World Bulletin / News Desk
Myanmar security forces killed, raped or carried out mass arrests of Rohingya Muslims after deadly sectarian riots in the northeast in June, a rights group said on Wednesday, adding the authorities had done little to prevent the initial unrest.
Aid workers were blocked and in some cases arrested, and Rohingyas bore the brunt of a government crackdown in Rakhine state after a week of arson and machete attack by both ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingyas, New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a report.
Based on 57 interviews with Rakhines and Rohingyas, the report seeks to shed light on a conflict that exposed deep-rooted communal animosity and put the spotlight on promises by the civilian government in office since 2011 to protect human rights after decades of brutal army rule.
"Burmese security forces failed to protect the Arakan (Rakhine) and Rohingya from each other and then unleashed a campaign of violence and mass round-ups against the Rohingya," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
"The government claims it is committed to ending ethnic strife and abuse, but recent events in Arakan State demonstrate that state-sponsored persecution and discrimination persist."
Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin said on Monday the authorities had exercised "maximum restraint" in restoring law and order and that the rioting was not fuelled by religious persecution.
He rejected what he said were attempts to "politicise and internationalise the situation as a religious issue", adding that the government was eager to promote "racial harmony among different nationalities".
In veiled criticism of the United States and European Union, which praised the government for its handling of the unrest, Adams said the international community had been "blinded by a romantic narrative of sweeping change" in Myanmar.
The former Burma has a diverse ethnic and religious make-up, but the Rohingya Muslims are not included by the government. There are at least 800,000 Rohingyas in the country but they are not recognised as one of its ethnic groups.
Neighbouring Bangladesh does not accept them and pushed boatloads back out to sea when they tried to flee the unrest.
Myanmar President Thein Sein has declared a state of emergency in the country and threatened to expel Muslims and called on UN to look after them in refugee camps in a suggestion firmly rejected by UN for that it was not his agency's job to resettle the Rohingya, who live in western Myanmar and are not refugees.
UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres replied it could only resettle refugees that fled from one country to another.
The riots followed two brutal incidents in Rakhine state: the May 28 rape and murder of a Rakhine woman by three Rohingya males, who were sentenced to death, and the June 3 lynching in response of 10 non-Rohingya Muslims travelling on a bus.
Human Rights Watch said police and troops did not intervene to stop the mobs from beating the Muslims to death. During the riots that followed, it said some Rohingyas who tried to flee or put out fires at their homes were shot at by paramilitaries.
It called for the government to end abuses, grant full humanitarian access and invite in international monitors. Access to the area remains restricted.
Minister of Border Affairs Thein Htay says 858 people have been detained for involvement in the violence, including five UNHCR staff and a U.N. World Food Programme employee. It was unclear how many of the total were Rohingya or ethnic Rakhine.
The Foreign Ministry has said 77 people died and 109 were injured during the violence, and nearly 5,000 homes burnt down. But rights groups say real number are much higher than official count.
Lieberman, who has helped to mastermind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policy of closer relations with Russia, made no apology for the government's fence-sitting on Ukraine
Mariupol, an industrial port city of nearly half a million people, is one of a series of flashpoints across eastern Ukraine
Wade's impending return has heightened tensions in one of Africa's most stable democracy
Women and children are among the group, some of whom suffer from poor health.
EU leaders consider the takeover as illegal and have asked the EU executive arm, the European Commission, to propose economic, trade and financial restrictions on Crimea for rapid implementation.
The Greens criticised the scale of Germany's defence equipment sales to Russia and urged Berlin to push for a European-wide embargo on arms sales to the country.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said "We are forced to react to such a development of the situation."
Preliminary results based on 82.6 percent of the vote from the 34 provinces showed Abdullah in the lead with 43.8 percent, followed by Ghani with 32.9 percent
The Asian Development Bank said around 733 million people in Asia-Pacific live on US$1.25 a day - the extreme poverty threshold.
Costa Rica condemned an alleged US campaign against Cuba communist regime being conducted from San Jose.
Sanogo charged to a more serious charge of conspiracy to murder which carries the death penalty in the West African nation
The violence in the central African state, the size of France, has mainly pitted Kiir's Dinka people against Machar's Nuer. Thousands have been killed and more than one million people uprooted from their homes.
It was not the first time a tourist with such a tattoo has run into trouble in Sri Lanka. In 2013, authorities denied entry to a British man for his tattoo of Buddha.
Several of Washington's key European allies support an investigation into the latest claims of chlorine gas use
Egypt's military said the army had destroyed more than 1,500 tunnels that ran under the frontier between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, which borders North Sinai, in an attempt to stop the illegal flow of arms
"Rising violent extremism is an enormous challenge first for Libya but also for Libya's international partners," Burns told a news conference after talks in the capital Tripoli.