizing and subjugating the population, particularly those in the Shan state”
The UN General Assembly Resolution 60/232 of 2007: “Discrimination and violations suffered by persons belonging to ethnic nationalities of Myanmar, including extrajudicial killings, rape and other forms of sexual violence persistently carried out by members of the armed forces… the confiscation of arable land, crops, livestock and other possessions; and the prevailing culture of impunity”
International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School (IHRC): “A lesser known story —one just as appalling in terms of human Rights— has been occurring in Burma over the past decade and a half: epidemic levels of forced labor in the 1990s, the recruitment of tens of thousands of child soldiers, widespread sexual violence, extrajudicial killings and torture, and more than a million displaced persons. One statistic may stand out above all others, however: the destruction, displacement, or damage of over 3,000 ethnic nationality villages over the past twelve years, many burned to the ground. (…) Yet, for too many years, the world has done little to address these human rights abuses. Meanwhile, the ruling military junta, including its leader General Than Shwe, has avoided justice and accountability. (…) We have seen how severe human rights abuses are not simply condemnable acts, but require concerted efforts to achieve some semblance of accountability and justice. The report’s findings are both disturbing and compelling, especially in light of the Clinic’s exclusive reliance on official UN documents for its research. We have been struck by the finding that for years the United Nations (UN) has been on notice of severe, indeed widespread and systematic abuses that appear to rise to the level of state policy. Over and over again, UN resolutions and Special Rapporteurs have spoken out about the abuses that have been reported to them. The UN Security Council, however, has not moved the process forward as it should and has in similar situations such as those in the former Yugoslavia and Darfur. In those cases, once aware of the severity of the problem, the UN Security Council established a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the gravity of the violations further. With Burma, there has been no such action despite being similarly aware (as demonstrated in UN documents) of the widespread and systematic nature of the violations. Based on this report’s findings and recommendations, we call on the UN Security Council urgently to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate and report on crimes against humanity and war crimes in Burma. The world cannot wait while the military regime continues its atrocities against the people of Burma. The day may come for a referral of the situation in Burma to the International Criminal Court or the establishment of a special tribunal to deal with Burma. Member States of the United Nations should be prepared to support such action. The people of Burma deserve no less. (…) Specifically, the report sought to evaluate the extent to which UN institutions have knowledge of reported abuses occurring in the country that may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country. The report finds that UN bodies have indeed consistently acknowledged abuses and used legal terms associated with these international crimes, including for example that violations have been widespread, systematic, or part of a state policy. This finding necessitates more concerted UN action. In particular, despite the recognition of the existence of these violations by many UN organs, to date, the (UN) Security Council has failed to act to ensure accountability and justice. In light of more than fifteen years of condemnation from UN bodies for human rights abuses in Burma, the Security Council should institute a Commission of Inquiry to investigate grave crimes that have been committed in the country. This report evaluates Burma’s breaches in light of the Rome Statute, which provides one of the available sets of international criminal standards. (…) In this geographic sampling, the report details forced displacement, sexual violence, extrajudicial killings, and torture, especially against ethnic nationalities though the UN documents chronicle many other severe violations as well. (…) The UN has emphasized the culture of impunity and inoperability of the Burmese judiciary that benefits the perpetrators of the widespread and systematic violations, thus legitimatizing the intervention of the international community to seek redress. There is precedent for the creation of a Commission of Inquiry. The response of the UN Security Council to the humanitarian situations in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and Darfur followed the same pattern. The UN Security Council determined that the situation constituted a threat to international peace and security and then created such a Commission, whose mandate included investigating and documenting ongoing violations and making recommendations for future action. The international community has failed to place sufficient pressure on the Security Council to create a Commission of Inquiry. The Council is the only body that can take the action necessary to respond adequately to the crisis in Burma. (…) Further, the Security Council should be prepared to act upon findings and recommendations made by such a Commission, including a potential referral to the International Criminal Court, the permanent body established to investigate, try, and sentence those who commit war crimes and crimes against humanity. (…) Terms used by UN actors, such as widespread, systematic, policy, and impunity, are relevant to the establishment of international crimes. (…) During the 1990s, the numerous military campaigns against ethnic nationality groups led to a litany of human rights violations, which included increased displacement —both inside the country and into neighboring countries. In early 1992, for example, a mass exodus took place, during which at least 250,000 Muslims from Burma (the Rohingya) fled to Bangladesh. (…) By the late 1990s, more than 100,000 refugees were in camps in Thailand, in addition to the many internally displaced persons within Burma itself. Forced labor was also occurring in epidemic proportions during the 1990s. The International Labour Organization (ILO), a UN agency, formed a Commission on Inquiry in 1997 that found in its 1998 report that there was a prolific use of forced labor in the country the use of forced labor has continued to be widespread, especially by the army, and the ILO has noted that the systematic nature of the use of forced labor may constitute a crime against humanity (…). The continuation of political suppression is also evidenced by the fact that between June 2007 and late November 2008, the military nearly doubled the number of political prisoners in the country to over 2,100. (…) Burma has lived under autocratic and repressive military rule for more than four decades. The situation in Burma constitutes one of the world’s worst human rights situations. (…) The long-term nature and severity of the violations reported, as well as their perpetration by military forces in order to control the ethnic nationality population, strongly suggests that the violations may constitute international crimes. (…) Based on reliable and independent sources, the Myanmar Rapporteur documented reports of an estimated 3,077 separate incidents of destruction, relocation, or abandonment of villages in eastern Burma between 1996 and 2006. During this time, it was understood that over a million people were displaced (…). UN documentation consistently provides reports of the Burmese army’s destruction of ethnic nationality villages and the subsequent flow of displaced persons. (…) In October 2007, sources estimated that the total number of internally displaced persons in eastern Burma was 503,000. These included 295,000 people in ceasefire zones, 99,000 in hiding in the jungle and 109,000 elsewhere in Burma, including in relocation sites. (…) The Myanmar Rapporteur has further described the reported conditions of those forcibly displaced, which included them being placed in empty tracts of land without any assistance to build shelters. Similarly, displaced persons face severe food shortages and inadequate access to safe drinking water, health and education services. Infant and maternal mortality rates are reportedly higher among the displaced. (…) The evidence available strongly suggests that the military forces perpetration of prohibited acts of forced displacement in Burma constitute either crimes against humanity prohibited by Articles 7(1)(d) or war crimes prohibited by Article 8(2)(e)(viii) of the Rome Statute. Furthermore, the UN documents do not provide reports of accountability efforts for such actions as mandated by international law. Specifically, international law requires an independent and thorough investigation of particular incidents of abuse. The requirement that there be an attack directed against a civilian population has been met on its face: the UN actors have consistently described the victims of the forced displacement as civilians and villagers from ethnic nationality areas, and there have also been reports of multiple acts referred to as being targeted against them. Further, for the forced displacement to constitute a crime against humanity there must be a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population. The Myanmar Rapporteur has described forced displacement as occurring in a widespread manner and as part of a deliberate strategy. (…) In addition, the descriptions of the incidents of forced displacement suggest that such violations are both widespread and systematic, while a crime against humanity need only be widespread or systematic. The UN actors’ reports chronicled in the section indicate that more than 500,000 people may be experiencing ongoing forced displacement in eastern Burma alone, which amounts to widespread levels of the prohibited act. Regarding the common elements of war crimes the UN documents strongly suggest that there is a situation of armed conflict in eastern Burma, and that the reported acts have the required nexus to an armed conflict. (…) Force and coercion are essential legal elements in establishing that a transfer of a population is unlawful and a crime against humanity. A similar requirement of force and coercion is required for the displacement to amount to a war crime. (…) the types of force reportedly used, such as the military issuing direct orders to civilians to flee their homes, the burning or destroying of their homes, indirectly as the result of the severity of military clashes, or as a result of a deliberate strategy (…) Finally, there is the issue of impunity. None of the UN actors suggest that there is accountability for the reported violations of forced displacement. The reports of the practice of forced displacement are instead linked to reports of other violations, such as the shoot on sight policy, which occur within what is described as the overall culture of impunity in Burma. In sum, the UN documents create a strong prima facie case that the reported violations do constitute international crimes, which should require additional investigations. The UN reports of sexual violence occurring in eastern Burma also establish a prima facie case of potential crimes against humanity and war crimes that would justify further UN investigation into this form of abuse. Various UN actors have highlighted the long-term nature and severity of such violations, which the military forces commit as a means of controlling the civilian population in ethnic nationality areas. Additionally, these reported violations are perpetrated within a culture of impunity. Thus, the analysis of the UN documentation strongly suggests that the reported violations of sexual violence constitute international crimes. (…) UN actors have consistently documented reports of high levels of sexual violence since 2002. The Myanmar Rapporteur noted that allegedly civilians in ethnic nationality areas such as Shan, Karen, Karenni, and Mon states had been particularly vulnerable to such violations (…). The cases highlight the culture of impunity attached to sexual violence committed by the military. (…) For the period between 2003 and 2004, the Executions Rapporteur transmitted specific cases to the Burmese authorities relating to rapes by security forces that had resulted in multiple deaths and other attacks (…). UN Human Rights experts also jointly issued a 2006 statement about the widespread violence that had continued to spiral in townships of Karen State and Pegu Division. The statement included concerns about the military’s alleged excessive use of force and fire arms and reports from various sources about very serious allegations of unlawful killings, torture, rape, and forced labor. (…) UN actors, particularly the Myanmar Rapporteur, have highlighted the culture of impunity around sexual violence perpetrated by the military as an area of serious concern. In one report, the Myanmar Rapporteur observed that a noteworthy illustration of the consistent and continuing pattern of impunity is the high number of allegations of sexual violence against women and girls committed by members of the military. He was also unaware of any initiatives by the Burmese government to look into such abuses in order to identify the perpetrators and bring them to Justice. In relation to the 625 cases of alleged rapes committed prior to 2002, (…) in only one of these cases was the perpetrator punished by his commanding officer (…) The Myanmar Rapporteur has routinely and strongly condemned the trend of impunity, stating for example in 2006 that the failure to investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible for rape and sexual violence has contributed to an environment conducive to the perpetuation of violence against women and girls in Myanmar. (…) The Myanmar Rapporteur stated that it was wholly unacceptable that victims lodging complaints to the authorities find no avenue for address, but are instead at risk of reprisals. (…) Military officers threatened to cut the tongues and slit the throats of anyone who dared speak to the ICRC delegations about human rights abuses committed by the military troops. The population was similarly threatened when a delegation from Amnesty International visited Burma in January 2003. (…) The government claimed that thorough investigations had been carried out by the authorities (the) outcome of the investigation in all cases was that the person did not exist, the village did not exist, and/or the incident never happened. (…) The Special Rapporteur accepts that many of the victims and villages no longer exist. However, the Special Rapporteur deeply regrets that the Government of Myanmar finds this to be a reason to deny that the alleged incidents occurred, given that the allegations are precisely that the deaths of the victims and the destruction of their villages were perpetrated by Government forces. (…) Many women do