Population Control Bill Could ‘Stop the Bengalis’: Wirathu


Nationalist monk U Wirathu speaking in January, 2015. (Photo: JPaing / The Irrawaddy)

Nationalist monk U Wirathu speaking in January, 2015. (Photo: JPaing / The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON — Nationalist monk U Wirathu on Monday lashed out against calls for Burma’s Parliament to oppose controversial legislation that would restrict birth rates at the discretion of local authorities, claiming the bill was designed with the dual purpose of protecting women’s health and “stopping the Bengalis.”

The comments, made to The Irrawaddy during a telephone interview, supported criticisms that the legislation was intended to target minorities, particularly stateless Rohingya Muslims in western Burma’s Arakan State, also known as Rakhine.

“If the bill is enacted, it could stop the Bengalis that call themselves Rohingya, who are trying to seize Rakhine State,” Wirathu said. The Burmese government and much of the general public refuse to recognize the term Rohingya, referring to the group as Bengalis to imply that they are illegal immigrants.

In recent weeks, the persecuted minority has been at the center of a regional crisis, as thousands are believed to have fled by boat to seek refuge in neighboring countries, often to find themselves caught in an expansive human trafficking circuit.

The Population Control Bill, which was approved by Burma’s Union Parliament last week and now awaits the President’s approval, is one of four bills known collectively as the Protection of Race and Religion package, proposed by the nationalist Buddhist organization Ma Ba Tha.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a statement on Saturday calling on lawmakers to reject the bill on the grounds that it violated women’s rights and could be used to target minorities. The vote, however, had already been cast in favor without garnering much attention from the media.

Of particular concern, the group said, was a provision mandating that women wait three years between birthing children, which human rights activists and women’s advocates view as an assault on female reproductive rights.

HRW also pointed out that the drafting process did not involve participation by ethnic and religious minority women, who would likely be most affected should the bill become law.

Wirathu, a radical monk closely associated with Ma Ba Tha and largely viewed as an anti-Muslim agitator, defended the legislation as a health measure that women need not be involved in drafting.

“[The Population Control Bill] was drafted for healthcare. The World Health Organization [WHO] also advised a three-year interval between each child,” he said, an apparent reference to 2005 research recommending birth spacing to reduce infant and child mortality. “Will it only be legal when women join the discussion? Did women have any participation in Sharia Law?”

Under the bill, divisional and state governments are granted the ability to request a presidential order limiting reproductive rates if it is determined that population growth, accelerating birth rates, or rising infant or maternal mortality rates are negatively impacting regional development.

An “imbalance between population and resources, low socio-economic indicators and regional food insufficiency because of internal migration” can also be cited in invoking the law.

The legislative package, which includes provisions that would restrict interfaith marriage, polygamy and religious conversion, have been lambasted by human rights groups and women’s rights advocates since it was first proposed in 2013.

Critics claim the legislation undermines women’s right to freedom of faith and family planning, while leaving ethnic and religious minority women particularly vulnerable to abuse by authorities.

Western governments have warned that enacting the laws would not be in keeping with the country’s transition toward democracy.

12 Responses to Population Control Bill Could ‘Stop the Bengalis’: Wirathu

  1. Yes, they are not Roheigya, but you can call them Kawtau (ေခၚေတာ) that is their original name.

    However, Wirathu should not interfere in worldly affair as long as he would like to maintain true monkshood. This is the business of mundane people. Wirathu must abide the Buddhist Law. If he declines, then, either the higher Sangha organisation or the government must take action against him.

  2. Wirathu….. we wondered already where you are , might have reached Nirvana…of course today you need to make noise as President Thein Sein did not honor you with a special title as you might have thought ….no one speaks about you so Wirathu needs to speak about him self…. nothing else we see and saw or learned from the above article…. Pity man / not monk but Wirathu

  3. Menrihei Tainamkawng

    Wolf under the sheepskin still barks as a wolf.

  4. Wirathu again barking. He is more powerful in Burma than The in SeIn. The Maha Sanga is scared of him?
    Why he is so afraid if minorities. Does Buddhism teaches to incite hathe among people. Does it teaches you to get rid of minorities? Wirathu is a paid fake monk. Bin Laden of Burma keep your gob shut.

