80 more Rohingya refugees discovered – Rohingya and Kachin minority are not included in Burma's democratization process

Number of boat people from Burma increases by 60 percent in 2012!

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) demands that Burma should not exclude the Rohingya and the Kachin peoples from the country's process of democratization. "The alarming statistics for 2012 show how the members of these minority groups are suffering from persecution and discrimination," said the STP's expert on questions regarding Asia, Ulrich Delius, in Göttingen on Monday. In 2012, according to information by the UNHCR, the number of boat people from Burma has increased by 60 percent in comparison to the year before. About 13,000 people fled from the south-east Asian country by sea in 2012 – and only 8,000 in 2011. Most of the refugees are members of the persecuted Muslim Rohingya minority. 80 more Rohingya boat people were captured in the south of Burma, where they landed by mistake just last Wednesday.

"The dramatic increase in the number of boat people shows how little confidence the Rohingya from Burma have in the country's democratization process," said Delius. The international community must impose more pressure on Burma's government, to ensure that the basic rights of the ethnic and religious minorities are finally recognized and respected. Human rights and democratic principles should apply to everybody – not only for the big cities of the country.

"There is great despair even among the Kachin minority. While the government is talking peace, tens of thousands of war refugees have been waiting for humanitarian aid work and for an end of the conflict for months – but in vain," said Delius. "Burma's army is not even prepared to allow a humanitarian corridor to provide supplies for the needy civilians within the war zone. Apparently, Burma's army is ignoring government orders." The conflict between the Burmese army and the Kachin freedom movement "Kachin Independence Army (KIA)" has been escalating since June 2011. More than 75,000 members of the minority group are on the run because of the conflict.

Last week – after initial denials – Burma's government admitted that Kachin settlement areas had been bombed in spite of the official efforts for peace in Kachin State. The attacks against the Kachin villages were justified with a supposed right to self-defense. The KIA headquarters were attacked by Burma's army again on Sunday.