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Myanmar government urged to provide justice for attacks on Muslim community

The Myanmar government must investigate and hold accountable those involved in the deadly violence in the Mandalay Region in March, in which an estimated 40 people were killed and 61 more were wounded, Human Rights Watch [official website] said [press release] Monday. The attacks were the result of ongoing clashes between Muslims and majority Buddhists in Meiktila. HRW analyzed satellite images [report, PDF] which reveal the scale of destruction, including the total destruction of around 828 buildings and the majority of residences. The group compared the level of construction to that caused by sectarian violence in Arakan state in 2012 [JURIST report]. HRW Asia Director Brian Adams said: "Burma's government should have learned the lessons of recent sectarian clashes in Arakan State and moved quickly to bolster the capacity of the police to contain violence and protect lives and property." HRW said that government action is necessary to ending the "tide of attacks" among religious groups.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar [official website], Tomas Ojea Quintana, expressed serious concerns [JURIST report] in a report on Thursday over growing violence between Muslim and Buddhist communities in Myanmar. The Special Rapporteur urged bold action by the Myanmar government to combat this trend, and stated that government inaction has helped fuel the spread of discrimination and prejudice against Muslim communities across the country. In March Quintana warned [JURIST report] the country of the possibility that the current reformation process may be endangered by leaving areas of importance untouched, especially related to the states of Rakhine and Kachin. He made similar calls in February when he commended the lack of reform [JURIST report] that has been achieved in Myanmar and urged authorities and citizens to address issues of truth, justice and accountability through the creation of a truth commission to facilitate the process of national reconciliation and prevent future human rights violations.

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