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Few issues in Burma evoke the kind of passionate debate — and, often, disagreement — as the situation in Arakan State, where the ethnic Arakanese Buddhist and Rohingya Muslim communities were torn apart by inter-faith violence in 2012.
In the years since, conditions for the latter have deteriorated and solutions to the protracted tensions between members of the two religions remain elusive. October brought a further setback as militants — whom the government has said were inspired by Islamist ideology — attacked three border police posts, killing nine officers.
Last week the UN Human Rights Council decided to establish an international fact-finding mission to probe alleged rights violations resulting from security forces’ crackdown in northern Arakan State since the 9 October attacks.
Central to the broader dynamics at play in Arakan State is the Rohingya’s claims to citizenship. While many members of the Muslim minority say they trace family roots in the state back generations, most in Burma regard them as illegal interlopers from neighbouring Bangladesh.
In this episode of DVB Debate aired last month, panelists discuss how to approach issues of citizenship, conflict and reconciliation between the bitterly divided communities in the western Burmese state.
This video has been edited down from the original DVB Debate program, which aired on 25 February. The full debate, in Burmese, can be watched here.