Photos: Muslims in a Myanmar town await the end of religious persecution

Muslims in the Kyaukphyu town in the Myanmar's Rakhine state continue to bear the brunt of the inter-communal unrest in 2012 that broke out after allegations spread that a Buddhist woman had been raped by Muslim men. Before the attacks, they held important jobs, but now, the work is exclusively carried out by ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, who have also taken over any still-intact homes of Muslims. Rights groups have pointed out the blatant human rights violations of these Muslims, as they continue to live without proper shelter, education and jobs.

UPDATED ON NOV 24, 2019 04:25 PM IST 9 Photos
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People walk in Kyauktalone camp in Kyaukphyu, Rakhine state, where Muslim residents have been forced to live for seven years after the inter-communal unrest tore apart the town. Some 130,000 Muslims, the vast majority Rohingya, have been languishing in various camps in central Rakhine since the violence between Buddhist and Muslims swept through the region in 2012, without decent access to education, healthcare and work. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

People walk in Kyauktalone camp in Kyaukphyu, Rakhine state, where Muslim residents have been forced to live for seven years after the inter-communal unrest tore apart the town. Some 130,000 Muslims, the vast majority Rohingya, have been languishing in various camps in central Rakhine since the violence between Buddhist and Muslims swept through the region in 2012, without decent access to education, healthcare and work. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

UPDATED ON NOV 24, 2019 04:25 PM IST
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A Muslim man cooks in his tent in Kyauktalone camp in Kyaukphyu. In the 2012 unrest, mobs ransacked homes and police rounded up Muslims for their “own safety” to sites that would later be turned into camps. More than 200 Muslims died, tens of thousands were displaced and the stage was set for the bloody purge of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims in northern Rakhine five years later. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

A Muslim man cooks in his tent in Kyauktalone camp in Kyaukphyu. In the 2012 unrest, mobs ransacked homes and police rounded up Muslims for their “own safety” to sites that would later be turned into camps. More than 200 Muslims died, tens of thousands were displaced and the stage was set for the bloody purge of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims in northern Rakhine five years later. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

UPDATED ON NOV 24, 2019 04:25 PM IST
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A Muslim woman cooks in her tent in Kyauktalone camp in Kyaukphyu. Muslims from the camp are only permitted to visit town for two hours at a time under the chaperone of weapon-wielding police. Many in the camp are Kaman Muslims. Unlike the Rohingya, they are an officially recognised minority in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. But their status did little to help them as the unrest spread. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

A Muslim woman cooks in her tent in Kyauktalone camp in Kyaukphyu. Muslims from the camp are only permitted to visit town for two hours at a time under the chaperone of weapon-wielding police. Many in the camp are Kaman Muslims. Unlike the Rohingya, they are an officially recognised minority in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. But their status did little to help them as the unrest spread. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

UPDATED ON NOV 24, 2019 04:25 PM IST
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A man stands outside a house in Kyauktalone camp in Kyaukphyu. Before the attacks, some were teachers, lawyers and judges, while others fished or drove ox carts transporting cargo and people between the shore and the wooden boats that moor off the working beach. Those jobs in the town are now exclusively carried out by ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, who have also taken over any still-intact homes of Muslims. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

A man stands outside a house in Kyauktalone camp in Kyaukphyu. Before the attacks, some were teachers, lawyers and judges, while others fished or drove ox carts transporting cargo and people between the shore and the wooden boats that moor off the working beach. Those jobs in the town are now exclusively carried out by ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, who have also taken over any still-intact homes of Muslims. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

UPDATED ON NOV 24, 2019 04:25 PM IST
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A view of Kyauktalone camp in Kyaukphyu. Many fear the enduring deep sectarian suspicions and religious divisions are irrevocable and authorities claim any attempt to reintegrate communities could trigger new unrest. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

A view of Kyauktalone camp in Kyaukphyu. Many fear the enduring deep sectarian suspicions and religious divisions are irrevocable and authorities claim any attempt to reintegrate communities could trigger new unrest. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

UPDATED ON NOV 24, 2019 04:25 PM IST
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The ruins of a mosque in Kyaukphyu. One of the downtown building that served as a mosque before 2012 has been converted into the office of a women’s rights group led by Saw Pu Chay. Cavities in the wall where Islamic symbols were gouged out stand testament to the 2012 violence. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

The ruins of a mosque in Kyaukphyu. One of the downtown building that served as a mosque before 2012 has been converted into the office of a women’s rights group led by Saw Pu Chay. Cavities in the wall where Islamic symbols were gouged out stand testament to the 2012 violence. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

UPDATED ON NOV 24, 2019 04:25 PM IST
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A man fishes on the shore in Kyaukphyu. The camp residents are desperate for a chance to rebuild their lives. “It’s just like a prison,” says camp leader Phyu Chay of his current ‘home’, adding: “There are no jobs and we struggle to get hold of proper medication.” (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

A man fishes on the shore in Kyaukphyu. The camp residents are desperate for a chance to rebuild their lives. “It’s just like a prison,” says camp leader Phyu Chay of his current ‘home’, adding: “There are no jobs and we struggle to get hold of proper medication.” (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

UPDATED ON NOV 24, 2019 04:25 PM IST
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A man rides an ox cart on the beach in Kyaukphyu. Amnesty International brands the “institutionalised system of segregation and discrimination” so severe it constitutes “apartheid”. Muslims continue to lack access to education, healthcare and work -- a situation Amnesty’s Laura Haigh describes as both “unacceptable and criminal”. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

A man rides an ox cart on the beach in Kyaukphyu. Amnesty International brands the “institutionalised system of segregation and discrimination” so severe it constitutes “apartheid”. Muslims continue to lack access to education, healthcare and work -- a situation Amnesty’s Laura Haigh describes as both “unacceptable and criminal”. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

UPDATED ON NOV 24, 2019 04:25 PM IST
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Students walk in Kyauktalone camp in Kyaukphyu. Many have been forced to accept a controversial National Verification Card (NVC), a limbo status offering few rights until holders “prove” their claim to full citizenship. Rights groups condemn the NVC as a discriminatory tool foisted on many Muslims -- particularly Rohingya -- who they say should already be treated as full citizens. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

Students walk in Kyauktalone camp in Kyaukphyu. Many have been forced to accept a controversial National Verification Card (NVC), a limbo status offering few rights until holders “prove” their claim to full citizenship. Rights groups condemn the NVC as a discriminatory tool foisted on many Muslims -- particularly Rohingya -- who they say should already be treated as full citizens. (Ye Aung Thu / AFP)

UPDATED ON NOV 24, 2019 04:25 PM IST

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