UN body asks Myanmar to address ethnic conflict
Washington: Worried that the recent communal violence in central Myanmar might spread to other parts of the country a top UN official on Tuesday asked the government there to demonstrate that the rule of law will prevail and that all those living within its borders are and will be protected.
"The Government of Myanmar must clearly demonstrate that it is serious about holding accountable those responsible for the past and present violence, regardless of their religious or ethnic affiliations. The Government must also take measures to protect populations still at risk," said the Special UN Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng.
Expressing deep concern at reports of increased violence between Muslim and Buddhist communities in Myanmar, Dieng said the recent episode of violence in Meikhtila in central Myanmar raises concerns that sectarian violence is spreading to other parts of the country.
More than 40 people have died in sectarian and religious violence in central parts of the country, with reports that riots between Muslim and Buddhist communities spreading to areas near Yangon.
"In the context of last year's violence between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state, there is a considerable risk of further violence if measures are not put in place to prevent this escalation," he warned.
Asserting that the Myanmar Government must take measures that not only addresses the immediate consequences of the current violence but also the root causes of the problem, Dieng warned that failing to do so can have serious future consequences which the international community has solemnly promised to prevent.
As the primary responsibility to protect lies with the State, Dieng called upon Myanmar Government to address this situation as a matter of urgency, develop a comprehensive national strategy that upholds international human rights standards and promotes reconciliation and tolerance among Buddhist and Muslim communities in the country.
"As a country that has positively surprised the international community with its recent transformation towards democracy, Myanmar needs to demonstrate that the rule of law will prevail and that all those living within its borders are and will be protected from violence and discrimination, particularly on the basis of religion or ethnicity," Dieng said.
Expressing concern over the Myanmar government's failure to protect the lives of its innocent civilians, the Secretary General of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) urged that such violence should not continue.
"It is the responsibility of the authorities to address the root causes of the issue and safeguard the lives and property of all the peoples of Myanmar," Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said.
Calling upon the government of Myanmar to address the concerns of the international community as reflected in the relevant UN and OIC Resolutions in particular the restoration of the citizenship of the Rohingya Muslim minority as well as the recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Ihsanoglu said that the situation of Rohingya Muslim is a priority item on the OIC agenda.