Myanmar: UN official calls on authorities to ensure safety of aid workers, premises

28 March 2014

Voicing concern about attacks this week on United Nations and non-governmental organization premises in Sittwe in Myanmar’s Rakhine state by unidentified groups of demonstrators, a senior UN official called on authorities to ensure the safety of aid workers there.

“I call upon the Government to ensure the protection of the humanitarian and development community in Rakhine state,” Toily Kurbanov, the acting UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar, said in a statement.

He stated that the UN and its partners remain determined to continue providing life-saving humanitarian assistance, and reiterated concern that any reduction of humanitarian presence could negatively affect the protection of vulnerable people.

“I urge the authorities to ensure an appropriate response is provided and perpetrators are held accountable.”

Rakhine state has been scene of waves of violence between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims, which has seen hundreds of people killed and tens of thousands more made homeless.

The attacks this week in Sittwe were reportedly triggered by reports that a foreign aid worker had treated a Buddhist flag disrespectfully.

News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

Top UN officials call for probe into latest violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state

The United Nations human rights and humanitarian chiefs on Thursday voiced deep concern about reports of alarming levels of violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, including the killing of many civilians and a policeman, and called for an immediate investigation by the authorities.