01/24/2014, 00.00
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UN appeal to Naypyidaw: "in-depth" investigation into violence against Rohingya

High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay , calls for clarity on the death of dozens of people in Rakhine State . The official speaks of “credible information" confirming the massacre that took place in mid-January. She adds it is an occasion to show "transparency and accountability" . The Burmese government denies the facts because "totally wrong".

Yangon ( AsiaNews / Agencies) - The United Nations has launched an appeal to the Burmese government, calling for " thorough investigations" into the violent death of dozens of Rohingya men, women and children in the northern part of Rakhine State , in western Myanmar. The events took place in mid- January and were reported by Arakan Project, an NGO active in defense of the Muslim minority , but the government in Naypyidaw has strongly rejected the reports , denying rumors of attacks and casualties among the Rohingyas . Today, Navi Pillay , UN High Commissioner for Human Rights , intervened calling for a "immediate, impartial and exhaustive" investigation into the " credible information" the United Nations has received according to which at least 48 members of the Muslim minority were killed in early January, in a new wave of violence that flared in the area.

Ye Htut , a spokesman for the Burmese President Thein Sein and Deputy Minister for Information , "strongly opposes" the UN statement , noting that the data and facts told are "totally wrong" . However, the United States and Great Britain have sounded alarm over fresh reports of bloodshed and "discrimination" by the Burmese majority against the ethnic-religious minority. Human Rights Watch ( HRW) adds that it has received credible information , according to which the police have authorized the arrest of all the Rohingya people , men and children over the age of 10 .

According to the UN report, on January 9 last eight Muslims in the village of Du Char Yar Tan were victims of an attack. On the 13 some Rohingya of the same village allegedly killed a policeman. The agent's death sparked the violent response of the Buddhists , supported by local security forces , who killed at least 40 men, women and children from the minority.

Since 2011, Myanmar has launched a campaign to slow in key democratic reforms after decades of military dictatorship that smothered the country. However, the continuing sectarian violence in the west cast a shadow on the real change in a still heterogeneous nation characterized by outbreaks of war in ethnic minority areas , particularly in the north in Kachin State .

"I deplore the loss of life in the village of Du Tan Chee Yar" Navi Pillay said , "and I turn to the authorities [...] so that justice is done to the victims and their families." The top UN official then addressed the Burmese government , noting that by "responding quickly and decisively" it has an "opportunity to demonstrate transparency and accountability," thereby strengthening " democracy and the rule of law in Myanmar".

Since June 2012, the western state of Rakhine has been the scene of violent clashes between Burmese Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims (about 800,000 in Myanmar) that left at least 200 people dead and 250,000 people displaced. For US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Myanmar government is engaged in de facto "ethnic cleansing" in the area. For Burmese authorities, the Muslim minority is made up of illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.



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