The UN General Assembly (GA) unanimously passed a resolution that simultaneously salutes the positive changes in Burma and expresses concern over the rising violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine state.
The resolution calls on the Burmese government to improve the situation of the Muslim Rohingya minority and protect all their human rights, including their right to a nationality.
The 800,000 Rohingyas living in Rakhine state face widespread resentment, as they are considered to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh deserving no rights or sympathy. The worst communal violence in a generation between Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists took place in June and late October and led to the death of around 200 people as well as the displacement of around 110,000 people, most of whom were Muslims.
The GA-adopted resolution is identical to the one approved in November by the GA Third Committee focusing on social, cultural and humanitarian topics. Burma dismissed the report for containing multiple allegations that needed verification.
After the current resolution’s passing, a representatives from Burma's mission to the UN stressed that it accepted the resolution, but refused to consider the Rohingyas as an ethnic group. Nevertheless, he stressed that the right to citizenship has been and will never be denied to anyone in line with the law of the land.
While acknowledging the Burmese efforts toward political reform and democratisation, the resolution deplored continuing violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as urged the government to adopt measures to solve these problems. Moreover, it
called for the release of political prisoners as well as for ending the ongoing armed conflict in Kachin State, where ethnic Kachin insurgents are fighting against the national army. The UN claimed that it has been unable to provide assistance to over 40,000 people, because it is prohibited from accessing areas controlled by the rebels.