Myanmar: UN adviser expresses deep concern at recent violence in Rakhine, calls for calm

11 October 2016

The United Nations envoy for Myanmar today expressed his deep concern at the violent attacks by unidentified individuals and groups against border guards and security forces on 9 October and the resultant fighting that claimed the lives of security personnel and civilians in the three affected areas of Northern Rakhine.

“At this delicate juncture, the local communities at all levels must refuse to be provoked by these incidents and their leaders must work actively to prevent incitement of animosity or mutual hatred between Buddhist and Muslim communities,” the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, said in a statement.

He said he has been informed by the concerned authorities in the capital, Naypyitaw, that firm instructions have been issued from the highest levels to take action strictly in accordance with the law to maintain peace and avoid escalation.

The Special Adviser called on the civilian population of the area to exercise maximum restraint and not be provoked into any kind of response by targeting other communities or religious groups.

Over the last year, the authorities have shown good organization and discipline in averting any major outbreak of violence between the communities in Rakhine, he noted.

While recognizing the prompt action and sober response of the security forces, Mr. Nambiar urged them to exercise caution in the future to avoid any injuries or loss of innocent civilian lives, collateral damage to properties or any perception of harassment of the local population.

In his Myanmar role which he has held since 2010, the veteran diplomat is tasked with employing the Secretary-General’s ‘good offices’ towards helping the southeast Asian nation on its path of transition towards peace, democratization and development.

In addition to other methods, the Secretary-General uses his ‘good offices’ – diplomatic measures taken publicly and in private, drawing upon his independence, impartiality and integrity – to prevent international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading.

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