Burma report backs security boost for Rakhine

image copyrightAFP
image captionTwo waves of violence between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims engulfed parts of the state last year

A government commission in Burma has recommended doubling the number of security forces in Rakhine state, which saw deadly ethnic clashes last year.

It also said that the segregation of Muslim Rohingyas and Buddhists should continue, but acknowledged that was not a suitable long-term solution.

More than 190 people were killed and 100,000 displaced in deadly clashes between Buddhists and Muslims.

The Rohingyas are a stateless group who are not recognised as Burmese citizens.

Burma's Prime Minister Thein Sein appointed a panel last year to investigate the origins of the conflict and suggest measures to prevent more violence, but its findings have been delayed several times.

"While keeping the two communities apart is not a long-term solution, it must be enforced at least until the overt emotions subside," the Associated Press quoted the report as saying.

Rohingya camps

Human Rights Watch last week accused Burmese security forces of taking part in "ethnic cleansing" in Rakhine.

Two waves of violence between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims engulfed parts of the state in June and October. The security forces at the time were accused of taking the side of the Rakhine Buddhists.

The Rohingya camps are now, with the rainy season approaching, in dire condition and this report calls for greater efforts to tackle overcrowding and provide water and sanitation, reports the BBC's Jonah Fisher in Bangkok.

While calling for the deployment of twice as many soldiers, policemen, and border guards, it also wants to see them better trained and equipped.

Throughout the report, the Rohingya Muslim community is referred to as Bengalis - a reflection of the widespread belief that this community of some 800,000 people belong in neighbouring Bangladesh, notes our correspondent.

The report also suggests family planning education to address what it describes as the rapid growth of the Muslim population.

It does say, however, that Rohingya citizenship claims should be addressed - but provides no new solutions saying they should only be allowed normal rights when they become citizens.

The United Nations describes Rohingya as a religious and linguistic minority from western Burma. It says the Rohingya are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

The Rohingyas say they have lived in Burma for generations and feel they are part of the country.

The violence that swept across Rakhine last year and more recent attacks against Muslims in central Burma have posed a serious challenge to Burma's government three years after military rule ended.

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