not report incidents of trauma, and the Myanmar Rapporteur also had limited access to areas where violence was reported to be occurring. However, even in spite of this concern over low levels of reporting, the UN actors have described the levels of sexual violence as widespread and prevalent. (…) The UN has available evidence from its own actors that strongly suggests that the military forces perpetration of prohibited acts of sexual violence and rape in Burma constitute either crimes against humanity prohibited by Article 7(1)(g) or war crimes prohibited by Article 8(2)(e)(vi) of the Rome Statute. Indeed, UN actors describe violations that include the essential legal elements of both crimes against humanity and war crimes. Finally, the UN documents have particularly emphasized the lack of accountability in this context, further justifying UN action and investigation. (…) Firstly, crimes against humanity require that there is an attack which is directed against a civilian population. There is no suggestion that any of the reported victims were anything other than civilians. The second requirement is that the prohibited acts are either widespread or systematic and involve an attack on a civilian population. The CEDAW Committee has described the levels of sexual violence as widespread, and the Myanmar Rapporteur has identified a widespread and systematic pattern. The widespread nature of the abuse is reflected in the scale of the violations documented by the various UN actors. Furthermore, the reported figures are anticipated to be far lower than the Reality. (…) In addition, the description of the purpose of such reported violence as a punishment and as a means of terrorizing and subjugating the population, particularly those in the Shan state suggests the systematic use of sexual violence in eastern Burma. (…) These references and the consistent identification in the reports of Burmese military members as the violators clearly implies that some such acts may have taken place within the nexus of an armed conflict. As noted, under the Rome Statute the jurisdictional requirement of war crimes is that they must arise in situations where prohibited acts (such as rape) are committed as part of a plan or policy or there is a large-scale commission of the crime. As with the crimes against humanity analysis, the high levels of reported violations and the use of such acts as a means to suppress the ethnic minority population meets this jurisdictional threshold. (…) The Executions Rapporteur also intervened in 2003 with regard to summary execution cases committed by the military that involved ordinary peasants, including women and children, who were accused of supporting Shan soldiers. The reports described scenes in which government soldiers summarily executed or tortured civilians, and gang raped women before shooting and killing them. (…) The UN actors that reported extrajudicial killings and torture by the military forces in eastern Burma commonly understood the abuses to occur with impunity. In 2003, for example, the Executions Rapporteur specifically included Burma in a list of countries where the military and special forces, in particular, are reported to use excessive force with impunity. In 2008, the Myanmar Rapporteur noted that violations, including extrajudicial killings and torture, have not been investigated and those responsible have not been prosecuted. The result of this culture of impunity was that victims have not been in a position to assert their rights and receive a fair and effective remedy. (…) the violations were the result of a system in which individuals and groups may break the law without being called to account (…). (The) interaction between the government and the UN supports the conclusion of a continuing pattern of immunity for grave International Humanitarian Law violations, including extrajudicial killings and torture. (…) The Executions Rapporteur also noted in the letter that the Burmese government had failed to cooperate with his UN mandate. This refusal to cooperate again reinforces that impunity has been an ongoing and persistent problem with regards to extrajudicial killings and torture in Burma. (…) The evidence available to the UN from its own actors strongly suggests that the perpetration of prohibited acts of extrajudicial killings and torture in eastern Burma may constitute either crimes against humanity prohibited by Article 7(1)(f) or war crimes prohibited by Article 8(2)(c)(i) of the Rome Statute. Along with a lack of accountability for such violations in Burma, the legal elements of crimes against humanity and was crimes as set out in international criminal law are present to justify the creation of a Commission of Inquiry to thoroughly investigate the scope and scale of violations. The UN documentation strongly suggests that the reported extrajudicial killings and use of torture in eastern Burma are part of an attack directed against a civilian population, a critical element of establishing a crime against humanity. (…) The Myanmar Rapporteur has described killings and torture as both widespread and systematic (…) The special jurisdiction requirement for war crimes under the Rome Statute that extrajudicial killings and torture are part of a plan or policy or are committed on a large-scale is also present on its face. The above analysis in relation to crimes against humanity again informs the case here. The scale of reported violations and the use of such acts as a means to suppress the ethnic minority population may meet the criteria of a plan or the acts being large-scale. (…) The analysis of each of the individual violations focused on in this report, forced displacement, sexual violence, extrajudicial killings and torture result in the conclusion that each separately creates a prima facie case for the existence of violations amounting to possible crimes against humanity and war crimes. (…) the Myanmar Rapporteur has made numerous declarations about impunity surrounding sexual violence as well as extrajudicial killings and torture. Moreover, none of the UN actors suggest that there has been accountability for the reported violations of forced displacement. The violations are also interrelated (…). The Myanmar Rapporteur has also stated that the continued misuse of the legal system… denies the rule of law and represents a major obstacle to securing the effective and meaningful exercise of fundamental freedoms. Further, he noted with regret that the lack of independence of the judiciary has provided a ‘legal’ basis for abuses of power, arbitrary decision-making and the examination of those responsible for serious human rights violations. The UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council have also issued recommendations to the military regime to initiate investigations and carry out fair trials in order to end the prevailing impunity. These recommendations and calls for the end of impunity have been consistent and repeated, the latest example being made in the General Assembly’s 2009 resolution. This cumulative evidence on impunity is substantial and unambiguous, and plainly justifies international action in this arena. In conclusion, all of the necessary elements exist for the UN to act. Its own actors are aware of the reported violations and their documentation and description of them strongly suggests that they constitute international crimes. Its own actors have also found impunity. Thus, the analysis highlights the need for a UN Security Council mandated Commission of Inquiry into the situation in Burma, which would investigate both the reported violations as well as the documented failure of the military regime to provide accountability and justice. (…) The situation in eastern Burma, as documented by the UN, represents a grave human rights crisis taking place in a culture of impunity. The UN Security Council, however, has not taken concerted action to deal with the crisis. The Security Council has in the past responded to other crises after determining that they constitute a threat to the peace. Specific examples of a response by the Security Council following such a determination have been the creation of ad hoc international criminal tribunals to prosecute grave violations of international humanitarian and human rights law regarding atrocities in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Another example is the referral of Darfur to the ICC. The violations that have been reported in Burma are also sufficiently long-lasting and severe to merit similar Security Council action. (…) The UN Security Council has the power under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to take measures to maintain or restore international peace and security when it determines the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression. Article 41 of the Charter allows the Security Council to take action that does not involvethe use of force. (…) As with the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, the Council first recognized that grave violations were occurring, passed resolutions condemning the violations and determined that they constituted a threat to international peace and security. It then created a Commission of Inquiry to investigate, and finally, it decided to pursue an international justice approach by referring the situation of Darfur to the ICC prosecutor. As noted in this report, the UN has repeatedly taken note of violations in Burma, especially in eastern Burma, since 1993. (…) In 1997, the ILO took further action after much criticism by the organization of Burma’s violations of the Forced Labour Convention. It established a Commission of Inquiry to look into violations of forced labor. The 1998 report of the Commission, which was made up of three distinguished international jurists, concluded that the obligation under Article 1, paragraph 1, of the Convention to suppress the use of forced or compulsory labour is violated in Myanmar in national law, in particular by the Village Act and the Towns Act, as well as in actual practice in a widespread and systematic manner, with total disregard for the human dignity, safety and health and basic needs of the people of Myanmar. (…) the UN Security Council should set up a Commission of Inquiry as it did in previous situations. The scale of the forced displacement —which includes the destruction or displacement of 3,077 villages according to the Myanmar Rapporteur as of 2006— justifies such an approach for example. Comparably numbers are estimated to have been destroyed or damaged in Darfur. Despite its knowledge of such long-term systematic and widespread occurrence of violations such as these in Burma, the UN has failed to act through the Security Council in a similar manner to the situations discussed above. (…) In January 2007, China and Russia vetoed a resolution requiring the restoration of democracy to Burma (…) Yet, while Burma remains on the permanent UN Security Council agenda, it has not recognized that the situation in Burma constitutes a threat to the peace. (…) Further, this reports establishment of the prima facie case of grave International Humanitarian Law and human rights violations should support a Security Council determination that the situation in Burma is a threat to the peace. Additionally, the establishment of the prima facie case of grave International Humanitarian Law and human rights violations in this report should form the basis for the Security Council creating a of creating a Commission of Inquiry. The Myanmar Rapporteur has described the violations that have taken place in Burma as widespread and systematic. The crimes noted by multiple UN organs to have taken place for more than a decade —killings, rape and other sexual violence, torture, and forced displacement— are all potential violations under the Rome Statute and justify further investigation. In conclusion, the comparison of the response of the Security Council to the previous three situations discussed above displays the need for it to move beyond mere discussion of the situation in Burma. The language used to describe the situation in Burma, such as widespread and systematic human rights and international humanitarian law violations echoes the language used to describe the situations in Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and Darfur. The Security Council adopted the same course of action in response to the grave violations occurring in each of these three situations. The Council first took note of serious violations and determined that they constituted a threat to international peace and security, then it created a Commission of Inquiry to investigate abuses further, and finally it took action in the form of creating an international tribunal or an ICC referral. The Security Council should initiate this process with respect to Burma. (…) In short, UN actors documenting of reported violations have been strongly suggesting these violations may constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes under international criminal law. This creates a strong prima facie case that such crimes have been occurring, and justifies intensified UN Security Council action to investigate the scope and scale of these potential crimes. However, unlike the situations in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and Darfur, the UN Security Council has not acted to thoroughly investigate the situation in Burma. This deficit cannot be filled by other organs within the UN system, and requires a Commission of Inquiry given the scale of the reported violations and their longstanding nature. If the international community and the UN Security Council fail to take action the evidence presented in this report suggests that the grave humanitarian situation in eastern Burma and elsewhere in the country will continue unchecked. The perpetrators of serious human rights and humanitarian violations will remain unaccountable. A culture of impunity will persist that is highly conducive to the continuance and escalation of violations. To help prevent future violations, the UN Security Council should create a Commission of Inquiry mandated and sufficiently resourced to investigate adequately the situation and make appropriate recommendations based on its findings. This Commission should apply all relevant international criminal and humanitarian law standards, in order to analyze whether or not the ongoing widespread and systematic violations may amount to crimes against humanity or war crimes. The international community, particularly the member countries of the United Nations, should make it clear to the Security Council that such action is needed. Finally, the Security Council should be prepared to act upon findings and recommendations made by such a Commission, including a potential referral to the International Criminal Court, the permanent body established to investigate, try, and sentence those who commit war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
Venerable U Uttara: “If a country has peace, all the neighbors will have peace. This is not just Burma’s problem; you must look at it as a human problem.”
