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Emergency state lifted in Myanmar area

File photo shows residents sitting on a railway track
watching buildings burning around a mosque in Meiktila, central Myanmar.
July 20, 2013
Officials in Myanmar have lifted a state of emergency
imposed in a riot-hit area in March where deadly violence claimed dozens of
lives.
According to a notice published in the New Light of Myanmar
daily on Saturday, the order was revoked “as peace and stability has already
been restored” in the central town of Meiktila and surrounding areas.
On March 20, extremist Buddhists attacked dozens of houses
and mosques in Meiktila. The state of emergency was declared on March 22.
More than 40 people were killed and 12,000 people were
displaced during three days of clashes in the town.
In 2012, violence against Rohingya Muslims in the western
state of Rakhine left about 200 people dead.
Rohingya Muslims have faced torture, neglect, and repression
in Myanmar for many years.
Hundreds of Rohingyas are believed to have been killed and
thousands displaced in recent attacks by extremists who call themselves
Buddhists.
The extremists frequently attack Rohingyas and set fire to
their homes. This comes while the Myanmar government has been accused of
failing to protect the Muslim minority.
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has also come
under fire for her stance on the violence. The Nobel Peace laureate has refused
to censure the Myanmar military for its persecution of the Rohingyas, although
she recently condemned the decision by local officials in Rakhine state to
enforce a two-child policy on Rohingya Muslims.
Rohingyas are said to be Muslim descendants of Persian,
Turkish, Bengali, and Pathan origin, who migrated to Myanmar as early as the
8th century.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have issued
separate statements, calling on Myanmar to take action to protect the Rohingya
Muslim population against extremist Buddhists.