UN envoy warns of 'permanent segregation' in unrest-hit west Myanmar
July 26, 2014 00:00
YANGON - Myanmar's plans for the future of a western region torn apart by Buddhist-Muslim unrest could result in "permanent segregation" of the two religious groups, a UN expert warned Saturday.
The United Nations' human rights envoy to the country, Yanghee Lee, said there was a "deplorable" situation in displacement camps in Rakhine state, where deadly clashes two years ago have left some 140,000 homeless, mostly stateless Rohingya Muslims.
Speaking as she wrapped up her first official visit to Myanmar, Lee warned that the government's plan "for long-term peaceful coexistence may likely result in a permanent segregation of the two communities".
"As an immediate priority, more must be done to reduce tensions and hostility, and promote reconciliation between the two communities," she added.
Lee welcomed a move by the authorities this week to invite Doctors Without Borders (MSF) to resume its work in Rakhine, where it provided healthcare to over half a million people.