- COMPLICITY WITH GENOCIDE AND ETHNIC CLEANSING
ALLARD K. LOWENSTEIN INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS CLINIC (Yale Law School): “This legal analysis considers whether the ongoing attacks on and persecution of the Rohingya Muslim population in Myanmar constitute genocide, as defined by the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Genocide Convention) (…) the paper finds strong evidence that genocide is being committed against Rohingya. The Genocide Convention, which was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948 and entered into force in 1951, declares that genocide is a crime under international law. It imposes affirmative legal obligations on states to prevent genocide from occurring and to punish perpetrators of genocide. (…)Article II of the Genocide Convention defines genocide as: [A]ny of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: Killing members of the group; Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. (…) Thus, to analyze whether genocide has been, or is being, committed, one must consider: 1. Whether the victims constitute a group under the Convention; 2. Whether the acts perpetrated are among those enumerated in the Convention’s definition; and 3. Whether these acts were carried out with intent to destroy the group, in whole or in part. As the Genocide Convention recognizes, genocide is a crime… contrary to the spirit and aims of the United Nations and condemned by the civilized world. (…) Genocide is the ultimate denial of the right to existence of an entire group of human beings. As such, it is the quintessential human rights crime because it denies its victims’ very humanity. The Genocide Convention imposes affirmative, binding obligations upon all state parties to the Genocide Convention to prevent and punish the crime. As a result, some states are reluctant to employ the term. Yet the gravity of the crime and the irrevocability of its result require states and other actors to consider and investigate seriously allegations of its existence. (…) Since the government passed the 1982 Citizenship Act, Rohingya have been denied equal access to citizenship. Rohingya have also been subjected to grave human rights abuses at the hands of the Myanmar authorities, security forces, police, and local Rakhines (the Buddhist majority population in Rakhine State). These actors have perpetrated violence against Rohingya, claiming thousands of lives. Hundreds more Rohingya have been the victims of torture, arbitrary detention, rape, and other forms of serious physical and mental harm. Whether confined to the three townships in northern Rakhine State or to one of dozens of internally displaced persons camps throughout the state, Rohingya have been deprived of freedom of movement and access to food, clean drinking water, sanitation, medical care, work opportunities, and education. (…)the situation of the Rohingya in Myanmar, provides a strong foundation from which to infer genocidal intent by security forces, government officials, local Rakhine, and others. Thus, this paper finds persuasive evidence that the crime of genocide has been committed against Rohingya Muslims. The legal analysis highlights the urgent need for a full and independent investigation and heightened protection for Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. (…) After the military coup in 1962, the government began giving documentation to fewer and fewer Rohingya children, refusing to recognize fully new generations of the Rohingya population. In 1974, Myanmar began requiring all citizens to obtain National Registration Cards but allowed Rohingya to obtain only Foreign Registration Cards. Because many schools and employers did not recognize these cards, Rohingya faced limited educational and job opportunities. (…) Naturalization under the law also requires fluency in one of Myanmar’s national languages. Rohingya speak the “Rohingya” dialect and, with limited access to education, they have had little opportunity to learn a nationally recognized language. General Ne Win justified the Citizenship Law on national security grounds, stating (…) we will have to leave them out in matters involving the affairs of the country and the destiny of the State. The consequences of the 1982 Citizenship Law have affected Rohingya since its enactment. Because many Rohingya are stateless, most do not have standing in Myanmar courts and have limited access to economic opportunities, education, and property ownership. Myanmar officials have routinely denied the existence of the Rohingya ethnicity. (…) the government claimed Rohingya were foreigners rather than an ethnic minority of Myanmar. (…) The military abused, raped, and murdered many Rohingya. As a result, more than 200,000 Rohingya fled across the border into Bangladesh. To deter Rohingya refugees from entering Bangladesh, the Bangladeshi government withheld food and humanitarian aid from the refugee camps. More than 12,000 refugees died of starvation. Following international condemnation, Myanmar’s General Ne Win repatriated many of these refugees, but they continued to face persecution within Myanmar. Rohingya refugees continued to flood into Bangladesh over the next twenty years, with periodic attempts by the Bangladeshi government to expel them forcibly, including as recently as 2010. The non-governmental organization Physicians for Human Rights reported that Bangladeshi security forces beat and forcibly expelled Rohingya refugees in 2010. The government also blocked humanitarian aid to the 30,000 refugees in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh and arrested any refugees who left the camp to seek food, effectively trapping them in the camps to die of starvation or illness. (…) In 2010, Thailand towed the boats of Rohingya refugees back to sea, reportedly leaving hundreds of people, including entire families, to die, The Myanmar government has confiscated Rohingya lands, causing more Rohingya to become internally displaced or to flee the country. (…) From 1995 to 2010, the government of Myanmar reportedly forced Rohingya to relocate within the country. A 1995 U.N. report stated that the government notified Rohingya from various regions that they had to leave their villages in a week and that they could not take their property with them. (…) The Nay-Sat Kut-kwey ye (NaSaKa), a security force consisting of police, military, intelligence, customs officers, and riot police, operated in Rakhine State until 2013 under the control of the Ministry for Border Affairs. The NaSaKa forced Rohingya either to pay a weekly fee to avoid work – a fee that many Rohingya cannot afford – or to perform manual labor such as construction work, agricultural work, portering, or serving as guards. The Myanmar Army and local police also forced Rohingya into labor. In 2008, the U.N. Special Rapporteur reported allegations that Rohingya had been killed for refusal to perform forced labor. Rohingya reported that the Myanmar Army and NaSaKa beat forced laborers. The Myanmar Army and NaSaKa have forced males as young as ten years old into manual labor. (…) Poor families faced difficulty supporting themselves financially, as authorities force household members to spend their time working for them without compensation. Throughout the 1990s, the government denied that it used any form of forced labor. In 2004, a Myanmar court sentenced three people to death on a charge of high treason, because, in part, they had contacted the International Labor Organization (ILO) to report forced labor. (…) The Myanmar government has participated in racial and religious persecution of Rohingya. In 2002, Human Rights Watch reported that the government issued military orders demanding that unauthorized mosques be destroyed. The government has closed mosques and Islamic schools and used them as government administrative offices. The government has also prohibited Muslims from repairing or renovating mosques. In 2001, mobs attacked at least 28 mosques and religious schools. State security not only did nothing to stop the attacks, but also participated in the destruction. (…) In the 1990s, Myanmar passed a law that required all people in Rakhine State to gain permission before obtaining marriage licenses. This law was enforced only against the Muslim populations of the area. (…) Women in legal marriages who have more than two children and women who have children out of wedlock are subject to possible prison sentences of up to ten years. State-level authorities in Rakhine State issued a policy document in 2008 titled Population Control Activities, specifying how law enforcement officials in Rakhine State should force people to use pills, injections and condoms for birth control at every [NaSaKa] regional clinic, township hospitals, and their own regional hospitals. This policy order shows the government’s efforts to restrict Rohingyas from having families and to prevent Rohingya births, regardless of whether the couple is legally married. (…) Under the previous military junta and the new Thein Sein administration, Rohingya suffered discrimination and severe human rights abuses, including killings, forced labor, sexual violence, denial of citizenship, displacement, and restrictions on movement, marriage, and religion. Although initially developed under military governance, these policies and acts of violence have continued into the Thein Sein administration. Under Thein Sein’s administration, state security forces, including the NaSaKa, have arbitrarily arrested and detained Rohingya. For example, Human Rights Watch documented that the NaSaKa detained between 2,000 and 2,500 Rohingya in 2011 for actions such as repairing homes without permission. (…) Forced labor has continued to be practiced widely and systematically in Rakhine State. (…)From January to June 2014, more than 6,000 Rohingya adults and more than 2,000 Rohingya children were forced to work for the Myanmar authorities in northern Rakhine State. (…) Ninety-eight percent of these incidents of forced labor were perpetrated by the Myanmar Army. (…) The Myanmar Army, NaSaKa, Myanmar Police Force, and Rakhine villagers have raped and sexually assaulted Rohingya women and girls. They have often attacked women when the women were taken for forced labor or when their male relatives were taken for labor and could not protect them. (…) Since the 1990s, the Myanmar Army has held Muslim women in Rakhine State as sex slaves. (…) Rohingya have described instances when soldiers detained Rohingya women for weeks on military bases, where they were raped and abused. Some women have died as a result of gang rapes. Rohingya women have fled Myanmar for fear of being raped by state security forces. The military has beaten and tortured victims of sexual violence and others who have reported sexual assaults. The perpetrators have not been punished for these abuses. The government of Myanmar imposes strict restrictions on the freedom of movement of Rohingya. For the purposes of authorizing travel within Myanmar, the government still considers Rohingya to be foreigners. (…) Throughout 2011 and 2012, thegovernment continued to restrict Rohingyas’ travel by requiring them to obtain permission to travel outside of their home villages. (…) The Thein Sein government has continued to enforce policies to control the Rohingya population, including restrictions on the freedom of movement, marriage, childbirth, and other aspects of daily life in Rakhine. (…) (In 2012) Buddhist nationalists protested against Rohingya throughout the province and the country during this time. On June 10, six hundred protesters gathered at the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon and demanded the removal of Bengalis from Myanmar. (…) The riots displaced more than 100,000 Rohingya and Rakhine, forcing them to live in makeshift camps. (…) Human Rights Watch reported that riot police and paramilitary forces joined Rakhine groups in attacking Rohingya communities. (…) Government forces also arbitrarily arrested hundreds of Rohingya men and boys, held them incommunicado, and mistreated them. The United Nations also documented more than one hundred credible allegations of security forces raping women in Muslim communities in Rakhine State. In some instances, Rakhine civilians raped Rohingya women. Members of the community who tried to report rape risked arrest. (…) By August, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimated that the violence in the Sittwe and Maungdaw Districts had displaced 80,000 people. (…) The government refused to register those who