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Myanmar rejects Muslim crackdown concerns

Published Jul 30, 2012 02:30pm


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UN Special Rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana talks to the media as he leaves a press briefing on the situation of the restive Rakhine state held in Yangon on July 30, 2012. Quintana flew into the main city of Yangon on July 29 for a visit set to include a trip to the restive western state as well as meetings with Myanmar's President Thein Sein and civil society. - AFP PHOTO

YANGON: Myanmar on Monday told a UN rights envoy it rejected accusations of abuse by security forces in the wake of communal unrest, after the United Nations raised fears of a crackdown on Muslims.

In a press conference attended by UN Special Rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana, Myanmar's foreign minister said the government had exercised “maximum restraint” in bringing an end to the violence in western Rakhine State.

“As such, Myanmar strongly rejects the accusations made by some quarters that abuses and excessive use of force were made by the authorities in dealing with the situation,” Wunna Maung Lwin told reporters.

He said the country “totally rejects the attempts by some quarters to politicise and internationalise this situation as a religious issue”.

Quintana told reporters that on Tuesday he planned to visit Rakhine, where tens of thousands remain displaced by fighting that erupted between Buddhist and Muslim communities in early June.

His trip comes just days after the United Nations warned that Muslim communities in Rakhine, particularly the Rohingya people, were being targeted by security forces.

Earlier this month Amnesty International warned of “credible reports” of abuses -- including rape and unlawful killings -- by both Rakhine Buddhists and the security forces.

According to official figures, at least 77 people were killed in the unrest, including eight killed by security forces.

Of the more than 60,000 displaced, Myanmar officials said the vast majority -- around 53,000 -- were Muslims.

Ten aid organisation staff -- six from the UN and four employees of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) -- are among more than 800 people being held in relation to the unrest.

Both sides have accused each other over the attacks, which flared up following the rape and murder of a local Buddhist woman and subsequent revenge killing of 10 Muslims on June 3 by a mob of ethnic Rakhines.

Fears about the situation have spread across the Islamic world, with threats of violent reprisals against Myanmar from extremists from Pakistan to Indonesia.

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

Earlier this month, President Thein Sein told the United Nations that refugee camps or deportation was the “solution” for the Rohingya, according to his official website.

Quintana is set to meet the Myanmar leader in the capital Naypyidaw on Friday.


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Comments (8) Closed

sree Jul 31, 2012 10:25am
Islamic countries under the leadership of OIC should repatriate the Rohingya to Islamic countries like Pakistan, Indonesia or most aptly to Bangladesh were they belong.
truthteller Jul 30, 2012 05:50pm
Just curious what is the Bangladesh doing ? Whole world is condemning the slaughter, but Bangladesh government is totally silent !
Ali Jul 31, 2012 06:31am
No body was paying attention on this matter before it started to go around the internet through Social Networks. A very sad day for all news channels (internationally and nationally) who have discredit them selves by not reporting this first.
AHK Jul 30, 2012 07:01pm
Is the world, and UN aware of the history of Rohingya? The government's stance that they are Bangladeshis needs to be challenged.
Ahmed Jumma Jul 31, 2012 04:30am
At least facts finding mission has started. If Myanmar govt. is speaking the truth, it should allow all the international stakeholders i.e. international media, Amnesty International and neighbouring countries to view the actual situation. 8 million people can not be removed from any land, however, they should be takne in mainstream of the country as a power of the country. The Myanmar govt. should understand that the world has become a global village so crimes can not be hidden against the mankind. People should live together as human beings instead of wild animals. All the religions should be respected without any indiscrimination.
Souvik Jul 31, 2012 05:58am
Why Bangladesh has to do anything anyway? Just because the religion of majority matches? When we muslims will come out of this idiotic perception and actually ascend higher than just religious identity? Bangladesh has condemned the situation cautiously and asked the Myanmar Govt to resolve it while refusing to take any more rohingya refuses. I think thats enough for a country to do for now. For the erst, let the UN and other international orgs handle.
Saad Aijaz Jul 31, 2012 06:53am
very sad to see that bangladesh is not allowing these poor people to seek asylum...they are sending them back from their borders. and they know they will be killed by Buddhist. very sad. very sad.
Ajmeer Iera Jul 31, 2012 04:29pm
I agree with u. Thanks