End 'ethnic cleansing' in Myanmar, says rights body
authorities and members of Arakanese groups have committed crimes
against humanity in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against
Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State since June 2012, Human Rights
Watch said Monday. »
London: Amid damning
reports showing official Myanmar complicity in ethnically
cleansing entire Muslim towns and villages, the world's foremost
Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, has condemned the violence that
has left hundreds dead and an estimated hundreds of thousands
In an interview with Channel 4 News, he told Cathy Newman that
violence "is wrong". When he was asked whether he could do
something about the attacks in Burma (Myanmar) and Sri Lanka, he
said: "In a student-teacher relationship, whether it is supreme
teachers like Jesus or the Buddha, no one can control the thoughts
of all humans."
"My friend, a scientist in Argentina, had said to a physicist at a
meeting many years ago that she should not develop an attachment
to her scientist field. That means I am Buddhist but I should not
develop an attachment to my faith because then my attitude will
become biased. And you cannot see the truth with a biased mind,"
Sometimes, many conflicts are fought in the name of religion but
in reality they may actually be due to political or economical
differences, he said, adding: "Fundamentalists always think of
themselves and not the values of others, which is wrong."
Commenting on Nationalist Buddhist monk U Wirathu, dubbed the
"Buddhist bin Laden" and accused of flaring social tensions
between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, the Dalai Lama
said he had not studied his case in detail or in isolation but
that he condemned his actions. "What he is doing is wrong," he
Previously, during an interview with ABC News from his
home-in-exile in Dharamsala in India, he had represented his most
public condemnation of the Buddhist-led violence.
"It's very sad," the Dalai Lama said.
"All the major religions teach us the practice of love, compassion
and forgiveness. So a genuine practitioner among these different
religious traditions would not indulge in such violence and
bullying of other people."
Asked for his opinion on US senators voting against gun control as
part of an individual's freedom, the Dalai Lama said he understood
individual freedom, "but that does not mean you carry out an act
out of destructive emotion. The control must come from the
individuals," he said.
He also discussed his hopes for progress with China and whether a
woman could be the Tibetan people's next spiritual leader. He said
he is optimistic about progress with China and hopes that in a few
years they can share a harmonious relationship based on
"friendship and trust".
He said he would be happy to have a woman Dalai Lama succeed him.
"Women are naturally more sympathetic and compassionate people.
So, yes, I would definitely welcome it," he told Channel 4.
It's unclear how much weight the Dalai Lama's words will carry in
violence-stricken areas of Myanmar, where a new report accuses
Buddhist monks, political party operatives, and ordinary Myanmar
residents of committing brutal acts of violence against the
country's tiny Rohingya minority.
The report, issued by Human Rights Watch, shows a pre-planned
pattern of violence in the Southeast Asian country, including
entire villages razed to the ground and the bodies of men, women
and children buried in mass graves, some with their hands bound
behind their backs. In another village, 70 people, including 28
children, were allegedly hacked to death.
The violence began last year with a number of small skirmishes
between Buddhists and Muslims in central Myanmar. It has since
then spread and nearly all the violence has been directed toward
Myanmar's minority Rohingya Muslims. They are a small ethnic group
of three to five percent of Myanmar's total population.
The Myanmar government classifies the Rohingyas as Bangladeshi
immigrants, denying them official citizenship. Burmese laws
prevent them from travelling without permission and owning land.
Human Rights Watch accuse Myanmarese authorities of turning a
blind eye, and in some cases participating in the violence. It
accuses the government of "systematically restricting humanitarian
aid" and "imposing discriminatory policies" on its Muslim
minority, warning of a humanitarian crisis if the violence isn't
brought to an end.