did not relocate, thereby denying them food assistance. The Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP), founded in 2010 by Rakhine nationalists, was one of the most influential groups in the spread of anti-Rohingya violence, particularly during and after 2012. (…) Although the party claims to be secular, it has formed close ties with the local order of Buddhist clergy in Rakhine State. (…) Buddhist monks played an active role in perpetuating vehement anti-Rohingya and anti-Muslim rhetoric. The 969 Movement, an anti-Muslim nationalist movement represented most prominently by the monk Ashin Wirathu, has expressed the view that Muslims are attempting to take over Myanmar and that Buddhists must band together to get rid of the Muslim threat. Wirathu—currently representing Ma Ba Tha (Committee for the Protection of Nationality and Religion), a more politically powerful iteration of the 969 Movement—has called Muslims snakes and mad dogs (…) Local Rakhine Buddhist monks have also distributed pamphlets urging Rakhine citizens to isolate Rohingya economically and socially. On July 5, 2012, Buddhist monks representing local religious groups throughout Rathedaung Township, known as the Rakhine Sangha, gathered to formulate a consistent response to the ongoing conflict. The monks distributed a 12 Point Statement pamphlet declaring that Rohingya were engaging in a Rakhine Ethnic Cleansing Program. To ensure that Rakhine people would stay away from bad Bengali (Kalar), the monks recommended prohibitions against employing Rohingya, engaging in sales with Rohingya, and carrying Rohingya on boats, ferries, and motorbikes. They also called for the withdrawal of NGOs that were supporting Rohingya. The Arakanese Youth Monks’ Association released a similar statement prohibiting local Rakhine from trading and communicating with Kalars. The Mrauk Oo Monks’ Association also emailed their membership, calling for the Rakhine not to sell any goods to Bengali, hire Bengali as workers, provide any food to Bengalis and have any dealings with them as they are cruel by nature. On July 12, 2012, President Thein Sein asked the UNHCR to place all Rohingya in UNHCR refugee camps or send them abroad. President Thein Sein said, The solution to this problem is that they can be settled in refugee camps managed by UNHCR, and UNHCR provides for them. If there are countries that would accept them, they could be sent there. He also declared, We will take care of our own ethnic nationalities, but Rohingyas who came to Burma [Myanmar] illegally are not of our ethnic nationalities and we cannot accept them here. (…) Buddhist monks throughout the country rallied in support of President Thein Sein’s proposal. One monk declared that the protests were to let the world know that the Rohingya are not among Myanmar’s ethnic groups at all. (…) Government and Rakhine sentiment also turned against aid workers in the area for allegedly showing favoritism towards the Rohingya. Several Rakhine groups also expressed distrust of aid workers for showing sympathy for internally displaced Rohingya. The All Rakhine Refugee Committee declared that it would refuse any U.N. or NGO aid. The Rakhine population also threatened and intimidated humanitarian aid workers. A pamphlet distributed throughout the province described the various U.N. and aid agencies as conspiring against the Rakhine people. The pamphlet threatened violence against all Rakhines who cooperated with the U.N. and international NGOs, declaring, We recognize all of those, who are directly or indirectly working for the development of Kalars, as traitors and thereby our enemy. (…) In July 2012, government forces arrested ten aid workers, including employees of the United Nations and the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate organization Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), for inciting riots. (…) The Myanmar government endorsed a policy of segregation between Muslims and Buddhists, claiming such measures were necessary to maintain peace between the two groups. (…) Fortify Rights has claimed Buddhist villagers played a role in enforcing the segregation by beating and abusing any Rohingya who attempted to leave their camps and living quarters. (…) The policy of segregation cut Rohingya off from medical clinics and schools. Rohingya were unable to buy rice and other supplies from outside their residential confines. (…) the police coming to Sittwe Hospital and telling the medical personnel to kill the Rohingya. Rohingya have reported that the military gathered the dead bodies to take them away in trucks or set the dead bodies on fire. (…) Activists reported that the Myanmar government was complicit in the violence and involved in forcibly removing Rohingya people from Rakhine State. Police reportedly gave Rohingya deadlines to leave their homes. However, Rohingya had nowhere to go. Boats full of hundreds of Rohingya and other ethnic Muslim groups attempted to flee their besieged villages. Neighboring countries refused to allow them entry. (…) UNHCR has reported that more than 130,000 Rohingya departed from northern Rakhine State and the Bangladesh border between January 2012 and 2014. This number does not include the many more Rohingya fleeing from the IDP camps and from areas directly affected by the violence in 2012. (…) After touring the camps, the U.N. Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs declared, I have seen many camps during my time as the (U.N. emergency relief coordinator), but the conditions in this camp rank among the worst. The IDP camps are overcrowded and Rohingya inhabiting them face severe restrictions on freedom of movement and lack access to basic resources, including sources of income, food, education, and life-saving medicine and care. Further exacerbating the problem, several IDP camps are located in low-lying areas that are vulnerable to flooding during the rainy season. Many camps lack adequate latrines, drinking water, waste facilities, and sanitation and are surrounded by streams of sewage water. Rohingya living in IDP camps face chronic food shortages. The state government has routinely rejected requests of displaced Rohingya for food rations. (…) The Organization Save the Children has reported that some Rohingya resorted to eating glue. The Myanmar Army and Rakhine citizens prevent humanitarian aid from reaching the camps. Moreover, because humanitarian workers’ access to these camps is severely restricted, Rohingyas’ ability to secure life-saving medical resources is limited. (…) In late February 2014, the Myanmar government forced Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), or Doctors Without Borders, to cease all operations in Rakhine State after the organization spoke publicly about treating Rohingya survivors of a violent attack in Maungdaw Township in January 2014. The organization was by far the biggest health provider in the northern part of Rakhine, where it provided vital medical treatment for 500,000 people—mostly Rohingya—in addition to the 200,000 Rohingya in the IDP camps and surrounding areas. MSF’s long standing medical programs in Rakhine state, such as its malaria treatment program which treated 1.2 million people since 2004, were halted. Without the assistance of this organization, the Rohingya population suffered an increasing number of deaths. (…) The UNHCR has estimated that to escape these conditions, 150,000 Rohingya have fled northern Rakhine State since 2012 to neighboring Thailand, Malaysia, and Bangladesh, where many have become victims of human trafficking. (…) Meanwhile, despite the accumulation of evidence indicating policies and practices that have resulted in the killing of hundreds of Rohingya and the flight of tens of thousands more, Mr. Win Myaing, the official spokesperson of the Rakhine State government, denied allegations of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, stating in 2013, How can it be ethnic cleansing? They [the Rohingya] are not an ethnic group. (…) Senior national government officials have used discriminatory language regarding the Rohingya threat that echoes the incendiary language of Buddhist monks and local Rakhine. (…) local officials testified that Rohingya had sneaked over the border from Bangladesh into Rakhine State, were armed, were connected to international terrorist organizations, and were planning to occupy Rakhine State. The submission also declared that Bengalis whose population are increasing due to the marriage and having the children unsystematic ways which are not suitable with the cultural norms of human beings. (…) Human Rights Watch called the plan a blueprint for permanent segregation and statelessness that appears designed to… force them [the Rohingya] to flee the country. (…) As violence against the Rohingya continues, with continued military involvement, government investigations have resulted in denial, not protection of Rohingya. (…) the local police did not intervene when Buddhists used swords, knives, and sticks to attack Rohingya, killing many people. (…) MSF believed all patients were victims of the Buddhist violence. A U.N. Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights report found that at least 40 people were killed. According to Fortify Rights, riot police started rounding up all male Rohingya, including children, in the surrounding areas after the killings. Hundreds of people fled Du Char Yar Tan for Bangladesh, Thailand, and Malaysia. Meanwhile, the Myanmar government’s Human Rights Commission continued to insist that there was no solid evidence of any attacks in Du Char Yar Tan. (…) On December 9, 1948, the United Nations adopted the International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. (…) The Convention proscribes the commission of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, attempt to commit genocide, and complicity in genocide. (…) From the holistic perspective intended by the Genocide Convention’s drafters, Rohingya fit squarely within the ambit of protection established by the “corner posts” of the four enumerated groups. Rohingya characteristics and history indicate they constitute a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group under the Genocide Convention. (…) The history of the Rohingya, going back as early as the ninth century and up to as recently as the mid-twentieth century, indicates that the group shares distinctive historical links and thus likely falls within the national group category of the Genocide Convention. Moreover, Rohingya share a distinctive language, further supporting their classification as an ethnical group. (…) Rohingyas’ distinctive language supports the conclusion that they form an ethnical group protected by the Genocide Convention. Rohingya may also form a protected group on the basis of their religion. Rohingya are largely Muslim. The Myanmar government and local Rakhine have consistently espoused anti-Muslim sentiment. This sentiment is visible in the rhetoric of government officials and prominent members of society, in leaked government documents, and in testimonies from survivors of the atrocities occurring in Rakhine State. (…) Monks in Rakhine State and throughout the country have also played a key role in creating a climate that has fueled discrimination and violence by Buddhist citizens against Muslims. The prominent monk Wirathau has said that Muslims in Myanmar are orchestrating a master plan to turn Myanmar into a Muslim country. He has characterized Muslims as like jackal[s], intent on destroying Buddhists. Some monks have alleged that the Myanmar government has propped up Wirathau and actively encouraged him to espouse anti-Muslim sentiment among monks and his followers. Anti-Muslim rhetoric appears to be rampant in Myanmar at all levels of society. The religion of the Rohingya plays a role in their persecution. However, because there are other Muslim groups in Myanmar that are also the subject of discrimination, although not the same level of abuse and atrocities, religion alone does not form the basis of Rohingyas’ persecution. Nevertheless, in this context, religion is a relevant part of Rohingyas’ identity as a distinct group. (…) Local Rakhine officials and monks also deny that Rohingya are an ethnicity, yet they have established policies that have specifically targeted Rohingya. For example, the Rakhine National Development Party plan and the Rathedaung Monks’ 12 Point Statement both espoused the belief that Rohingya are “illegal immigrants” and “kalar.” These plans to physically, economically, and socially isolate the kalar