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UN calls on Myanmar to hold talks with Rohingyas

Groups Burmese received with hostility to the UN Special Rapporteur

August 13, 2013

The United Nations
has urged the Myanmar government to hold talks with Rohingya Muslims to avoid
further violence in the west of the country.
United Nations
Refugee Agency (UNHCR) spokesman Adrian Edwards made the remarks at a press
conference in Geneva on Tuesday.

“UNHCR is
reiterating its call for peaceful dialogue and confidence-building between the
(internally displaced persons) and government. We believe this is key to
avoiding further violence,” Edwards said.

Meanwhile, UN’s
human rights envoy for Myanmar Tomas Ojea Quintana was visiting Rakhine state,
where violence killed one and injured ten others last week.
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 have set fire to their homes in several
villages in Rakhine. Myanmar army forces allegedly provided the fanatics
containers of petrol for torching the houses of Muslim villagers, who were then
forced to flee.
Myanmar’s
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
extremists.