Dr. Aye Maung said,"Our stand is that we won’t give even an inch of our land to those illegal Bangali Terrorist Immigrants. We won’t give up our land, our breeze, our water which are handed to us by our ancestors."

Thursday, 21 June 2012

‘Nobody won, nobody benefited’

Myanmar Times

Volume 32, No. 631
June 18 - 24, 2012

A woman rides her bicycle past burned houses in Sittwe, Rakhine State, on June 12.
Pic: AFP
SITTWE – Fifty people have been killed and scores wounded in communal clashes in Rakhine State, state media said on June 16, as the UN warned of “immense hardship” faced by thousands displaced by rioting.
The state-run New Light of Myanmar said 50 people have died, with 54 injured between May 28 and June 14 in Rakhine state, which has been convulsed by violence between the Rakhine and Rohingya communities.
The report did not say whether the updated toll includes 10 Muslims beaten to death on June 3 by a Buddhist mob in apparent revenge for the rape and murder of a Rakhine woman, which sparked the violence.

Colonel Htein Lin, Security and Border Affairs Minister for Rakhine State, said on June 14 that 29 people had been killed, but rights groups and other local sources believe the real figure in Rakhine’s remote villages could be much higher.

Police enforced a curfew in the state capital Sittwe on the night of June 15, with the New Light saying security forces were “restoring peace, stability and security” after the unrest, which poses a serious challenge to Myanmar’s reform-minded government.

Nearly 31,900 people from both sides are being housed in 37 camps across Rakhine, Colonel Htein Lin said at the first press conference by officials in the state capital of Sittwe since widespread rioting began on June 8.
U Hla Thein, Rakhine State Chief Justice, told reporters that “nobody won, nobody benefited” from the violence.

“What we got was refugees,” he added. “Everyone has a duty to prevent this happening again ... but it’s very difficult to talk about peace when both sides don’t really trust each other.”

Speaking in Geneva where she began a historic trip to Europe – her first since 1988 – opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi stressed “the need for rule of law” when asked about the sectarian unrest.
She told reporters: “Without the rule of law such communal strife will only continue.”

About 800,000 Rohingya live in Myanmar, according to the UN, mostly in northern Rakhine State.
An uneasy calm has now returned to central Sittwe, which is under a dusk-to-dawn curfew.
A United Nation’s team witnessed the devastation on a two-day visit to the region, saying that around 10,000 displaced people were sheltering in Sittwe alone.

“It has come to the attention of the UN that the extent of the destruction of both the Rakhine and Islamic community in Sittwe is very large. These people are facing immense hardship,” it said in a statement late on June 15.

Pledging help for the affected area, UN special adviser Vijay Nambiar urged Myanmar to carry out a “full, impartial and credible” probe into the clashes.

The shells of torched houses dot Sittwe’s streets, an AFP reporter in a predominantly Muslim village on the outskirts of city said late on June 15, adding that thousands of displaced people are sheltering from monsoon rains in tents.

“We want to go back to our place to stay back with our family, our children,” said U Hla Myint, a 56-year-old Muslim leader in Sittwe.

Mr Tomas Ojea Quintana, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, has urged the reformist government to tackle the “root cause” of discrimination against Muslim Rohingya living in the strife-hit region.
“The underlying tensions that stem from discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities pose a threat to Myanmar’s democratic transition and stability,” he said in a statement released late on June 13 in Geneva.
“I urge all sides to exercise restraint, respect the law and refrain from violence.”

President U Thein Sein on June 10 imposed a state of emergency in Rakhine State over the unrest, seen as a major test for his government. – AFP

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