Violence against two ethnic groups has flared in Burma's Rakhine State, with Burmese security forces participating in human rights violations, including rape.
A state of emergency was declared in June as targeted attacks and communal violence between the Buddhist Arakan group and the Muslim Rohingya community intensified. Attacks began in June, after an alleged gang rape of an Arakan woman by Muslim men.
The Rohingya community, considered to be one of the most persecuted minorities in the world, lacks legal status after the population's Burmese citizenship was revoked in 1982, rendering the population stateless. Treated as illegal migrants from Bangladesh, the population has been offered no humanitarian assistance from the Bangladeshi government and denied entry into the country.
In a recent report, Human Rights Watch criticized Burmese security forces for not preventing violence, as well as committing human rights abuses. HRW detailed incidences of abuse, including rape, by both communities and military forces - contributing to the existing climate of impunity in Burma.
The military regime in Burma continues to use rape to humiliate women and their communities. High incidents of rape and the systemic use of it as a weapon of war is one of the reasons why Burma is one of the four target countries of the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict.
"The Government Could Have Stopped This," Human Rights Watch, 1 August 2012.
"Burma lets the Rohingya burn," Wall Street Journal
"Myanmar troops 'opened fire on Rohingya Muslims'," AFP, 1 August 2012.
"Myanmar: Abuses against Rohingya erode human rights progress," Amnesty International, 19 July 2012.