Conflict unsettled in Myanmar

Sept. 20, 2013 at 12:17 PM

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- More than 3,500 people remain displaced from their homes six months after a major outbreak of sectarian violence in Myanmar, a U.N. organization said.

The Myanmar government declared a state of emergency March 22 following clashes between Muslims and Buddhists in Meiktila. At least 32 people died in the violence and another 39 were injured.

Rioters later set fire to dozens of homes and religious buildings in Yamethin, about 30 miles from Meiktila. The U.N. Human Rights Council responded to the incident by saying religious violence in the country was "troublesome."

The United Nations' Integrated Regional Information Networks reported Friday, citing unnamed district officials in Meiktila, there were more than 12,000 people affected by the conflict initially and 3,951 people are still displaced six months after the state of emergency.

Tomas Ojea Quintana, U.N. special envoy to Myanmar, said last month the country has made several positive changes to its human rights record

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, 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.

The envoy said he was unable to survey Meiktila in the Mandalay region during his August visit because his vehicle was overrun by protesters.

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