UN’s Ban Ki-moon Urges Burma to Ensure Aid Workers’ Safety

Myanmar, Burma, The Irrawaddy, Arakan, Rakhine, census, Rohingya, UN, United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President Thein Sein

A warehouse of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is seen damaged by recent violence in Sittwe, Arakan State, on March 28, 2014. (Photo: Reuters / Soe Zeya Tun)

UNITED NATIONS — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday urged Burma’s government to protect UN and international aid workers and ensure a peaceful and credible census in troubled Arakan State, where Rohingya Muslims have been the targets of a Buddhist mob attack.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the UN chief delivered the two messages to President Thein Sein during a phone conversation on Sunday.

Ban was responding to Thursday’s attack on the offices and homes of international aid workers, including the UN World Food Program, in the Arakan State capital, Sittwe, and the country’s first census in 30 years, which began Sunday and has been widely criticized for stoking religious and ethnic tensions after the government denied the long-persecuted Muslim minority the right to identify themselves as “Rohingya.”

Burma, a predominantly Buddhist nation of 60 million, emerged from a half-century of military rule in 2011. But newfound freedoms of expression that accompanied its transition to democracy have given voice to religious hatred, causing violence that has left up to 280 people dead and sent another 240,000 fleeing their homes.

Ban urged the government to uphold its obligations toward the safety and security of all international staff members and to ensure the protection of property, Dujarric said.

The secretary-general also said that impunity cannot be tolerated in the context of Burma’s reform process and called for the protection of all civilians and the full respect for the rule of law. He also welcomed the initial measures undertaken by the authorities so far.

“Given the heightened tensions and anxieties among various communities in Rakhine [Arakan] with regard to the nationwide census, the Secretary-General underlined the importance for this critical exercise to be undertaken in a peaceful and, above all, credible manner,” Dujarric said.

5 Responses to UN’s Ban Ki-moon Urges Burma to Ensure Aid Workers’ Safety

  1. It’s utterly shameful of Burmese/Arakan Buddhists to attack humanitarians aid workers and their offices.

    Tens of thousands of Kachin, Karen, Karenni, Shan, Bamar, Arakanese and Chin migrants and refugees have been taken good care of by many international humanitarians organizations in Thailand, Malaysia, India and Nepal. But no nationalist or wicked person from these countries has ever attacked these NGOs.

    Hypocrisy and indifference on the part of half-civilian-half-military government of Myanmar.

    • I agree. There is no good reason to tell the world’s community that the attack was heroic and for noble cause. It was the act of cowardice. Cruel and inhumane. The image of Arakan people is badly damaged. The Arakanese who are in Malaysia need to return home before they are attacked and killed by Muslims. It will happen sooner or later.

  2. Attack is not because of aid but abuse of task given by UN by disrespectful act of sensitive issues of local who accused that foreign aid workers are impartial. These impartial acts must not be repeated at all. It is very logical and reasonable to be sensitive when immigrants are allowed to kill local and UN backed foreign workers are in favor of illegal immigrants. Burmese gov: should be transparent with local that what they are going to do and what are not. On the otherhand UN should not be allowed to favor immigrants to write themselves as Rohingyas when there is no Rohingyas. Why UN does not respect the Myanmar gov: when they repeaedlt refuse that there is no Rohingyas. All these made local extremely people unrest and unnecessary loss of lives. Could UN try to have another way to handle this Rohingyas issue without making unrest to local people?

  3. The true color of the community came out openly to the world surface. Everybody or organization will think twice to deal with Araknese extremist state Government and Burmese. It was barbarian attack on NGO. One can imagine how much the NGO staff would have terrified while she was chased by Rakhine extremists.

  4. The attackers were said to be from outskirts of the town … as usual in Burma people in the village get hardly anything related to healthcare and educational services. So it makes no difference to them … those who attacked Malteser, but the problem will be with the urban population many of who are Bangalis. Again should attacking Malteser staff is shameful, more shameful should be the staff of Malteser who desecrated the Buddhist flag, which if it were an Islamic flag, the perpetrator insensitive woman must have been charged with blasphemy law and given the rope.

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