MOSCOW, July 28 (RIA Novosti) – New UN Human Rights Special Envoy to Myanmar Yanghee Lee expressed concern over the conditions in camps for more than 100,000 Muslims displaced by Buddhist extremists, and warned that the human rights situation in the country is deteriorating, Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News reported.
"Yet, there are worrying signs of possible backtracking, which if unchecked could undermine Myanmar's efforts to become a responsible member of the international community that respects and protects human rights," Hurriyet Daily News quoted Lee as saying.
Religious conflicts and ethnic tensions in Myanmar began when the country declared independence from Britain in 1948. In recent years, violence between the minority Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists left over 250 people dead and over 100,000 homeless.
Many Muslims currently permanently live in special camps, which lack basic medical care, with people living in horrible conditions.
The UN envoy argued that "By virtue of their legal status (or lack of), the Muslim community has faced and continues to face systematic discrimination, which include restrictions in the freedom of movement, restrictions in access to land, food, water, education and health care, and restrictions on marriages and birth registration," Lee said.
Later this year, Lee will present her findings to the UN General Assembly.
The small and dispersed Muslim populations in Myanmar face religious persecution. The government has not granted citizenship to the Muslim Rohingya population in Northern Rakhine. Many Muslims have been forced to flee to the neighboring Bangladesh or other Muslim states.
Myanmar’s population is composed of 89% Buddhists, with only about four percent Muslims.