A top United Nations envoy has arrived in the Rakhine state of western Myanmar amidst escalating ethnic violence between minority Rohingya Muslims and dominant Buddhists that has already claimed at least 25 lives and the destruction of hundreds of homes.

Vijay Nambiar, UN chief Ban Ki-moon's special adviser on Myanmar (also known as Burma), arrived only two days after the UN moved some of its personnel out of the region for safety reasons.

Meanwhile, the very face of Burmese democracy, Aung Sang Suu Kyi, is preparing to make a historic trip to Europe after an absence of more than two decades. Among other points in her itinerary, the parliamentarian will journey to Oslo, Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize she was awarded in absentia in 1991.