News / Asia

UN Envoy Blames Burmese Government for Lack of Security

U.N. Human Rights envoy to Burma Tomas Ojea Quintana speaks during a press conference before he departs from Yangon International Airport Aug. 21, 2013.
U.N. Human Rights envoy to Burma Tomas Ojea Quintana speaks during a press conference before he departs from Yangon International Airport Aug. 21, 2013.
A U.N. envoy, on an official trip to Burma, has told reporters his convoy came under attack this week by a Buddhist mob and authorities did not protect him. 

U.N. human-rights envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana recounted how a crowd of about 200 people punched and kicked the windows and doors of his car while shouting abuse at him Monday in Meiktila, in central Burma.

Speaking to reporters just before departing the country after a 10-day visit, Quintana said the state had an obligation to protect him.

“And that did not happen," he said. "They failed to protect me in that situation.  And this issue was raised with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Myanmar and other authorities.”

The demonstrators denounced the U.N special investigator on human rights as biased in his assessment of the troubles between majority Buddhists and minority Muslims in Burma, also known as Myanmar.

People protest U.N. human rights envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana in Mektila, Burma, August 19, 2013. (VOA Burmese Service)People protest U.N. human rights envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana in Mektila, Burma, August 19, 2013. (VOA Burmese Service)
x
People protest U.N. human rights envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana in Mektila, Burma, August 19, 2013. (VOA Burmese Service)
People protest U.N. human rights envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana in Mektila, Burma, August 19, 2013. (VOA Burmese Service)
The town of Mektila is where violence against Muslims left at least 44 people dead in March.

Quintana says the incident prevented him from visiting a camp where 1,600 displaced Muslims have taken shelter.

The experience, according to Quintana, gave him “insight into the fear residents would have felt when being chased down by violent mobs” during the attacks in the town five months ago.

During a visit to Arakan state last week, Quintana also encountered Buddhist protesters accusing him of bias.

But Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch says many other Burmese have appreciated Quintana's scrutiny of sectarian strife in the country.

“His attention in some of the ethnic areas, for instance looking at the situation with the Kachin, has been welcomed by many people on the ground," he said. "Perhaps the government does not like it. But the government is only one aspect of this, it is only [one] player in this scenario. And the larger international community, plus civil society, see him as playing a positive role.”

The watchdog group, Physicians for Human Rights, is warning that Burma risks “catastrophic” levels of conflict, including the possibility of genocide, if authorities do not halt hate speech against Muslims and the culture of impunity in regards to ethnic violence.

Religious violence in the past year in the country has left 250 people dead, mostly Muslims, and another 140,000 have fled their homes.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Pyie Sone(Myanmar) from: Singapore
August 25, 2013 2:21 AM
This UN Envoy show respect toward(bow his head..etc) those Muslims in Sittwe Prison. But did not even bother to take off his sock when visited a Monastery which is completely against the Burmese culture and religion. I guess the Saudis are paying his Salary not the UN.


by: tsp from: Myanmar
August 23, 2013 12:29 PM
Now Muslim people know what is pain and how is attack another religious , Now Muslim people know what another religious think they are . They think they can attack WTC and London Subway . They think they can cut off head to another religious people. Do you settle your own Muslim country problem Don't think you can hurt and bully to another , because of you are Muslim ?


by: Jordan from: Burma
August 23, 2013 2:50 AM
Burmese people have revealed their true colour to the world by their barbaric action against the UN special envoy and by extension, the international community. If the world doesn't believe it yet, just look at the narrow-minded racists here in this comment section.


by: Kyi Soe from: Yangon, Myanmar
August 22, 2013 3:50 AM
"What"

Did you say that Myanmar government didn't provide enough security for you?

Let me ask you! Quintanwar! Do you think of yourself as a human being?
"OK!"
Instead of barking before you were about to leave our country, you should have proved that you are a real human being by behaving with decent words and manners before you came to our country.
We recognize the word of human right you referred only for the human beings exclusively.
Let Wé Thon (Hanlin)


by: joe from: Yangon
August 22, 2013 2:05 AM
Dear , Tomas Ojea Quintana , if you not respect Buddhist people in Myanmar , better you don't come . Because of people in Myanmar are civilized now , so you can't lie and you can't cheat anymore in future . Please note this in next time and you knew what you try to do in our country , don't be a Mr Good .


by: Minn from: Aung
August 21, 2013 7:17 PM
OK, You better don't come anymore... FzzzK u

In Response

by: Karl from: Sittwe
August 22, 2013 1:19 AM
Sir Quintana.... instead of being an enabler of the jihadi talibans who are trying to invade and colonize our country, why don't you worry about the Coptic Christians in Egypt?!?

In Response

by: Aung
August 21, 2013 9:28 PM
yea!!! It is the best way...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid