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UN Envoy Meets With Displaced Rohingya in Burma

Tomas Ojea Quintana (C), United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation, walks with Rohingya Muslims as he visits Aung Mingalar in Sittwe, Burma, August 13, 2013.
A U.N. human rights envoy has toured Burma's Rakhine state following another round of violence in the area.

During a tour of camps for displaced Rohingya Muslims, Tomas Ojea Quintana called for the residents to organize to help find a peaceful solution to the violence.

"You, [the] Muslim community, you also have a responsibility. You have to organize yourself to pursue peace," he said. "I really hope that the situation will improve. I know it is very difficult. I know how difficult it is to live now, but you have my commitment to find solution."

He also met with members of the Rakhine Buddhist community as well as senior officials in the state government.

State government spokesman U Hla Thein said there is a plan in place to rebuild trust between the Buddhist and Muslim communities.

“[The] Prime Minister [of the Rakhine State Government] told Mr. Quitana that they have implemented some points of the recommendations made by the Central Government's Inquiry Commission for the Rakhine Conflict," he said.

"At first, a committee [established by the government] holds separate meetings with community leaders from both sides - Rakhine and Bangali [Rohingya]. Then, trust building activities, including meetings between the two communities will be planned.”

Violence between Muslims and Buddhists in Rakhine state last year killed more than 200 people and left 140,000 homeless. A clash between police and members of the Rohingya community last week left at least one dead and several injured.

After his visit to Rakhine, Quintana traveled to Rangoon for a meeting with The Civil Society, an umbrella organization representing human rights and pro-democracy groups.

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Burmese service