New York, NY (BBN) – The United Nations top envoy for Burma, officially known as Myanmar, has called for an investigation into violence that recently took place in the country’s Rakhine state.
“The Special Adviser [Vijay Nambiar] calls for a full, impartial, and credible investigation of the disturbances to be conducted urgently as well as to ensure that the rule of law is enforced in a transparent manner,” according to a UN press statement.
The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, was in the south-east Asian nation to participate in a meeting of the Peace Donor Support Group, as well as meet with government leaders, including President Thein Sein, in the capital, Naypyitaw.
While there, serious disturbances occurred in Rakhine state, in the country’s west, which led to the Government declaring a state of emergency there. The UN also temporarily relocated, on a voluntary basis, some of its staff based in the towns of Maungdaw and Buthidaung, as well as Rakhine state’s capital, Sittwe.
According to media reports, the violence in Rakhine state, between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims, left at least a dozen civilians dead and hundreds of homes destroyed since last Friday.
Mr. Nambiar and the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Ashok Nigam, travelled to Maungdaw, with a Government minister. There, they accompanied the minister on a visit to camps of the internally displaced persons (IDPs), where the Special Advisor expressed concern and sympathy for their situation, and assured the support of the United Nations.
The UN officials were informed that around 15,000 people had been internally displaced in Rakhine state.
On Friday, the office of UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Nigam said these numbers are now reported to be over 30,000.
The team of UN officials also had an opportunity to review the situation with the aim of responding to the request from the Government for urgent humanitarian assistance for the affected people in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Sittwe – the Government has indicated that food, shelter and medical assistance are urgently required.
According to UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Nigam’s office, the UN will conduct both a security and needs assessment to respond rapidly to the needs of the people, including the deployment of staff to Rakhine state.
“Additional food is being distributed by the UN to all the people in need in accordance with UN procedures which require food to be distributed according to the humanitarian principles of impartiality and neutrality,” it added.
In his meetings with President Sein, Mr. Nambiar discussed the state of emergency and the need for the Government to continue to handle the situation transparently and with respect for human rights and the rule of law, consistent with recent comments from the President, in order that the cycle of violence is broken and the country’s broader reform process is not adversely affected, it added.
BBN/SSR/AD-16June12-1:54 pm (BST)