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

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid