Human rights group condemns Myanmar's parliament for bill regulating interfaith marriages

An international human rights group has accused Myanmar's parliament of playing with fire by passing a bill regulating the right of women from the country's Buddhist majority to marry men from outside their religion.

Phil Robertson of New York-based Human Rights Watch said Wednesday the bill was related to a campaign by extremist Buddhist groups that have incited anti-Muslim hatred. Religious tensions have led to deadly violence, especially against Rohingya Muslims in western Myanmar, who have felt compelled to flee abroad.

The bill passed Tuesday is one of four known as the Protection of Race and Religion Laws, which have been criticized as discriminatory by rights groups. It mandates that Buddhist women register their intent to marry outside their faith, and that they can be stopped if there are objections.