World

UN probe 'would only aggravate' Rakhine tension: Myanmar

YANGON Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi's security adviser told diplomats yesterday that a United Nations (UN) mission looking into allegations of rape, torture and killings of Rohingya Muslims would only "aggravate" troubles in the western state of Rakhine.

Myanmar has declined to grant visas to three experts appointed by the UN in May to look into allegations of abuses against the country's powerful armed forces.

Last week, the US ambassador to the UN, Ms Nikki Haley, called on Myanmar to accept the mission, which was mandated in a Human Rights Council resolution.

"We dissociated ourselves from the decision because we found that it was less than constructive," national security adviser Thaung Tun told UN officials and diplomats.

"The decision of other countries - including China and India - to join Myanmar in distancing themselves from the resolution was a principled stand. We feel that the mission can only aggravate the situation on the ground."

The treatment of the roughly one million Muslim Rohingya has emerged as Buddhist-majority Myanmar's most contentious rights issue as it transits from decades of harsh military rule.

The Rohingya are classified as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, despite claiming roots in the region that go back centuries.

Mr Thaung Tun said the government had started implementing the panel's recommendations, which included shutting camps where more than 120,000 Rohingya have languished since communal violence five years ago. - REUTERS

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