17 Feb 2013

Abuse still seen in Myanmar

11:09 am on 17 February 2013

The United Nations says serious human rights abuses are continuing in Myanmar, also known as Burma, despite progress towards democracy there.

At the end of a five-day visit, special rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana said the army was continuing to use arbitrary arrest and torture in a conflict with Kachin rebels.

Fighting flared up in Kachin state in June 2011 and the conflict escalated late last year.

Peace talks were held in China this month and Quintana said he was encouraged by this. He also welcomed a decision by the government to allow a UN convoy access to areas controlled by the rebels. But he added:

"I am concerned about the ongoing practice of arbitrary arrest and torture during interrogation by the military of Kachin men accused of belonging to the Kachin Independence Army."

There were also two bouts of sectarian trouble in Rakhine state last year between Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim Rohingyas.

Around 120,000 people are now living in camps, according to Quintana. He said the government needed to address the problem of freedom of movement in the camps.