Myanmar to investigate violence in Rakhine

Aug. 20, 2012 at 1:14 PM
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UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- The United Nations is ready to assist a 27-member panel in Myanmar tasked with investigating religious violence in Rakhine state, the secretary-general said.

The government in Myanmar established a 27-member coalition of national leaders to probe violence in Rakhine, near the border with Bangladesh.

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

A statement attributed to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the world body was ready to assist with what he said would be a probe "integral to any reconciliation process" in the country.

Myanmar received praise from the international community for taking steps toward democracy. General elections were held in 2010, though concerns were expressed over human rights and national security in the country.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation had asked the U.N. Security Council to look into the government's handling of clashes in Rakhine.

A U.N. report released Thursday put the number of people displaced by the fighting in Rahkine at more than 68,500.

The government also announced Monday it was easing up on restrictions placed on journalists, who previously had to submit their reports to censors.

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