Myanmar: UN envoy voices sadness at loss of lives in latest violence

22 March 2013

The United Nations special envoy for Myanmar has voiced deep sorrow at the tragic loss of lives and destruction in Meiktila township in Mandalay division, one of several areas that has been the scene of recent violence, and called on all segments of society to promote communal harmony.

According to media reports, President Thein Sein has declared a state of emergency and imposed martial law in four central townships today after several days of unrest between Buddhists and Muslims.

Vijay Nambiar, the Special Adviser of the UN Secretary-General, who reached Yangon yesterday, said that while firm action by the authorities was needed to prevent further loss of life or spread of violence, the most urgent priority was the continued fostering of communal harmony and preservation of peace and tranquility among the people.

This was the responsibility of all sections of society, he stated.

“Religious leaders and other community leaders must also publicly call on their followers to abjure violence, respect the law and promote peace,” the envoy said in a statement.

The “high degree of unity and commonality of purpose” displayed by Myanmar’s top government leaders, leaders of the other parties and of Parliament was “particularly “praiseworthy,” he added.

Mr. Nambiar was hopeful this would calm the situation, while he urged authorities to be continuously vigilant.

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