18 Nov 2012

Myanmar may consider new rights for Rohingya

10:46 am on 18 November 2012

Myanmar has raised the possibility of new rights, including citizenship, for Rohingya muslims who have been at the heart of recent severe communal violence.

The issue was addressed in a letter to the United Nations from president Thein Sein, just days before United States president Barack Obama visits the country.

In extracts from the letter, Mr Thein makes no promises and does not specifically name the Rohingya whom Myanmar views as mainly illegal immigrants, the BBC reports.

But the UN quotes him as saying that once emotions subside, his government is prepared to address contentious political dimensions, ranging from resettling displaced people to the granting of citizenship.

Two severe outbreaks of fighting this year involving Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine state have drawn international concern and cast a shadow over the reforms undertaken by Myanmar's military supported government.