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Burmese gov't says religious discrimination not factor in violence


The Burmese government said the unrest in Rakhine State was not related to any kind of religious persecution or discrimination, in an article in the state-run New Light of Myanmar on Wednesday.

On Sunday, Arakanese protestors in Rangoon asked the UN and INGOs to stop discriminating against them in Rakhine State. Photo: Mizzima
On Sunday, Arakanese protestors in Rangoon asked the UN and INGOs to stop discriminating against them in Rakhine State. Photo: Mizzima 
“We will not accept any attempt to politically regionalize or internationalize this conflict as a religious issue. Such attempt will not contribute to finding solution to the problem but will only complicate the issue further,” said a Foreign Ministry press release.

The statement said that “any outside interference or instigation to hamper the already restored peace and stability in the affected areas should be stopped and support should be rendered for the prevalence of law and order, peace and stability, reconciliation among concerned people and for the rehabilitation of the victims.”

The statement said the violence, which has claimed up to 88 lives, is a conflict between two communities following a criminal act.

“The government of Myanmar has never practiced policy of violence against Muslims or any other faiths,” said the statement. “The government totally rejects accusations made by some organizations that the government is practicing such a policy of abuse.”

It said the government has worked closely with the international community to provide aid and assistance for the victims of both Buddhist and Muslim communities in a non-discriminatory and transparent manner.

The statement noted visits to the area by the United Nations’ Vijay Nambiar; the Special UN Rapporteur on Human Rights Thomas Ojea Quintana; a Turkish delegation headed by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu; the president of Indonesia Red Cross, Yusuf Kalla; and the Assistant Secretary-General of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Atta AI-manam Bakhit.

The government has also extended an invitation to the OIC Secretary-General to visit Burma to observe the situation, the statement said.

The government formed a 27-member Investigation Commission on Aug. 17 comprising leaders from religious organizations, intellectuals, politicians and retired government officials among others.

According to the foreign ministry statement, 88 people lost their lives in the May-June riots in Rakhine State; 31 were Rakhinese and 57 were Bengali Muslims.

More than 5,000 houses and religious buildings from both communities were burned down in the clashes.

The statement said law and order in Rakhine State is improving and life is now returning to normal.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 August 2012 17:12 )  

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