Commander-in-Chief Tells UN Official People ‘Unhappy’ With UN’s Rakhine Comments

By The Irrawaddy 17 October 2017

YANGON — The Myanmar Army chief told a visiting UN senior official that native ethnics were unhappy with UN comments on Rakhine State as they were totally contrary to the situation on the ground.

Since a series of Muslim militant attacks on 30 police outposts in northern Rakhine State in late August, more than 500,000 self-identifying Rohingya Muslims have fled to neighboring Bangladesh as the army launched clearance operations.

The UN, international aid groups, and journalists have documented cases of rape, torture, arbitrary killings, and arson of minority self-identifying Rohingya Muslims by government security forces.

The UN has labeled the violence a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing told Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs of the UN Jeffrey Feltman on Monday in Naypyitaw that the UN used the recent crisis as the base for comments without taking into account the long and emotional history of the situation, according to a post about the meeting on the Commander-in-Chief Office’s Facebook.

The Under Secretary-General was touring Rakhine State on Tuesday. He is the most senior UN official to visit Myanmar to render long- and short-term assistance for the government’s endeavors on the recent Rakhine issue.

Currently, most international relief agencies, including the UN, have been banned from northern Rakhine State as the government accused them of providing assistance to Muslim militants involved in the Aug 25 attacks.

With respect to the feelings of Arakanese Buddhists about humanitarian aid, the senior general said, the UN needed to change the view that assistance provided by INGOs was intended only for self-identifying Rohingya.

“[The perception that aid was handed out unfairly] was regarded as an act of bullying with the help of foreign organizations, including the UN, at a time when the majority Bengalis killed the minority ethnics. The UN needed to carry out the delivery of assistance fairly and equally,” he said.