07/21/2012, 00.00
MYANMAR

Burmese authorities accused again of violence against Rohingya

Human rights groups say that the Muslim minority is the victim of attacks, killings and property seizures by security forces and Buddhists. Rakhine state spokesperson denies the claims.

Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Burmese security forces and Buddhist civilians have continued their violent attacks against ethnic Rohingya, a Muslim minority, in the western Burmese state of Rakhine, this according to Amnesty International. The violence includes assaults, killings and property seizures, Bangkok-based Benjamin Amnesty researcher Zawacki said.

A state of emergency is still in force in the area. According to reports by Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Burmese security forces have carried out "mass inspections" and other abuses against the Muslim communities in the area.

For activists, local authorities are also responsible for acts of "discrimination" against minorities, because they leave the Buddhist Arakan unpunished and go after the Rohingya.

A couple of weeks ago, the United Nations reported the arrest of some humanitarian workers, including UN employees.

Sectarian violence broke out in June, when the District Court in Kyaukphyu, Rakhine State, sentenced three Muslims to death for the rape and killing in late May of Thida Htwe, a young Arakanese Buddhist. Since then, violence has continued almost without interruption.

Win Myaing, a government spokesman for Rakhine state, has however rejected Amnesty's claims as groundless.

By contrast, Chris Lewa, director of The Arakan Project which focuses on Rohingya in the region, backs Amnesty.

Speaking to the BBC, he said that hundreds of Rohingya Muslims have been arrested, some allegedly beaten and even tortured.

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