News / Asia

Top UN Envoy Visits Burma Conflict Area

UN envoy Vijay NambiarUN envoy Vijay Nambiar
x
UN envoy Vijay Nambiar
UN envoy Vijay Nambiar
Danielle Bernstein
BANGKOK - Vijay Nambiar, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's special envoy to Burma, traveled Wednesday to Rakhine state, where ethnic and sectarian clashes erupted earlier this month. He was accompanied by Burma's Border Affairs Minister Thein Htay and 10 Muslim leaders from Rangoon.  While in the state capital, Sittwe, Nambiar met with state officials to discuss the volatile situation.

His visit comes after Bangladesh denied the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees' request that it open its borders to Rohingya people fleeing the ethnic and sectarian violence that broke out last week.

Dhaka-based Professor Amena Mohsin says the Rohingya have existed between Bangladesh and Burma for centuries, but neither country will grant them citizenship.

"Myanmar [Burmese] government is taking its hands off. Its position is that these are Bengali Muslims who have infiltrated into Myanmar from Bangladesh," Mohsin said.  "And, Bangladesh's position is that these are the citizens from Myanmar.  If you look at the diplomatic ramifications, unfortunately, it has come at a time when Bangladesh was trying to warm up with Myanmar."

  • Muslims women and children from villages gather before being relocated to secure areas in Sittwe, capital of Rakhine state in western Burma, where sectarian violence is ongoing, June 12, 2012.
  • Bangladeshi Border Guard soldiers keep watch at a wharf in Taknaf, Bangladesh, June 12, 2012.
  • Sittwe residents flee blazing homes as security forces struggle to contain deadly ethnic and religious violence, June 12, 2012.
  • A Rohingya protester cries as he holds a placard during a rally to call for an end to the ongoing unrest and violence in Burma's Rakhine State, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, June 12, 2012.
  • Security forces try to restore order in Rakhine state, Burma, after a wave of deadly religious violence, as the United Nations evacuated foreign workers, June 11, 2012.
  • Muslim Rohingya people on a boat cross the river Naf, from Burma into Teknaf, Bangladesh, June 11, 2012.
  • Local residents push a trishaw vehicle carrying their belongings in a village in Sittwe, where sectarian violence is impacting on the local population, June 11, 2012.
  • Rohingya protesters gather in front of a U.N. regional office in Bangkok, Thailand, to call for an end to the ongoing unrest and violence in Burma’s Rakhine State, June 11, 2012.
  • Ethnic Rakhine people get water from a firefighter truck to extinguish fire set to their houses during fighting between Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya communities in Sittwe, June 10, 2012.
  • Policemen move towards burning houses during fighting between Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya communities in Sittwe, June 10, 2012.
  • Rohingya men are seen among houses set on fire during fighting between Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya communities in Sittwe, June 10, 2012.
  • Buddhist monks and ethnic Rakhine people hold placards at Shwedagon pagoda in Rangoon, Burma, June 10, 2012.
  • An ethnic Rakhine man holds homemade weapons as he walks in front of houses that were burnt during fighting between Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya communities in Sittwe, June 10, 2012.

U.N. refugee officials say boats arriving in Bangladesh's Teknaf with women and children fleeing the violence in Rakhine state have been denied entry.  Human Rights Watch expressed concern that the military and police could use excessive force when trying to bring the violence under control.

As the unrest continues, some worry it could damage key government-backed development projects, including a joint venture oil and gas pipeline with China.  The Shwe gas and oil pipelines will carry oil and gas to China’s Yunnan province.

In Beijing Wednesday, foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin, said China supports the Burmese government’s efforts to bring the riots under control. Liu said Beijing is behind Burma's efforts to safeguard national stability and ethnic harmony.

Wong Aung, a Rakhine activist in northern Thailand, says ethnic unrest surrounds Burma’s resource-rich borderlands, such as pipeline and hydropower projects in the north.  He says, in those places, ethnic minorities suffer at the hands of the government, when it sends in the military to ensure security.

"Since fighting has been brought out between the ethnic armed groups in northern Shan state and Kachin state they [the conflicts] are directly related to the exploitation of natural resources," said Aung. "The government is trying to secure the pipeline from Arakan [Rakhine] state through central Burma until the China border."

Human Rights Watch says the fighting in the Rakhine state has led local companies to suspend operations, adding pressure to government efforts to resolve the situation.

You May Like

Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: jamal from: chittagong
June 14, 2012 10:37 AM
Girls in Nurulla village(Maungdaw,Arakan state) were allegedly gang raped by Burma military police personnel in front of their parents and brothers yesterday.Just a couple of hours ago,an old man(60 years old) from zawmatat (Maungdaw,Arakan) was hanged and beaten to death by Burma security force army while crossing from one house to another to find any foodstuffs.And Abdul Rahman(17 years old) son of Rashid got beaten up by Buddhist Rakhine and riot polices when he went to Maungdaw market and Burma riot polices including armies are still looting,rapping and beating people in Maungdaw dawntown.
please help out.We want international forces and journalists for the Arakan state.

by: Leo
June 14, 2012 12:55 AM
Starting from BBC, VOA, RFA, DVB, even Reuters and New York Times, whenever I read the news, the headlines about this incident is titled as “Buddhists Vs Muslims” or “Burmese Vs Muslims”. Some medias even stated initially that “ Rohingya’s abuse as Burma’s attack”. People in Burma already stated publicly that this is not the case against religion. Even the Musilm Associations in Burma announced that they agree Rohingya’s actions as violent attacks. We have statements ready to prove.

But, are our voices not loud enough or just plainly neglected?

Foreign medias keep spreading propaganda about Burma having religious conflicts within the region and making statements against the truth that can worsen the country’s situation right now. It’s like all the major medias are trying to shift the attention of the Islamic community around the world to Burma and pushing a major religion war to happen inside the country.

Is it intentional or ignorance?

I understand the fact that picking up the controversial ideas would make a news piece interesting but what if that idea doesn’t tell the truth and gonna make things worse? Isn’t the medias’ responsibility to investigate the facts properly before announcing a news to the world? Or, being able to grab more attention and increased rating is the modern value of journalism? (Aung Myo Kyaw)

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More