Fencing Separates Religious Groups, Friends, and Family Members In Myanmar

Fences are used for all sorts of reasons across the globe. As far as homeowners are concerned, residential fencing is a great way to provide home security, privacy, and even appearance boosts. In the states, different jurisdictions may require residential fencing to be set either two, four, six, or eight inches away from the property line to avoid neighborly disputes. In other parts of the world, however, property line separation by fence comes with higher stakes.

According to IRIN, a bamboo fence doesn’t just separate Rohingya and Rakhine neighbors, it separates religious sects, friends, and even family members.

The fence was built six years ago by Rakhine villagers, following a wave of race and religious-fuelled riots sweeping the area.

The Myanmar village has unfortunately been dealing with religious disputes, misunderstandings, fear, and extremely strict policies that have lead to isolation via fencing. The new policies and fencing, however, aren’t just keeping religious disputes at bay, they are separating families.

“It means a father cannot visit his daughter who has been detained for traveling without a permit.” said Elise Tillet-Dagousset, a human rights researcher who has been studying apartheid policies in Myanmar. “It means a five-year-old child would have never met someone who is not from his village or community.”

The Daily Times adds that in early November, the Myanmar government has formed a commission to investigate what exactly has been occurring in Northern Rakhine. Currently, there have been six committees that have convened to find a solution, though nothing substantive has been determined.

More than 700,000 Rohingya were forced to leave their townships over the summer due to a violent military purge. The Myanmar government stated that its military was responding to boarder attacks and a United Nations investigation found that the military attack was not a random act, but instead organized, pre-planned, and likely amounts to genocide.

Something needs to be done to quell the tension and put an end to the violence, but the longer that the restrictions and fencing remains in place, the more difficult it will for the two communities to learn to live together once again.

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