Violence between Buddhist and Muslim communities in Myanmar that reportedly left several people dead demonstrates an urgent need for Myanmar authorities to protect people at risk, Amnesty International said.
On Wednesday 20 March, violent clashes broke out between Muslim and Buddhist communities in Meiktila, a town in Myanmar’s Mandalay Division, following a dispute at a Muslim-owned gold shop.
According to local sources, several people have been killed. There was also widespread damage to property in the town, including the destruction of mosques and a government building.
Tensions between Muslim and Buddhists have been heightened in certain parts of Myanmar, such as in Rakhine state where violence erupted in June 2012.
“These latest reports of violence are very worrying, and show that tension between the two communities is spreading to other parts of the country. There is a real risk of further violence unless the authorities take immediate steps to protect those at risk,” said Isabelle Arradon, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.