Myanmar brings charges against detained U.N. staff

GENEVA Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:20pm BST

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GENEVA (Reuters) - Myanmar has charged at least three U.N. staff who were among 10 aid workers detained last month during a period of unrest in Rakhine province, the United Nations said on Friday.

All three are all Myanmar nationals working for the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR.

All the detained aid workers were arrested in the northwesterly Rakhine state, where long-simmering tension between mostly stateless Rohingya Muslims and majority Buddhists flared into violence that killed at least 80 people.

UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said criminal charges had been brought against the three, but it was not yet clear what the charges were.

U.N. High Commissioner Antonio Guterres visited Myanmar this week but failed to win their release. He said in Yangon on Thursday that UNHCR had asked to be informed of the charges and given access to the detainees, but so far to no effect.

It was not immediately clear if charges had been brought against the other seven detainees, three of whom work for the World Food Programme. A U.N. official said the other four worked for Doctors Without Borders, or Medecins Sans Frontieres.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Tom Miles, additional reporting by Prapan Chankaew; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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