Injured Man At Burma's Sittwe General Hospital
An injured man receives treatment following unrest in the Sittwe general hospital. Reuters

The situation in the western Burmese state of Rakhine is still volatile, with more than 30,000 people left displaced as a result of ethnic violence.

Clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in the coastal area have left 21 people dead and tens of thousands seeking shelter in refugee camps.

The clashes erupted after authorities detained three Muslims over the rape and killing of a Buddhist woman in May.

The murder provoked an attack on a bus in the Taugup area of Rakhine by a mob of 300 people, which resulted in the death of 10 Muslim passengers on 3 June, the government-run newspaper New Light of Myanmar reported.

Ethnic clashes have erupted since then and more than 1,662 homes have been destroyed, state TV reported.

The government declared a state of emergency in Rakhine and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) warned that the situation remains fragile and volatile.

A UNHCR delegation visited the area and said the situation was tense, with a high level of destruction and violence.

"The team saw a number of smouldering villages. Considering the level of destruction seen in the area, we estimate that the displacement and the needs could be considerable. Myanmar authorities estimate some 30,000 people have been displaced and are in need of food, shelter and medical attention," the refugee agency said.

It praised government's efforts to restore stability and prevent further clashes.

"I am hopeful that calm will be restored in Myanmar, so that those who have been affected by the violence can receive the assistance that they need and the vital work of rebuilding relations between the communities can begin," assistant high commissioner Erika Feller said.

"UNHCR is eager to restart our activities in the affected area and support all communities to ensure that such crises do not erupt again, and people can return to their homes and start the process of rebuilding their lives," she added.

The UN also praised neighbouring Bangladesh and said it hopes the country will help the refugees crossing the border.

Rights organisations have warned that the Rohingya, an ethnic minority group in Rakhine, has a history of being persecuted by Myanmar's ruling military junta and criticised the state of emergency.

"For decades, the Rohingya have routinely suffered abuses by the Burmese army, including extrajudicial killings, forced labour, land confiscation and restricted freedom of movement," Human Rights Watch said.

The non-government organisation also warned of military violations of the Buddhist Arakan people in Rakhine.

"Using the army to restore order risks arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and torture," the rights watchdog said.

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