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British foreign secretary supports ‘inclusive’ Rakhine solution

Britain says it will help Burma achieve an “inclusive political settlement” that protects the rights of all community members in Rakhine State, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on the foreign office website on Monday.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague answers questions from the media at the British Council in Rangoon on January 6, 2012. Photo: Mizzima“The UK, as ever, stands ready to assist the government of Burma in its efforts to develop Rakhine State, to share our knowledge and experience of tackling the many complex and long-standing issues to be overcome and, as Burma continues its path towards establishing full democracy,” he said

Burma’s reform process has already “borne many fruits,” he said, but, “We remain seriously concerned about the nature and extent of the recent violence.”

He said Britain has urged the government to take effective and lawful steps to prevent any further violence, in accordance with international human rights law.

“We have also called upon the communities based there to act with restraint,” he said. “We have done the same with our international partners, and in international institutions, such as the European Union and the United Nations.”

He said Britain joins UN human rights envoy, Tomas Ojea Quintana, in stressing the need to end the violence; to grant full and unhindered humanitarian access to the areas affected; to allow the affected communities to safely return to their homes; and to support the restitution of property that was seriously damaged or destroyed.

Regarding the stateless Rohingya community of western Burma, he said, “There is also a need to seek a long term solution to the problems they face in a manner which recognizes their human rights, including their right to nationality, and to take effective steps which prevents any further forced or involuntary displacement and which does not leave them permanently displaced.”

It called for the release “of all those people who have been arbitrarily detained, irrespective of their ethnic background, and express the need for the government to carry out an independent, fair and prompt investigation in to the violence, in particular the allegations of serious crimes within the communities and human rights violations by the security forces.”

Meanwhile, last week, the Burmese authorities added three new dusk-to-dawn curfews in Kyauktaw, Minbya and Mrauk-U in Sittwe District in Rakhine State.

Officials were preparing to donate food, medicine and money to Gokphtaung village, which was heavily damaged by armed clashes last week, according to Myat Hla, the secretary of Rakhine National Charity Group.
On August 4 to 5, more than 100 houses in Gokpihtaung village, located file miles from Kyauktaw, were burned, according to local reports.

On June 10, Burmese President Thein Sein declared a state of emergency in Rakhine State. Official figures say up to 90 people have died since the community unrest began in June.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 15 August 2012 14:56 )  

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