U.N. committee expresses concern for Myanmar's Muslims

Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:02pm EST
 

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A committee of the U.N. General Assembly expressed serious concern on Monday over violence in Myanmar between Rohingya Muslims and Buddhists and called upon the government to address reports of human rights abuses by some authorities.

The 193-nation General Assembly's Third Committee, which focuses on rights issues, approved by consensus a non-binding resolution, which Myanmar said contained a "litany of sweeping allegations, accuracies of which have yet to be verified."

Outbreaks of violence between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and the Rohingyas have killed dozens and displaced thousands since June. Rights groups also have accused Myanmar security forces of killing, raping and arresting Rohingyas after the riots. Myanmar said it exercised "maximum restraint" to quell the violence.

The U.N. resolution "expressing particular concern about the situation of the Rohingya minority in Rakhine state, urges the government to take action to bring about an improvement in their situation and to protect all their human rights, including their right to a nationality."

At least 800,000 Muslim Rohingya live in Rakhine State along the coast of western Myanmar. But Buddhist Rakhines and other Burmese view them as illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh who deserve neither rights nor sympathy.

The Myanmar mission to the United Nations told the Third Committee that while it accepted the resolution, it objected to the Rohingya being referred to as a minority.

"There has been no such ethnic group as Rohingya among the ethnic groups of Myanmar," a representative of Myanmar's U.N. mission said. "Despite this fact, the right to citizenship for any member or community has been and will never be denied if they are in line with the law of the land."

NOT PERSECUTION   Continued...

 
Shi'ite Muslims gather at a mosque after praying as part of the Ashura religious festival in Yangon November 24, 2012. REUTERS/Minzayar