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UN: Myanmar muslims may be facing crimes against humanity

[JURIST] A spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] expressed concern [press release] Tuesday about possible crimes against humanity committed against Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority. The UN has found, "a wide range of human rights violations and abuses against the Rohingya, including arbitrary deprivation of nationality, severe restrictions on freedom of movement, threats to life and security, denial of rights to health and education, forced labour, sexual violence, and limitations to their political rights, among others." According to the UN, the pattern of violations may amount to crimes against humanity. The spokesperson stated that the Myanmar government had done very little to adhere to the recommendations the UN made last June. Last week it was reported that hundreds of Rohingya Muslims fled [Reuters report] to Bangladesh. The Myanmar government has denied [Al Jazeera report] any human rights abuses, but the government has also prohibited journalists and investigators from entering the areas where the crimes have allegedly taken place. Former UN Chief Kofi Annan [profile] arrived in Myanmar on Tuesday to visit the conflict areas, among other areas of the country.

Human rights violations have been on the forefront of Myanmar's new democratic government since ending a decades-old military rule. Last week a member of the UN High Commission for Refugees said [JURIST report] that the violence is an attempt at "ethnic cleansing" from the government. In May Human Rights Watch urged [JURIST report] the Myanmar Parliament to reconsider a proposed law that the advocacy organization says has the potential to limit free expression and peaceful assembly. Also in May US Secretary of State John Kerry offered support to Myanmar's newly democratic government and urged [JURIST report] the country to push more democratic reform and address human rights issues.

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