EU condemns Myanmar for violence against Rohingya

European Union lawmakers have condemned violence against Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority and called on authorities to protect them.

Scores of people have been killed in two waves of sectarian unrest between Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine last year.

Thousands fled the country in overcrowded boats but many died making the journey south towards Thailand and Malaysia.

The European Parliament said it "deplores ... the failure of the government to protect the Rohingya from organised violence".

It passed a motion that "condemns the grave violations of human rights" and has called on authorities to do "everything in their power to protect Rohingya Muslims from violent actions".

Myanmar views its population of 800,000 Rohingya as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.

The United Nations considers them to be one of the world's most persecuted minorities.

A return to sectarian unrest has tempered international optimism about reforms in the country after decades of military rule.

Just two months ago, the EU lifted sanctions on Myanmar, and two days ago the European Commission readmitted Myanmar to a trade pact.

The EU parliament expressed "deep concerns" over allegations that security forces have taken part in the violence.

EU supports Suu Kyi's policy

The EU motion welcomed pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition to a two-child policy for the Rohingya.

The controversial two-child rule was imposed by the previous junta and reaffirmed recently by local authorities in the wake of unrest in the country.

"It is not good to have such discrimination," Ms Suu Kyi said.

"It is not in line with human rights."

Ms Suu Kyi had previously been facing criticism for failing to speak out about the violence.

The European parliament also urged Thailand to end the "inhumane detention" of at least 1,700 Rohingya asylum seekers.