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No Home for Muslim Orphans in Northern Myanmar

  • The Muslim community could not repair or rebuild a damaged orphanage, as local authorities transferred the ownership rights to a nearby primary school
  • Muslim religious buildings and shops were burned downed in Lashio of restive Shan state by a mob of Buddhist rioters in 2013.

LASHIO, Myanmar –  Rohingya Muslims are concerned that orphans have no place to stay in after their orphanage was destroyed in the riots and then transferred to a local school’s ownership.

“Since the riots broke out in other areas, we knew the radical Buddhists will definitely target us,” Tin Aung told Anadolu Agency, adding they requested authorities to protect them.

“The authorities told me not to worry about it, but they did nothing. So, we were helpless when the rioters rampaged in Lashio,” he said.

Mosques and Rohingya shops got burned down in Lashio of restive Shan state by a mob of Buddhist terrorists during the two-day communal violence in 2013.

Muslim community leaders in Lashio had alarmed the authorities of possible incidents in the town since attacks spread in several Myanmar towns following the communal violence in western Rakhine state.

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Aung informed that during the Buddhist attacks, the rioters surrounded the town’s oldest Muslim orphanage and set it on fire. But, 270 orphans were lucky to escape from the back doors.

“They blocked a major front door and set the orphanage ablaze. The orphans were lucky that the rioters didn’t know about the exit doors on the backside of the building,” Tin Aung said.

Later on, the local authorities of Myanmar transferred the ownership rights of the orphanage of Muslim Rohingya to Basic Education Primary School.

“The land ownership was transferred without bringing it to our knowledge,” said Tin Aung.

The three-story building, which was set on fire by rioters, was built in 1994. However, the ownership for the orphanage compound had been in limbo since 1979 as the authorities rejected the application by the trustee to extend the ownership rights.

“They rejected it without giving us a reason,” he said adding: “Then they confiscated the land without any notice or any compensation.”

He said the authorities offered the Muslim community to take 2 acres of land on the outskirts of the town in exchange for giving up the orphanage compound.

“But they didn’t allow us to build an orphanage on the land. So we didn’t take the offer,” he said.

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