were specifically targeted toward the Rohingya in Rakhine State. Thus, even though the government and Rakhine actors do not acknowledge the term Rohingya, their use of the term Bengali to refer to all and only Rohingya lends support to the conclusion that they view Rohingya as a distinctive group. Examined holistically, Rohingya constitute a group under the Genocide Convention. They share a common history, culture, and language. Additionally, the persecutors view them as a distinctive group and target them on the basis of this group identity. (…) The Genocide Convention identifies the killing of members of the group as a prohibited genocidal act. (…) State security forces’ involvement in massacres of Rohingya satisfies the requirements for finding the commission of the prohibited act of killing members of a protected group. Many Rohingya refugees, as well as U.N. agencies, independent experts, and human rights organizations, have reported that the Myanmar Army, NaSaKa, and the Myanmar Police Force were involved in the use of lethal violence against Rohingya in Rakhine State. Witnesses have reported state forces joining in local killings and massacres of Rohingya; this has included such forces shooting and killing Rohingya rather than intervening to protect them. State security forces’ failures to stop, investigate, or punish local violence against Rohingya also violate the Genocide Convention. (…) Local Rakhine have undeniably killed Rohingya on many occasions since 2012. However, failure to prevent extrajudicial violence is an act of omission, and such acts, can, like acts of commission, violate the Genocide Convention. The ICTY and the ICTR have found both acts and omissions to be grounds for responsibility for killing in violation of the Genocide Convention. Many witnesses have reported the Myanmar Army, Police, and NaSaKa standing by while local Rakhine attack and kill Rohingya. Human Rights Watch has described several massacres of Rohingya in different regions of Rakhine State as highly organized, with state awareness of the impending violence and failure to hold perpetrators accountable. Attacks in different villages occurred nearly simultaneously; the attackers were well armed; and state security forces both watched and participated in the killings of Rohingya. After the killings, state security forces disposed of Rohingya bodies in ways that hindered investigations. Although the 2012 violence in Rakhine State killed Rohingya primarily, state authorities have prosecuted almost exclusively Rohingya, not Rakhine, for the violence. The government’s violent actions, as well as its inaction in quelling locally perpetrated violence, fit within the act category of killing members of the group. The Genocide Convention’s second prohibited act is causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group. The ICTR defined serious bodily or mental harm as acts of torture, be they bodily or mental, inhumane or degrading treatment, [or] persecution. (…) Although the Genocide Convention does not enumerate specific prohibited acts causing harm, the ICTR and ICTY have found a number of non-fatal acts, including torture, rape, deportation, and cruel treatment, to fit within this category. Instances of torture of Rohingya constitute acts of serious bodily and mental harm within the meaning of these definitions. The Myanmar Army has beaten and tortured Rohingya men and Women. Rohingya experienced waves of large-scale violence in the late 1970s, the early 1990s, 2001, and 2012, and each wave has involved torture by the NaSaKa, the Myanmar Army, and Myanmar Police Force. Government authorities have also used torture as a means to erase Rohingya identity. The Sentinel Project for Genocide Prevention (an international non-governmental organization) reported that the NaSaKa beat and tortured Rohingya until they agreed to register as Bengali. The Sentinel Project also reported that the NaSaKa and the Myanmar Army have a long history of war crimes, including rape and torture. The torture of the Rohingya meets the legal standard for the prohibited act of causing serious bodily or mental harm. Acts of sexual assault and rape by the NaSaKa, Myanmar Army, and Myanmar Police Force against Rohingya women also constitute acts of serious bodily or mental harm. Sexual assault and rape cause both physical trauma and mental harm. The ICTR has compared rape to torture, saying, like torture, rape is used for such purposes as intimidation, degradation, humiliation, discrimination, punishment, control or destruction of a person. Like torture, rape is a violation of personal dignity. (…) The attacks against Rohingya women conform to the ICTY and ICTR’s definitions of rape as an act causing serious bodily or mental harm. (…) The Genocide Convention’s third prohibited act is deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to destroy the group in whole or in part. (…) These methods can also involve subjecting a group of people to a subsistence diet, systematic expulsion from homes and the reduction of essential medical services below minimum requirement. Thus, acts inflicting conditions of life calculated to destroy the group in whole or in part can include acts of forcing people’s labor, the deliberate deprivation of resources indispensable for survival, such as food or medical services, or systematic expulsion from homes. The expulsion of Rohingya from their homes into internally displaced persons (IDP) camps or out of the country and the subsequent denial of medical care, sanitation, food, and paid labor opportunities constitute inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about Rohingyas’ destruction as a group. (…) The government also refused to register displaced Rohingya as eligible for food supplies from U.N. and humanitarian agencies until the Rohingya relocated to the camps. Journalists and human rights organizations have described the IDP camps where at least 140,000 Rohingya reside as unlivable ghettos. Daily IDP camp reports from the Danish Refugee Council and Save the Children have recorded regular government failure to deliver adequate food rations to the camps, lack of water, and lack of sanitation and medical care. Myanmar security forces have prevented Rohingya from leaving the IDP camps to seek jobs, food, or medical assistance. (…) Rohingya within these camps do not have access to the lands on which they traditionally lived and worked. (…) Without access to their traditional land and employment opportunities or outside paid work, Rohingya have been unable to buy the necessary food or water to supplement their rations. (…) Whether in IDP camps or in northern Rakhine State, Rohingya face conditions of life, inflicted by Myanmar security forces and by local Rakhine officials and citizens, that are calculated to destroy them. (…) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the protected group constitutes another proscribed act of genocide under the Genocide Convention. (…) The Myanmar government has imposed two types of measures designed to prevent Rohingya births: restrictions on Rohingya marriages and restrictions, applied only to Rohingya, on the number of children a family may have. (…) Rohingya who cohabit without a marriage license may be arrested, with a possible punishment of ten years’ imprisonment. (…) Since 2005, to be allowed to marry, Rohingya must agree to have no more than two children. Violations of the two-child policy can also result in ten-year prison sentences. Local authorities have adopted policies to force Rohingya women in hospitals to use pills and injections for birth control. (…) Article II of the Genocide Convention explicitly sets forth several categories of conduct that comprise the act element of the crime of genocide. Each of the enumerated acts can be committed by commission or omission. Based on the evidence examined by the Lowenstein Clinic, the Myanmar government, military, police, and security forces have engaged in conduct that falls within the categories that the Convention specifies as constituting the act element of genocide. These actors have killed Rohingya, caused serious bodily and mental harm to Rohingya, deliberately inflicted conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction of Rohingya, and imposed measures intended to prevent births of Rohingya. Substantial and consistent evidence suggests that the abuses against Rohingya fulfill the act element of the crime of genocide. (…) To be found guilty of the crime of genocide, perpetrators must not only have committed the proscribed acts; they must have had an intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a protected Group. (…) The Genocide Convention and the case law established by the ad hoc international criminal tribunals require a fact-driven inquiry to determine whether the element of specific intent to commit genocide has been met. The ICTY has held: As to proof of specific intent, it may, in the absence of direct explicit evidence, be inferred from a number of facts and circumstances, such as the general context, the perpetration of other culpable acts systematically directed against the same group, the scale of atrocities committed, the systematic targeting of victims on account of their membership of a particular group, or the repetition of destructive and discriminatory acts. (…) A finding of genocide does not require all identified factors for showing intent to be present, and, depending on the assessment of facts, a finding of any of these factors, alone or in a variety of combinations, can be sufficient to prove intent. Viewed in light of the current law of genocide, including not only the Genocide Convention itself, but also its authoritative interpretation by the ad hoc international criminal tribunals, the evidence available supports a conclusion that the Myanmar government and local actors have acted with the intent to commit genocide against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State. This finding (…) is based on evidence of pervasive, derogatory rhetoric against Muslims and specifically Rohingya Muslims; evidence that Rohingya are specifically targeted because of their group identity; government policies of birth and marriage restrictions directed toward Rohingya; government policies depriving Rohingya of necessary aid and resources; and evidence of the mass scale of atrocities perpetrated against Rohingya. Taken together, this evidence strongly suggests that the Myanmar government has acted with the requisite intent to have committed genocide. High-ranking government officials, military officers, Buddhist monks, and local Rakhine have fostered and perpetuated anti-Rohingya sentiment. Their rhetoric has dehumanized Rohingya, created a climate of ethnic hatred, and fueled violence targeted against the group. This anti-Rohingya climate, and the government’s role in fostering it, constitutes a relevant factor for determining that the government of Myanmar and other actors perpetrated prohibited acts against Rohingya with genocidal intent. Discriminatory and incendiary comments about Muslims and Rohingya are widespread in Myanmar. These comments spread the belief that Rohingya are an existential threat to Myanmar and should be removed from Rakhine State. Analyzing the scale and number of genocidal acts in the context of the larger public discourse about Rohingya strongly suggests that the acts of the Myanmar government and local Rakhine actors have likely been perpetrated with the intent to destroy the Rohingya group. (…) Local monks encouraged policies that, if fully enacted, would result in the destruction of the Rohingya group. For example, the Rathedaung Monks’ 12 Point Statement prevented Rohingya from supporting themselves and their families, using common forms of transportation to obtain much-needed medical and food supplies, and enlisting the help of aid organizations. As a result of this plan, Rohingya were left with few means of survival. (…) In September 2012, a group of monks met in Rathedaung to formulate a set of resolutions regarding dealings with Rohingya. The group agreed to impose rules control[ing] the birth rate of the Muslim Bengali community living in Arakan [Rakhine], remove some Bengali villages, and monitor UN and INGOs activities in Rakhine State. Buddhist monks formulated these plans in response to their alleged fear that Rohingya were taking over Myanmar (…) The monks’ call for the imposition of harsh conditions of life, combined with rhetoric inciting fear of Rohingya, provides strong evidence of an intent to destroy the Rohingya group. Local