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Iranian MP Voices Concern about Myanmar's Muslims

July 3, 2013

TEHRAN - A senior Iranian legislator expressed serious concern over Buddhists' attacks on Myanmarese Muslims, and took the Naypyidaw government responsible for the massacre of the minority in the country with the green light from the United States.

“The attacks against Muslims in Myanmar is carried out with a green light from the United States, and the government has not yet responded to growing criticism about its inability to protect ethnic groups and minorities,” member of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Ebrahim Aqamohammadi said on Tuesday. 

“The Myanmar’s government has shown that it will never recognize the Muslims and it continues to view them as immigrants,” he added.

“Such racist policies will certainly undermine Myanmar’s efforts at the international stage to give democratic picture of the country,” the Iranian lawmaker pointed out.

In June, the United Nations refugee agency said over 140,000 people remain displaced in Myanmar a year after extremist Buddhists started daily attacks on the country's Muslim community in Rakhine state.

According to the UN body, some 75,000 people were displaced by the first wave of riots in Northern Rakhine state last June and another 36,000 were uprooted in the second wave in October.

"Many others who were not directly affected by the violence have lost their livelihoods as a result of restricted movements due to the security situation. Some have been forced to leave their homes in search of assistance," UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said at the time.

The agency called for measures to stem the flow of people out of Rakhine and to promote the "safe and sustainable voluntary return" of the displaced.

UNHCR also called on the governments in the region to keep their doors open to people in need of international protection.

The UN body underlined the necessity to urgently register all internally displaced persons in order to improve aid delivery and better respond to the needs of the most vulnerable ones.

Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar account for about five percent of the country's population of nearly 60 million. They have been persecuted and faced torture, neglect, and repression since the country's independence in 1948.

Hundreds of Rohingyas are believed to have been killed and thousands displaced in recent attacks by extremists who call themselves Buddhists.

The extremists frequently attack Rohingyas and have set fire to their homes in several villages in Rakhine.

Myanmar army forces allegedly provided the fanatics containers of petrol for torching the houses of Muslim villagers, who were then forced to flee.

Myanmar's government has been repeatedly criticized for failing to protect the Muslim minority.

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