Burma risks becoming 'the next Rwanda' as violence grows

Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary expected to announce fresh trade deals between UK and Burma when they meet President Thein Sein at Downing Street

David Cameron is being urged to demand an end to the violence against Burma's Muslim minority when he meets the country's President in London tomorrow.

Campaigners say Burma risks becoming "the next Rwanda", with chilling echoes of the build-up to the 1990s genocide in evidence.

The Prime Minister and William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, are expected to announce fresh trade deals between the UK and Burma when they meet President Thein Sein at Downing Street. The talks follow Mr Cameron's historic visit to Burma last year, when he also met the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. He was the first Western leader to visit Burma since elections took place for the first time in 20 years in 2010.

President Sein's government is military backed and there remain deep concerns over human rights and democratic reform. Hundreds of Rohingya, the Muslim minority people, have been killed and 140,000 have been displaced since violence erupted last year. President Sein has been accused of failing to protect the Rohingya, and some members of the regime have been accused of participating in the attacks.

Avaaz, the global campaign group, which has gathered 970,000 signatures urging the UK and France to back a peace plan ahead of President Sein's visit, noted five parallels between the situations in Burma and Rwanda including making Rohingya second-class citizens, as with the Rwandan Tutsis, ethnic violence erupting after decades of discrimination in both countries, and state participation and complicity in persecution.

As with Rwanda, where the international community was slow to wake up to the genocide, Avaaz says that since the elections replaced the junta with a military-backed civilian government, Western nations such as the UK and France are doing little to stop the deteriorating situation facing the Rohingya.

Ahamed Jarmal, general secretary of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK, said: "We are being hacked to death, burned in our houses and driven from our homes. The only way to stop genocide is to prevent it from happening. Before commercial contracts are signed, Cameron must demand that the generals will not wipe the Rohingya off the map of Burma."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
'I do think a woman's place is eventually in the home, but I see no harm in her having some fun before she gets there.'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Martin of Coldplay performs live for fans at Enmore Theatre on June 19, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
music
Sport
Dave Mackay lifts the FA Cup in 1967 having skippered Spurs to victory
football
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Circles South East Youth Service: Youth Services Volunteer

this is an unpaid voluntary position: Circles South East Youth Service: LOOKIN...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - OTE £30,000+

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading privately owned sp...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is require...

Recruitment Genius: Logistics Supervisor

£24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest supplier to the UK'...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn