UNITED NATIONS - The UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide has voiced deep concern at reports about spreading violence between Muslim and Buddhist communities in Myanmar, and called on the government to demonstrate that it was serious about coming to grips with the deteriorating situation. “The Government of Myanmar must clearly demonstrate that it is serious about holding accountable those responsible for the past and present violence, regardless of their religious or ethnic affiliations,” Special Adviser Adama Dieng said in a statement on Tuesday. “The Government must also take measures to protect populations still at risk.” Last week President Thein Sein reportedly declared a state of emergency and imposed martial law in four central townships after several days of unrest between Buddhists and Muslims, including in Meiktila where at least 30 people were killed. “The recent episode of violence in Meiktila in central Myanmar raises concerns that sectarian violence is spreading to other parts of the country,” the special adviser said. “In the context of last year’s violence between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state, there is a considerable risk of further violence if measures are not put in place to prevent this escalation.” Dieng, a Senegalese lawyer, said these measures must address not only the immediate consequences of the current violence but also the root causes of the problem. “Failing to do so can have serious future consequences which the international community has solemnly promised to prevent,” he stated.