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Moving to Yangon, Kaman Muslims face shortage of employment perspectives, casing

Yangon - After escaping violent attacks, living in a concentration camps and moving to the country's largest town, a dozen Muslim homes are still struggling with the daily challenges of living and work. "Yangon is a more challenging place to live," said 69-year-old Aye Myat Nu, who worked as a midwife before her home was burnt down in Rakhine State 2012 during the inter-communal conflict between Buddhists and Muslims.

More than 120,000 Rohingya Muslims were sent to internally displaced persons warehouses. At first, the Rohingya were confronted with a similar destiny by the Kaman people, who, unlike the Rohingya, are recognised by the regime as an ethnical group. However, a fistful of Kaman shelters in the Kyaukpyu, Pauktaw and Ramree districts of Rakhine state were shut down and the agencies provided airline travel and funding for a family of 55 to move to Yangon in early July.

Many of them now take refuge on a 4 acre site belonging to the Kaman Social Network in Hmawbi Township. Said Min Naing, vice-chairman of the Kaman Social Network, the administration must provide better living and working conditions. "We are Myanmar's people, and the Myanmar authorities have a duty to save our lives," he said.

Dealing with Yangon has proved hard for some as livelihoods have shifted. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Status of Myanmar on 10 July was visiting the Kaman in Yangon as part of her 6th outreach. Kaman's formal state sometimes played them off against the Rohingya.

The Kaman National Progressive Party in 2014 released a declaration stating that it would oppose the use of the concept of Rohingya with the Rakhinepeans. In Bangladesh, the Bengali is used by the Bengali authorities and the Buddhists, meaning that they do not come from Bangladesh.

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