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UN expresses concern about living conditions of Myanmar Muslims

7 December 2012 11:12

The United Nations has expressed concern about the living conditions of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar.
UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos said in a statement that she was “very concerned” about the situation in the western state of Rakhine, where she visited on Wednesday.

In the area of Myebon, many people were living in “overcrowded, substandard shelter with poor sanitation,” Amos stated.

“They don’t have jobs. Children are not in school and they can’t leave the camp because their movement is restricted. The situation is dire.”

She also added that Muslims in the region are living in fear.

The UN official called on Myanmar’s government to support aid agencies as humanitarian workers are facing security threats in the region.

“The trust is not there. We need the political leaders in Myanmar to support the important humanitarian work being done by the United Nations and our partners.”

Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar have been facing torture, neglect and repression in the Buddhist-majority country since independence in 1948. Buddhist extremists frequently attack Rohingyas and set fire to their homes.

Myanmar’s government and the majority population of the country refuse to recognize the Rohingyas as citizens and label the minority of about 800,000 as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh – an impoverished state that has shown no willingness to help the Rohingyas.

Rohingya Muslims are said to be descendants of Persian, Turkish, Bengali, and Pathan origins, who immigrated to Myanmar as early as the 8th century.

The UN says more than 11,000 people have been displaced in the aftermath of two rounds of unrest that erupted in June and October. Scores of people have died in the bloodshed.

The UN has considered the Rohingyas among the most persecuted minorities on earth.

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