Myanmar must tackle discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities: Pillay

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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay

The government of Myanmar is being urged to devote urgent attention to tackling the continuing discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities in the country.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi has warned that failure to act could undermine the reform process.

She says "Myanmar today can act as a source of inspiration by showing how governments can be transformed by a renewed commitment to human rights".

"However", she adds, "the ongoing human rights violations against the Rohingya community in Rakhine State, and the spread of anti-Muslim sentiment across the State and beyond, is threatening the reform process and requires focused attention from the Government".

The High Commissioner says "The President of Myanmar has made some important statements on the need to end discrimination and violence and foster mutual respect and tolerance between people of different faiths and ethnicities", adding that she believes that "the political will is there, but encourage the Government to translate this will into concrete actions".

Some 140,000 people, mostly Rohingya, remain displaced in Rakhine State following violence between Buddhist and Muslim communities last year, and tens of thousands of others have fled by boat. In March, anti-Muslim violence spread to Meiktila in Mandalay region, leaving 43 people dead and more than 1,500 buildings destroyed, according to government figures

The High Commissioner expressed her hope that discussions on Myanmar during the recent session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva would further encourage the Government to combat discrimination.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’24″

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