Buddhist leaders also discouraged humanitarian aid from reaching Rohingya. In October 2012, the All-Arakanese Monks Solidarity Conference declared its opposition to all NGOs that are not under the U.N. and not in the interest of local population. (…) The deliberate blocking of humanitarian assistance to Rohingya, particularly considered alongside persistent anti-Rohingya propaganda, evinces an intent to destroy the group. To purposefully prevent humanitarian aid from reaching Rohingya living in dire circumstances in IDP camps and isolated villages is to seek their destruction. The government’s actions and inactions toward displaced Rohingya demonstrate a practice of creating conditions intended to bring about the Rohingyas’ destruction. (…) Also, the government restricts the provision of food and humanitarian aid to these camps. The situation in the IDP camps has been worsening and increasing numbers of Rohingya have been dying from malnutrition, disease, and further violence. (…) By placing Rohingya in IDP camps, preventing them access to food, medical supplies and healthcare, and opportunities to gain a livelihood, the government has pursued a policy that would likely result in the destruction of the Rohingyas’ group. (…) The state’s willingness to push Rohingya out to sea, where they face a severe risk of death, indicates the state’s intent to inflict conditions of life likely to result in the Rohingyas’ destruction. (…) The predictable outcome of forced segregation, prevention of mobility, starvation, and the cutting off of health care, medical supplies, and humanitarian assistance, is death. (…) By placing Rohingya in IDP camps and pursuing policies that have economically, socially, and politically isolated Rohingya, the Myanmar government and local actors have the requisite knowledge that their actions would likely lead to the Rohingyas’ destruction in whole or in part. The mass scale of the atrocities perpetrated specifically against Rohingya also provides strong evidence that the Myanmar government has acted with genocidal intent toward the group. (…) During the 2012 violence, the Myanmar Army, Myanmar Police Force, NaSaKa, and Rakhine citizens killed several hundred Rohingya men, women, and children in targeted attacks, according to U.N. data and information provided by human rights organizations, (…) In some villages, assailants hacked dozens of children to death and threw their bodies into fires. (…) Since the 2012 violence, more than 160,000 Rohingya men, women, and children are estimated to have fled Myanmar. An unknown number of these asylum seekers have died on the journey, both at sea and at the hands of transnational criminal syndicates engaged in human trafficking. Amnesty International estimates that thousands of Rohingya may have died at sea in 2015 alone. Hundreds, if not more than one thousand, Rohingya may have been buried in mass graves in Thailand and Malaysia. Moreover, there are, according to the government of Bangladesh, between 300,000 and 500,000 stateless Rohingya in Bangladesh most of whom fled from Myanmar or were born stateless in Bangladesh. The Myanmar government has certainly been aware of Bangladesh’s denial of adequate aid to Rohingya. The massive scale of the persecution, attacks, killing, and intentional displacement of Rohingya demonstrates intent to destroy the group, in whole or in part. (…) The inevitability of this result was obvious, and the Myanmar government has not taken measures to prevent or stop these destructive acts. This pattern of actions and inactions—of acts and omissions—in the context of widespread anti-Rohingya rhetoric, including from official government sources, along with policies that have clearly created conditions of life calculated to bring about Rohingyas’ destruction, tend to show the intent required for finding genocide. (…) The available evidence demonstrating official and other widespread anti-Rohingya rhetoric, acts that have inflicted conditions of life on Rohingya that have contributed to their physical destruction, and a large scale of discriminatory and violent acts targeting Rohingya, taken together, support a conclusion that the Myanmar government has acted with the intent required for a finding of genocide against the Rohingya. (…) Under the Genocide Convention, a state itself may be responsible for committing any of the punishable acts enumerated in Article III: Genocide; Conspiracy to commit genocide; Direct and public incitement to commit genocide; Attempt to commit genocide; Complicity in genocide. A state may also be responsible for any of these punishable acts committed by its state organs or by non-state actors who are under the direction and control of the state. The state of Myanmar may be responsible for acts committed against the Rohingya by the security forces, including the Myanmar Army, Myanmar Police Force, and NaSaKa. Furthermore, the state of Myanmar may be responsible under the Convention for failing to prevent genocide from occurring within its borders. Article I of the Convention obligates states to prevent genocide and, if states fail to do so, to punish individual perpetrators. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has held that a state has a duty to take all measures within its capacity to prevent genocidal acts. Therefore, even if the state is not directly responsible for committing genocide, it may nevertheless be responsible for failing to prevent genocide. If genocide has been committed against the Rohingya, the state of Myanmar may be responsible for failing to prevent it. The state of Myanmar may be held responsible for acts of genocide committed against Rohingya by security forces. States are responsible for acts of genocide committed by its state organs. According to the International Law Commission (ILC), state organs include any person or entity which has that status in accordance with the internal law of the State. Customary international law on state responsibility, codified in the ILC’s Draft Articles on State Responsibility for Internationally Wrongful Acts, specifies that the conduct of a state organ is attributable to the state. Thus, a state is responsible if the actions of a state organ constitute prohibited conduct, such as genocide. (…) Since the Myanmar Army, the Myanmar Police force, and the NaSaKa are state organs, their acts are attributable to the state of Myanmar. (…) U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, urged the Myanmar national government to investigate and hold accountable the NaSaKa for committing human rights abuses against Rohingya. He stated that he had received allegations of the most serious of human rights violations involving NaSaKa, particularly against the local Rohingya population, including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrest and detention, and torture in detention. (…) The state is responsible, under Article I of the Genocide Convention, for punishing perpetrators of genocide. Thus, Myanmar is directly responsible for the conduct of the NaSaKa and for failing to punish members of the NaSaKa who have committed acts of genocide. (…) In Bosnia v. Serbia, the International Court of Justice held that non-state actors must lack autonomy and be completely dependent on the state in order for the state to be responsible. The standard is high for proving that non-state actors such as local Rakhine and local monks are under sufficient direction or control of the state. Nevertheless, the state of Myanmar has a duty to prevent genocide and punish all perpetrators and can be found responsible for failing to prevent genocide even if non-state actors’ relevant conduct cannot be attributed directly to the state. The state of Myanmar has a duty to prevent genocide from occurring within its borders. Customary international law and Article I of the Genocide Convention obligate states to prevent genocide. Article I provides: The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish. Thus, states have an obligation to implement suitable measures to prevent genocide. The International Court of Justice has held that state responsibility to prevent genocide comes into play when the state at issue fails to take all measures within its power to prevent genocidal acts. The Court also declared that a state’s obligation to prevent genocide arises when the State learns of, or should normally have learned of, the existence of a serious risk that genocide will be committed. The International Court of Justice distinguished the concept of state responsibility to prevent genocide from the crime of complicity in genocide established by Article III of the Genocide Convention. Complicity entails aiding or assisting perpetrators with the specific knowledge that the perpetrators are committing genocide or are likely to commit genocide. To be complicit in genocide, a state must know that it is assisting actors who have the requisite intent. In contrast, a breach of the duty to prevent genocide results from a state failing to act and requires only the serious danger that the acts of genocide would be committed. The state of Myanmar may be responsible for failing to prevent genocide, and government actors may be complicit in genocide if they knowingly assisted individuals committing acts of genocide. (…) This paper, therefore, finds strong evidence that the abuses against the Rohingya satisfy the three elements of genocide: that Rohingya are a group as contemplated by the Genocide Convention; that genocidal acts have been committed against Rohingya; and that such acts have been committed with the intent to destroy the Rohingya, in whole or in part. (…) In light of this conclusion, the United Nations should adopt a resolution to establish a commission of inquiry on the human rights situation in Rakhine State, Myanmar. Previous commissions of inquiry have been established by various U.N. bodies and actors (…). The Human Rights Council should adopt a resolution that mandates the commission of inquiry to conduct an urgent, comprehensive, and independent investigation of the widespread and systematic abuses committed against Rohingya. The commission should be tasked with establishing the facts and circumstances that, taken as a whole, may indicate that genocide has occurred or is occurring. The mandate should further task the commission, where possible, with identifying the perpetrators responsible for such crimes. (…) It would also have the authority to respond to and recommend institutional action to prevent further acts of genocide. (…) The commission should then report its findings to the Human Rights Council within a specified and urgent timeframe. An independent commission of inquiry, with the legitimacy conferred by a U.N. mandate and adequate power to investigate, can determine authoritatively whether human rights violations against Rohingya in Rakhine State constitute genocide.”
 Ven. Rewata Dhamma, BUDDHISM – HUMAN RIGHTS AND JUSTICE IN BURMA
 May Sitt Paing (The Irrawaddy), Buddhist Committee’s 969 Prohibitions Prompts Meeting of Movement Backers. http://www.irrawaddy.com/burma/buddhist-committees-969-prohibitions-prompts-meeting-of-movement-backers.html
 Asian Correspondent Staff, Burma’s top Buddhist body vows to keep Ma Ba Tha hard-liners in check. https://asiancorrespondent.com/2016/06/burma-top-buddhist-body-keep-ma-ba-in-check/
 Nobel Zaw, Lower House Approves Two ‘Race and Religion’ Bills http://www.irrawaddy.com/burma/lower-house-approves-two-race-and-religion-bills.html
 U Pyinya Zawta (Pakada), State Buddhist council lives in authoritarian past http://allburmamonksalliance.org/feature-articles-statements/
 Ingrid Jordt, Breaking Bad in Burma http://religioninthenews.org/2014/12/19/breaking-bad-in-burma/
 Sylwia Gil, The Role of Monkhood in Contemporary Myanmar Society
 Cherry Thein and Aung Kyaw Min, Sangha reforms planned to improve discipline. http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/10372-sangha-reforms-planned-to-improve-discipline-cooperation.html
 Aung Kyaw Min, Monks plan changes to Sangha rules. http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/9792-monks-plan-changes-to-sangha-rules.html
 Aung kyaw Min, State sangha silent on political monks. http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/16919-state-sangha-silent-on-political-monks.html
 Aung Kyaw Min, Monk decries corruption and abuse of power in Sangha http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/15324-monk-decries-corruption-and-abuse-of-power-in-sangha.html
 Human Rights Watch, The Resistance of the Monks: Buddhism and Activism in Burma.
