UN warns against violence in Myanmar

mayanmarThe United Nations has warned that violence against Muslims in Myanmar threatens the process of economic and political reforms in the country.

UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Tomas Ojea Quintana on Thursday warned against the rise of anti-Muslim sentiments in Myanmar.

Quintana added that Myanmar’s government needs to do more “to tackle the spread of discriminatory views and to protect vulnerable minority communities.”

Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar account for about five percent of the country’s population of nearly 60 million. They are persecuted and have faced torture, neglect, and repression since the country’s independence in 1948.

Violence in western state of Rakhine, one of the most impoverished regions of Myanmar that is home to one million people, mostly Rohingya Muslims, has continued in 2013. About 140,000 people, including Muslims, have been left homeless in Rakhine.

“The situation in Rakhine State has fed a wider anti-Muslim narrative in Myanmar, which is posing one of the most serious threats to the reform process. Rakhine State remains in a situation of profound crisis,” Quintana stated.

On October 6, Myanmar’s state media reported that police had arrested over 40 Buddhists after houses of Muslims came under an arson attack while President Thein Sein was visiting Rakhine.

On October 2, police said that five Muslims had been killed in the village of Thabyuchaing as hundreds of Buddhists went on a rampage.

Human rights organizations blame Myanmar’s government for turning a blind eye to the violence against Muslims in the country.

“The underlying issue of discrimination against Muslim and particularly Rohingya populations remains unaddressed,” Quintana said, adding, “Allegations of gross violations since the violence erupted last June, including by state security personnel, remains unaddressed.”


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