  5. Wirathu is a shameless alizzi, a base monk in saffron robes, a fake and an opportunist flippy floppy man, if we can call him a man.
    When he was schooling in BEHS No.1 in Kyaukse, and he was so badly behaved that his teachers were loathe to handle him. I do not know why he hates Muslims, but probably on account of some big quarrels with some Muslim folks in town who made up about 10% or more of the town’s population.
    On account of his hate-Muslim activities, a highly venerable Head Monk of Kyauk Thimbaw was killed at a Muslim village while riding on a motor bike to bless a shinpyu (ahlu) ceremony some 8 or 9 years ago.
    Wirathu is no monk but a bad man, a hater at heart. He even hates the Tankyitaung Sayadaw (Bagan) for being a very popular vipassana teacher.
    But what to do he is serving the government well!!!
    He caused problems with Muslims when the old junta wanted it to happen. He is still doing it.

  6. Some one has to be as insane, racist, irrational, inhuman and un-Buddhist as Wirathu is…. to think, say, incite and hate as Wirathu does. Thein Sein and entourage is an accomplice in what Wirathu says and does. Buddhism and democracy do NOT allow, endorse or condone AT ALL what he and they say and do to the minorities – Yakhine Muslims and Muslims in general, Christian Chins and Kachins, Animist/Buddhist Shans, Christian Karens, etc. – kill, burn, rape, forced eviction from their farms, lands, villages and homes, jail and deprive them of all basic human rights.

    Is this what the West and free world are pleased with Burma and its so called Democracy? Do the West and free world reward Burma and its regime for all the above by removing many sanctions, lift ban on visa, establishing diplomatic relationships, etc.?? If they do, then they are also indirect accomplices in the above excesses.

    All the above excesses are more prevalent and rampant NOW than it was during the rule of subhuman dictator General Ne Win’s regime.

    My heart bleeds for the persecuted minorities in Burma – Muslims, Christians, Animists and Buddhists.

  7. I think Al-Qaeda, Taliban, and ISIS are mentors of U Wirathu. Just because muslims do not allow women to participate in the disussion of Sharia Law doesn’t mean that buddhist women cannot participate in Burmese Buddhist Law. Buddhist women have never been second class citizens. When is the Burmese Sangha Association going to disrobe U Wirathu? He doesn’t practice Theravada Buddhism at all.

  8. “The legislative package, which includes provisions that would restrict interfaith marriage, polygamy and religious conversion” sounds sensible to me.

  9. 1. This Bill is nothing but “Ethnic Cleansing”. This is how the Nazis started in 1930’s Germany with their hatred and persecution of the Jews.
    2. Restricting Bengali women (or Rohinja or any ) to birthing once tri-annually is against the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights:

    Article 12.
    •No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

    Article 16.
    •(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

    Article 25.
    •(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

    Article 29.
    •(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

    The final draft by Cassin was handed to the Commission on Human Rights, which was being held in Geneva. The draft declaration sent out to all UN member States for comments became known as the Geneva draft.

    The first draft of the Declaration was proposed in September 1948 with over 50 Member States participating in the final drafting. By its resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948, the General Assembly, meeting in Paris, adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with eight nations abstaining from the vote but none dissenting

    THE UNION OF BURMA Representative at the UN voted in favour.

    The President of the Republic Of The Union Of Myanmar will be in breach of that undertaking at the UN signed on 10th December, 1948, if he signs into law, The Population Control Bill.

  10. Make sure the law is not targeted to damage and cause suffering to a particular group of people or gender.


  12. Wirathu is noisy.
    Wirathu looks terrible.
    Wirathu is out of line [precepts]
    Wirathu is however the strongest and most practical DEFENDER of FAITH.
    Wirathu is defending his turf.

    If given 3 drops of pupil dilators in his eyes, may be, he can see wider and further and support NLD. He can be assured NLD will not disrobe him, bludgeon his head or burn his abode.

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