Malaysia urges Myanmar to stem anti-Muslim violence

Sun Jun 30, 2013 6:59pm IST

Children wait for their relatives to return from Malaysia in Yangon International Airport in Yangon June 15, 2013. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

Children wait for their relatives to return from Malaysia in Yangon International Airport in Yangon June 15, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun

Related Topics

(Reuters) - Malaysia urged Myanmar on Sunday to take stronger action to prevent persecution of Muslims and bring the perpetrators to justice, the latest sign that the inter communal violence is straining ties in Southeast Asia.

Thousands of ethnic Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar to escape the violence and worsening living conditions, many of them making their way by boat or overland to Muslim-majority Malaysia.

Anti-Muslim violence in Buddhist-dominated Myanmar erupted in western Rakhine State last year and has spread into the central heartlands and areas near the old capital, Yangon.

"Myanmar has to address the problem," Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman told reporters at a meeting of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ministers in Brunei, making a rare intervention in another member's internal affairs.

"I know it's complex but they have to address the problem in a transparent manner so that we can see what actions had been taken ... I think the perpetrators have to be brought to justice and so that it does not occur again."

Anifah said he had been satisfied by his Myanmar counterpart's response that the government was taking the issue seriously.

Myanmar Buddhists and Rohingya have clashed in violent incidents in Malaysia and Indonesia in recent weeks, adding to concerns that the violence could spill over into the region.

The U.N. refugee agency says about 28,000 Rohingyas are registered as refugees in Malaysia, but groups representing them say the real number of Myanmar Muslim immigrants is much higher and has surged this year because of the violence.

Critics say the Myanmar government has done little to bring instigators of the violence to justice or to stem a growing anti-Muslim movement in the country, which returned to democracy in 2011 after a half century of military rule.

Anifah said the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) had voiced concern that ASEAN's Muslim-majority nations were not doing more to resolve the problem. Malaysia's Bernama news agency also reported that Anifah had asked Myanmar to allow an OIC contact group to visit the country and be given full cooperation.

(Writing by Stuart Grudgings; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

FILED UNDER:

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Pakistan Mourns

Pakistan Mourns

Parents bury children after school attack.  Full Article 

SpiceJet Grounded

SpiceJet Grounded

SpiceJet says fleet grounded on lack of fuel.  Full Article 

Business Sentiment

Business Sentiment

Asian business sentiment rebounds in Q4 with India most optimistic.  Full Article 

Abbott Speaks

Abbott Speaks

Tough new national security laws, bail rules failed hostages - Australian PM.  Full Article 

Curiosity on Mars

Curiosity on Mars

NASA rover finds organic molecules, methane gas on Mars.  Full Article 

Oddly Enough

Oddly Enough

Over 20,000 bras recalled in Japan due to injury fears.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device   Full Coverage