A two-child limit for Muslim Rohingya families in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State is being implemented by authorities after a series of violent conflicts occurring between Muslims and Buddhists, Myanmar authorities said on Saturday.
The new measures however, will not affect Buddhists in the country.
The policy is similar to that of China’s one-child policy, but it is not instigated by religious affiliation.
The law will be carried out in the Myanmar communities of Buthidaung and Maungdaw, which are about 95 percent Muslim.
Investigations on vicious religious disputes prompted a government-appointed commissioner to propose the plan last week, in an attempt to ease tension between the communities.
A second point in the policy will also ban polygamy.
Human Rights Watch has accused authorities in Rakhine of instilling a form of organized “ethnic cleansing.”
On Saturday, state spokesman Win Myaing told The Associated Press “overpopulation is one of the causes of tension.” He also said the Rohingya Muslim population growth rate is ten times higher than that of the Rakhine Buddhists.
While the population of the western Rakhine states may be dominated by Muslims, their presence in the country only accounts for 4 percent out of Myanmar’s roughly 60 million people.
Dogmatic violence first occurred about a year ago in the Rakine state when mobs of armed Buddhists raided thousands of Muslims homes, killing hundreds, and displacing nearly 125,000 people.
Witnesses say the police took no action to stop the attacks on the Muslim population.
It is undetermined how authorities plan to enforce the two-child policy, but it will be mandatory for all Rohaingya Muslims in Buthidaung and Maungdaw. Other Islamic communities in Myanmar however will not be affected.
The predominantly Buddhist Myanmar does not consider the Rohingya as one of their 135 recognized ethnicities. Rohingya Muslims are also considered illegal immigrants of Bangladesh and denies them citizenship.
Officials in Bangladesh say the Rohingya have lived in Myanmar for centuries and should be recognized as citizens of the country.