Myanmar has imposed a two-child limit on Rohingya Muslims in the country’s western Rakhine state, near Bangladesh. The decision was made in an effort to reduce tensions with the Rohingya’s Buddhist neighbors.
Local officials stated that the new child limits will be applied to two townships in Rakhine, Buthiadaung and Maundaw. The two townships border Bangladesh and have the highest Muslim populations in the state at 95 percent.
Along with a two-child limit, the latest measure also bans polygamy for Rohingya Muslim families. The measure was enacted a week ago and follows a government-appointed commission’s recommendations.
The commission issued proposals to ease the nation’s sectarian violence that included family planning programs to slow down the population growth of minority Muslims. The commission also recommended doubling the security force presence in Rakhine, according to state spokesman Win Myaing.
Myaing added, “The population growth of Rohingya Muslims is 10 times higher than that of the Rakhine [Buddhists]. Overpopulation is one of the causes of tension.”
Sectarian violence against the Rohingya flared again last year as mobs of Buddhists armed with machetes destroyed thousands of Muslim homes. The violence left hundreds of people dead and forced 125,000 to flee. Boats full or Rohingya Muslims have capsized during attempts to escape the country.
Win Myaing added that authorities have not yet decided how the measures, like the two-child limit for Muslims, will be enforced. The policy will not apply to other parts of Rakhine state, for the time being. The government-appointed commission issued their report last month, saying:
“One factor that has fueled tensions between the Rakhine public and [Rohingya] populations relates to the sense of insecurity among many Rakhines stemming from the rapid population growth of the [Rohingya].”
Despite their high populations in Rakhine state, Muslims account for just four percent of Myanmar’s roughly 60 million people.
Do you think a two-child limit on Rohingya Muslims will stem the sectarian violence in Myanmar?