NEW YORK, June 13 (UPI) -- Sectarian violence in Myanmar is reaching a crisis point despite a national declaration of emergency, Human Rights Watch said.
Fighting in western Myanmar erupted last week when 10 Muslims were killed following an attack by a mob. A version of the events provided by Human Rights Watch claimed the mob was reacting to the alleged rape and killing of a young girl by Muslims in May.
Elaine Pearson, deputy director of the Asia program at Human Rights Watch, said violence was continuing under the government's watch.
Myanmar's President Thein Sein issued a state of emergency in the area, handing authority over the situation to the country's military.
Pearson, however, said the military has a "brutal record of abuses" and their authority in western Myanmar could make matters worse.
"The government needs to be protecting threatened communities but, without any international presence there, there's a real fear that won't happen," she said in a statement.
Myanmar was praised by members of the international community for political reforms enacted since 2010. Concerns about ethnic violence in parts of the country and the human rights situation remain, however.