 Human Rights Council, 6th session, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, 7 December 2007, UN Doc A/HRC/6/14
 New York Times (26 Sep 07) Police clash with monks in Myanmar; DPA (26 Sep 07) Burma army starts killing; Irrawaddy (26 Sep 07) Burmese troops fire on Rangoon protestors; unconfirmed reports say five monks, one woman dead; Reuters (26 Sep 07) Myanmar troops pen monks in monasteries.
 New York Times (28 Sep 07) With monks contained, Myanmar authorities attack civilians
 AAPPB (06 Oct 07) Monasteries Raided Since September 26; DVB (03 Oct 07) Monks fear government raids on monasteries
 AAPPB (06 Oct 07) Monasteries Raided Since September 26; IMNA (05 Oct 07) Monasteries in Rangoon ordered not to accommodate guests
 DVB (05 Oct 07) Monasteries again targeted in raids; MNA (10 Oct 07) Hundreds of monks flee Rangoon, arrive in Mon state
 Human Rights Watch (07 Dec 07) Crackdown: Repression of the 2007 popular protests in Burma
 AP (28 Sep 07) Myanmar junta declares no-go zones at Buddhist monasteries seen as flashpoints of protests
 AP (04 Oct 07) Myanmar media lashes out at foreigners; Human Rights Council, 6th session, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, 7 December 2007, UN Doc A/HRC/6/14; DVB (21 Oct 07) Family of exiled 88 generation student arrested
 Reuters (04 Oct 07) Myanmar junta sets Suu Kyi talks conditions; Reuters (05 Oct 07) Myanmar junta talks offer unreal – opposition; BBC (08 Oct 07) Burmese junta appoints go-between; DVB (09 Oct 07) Detainees categorised according to protest involvement
 Amnesty International (06 Dec 07) Release Myanmara’s peaceful protesters
 Mizzima News (13 Nov 07) Junta arrests prominent Abbot U Gambira; DVB (13 Nov 07) Monk leader U Gambira arrested
 Human Rights Council, 6th session, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, 7 December 2007, UN Doc A/HRC/6/14
 DPA (06 Oct 07) Burma releases detained monks but diplomats not hopeful; Sunday Times (07 Oct 07) Secret cremations hide Burma killings; BBC (08 Oct 07) Burmese junta appoints go-between
 Amnesty International (25 Jan 08) Myanmar: arrests increasing four months on
 CNN (13 Oct 07) Myanmar captives ‘kept in squalor’; Irrawaddy (11 Oct 07) Monks in hell; AP (12 Oct 07) Burma’s junta of beating, killing detainees, Norway-based radio says; AP (12 Oct 07) Dissident group: Myanmar guards brutalized pro-democracy detainees; Irrawaddy (11 Oct 07) Monks in hell
 AP (12 Oct 07) Burma’s junta of beating, killing detainees, Norway-based radio says; AP (12 Oct 07) Dissident group: Myanmar guards brutalized pro-democracy detainees; Irrawaddy (11 Oct 07) Monks in hell; Irrawaddy (11 Oct 07) 88 Generation Students, Other Detainees Tortured in Interrogation Centers
 AP (10 Oct 07) Generals, soldiers detained for refusing to shoot monks in Myanmar; AGI (10 Oct 07) Burma: 5 generals arrested for not shooting at monks
 DVB (08 Nov 07) Army officer flees under threat of arrest; Mizzima News (08 Nov 07) Top military leader shelves two disobedient commanders
 DVB (12 Dec 07) Police chief orders clampdown on desertions
 Human Rights Watch, The Resistance of the Monks: Buddhism and Activism in Burma.
 Human Rights Watch, The Resistance of the Monks: Buddhism and Activism in Burma.
 U Gambira, What Burma’s Junta Must Fear, Washington Post, November 4, 2007, p. B07.
 Human Rights Watch, The Resistance of the Monks: Buddhism and Activism in Burma.
 Human Rights Watch, The Resistance of the Monks: Buddhism and Activism in Burma.
 Human Rights Watch, The Resistance of the Monks: Buddhism and Activism in Burma.
 Human Rights Watch, The Resistance of the Monks: Buddhism and Activism in Burma.
 Human Rights Watch, The Resistance of the Monks: Buddhism and Activism in Burma.
 Human Rights Watch, The Resistance of the Monks: Buddhism and Activism in Burma.
 Human Rights Watch, The Resistance of the Monks: Buddhism and Activism in Burma.
 Michael Mendelson, Sangha and State in Burma,
 Gustaaf Houtman, Mental Culture in Burmese Crisis Politics: Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy
 Wai Moe, A Monks Tale, The Irrawaddy, vol.16, no.4, April 2008, pp.14-15.
 Human Rights Watch, The Resistance of the Monks: Buddhism and Activism in Burma.
 Human Rights Watch, The Resistance of the Monks: Buddhism and Activism in Burma.
 Human Rights Watch, The Resistance of the Monks: Buddhism and Activism in Burma.
 Human Rights Watch, The Resistance of the Monks: Buddhism and Activism in Burma.
 Human Rights Watch, The Resistance of the Monks: Buddhism and Activism in Burma.
 Human Rights Watch, The Resistance of the Monks: Buddhism and Activism in Burma.
 Human Rights Watch, The Resistance of the Monks: Buddhism and Activism in Burma.
 Human Rights Watch, The Resistance of the Monks: Buddhism and Activism in Burma.
 Human Rights Watch, The Resistance of the Monks: Buddhism and Activism in Burma.
 Reuters, Activist Buddhist monk faces legal action in Burma http://www.france24.com/en/20120219-burma-activist-buddhist-monk-gambira-faces-legal-action
 Khin Su Wai, U Gambira hit with extra charges over 2012 incident. http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/yangon/21126-u-gambira-hit-with-extra-charges-over-2012-incident.html
 Amnesty Calls for Immediate Release of Former Monk Gambira.
 Aung Hla Tun, Myanmar court lays new charges against Saffron Revolution leader http://www.reuters.com/article/us-myanmar-human-rights-idUSKCN0ZE1ES
 Aung Kyaw Min, Govt-Sangha committee under fire for night raid. http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/10666-govt-sangha-committee-under-fire-for-night-raid.html
 State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee to decide sealed-monastery case http://www.elevenmyanmar.com/local/state-sangha-maha-nayaka-committee-decide-sealed-monastery-case
 RFA’s Myanmar Service, Myanmar Charges Religious Affairs Minister with Misuse of Funds http://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/minister-06192014183955.html
 Human Rights Watch, The Resistance of the Monks: Buddhism and Activism in Burma.
 Human Rights Watch, The Resistance of the Monks: Buddhism and Activism in Burma.
 FIDH (Federación Internacional de Derechos Humanos) & ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation), Burma’s “Saffron Revolution” is not over: Time for the international community to act
 FIDH (Federación Internacional de Derechos Humanos) & ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation), Burma’s “Saffron Revolution” is not over: Time for the international community to act
 The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, delivered to the General Assembly, U.N. Doc. A/53/364, 59 (Sept. 10, 1998). Mr. Lallah was Special Rapporteur from 1996-2000.
 The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, delivered to the General Assembly, U.N. Doc. A/61/369, 32 (Sept. 21, 2006) (hereinafter Myanmar Rapporteur 2006 I). Mr. Pinheiro was Special Rapporteur from 2000-2008.
 Situation of human rights in Myanmar, G.A. Res. 61/232, U.N. Doc. A/RES/61/232 (Mar. 13, 2007).
 Situation of human rights in Myanmar, Comm’n on H.R. Res. 2005/10, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/RES/2005/10, 3 (Apr. 14, 2005).
 Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Hum. Rts. Coun.Res. 7/31, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/RES/7/31, 1 (Mar. 28, 2008).
 International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School, Crimes in Burma.
 Irrawaddy Magazine, January 16, 2008
 Human Rights Watch, Burma: The Rohingya Muslims: Ending a Cycle of Exodus?, p. 29 (Sept. 1996), http://www.hrw.org/reports/pdfs/b/burma/burma969.pdf.
 Human Rights Watch, “The Government Could Have Stopped This”: Sectarian Violence and Ensuing Abuses in Burma’s Arakan State, p. 46 (July 31, 2012), https://www.hrw.org/report/2012/07/31/government-could-have-stopped/sectarian-violence-and-ensuing-abuses-burmas-arakan; Minority Rights Group International, World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples – Myanmar/Burma: Muslims and Rohingya (2008), http://www.refworld.org/docid/49749cdcc.html.
 Human Rights Watch, “All You Can Do Is Pray”: Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Burma’s Arakan State p. 112 (Apr. 22, 2013), https://www.hrw.org/report/2013/04/22/all-you-can-do-pray/crimes-against-humanity-and-ethnic-cleansing-rohingya-muslims;
 Physicians for Human Rights, Stateless and Starving: Persecuted Rohingya Flee Burma and Starve in Bangladesh, pp. 9-11 (Mar. 2010), https://s3.amazonaws.com/PHR_Reports/stateless-and-starving.pdf
 U.N. Commission on Human Rights, Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, Prepared by the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Yozo Yokota, in Accordance with Commission Resolution 1994/85, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1995/65 (1995), para. 118
 International Labour Office (ILO), Developments Concerning the Question of the Observance by the Government of Myanmar of the Forced Labour, GB.291/5/1 (Nov. 2004).
 Human Rights Watch, Crackdown on Burmese Muslims, p. 11 (July 2002), https://www.hrw.org/legacy/backgrounder/asia/burmese_muslims.pdf; Human Rights Watch, Burma: Rape, Forced Labor and Religious Persecution in Northern Arakan, p. 17 (1992), http://www.hrw.org/reports/pdfs/b/burma/burma925.pdf.
 Human Rights Watch, “All You Can Do Is Pray”: Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Burma’s Arakan State p. 112 (Apr. 22, 2013), https://www.hrw.org/report/2013/04/22/all-you-can-do-pray/crimes-against-humanity-and-ethnic-cleansing-rohingya-muslims
 The Arakan Project, Forced Labour Still Prevails: An Overview of Forced Labour Practices in North Arakan, Burma, p. 2 (May 30, 2012), http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs13/AP-Forced_Labour_prevails.pdf.
 Human Rights Watch, The Government Could Have Stopped This
 Aubrey Belford & Soe Zeya Tun, “Forced Labor Shows Back-Breaking Lack of Reform in Myanmar Military,” Reuters (July 2, 2015), http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/02/us-myanmar-rohingya-forcedlabour-idUSKCN0PC2L720150702.
