Myanmar junta revokes publisher’s license for Rohingya book

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Around 900,000 Rohingya currently live in refugee camps in Bangladesh.

Yangon:

Myanmar’s junta has revoked the license of a publishing house for selling a popular foreign book about the army’s brutal crackdown on the Rohingya minority, state media said on Tuesday.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled Buddhist-majority Myanmar during a military crackdown in 2017, bringing with them harrowing reports of murder, rape and arson.

In March, the United States officially declared the violence against the Rohingya to amount to genocide, saying there was clear evidence of an attempt to “destroy” the group.

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Publishing house Lwin Oo has had its license revoked after it was found to be offering Irish-Australian scholar Ronan Lee’s ‘Myanmar Rohingya Genocide’ for sale online, according to a notice in the state-backed Myanma Alinn newspaper.

According to the author’s website, the book explores Rohingya history and identity and documents historical marginalization and abuse against the community.

It is based on extensive testimonies and historical research on the Rohingyas and has been praised by foreign commentators on Myanmar and the Rohingyas.

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Offering the book for sale “violated the publishing and printing law”, said Myanma Alinn’s statement, which prohibits any expression likely to cause “racial and cultural violence between ethnic groups”.

Lwin Oo’s operating license was revoked on May 28, according to the notice.

The editor could not be reached for comment.

About 900,000 Rohingya currently live in the world’s largest refugee camp in neighboring Bangladesh.

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The estimated 600,000 Rohingya still living in Myanmar are widely seen as intruders from Bangladesh and have been denied citizenship, rights and access to services.

Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing – who led the armed forces during the 2017 crackdown – called the word Rohingya an “imaginary term”.

Under a previous junta, all books, newspapers and magazines had to be submitted to a government censor for verification before publication.

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