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UN panel to question Myanmar's anti-women, anti-Islam legislation at Geneva meet

The birth control policy is a direct move against the displaced Muslim population in Rakhine State, known as Rohingya. (Representative image) Photograph: (Getty)

Agencies New Delhi Jul 06, 2016, 06.35 AM (IST)
Myanmar delegates will face some tough questions tomorrow at a key UN convention in Geneva regarding a controversial legislation which has attracted international criticism for discriminating on the basis of gender and religion.

The four laws, which includes giving authorities the right to restrict the number of childbirths a women can have, may stand in violation of the convention on eradicating discrimination against women (CEDAW) which Myanmar joined in 1997, as well as for being anti-Islam.

Introduced last year, this law was backed by nationalist monks and passed by the military-backed government of then-President U Thein Sein. 

However, the current government may not redress the matter. Although Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD government has submitted a written clarification that the laws do not go breach UN’s CEDAW policies, local newspaper The Myanmar Times quoted U Soe Kyi, the director general of the department of social welfare that the government had “no plan” to repeal the laws.

Women's rights groups have been protesting against this law, but have found it difficult to influence the government to change it.

International rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, has raised an alarm about the legislation curtailing religious and gender freedom, specially the birth control policy which is seen as a direct action against the displaced Muslim population in Rakhine State, known as Rohingya.

In the past two weeks, there has been a spike in violence against Muslims in Myanmar including incidents of Buddhist mobs ransacking two mosques in separate towns. Buddhist dominated security force has been criticised for not actively pursuing the matter.

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