Myanmar should scrap proposed restrictions on interfaith marriages, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday, warning that the “blatant discrimination” threatens religious freedom and women’s rights.
Muslims, Christians and men of other minority faiths could face up to a decade in prison for marrying Buddhist women under a law being considered by parliament, according to the New York-based watchdog.
The country formerly known as Burma has been shaken by religious strife as it emerges from decades of oppressive military rule, with at least 250 people killed in Buddhist-Muslim clashes since 2012.
President Thein Sein, a former general turned political reformer, last month asked parliament to consider proposed intermarriage restrictions, after a campaign spearheaded by a hardline monk.
“It is shocking that Burma is considering enshrining blatant discrimination at the heart of Burmese family law,” said HRW Asia director Brad Adams.
“This law would strip away from women their right to freely decide whom to marry, and would mark a major reversal for religious freedom and women’s rights in Burma,” he said in a statement.
In a letter to lawmakers, Thein Sein said the proposed legislation was to give “protection” to Buddhists marrying people of other religions…
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I await HRW’s report on Muslim countries following sharia laws on marriage.
I also wait for HRW to condemn Malaysia, where those of Malay must be Muslims. There is no choice at all.