US warns of hate speech as Myanmar prepares for elections

AP News
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Posted: Oct 21, 2015 10:59 AM
US warns of hate speech as Myanmar prepares for elections

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top U.S. diplomat for East Asia is warning that the politicization of religion and the spread of hate speech could lead to violence in Myanmar as it prepares for landmark Nov. 8 elections.

Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel made the comments in prepared testimony Wednesday to a House panel examining Myanmar's transition to democracy and the plight of its minority Muslims.

He said the election is an important milestone in the shift away from dictatorship, but the U.S. "will not turn a blind eye to shortcomings at any point in the election process."

Republican Rep. Ed Royce said a better yardstick of Myanmar's progress is its "abhorrent" treatment of Rohingya Muslims. He called for the U.S. Treasury to blacklist human rights violators in the country.