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Myanmar's rights record clouds reforms

June 19, 2013 at 9:32 AM

GENEVA, Switzerland, June 19 (UPI) -- Myanmar can serve as a source of inspiration in terms of political reform but its human rights record is cause for concern, a U.N. rights official said.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Wednesday the sentiment on Myanmar was mixed. She said democratic reforms enacted in 2010 serve as an example of the benefits of political development.

"However, the ongoing human rights violations against the Rohingya community in Rakhine state, and the spread of anti-Muslim sentiment across the state and beyond, is threatening the reform process and requires focused attention from the government," she said.

The United Nations estimates 140,000 people, mostly from the minority Muslim community, are displaced because of violence in Rakhine. Mosques and Islamic schools were destroyed in anti-Muslim violence last month.

Pillay said the political will to address the situation is there, though the government needs to make a concrete decision to put an end to the violence.

"My office is ready to support the government's progressive reforms and to assist in addressing all forms of discrimination and other human rights challenges," she said from Geneva.

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