U.N.: More work needed in Myanmar

Aug. 22, 2013 at 10:36 AM

YANGON, Myanmar, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Myanmar has ushered in some positive changes in terms of its overall record, though there are several outstanding concerns, a U.N. rights envoy said.

U.N. envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana provided his assessment following a nationwide tour.

Myanmar is moving forward on a variety of fronts, "which has brought positive changes to the human rights situation, and has the potential to bring further improvements," he said in a statement Thursday.

Myanmar received international praise for political reforms that began with general elections in 2010. Quintana said he had lingering concerns over rivalries between ethnic and religious groups in the country.

He was unable to survey Meiktila in the Mandalay region because his vehicle was overrun by protesters. A state of emergency was declared there in May after anti-Muslim violence left approximately 20 people dead.

In the restive states of Rakhine and Kachin, the envoy expressed a general sense of frustration over the lack of attention to reconciliation.

"The initiatives being implemented at the highest levels by the government to stop more fighting in the country need to be accompanied, in parallel, with measures at the grassroots level to also engage local and rural communities in the process of peace-building and reconciliation," he said.

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