Burma police kill Buddhist demonstrators

Burma police kill Buddhist demonstrators

Myanmar police on Thursday arrested a prominent Rakhine Buddhist MP for allegedly provoking ethnic violence, state media and his party said, after a deadly riot highlighted simmering tensions in the troubled state.

The clashes came on the same day that a repatriation agreement was signed between Myanmar and Bangladesh to start the return of some 655,000 Muslim Rohingya refugees from squalid camps over the border. Myanmar will then shelter the Rohingya in temporary accommodations while rebuilding houses for them.

The UN and rights groups have urged the Burmese government to ensure the safe and voluntary return of the Rohingya refugees.

"That's completely counterproductive", Nauert said while responding to a question on the agreement reached between Bangladesh and Myanmar on the repatriation of the Rohingyas.

"However recurring plans to move the refugees to uninhabitable islands or to return them to Burma without key citizenship rights and protections remained a concern", he added. Some 650,000 people fled the violence.

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But ethnic Rakhine, many of whom are poor and marginalised, have a long-standing enmity with the Myanmar state which is dominated by ethnic Bamar. "Our works are at the final stage as we have nearly 95 per cent Rohingyas now", said Abu Noman Mohammad Zakir Hossain, Deputy Director of Bangladesh's Passport and Immigration Department. "We will be, of course, ready to do everything possible, to support a movement taking place, as I said, based on voluntariness, safety, dignity, and in respect to worldwide standards", he said, adding that the United Nations or its UNHRC was not involved in the agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar on the issue. Zaw Htay said at least 500 Hindus and 500 Muslims will be in the first group to return.

Myint Kyaing, permanent secretary at Myanmar's Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, told Reuters earlier this month Myanmar would be ready to begin processing least 150 people a day through each of the two camps by January 23.

Rakhine state is bisected by divisions and communal hatreds.

Myanmar denies ethnic cleansing, saying its security forces had mounted legitimate counter-insurgency clearance operations.

"Without investigation, transparency, and accountability for crimes against the Rohingya, any discussion of repatriation is a nonstarter".

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