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UN Calls for Burma Carnage Enquiry

alibaz

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NEW YORK: UN human rights Chief Navi Pillay has called for an independent investigation following claims of abuses by security forces in Burma's Rakhine state.

Ms Pillay said forces sent to quash violence in the northern state were reported to be targeting Muslims.

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) says about 80,000 people have been displaced following inter-communal violence. The agency says most of those displaced are living in camps and more tents are being airlifted in to help them.

The latest violence in Rakhine state began in May when a Buddhist ethnic Rakhine woman was allegedly raped and murdered by three Muslims. On June 3, an unidentified mob killed 10 Muslims. Ms Pillay's office says that since then at least 78 people have been killed in ensuing violence but unofficial estimates are higher.

"We have been receiving a stream of reports from independent sources alleging discriminatory and arbitrary responses by security forces, and even their instigation of and involvement in clashes," Ms Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said.
"Reports indicate that the initial swift response of the authorities to the communal violence may have turned into a crackdown targeting Muslims, in particular members of the Rohingya community."

She welcomed a government decision to allow a UN envoy access to Rakhine state next week, but said it was "no substitute for a full-fledged independent investigation".

The UNHCR says that about 80,000 people had been displaced in and around the towns of Sittwe and Maungdaw. Spokesman Andrej Mahecic said that many were too scared to return home while others were being prevented from earning a living. "Some displaced Muslims tell UNHCR staff they would also like to go home to resume work, but fear for their safety," he said.

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi recently called for laws to protect the rights of ethnic minority groups. In her first statement in parliament, she said such laws were important for Burma to become a truly democratic nation of mutual respect.

Burma has undergone a series of political reforms initiated by the military-backed government. But some parts of the country are still hit by conflict and unrest, most recently Rakhine state.

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alibaz

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UN Rights Chief Raises Alarm at Muslim Crackdown

GENEVA: The UN human rights chief warned Friday that an initial move by Myanmar security forces to quash violence in the restive Rakhine state has turned into a crackdown against Muslim minorities.

"We have been receiving a stream of reports from independent sources alleging discriminatory and arbitrary responses by security forces, and even their instigation of and involvement in clashes," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement.

"Reports indicate that the initial swift response of the authorities to the communal violence may have turned into a crackdown targeting Muslims, in particular members of the Rohingya community."

Clashes between Buddhist ethnic Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya communities which erupted early June in the western Myanmar state has left at least 78 people dead and 70,000 homeless, Pillay's office said, according to official figures.

Unofficial estimates of the death toll were higher, her office added.

Pillay urged the government to "prevent and punish violent acts" and said she was dismayed at the derogatory language used against the Rohingya by state and some independent media, as well as by some users of social networking websites.

While welcoming Myanmar's invitation to UN investigator Tomas Ojea Quintana to visit from July 30 to August 4, Pillay said it was "no substitute for a fully-fledged independent investigation" into the Rakhine violence.

She also pointed out that it was "important that those affected from all communities in Rakhine are able to speak freely" to Quintana.

An estimated 800,000 Rohingya live in Myanmar, and the government considers them to be foreigners while many citizens see them as illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh and view them with hostility.

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alibaz

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Over 90,000 Muslim Rohingya, an ethnic minority in predominantly Buddhist Burma, have been displaced in recent weeks after sectarian violence broke out in Burma’s Rakhine State.

Many of the Rohingya are fleeing to neighbouring Bangladesh in search of medical aid, food and shelter, but the Bangladeshi government has so far refused to let them in. Instead, thousands have been pushed back to Burma, where the Rohingya population has been persecuted for over 30 years.

On June 13, Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said Bangladesh was not willing to take in the Rohingyas, despite international calls and the UNHCR appealing to Bangladesh to let them in.

“We’re already burdened with thousands of Rohingya refugees staying in Bangladesh and we don’t want anymore,” said the foreign minister.

The reason for not taking the Rohingya in, according to the Bangladesh government, is that the country does not have the resources to take in any more refugees.

World Refugee Week: Bangladeshi’s on the Rohingya | DAWN.COM

 
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