[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
UN calls for inquiry into Myanmar riots
UN human rights chief says forces sent to quash violence in Rakhine state reportedly targeted Muslims.
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2012 11:17
Clashes between Buddhists and Muslim Rohingyas, which erupted in June, has left at least 78 people dead [Reuters]

The UN human rights chief has called for a “prompt and independent” investigation into the ethnic violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Navi Pillay said on Friday that an initial move by Myanmar security forces to quash violence in the restive Rakhine state has reportedly 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," the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights 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.

291

Source:
Agencies
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Frustration grows in Kiev as pledges to end corruption and abuse of power stagnate after Maidan Square protest.
Thousands of Houthi supporters have called for the fall of Yemen's government. But what do the Houthis really want?
New ration reductions and movement restrictions have refugees from Myanmar anxious about their future in Thailand.
US lawyers say poor translations of election materials disenfranchise Native voters.
US drones in Pakistan have killed thousands since 2004. How have leaders defended or decried these deadly planes?
join our mailing list