Myanmar urged to tackle religious violence

June 28, 2013 at 12:19 PM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, June 28 (UPI) -- The government of Myanmar is called on to focus more on issues surrounding the violence in the western state of Rakhine, a U.N. official said Friday.

At least two people died and six others were wounded, including two minors, during fighting at a camp for the internally displaced as the United Nations said it was reviewing reports of violence.

Adrian Edwards, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said clashes erupted between camp residents and a village leader.

"A reportedly poor relationship between them had been compounded by false rumors that displaced people would be isolated and prevented from returning to their places of origin," he said in a statement from Geneva.

Edwards said gunfire broke out when refugees gathered at a military post to call for the village leader's arrest.

International sanctions pressure on Myanmar eased in response to democratic reforms that began with general elections in 2010. Concerns remain, however, over religious violence and the human rights situation in Myanmar.

"We strongly believe that the government must build confidence with the communities and promote reconciliation, so that those displaced can eventually return to their areas of origin," Edwards said.

The United Nations is building temporary shelters for the estimated 4,000 ethnic Muslims displaced by conflict in Rakhine.

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