Security concerns persist in Myanmar

Aug. 13, 2012 at 2:29 PM   |   Comments

LONDON, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- The British government is seriously concerned about ongoing violence in Rakhine state in western Myanmar, the foreign secretary said Monday.

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, earned praise for a series of political developments that started with general elections in 2010. Former prisoner and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi earned a spot on the country's Parliament in elections this year.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said "many fruits" were borne from the country's political advances, though there were serious concerns about ongoing violence.

"We have urged the government to resolve the crisis by taking effective and lawful steps to prevent any further violence, in accordance with international human rights law," he said in a statement. "We have also called upon the communities based there to act with restraint."

The U.N. special envoy on human rights in Myanmar, Tomas Ojea Quintana, said at the end of his visit to Myanmar there was "widespread suffering" among members of the Muslim and Buddhists communities in Rakhine state.

Violence erupted along Myanmar's coastal area in June after the alleged rape and killing of a Buddhist woman. Buddhists retaliated by attacking Muslims and the United Nations estimates at least 78 people were killed during the clashes.

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