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Minister calls all sides to show restraint in Rakhine State, home to Rohingya Muslim community

UK calls for restraint in renewed Myanmar violence

LONDON (BT) – Britain on Friday raised concerns over the escalation of violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

Mark Field, minister of state for Asia and the Pacific, said he was “deeply concerned by the escalation of violence in Rakhine State”.

Field said in a statement “the U.K. calls on all sides involved in the conflict to show restraint”.

“All sides have a duty to ensure that the safety of civilians is guaranteed and to respect international law,” he said.

Myanmar’s western Rakhine State is home to Rohingya Muslim community, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly children and women, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, the OIDA report said, adding that 17,718 (±780) Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police. Over 115,000 Rohingya houses were also burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

In a report, the UN Refugee Agency said nearly 170,000 people fled Myanmar in 2012 alone.

The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

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