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10 U.N. staff still in custody in Rakhine State

The latest situation report from the U.N. humanitarian affairs office said on Thursday that the Burmese government has estimated a total of 55,000 people were displaced in Rakhine State, who were accommodated in 81 camps in four townships, as of 3 July.

Affected population figures continue to fluctuate, with several locations where people have sought temporary refuge now empty, and reports of movement of refugees between different camps and villages, said a statement.

Meanwhile, some 10 U.N. and INGO staff are still in custody, held by the authorities of Rakhine State for questioning. U.N. officials have talked to the government to request information about each detained staff member, making reference to the 1946 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the U.N. A formal reply is being awaited.

Across Rakhine State, reports of violent incidents over the last couple of weeks have substantially decreased, it said. However, inter-communal tensions remain very high in several areas, it said.

Organizations from both Buddhist and Muslim communities have circulated a number of statements against each other, and against the U.N. and NGOs, fueling tensions and hampering humanitarian assistance which is intended to reach all the victims of the violence, and is carried out at the request of and in collaboration with the Union government and State authorities.

A high-level delegation, led by the Union Ministers of Defense, of Border Affairs, and of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, with the participation of representatives from U.N. agencies, NGOs and donors visited Rakhine State between June 27 and 30, to discuss with the state government the needs of those affected by the instability and how best the international community can support the government-led humanitarian response.

Additional security personnel to address security concerns have been sent to some communities. The state of emergency and curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. continue in six townships of the state. Authorities prevented escalation of violence in Myebon Township on June 29, when rumors started circulating on the poisoning of the lake used by one community for fishing and water supply. Markets and trade have resumed in some parts of Sittwe and Maungdaw. However, substantial inter-community trade is yet to be observed, said he report.

Arrests continue to take place. On July 1, the government reported that a total of 49 suspects have been arrested in connection with the killing of 10 Muslims in Taungup or the raid on the Sittwe Police Station on June 3.
Last Updated ( Friday, 06 July 2012 16:07 )  

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