 U.N. Commission on Human Rights, Report of the Special Rapporteur (1993), see above note 92, para. 77.
 U.N. Commission on Human Rights, Report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women
 U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women – Myanmar, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/MMR/CO/3 (2008), para. 24.
 Kyaw Kyaw Aung & Parameswaran Ponnudurai, “Emergency Declared in Rakhine,” Radio Free Asia (June 10, 2012), http://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/emergency-06102012151543.html.
 Human Rights Watch, Burma: Government Forces Targeting Rohingya Muslims (June 31, 2012), https://www.hrw.org/news/2012/07/31/burma-government-forces-targeting-rohingya-muslims; Amnesty International, Abuse Against Myanmar’s Rohingya Erodes Recent Progress (July 19, 2012), http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/press-releases/abuse-against-myanmar-s-rohingya-erodes-recent-progress.
 Unpublished Internal U.N. Myanmar Report, p. 2 (April 2013) (on file with Fortify Rights).
 Andrew Buncome, “Homeless and Helpless: The Rohingya Muslims of the Rakhine State,” The Independent (Dec. 5, 2012), http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/homeless-and-helpless-the-rohingya-muslims-of-rakhine-state-8386822.html
 Monks’ Association, 12 Statements Agreed and Decided by the Meeting of Monks from the Various Groups from Rathedaung Township (July 5, 2012) (on file with Fortify Rights) [12 Point Statement].
 Arakanese Youth Monks’ Association, “Proclamation to All Arakanese Nationals” (July 2012) (on file with Fortify Rights).
 Mrauk Oo Monks’ Association, E-Mail Message to Membership (July 9, 2012) (on file with Fortify Rights).
 Rachel Vandenbrink, “Call To Put Rohingya in Refugee Camps,” Radio Free Asia (June 12, 2012), http://www.rfa.org/english/news/rohingya-07122012185242.html
 “Monks Stage Anti-Rohingya March in Myanmar,” Al Jazeera (Sept. 2, 2012), http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/2012/09/201292175339684455.html
 “Myanmar Brings Charges Against Detained U.N. Staff,” Reuters (July 13, 2012), http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/07/13/uk-un-myanmar-detentions-idUKBRE86C0P320120713
 Jason Motlagh, “These Aren’t Refugee Camps, They’re Concentration Camps, and People Are Dying in Them,” Time (June 17, 2014) http://time.com/2888864/rohingya-myanmar-burma-camps-sittwe/.
 Jason Szep & Andrew R.C. Marshall, “Special Report- Witnesses Tell of Organized Killings of Myanmar Muslims,” Reuters (Nov. 12, 2012), http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/11/12/myanmar-fighting-muslims-rakhine-idINDEE8AB00I20121112
 Todd Pitman, “Divided Town Challenges Myanmar’s Democracy Hopes,” The Jakarta Post (Oct. 1, 2012), http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/10/01/divided-town-challenges-myanmars-democracy-hopes.html.
 U.N. Humanitarian Chief Says Conditions Dire for Some Refugees from Myanmar Ethnic Strife, Associated Press (Sept. 12, 2012)
 Thomas H. Andrews & Daniel Sullivan, Marching to Genocide in Burma
 Save the Children, Daily Status Update (Key Rakhine Operational Areas) (Apr. 1, 2014) (on file with Al Jazeera Investigative Unit).
 Human Rights Watch, Burma: Rohingya Muslims Face Humanitarian Crisis (Mar. 26, 2013), http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/03/26/burma-rohingya-muslims-face-humanitarian-crisis
 Alexandra Zavis, “Myanmar Orders Doctors Without Borders to Cease Operations,” L.A. Times (Feb. 28, 2014), http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-myanmar-orders-doctors-without-borders-to-cease-operations-20140228,0,2115340.story.
 Jane Perlez, “Ban on Doctors’ Group Imperils Muslim Minority in Myanmar,” N.Y. Times (Mar. 13, 2014), http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/14/world/asia/myanmar-bans-doctors-without-borders.html
 United to End Genocide, Burma Backgrounder (July 10, 2015), http://endgenocide.org/conflict-areas/burma-backgrounder.
 Jason Szep, “Special Report – In Myanmar, Apartheid Tactics Against Minority Muslims,” Reuters (May 15, 2013), http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/15/us-myanmar-rohingya-specialreport-idUSBRE94E00020130515.
 Director General Kyaw Soe, Submission on the Development of Rakhine State (Oct. 15, 2013) (on file with Al Jazeera Investigative Unit).
 Human Rights Watch, Burma: Government Plan Would Segregate Rohingya (Oct. 3, 2014), http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/10/03/burma-government-plan-would-segregate-rohingya.
 Gerry Mullany, “Report on Unrest is at Odds with Account of Myanmar,” N.Y. Times (Jan. 24, 2014), http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/25/world/asia/un-says-muslims-were-massacred-in-tense-myanmar- region.html; see also Jane Perlez, “Rise in Bigotry Fuels Massacre Inside Myanmar,” N.Y. Times (Mar. 1, 2014), http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/02/world/asia/rise-in-bigotry-fuels-massacre-inside-myanmar.html.
 “UN Urges Burma to Investigate Rohingya Deaths After Latest Violence,” The Guardian (Jan. 24, 2014), http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/24/un-burma-investgate-rohingya-deaths-violence.
 Gemima Harvey, “Myanmar: The Worsening Plight of the Rohingya,” The Diplomat (Mar. 19, 2014), http://thediplomat.com/2014/03/myanmar-the-worsening-plight-of-the-rohingya
 Al Jazeera Investigative Unit, Interview with Monk B, Tha Kha Na, Ven Pannasiha.
 Prosecutor v. Kambanda, Case No. ICTR-97-23-S, Judgement and Sentence, para. 40(1) (Sept. 4, 1998); Prosecutor v. Kovacevic and Drljaca, Case No. ICTY-IT-96-24, Indictment, para. 9 (Mar. 13, 1997); see also Schabas, Genocide in International Law, see above note 277, p. 156 (discussing the omission).
 See, for example, Prosecutor v. Muhimana, Case No. ICTR-95-1B-T, Judgment and Sentence, para. 502 (Apr. 28, 2005) (“Serious bodily harm is any serious physical injury to the victim, such as torture and sexual violence. This injury need not necessarily be irremediable. Similarly, serious mental harm can be construed as some type of impairment of mental faculties or harm that causes serious injury to the mental state of the victim.”); Prosecutor v Karadzic and Mladic, Case Nos. ICTY-IT-95-5-R61, ICTY-IT-95-18-R61, Review of the Indictments Pursuant to Rule 61 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, para. 93 (July 11, 1996) (“[T]he causing of serious bodily or mental harm to the member or members of the group or groups occurred through inhumane treatment, torture, rape and deportation”). See also International Criminal Court, Elements of Crimes, entered into force Sept. 9, 2002, ICCASP/1/3, fn. 3 (“[An act causing serious bodily or mental harm] may include, but is not necessarily restricted to, acts of torture, rape, sexual violence or inhuman or degrading treatment.”).
 U.N. Commission on Human Rights, Report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Its Causes and Consequences, Yakin Ertürk, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2006/61/Add.1 (Mar. 27, 2006), paras. 118-26.
 Human Rights Watch, Burma: Rohingya Muslims: Ending a Cycle of Exodus?, p. 12 (Sept. 1996), http://www.hrw.org/reports/pdfs/b/burma/burma969.pdf
 See, for example, The Sentinel Project, Burma Risk Assessment, pp. 13, 28-29 (Sept. 2013), https://thesentinelproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Risk-Assessment-Burma-September-2013.pdf
 Prosecutor v. Stakic, Case No. ICTY IT-97-24-T, Judgment, para. 517 (July 31, 2003) (including “excessive work or physical exertion” under the act).
 International Criminal Court, Elements of Crimes, entered into force Sept. 9, 2002, ICC-ASP/1/3, p. 114.
 Francis Wade, “Burma’s Rohingya Are Now Being Forced to Live in Sqaulid Ghettos Watched by Guards,” Time (Feb. 4, 2014), http://time.com/3982/rohingya-ghettos-of-burma; Emanuel Stoakes, “Burma’s Rohingya Ghettoes Broke My Heart,” Vice (Apr. 23, 2013), http://www.vice.com/read/visiting-burmas-muslim-ghettos.
 Prosecutor v. Jelisic, Case No. ICTY IT-94-10-A, Judgment, para. 47 (July 5, 2001).
 Resolutions, Objections and Proposals Adopted at the Public Meeting Held in Rathedaung, Rakhine State (Sept. 29 – Oct. 5, 2012) (on file with Al Jazeera Investigative Unit).
 Conclusions from the All-Arakanese Monks’ Solidarity Conference, Held at Dakaung Monastery, Sittwe (Oct. 18, 2012) (on file with Fortify Rights).
 Human Rights Watch, End ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ of Rohingya Muslims
 Amnesty International, Southeast Asia: Persecuted Rohingya Refugees From Myanmar Suffer Horrific Abuses at Sea (Oct. 21, 2015), https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/10/southeast-asia-persecuted-rohingya-refugees-from-myanmar-suffer-horrific-abuses-at-sea
 Emanuel Stoakes, “Thailand Human Trafficking Death Toll Far Greater Than Feared, Claims Rights Group,” The Guardian (May 6, 2015), http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/may/06/thailand-human-trafficking-mass-grave-burma-rohingya-people
 Jane Perlez, “Ban on Doctors’ Group Imperils Muslim Minority in Myanmar,”
 Case Concerning Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro), Judgment, 2007 I.C.J. 43, paras. 165, 431 (Feb. 26) [Bosnia v. Serbia].
 Draft Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, Report of the International Law Commission on the Work of its Fifty-Third Session, U.N. Doc. A/56/10, art. IV (2001) [Articles on State Responsibility].
 U.N. Office of the High Commission for Human Rights, Myanmar: UN Expert Greets Abolition of Notorious Border Security Force in Rakhine State and Calls for Accountability (June 16, 2013), http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=13542&.
 Bosnia v. Serbia
 ALLARD K. LOWENSTEIN INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS CLINIC, PERSECUTION OF THE ROHINGYA MUSLIMS: IS GENOCIDE OC CURRING IN MYANMAR’S RAKHINE STATE? A LEGAL ANALYSIS