The United Nations on Tuesday welcomed Myanmar’s decision to abolish the border security force blamed for many of the atrocities committed against Muslims in the Rakhine State last year.

Myanmar President Thein Sein, who is currently on an official visit to Britain and France, announced the abolition of the Nasaka force in a statement posted on his website on July 14.

The Nasaka were accused of human rights violations in suppressing the sectarian clashes in the Rakhine State last year that left at least 167 people dead, mostly Rohingya Muslims, and up to 140,000 displaced.

The force was accused in a report by the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, TomOjea Quintana, of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrest and detention, and torture in detention.

“The abolition of Nasaka should not mean that the credible allegations of widespread and systematic human rights violations committed by its members are not properly investigated and the perpetrators held to account,” Mr. Qintana said in a statement issued from Geneva, while welcoming the force’s abolition.

“Furthermore, whatever force takes the place of Nasaka, it is vital that the issue of impunity is addressed,” he added.

Since coming to power in March, 2011, Thein Sein has pushed through significant political and economic reforms that have brought Myanmar back into the international fold after decades of isolation among Western democracies.

However, the dramatic re-entry onto the world stage has been tarnished by a rise in sectarian violence, first directed against the Rohingya Muslim communities in the Rakhine and this year against Muslim communities in central and northern Myanmar.

Myanmar is a predominantly Buddhist country, where Muslims are estimated to number about 5 per cent of the population.

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