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Nobel laureates’ call to end ‘genocide’ unbalanced: Myanmar

YANGON — Myanmar has rejected remarks made by several Nobel Peace Prize winners calling for an end to the persecution of Rohingya Muslims, calling them unbalanced comments.

YANGON — Myanmar has rejected remarks made by several Nobel Peace Prize winners calling for an end to the persecution of Rohingya Muslims, calling them unbalanced comments.

The Nobel laureates, including South Africa’s Desmond Tutu, Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi and former East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta, made the appeal following two conferences in Oslo last week. They called the situation “nothing less than genocide”.

Myanmar’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement published yesterday that such comments had turned a blind eye to the nation’s efforts in rebuilding trust between Buddhists and Muslims in western Rakhine state and “granting citizenship through a national verification process to Bengalis who have lived in Myanmar for many years”.

Myanmar does not recognise the Rohingyas as an ethnic community and refers to the more than one million members in Rakhine as Bengalis — immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh. They have been denied citizenship and basic rights, and more than 100,000 are confined to internal camps.

In recent weeks, the plight of the Rohingyas has turned into a regional crisis when thousands landed on the shores of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, with many others believed to be stranded at sea.

The Foreign Ministry said Myanmar categorically rejects the “unbalanced and negative comments”.

Others who criticised the country’s policies in Oslo include philanthropist George Soros, who escaped Nazi-occupied Hungary and said there were “alarming” parallels between the plight of the Rohingyas and Nazi genocide. AP

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