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UK offers help to end violence in Myanmar

August 14, 2012 19:33 IST
Expressing 'serious concern' over recent violence in Myanmar, Britain on Tuesday offered assistance to the trouble-torn country's government to help end the unrest and to support an 'inclusive political settlement'.

Foreign Secretary William Hague supported a recent statement by United Nations human rights envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana who reportedly called for the Myanmar government to undertake a 'credible' investigation into the violence against Rohingiya Muslims after a recent visit there.

Quintana's statement is seen by Myanmar's parties as supporting the Rohingiya Muslims, and have called for his dismissal.

Hague said, "The United Kingdom, as ever, stands ready to assist the government of Burma in its efforts to develop Rakhine State, to share our knowledge and experience of tackling the many complex and long-standing issues to be overcome and, as Burma (Myanmar) continues its path towards establishing full democracy, to support an inclusive political settlement that protects the rights of all members of the local population."

Expressing serious concern 'about the nature and extent of the recent violence', Hague urged the Myanmar government to resolve the crisis in accordance with international human rights law.

He said, "We join Mr Quintana in stressing the need to end the violence; to grant full and unhindered humanitarian access to the areas affected; to allow the affected communities to safely return to their homes; and to support the restitution of property that was seriously damaged or destroyed."

Hague added, "We encourage the government to ensure that it treats the affected communities fairly and equitably and to ensure that the authorities prevent any further bloodshed.

There is also a need to seek a long term solution to the problems they face in a manner which recognises their human rights, including their right to nationality, and to take effective steps which prevents any further forced or involuntary displacement and which does not leave them permanently displaced."

Britain, the foreign secretary said, joined Quintana in calling for the release of people who had been arbitrarily detained, irrespective of their ethnic background. Hague also expressed the need for the Myanmar government to carry out 'an independent, fair and prompt investigation in to the violence, in particular the allegations of seriouS crimes within the communities and human rights violations by the security forces'.

Human rights groups have accused Myanmar's security forces of opening fire on Rohingya, as well as committing rape and standing by as rival mobs attacked each other.

Prasun Sonwalkar in London