News / Asia

UN Official Says Muslims Targeted in Burma

Vijay Nambiar (r) U.N. Secretary General's Special adviser on Burma, talks to journalists after he visited refugee camps in Meikhtila, Mandalay division, about 550 kilometers (340 miles) north of Rangoon, March 24, 2013.
Vijay Nambiar (r) U.N. Secretary General's Special adviser on Burma, talks to journalists after he visited refugee camps in Meikhtila, Mandalay division, about 550 kilometers (340 miles) north of Rangoon, March 24, 2013.
Margaret Besheer
The United Nations' top official for Burma said Tuesday that recent sectarian violence in the central part of the country was “clearly targeted” against Muslim communities in the mostly Buddhist nation.  

Vijay Nambiar, the U.N. secretary-general’s Special Adviser on Burma, or Myanmar, as it is also known, just finished a short visit to the country where he met with officials and victims of the recent violence.

Speaking to reporters in New York via telephone from Thailand, Nambiar said he visited shelters where about 9,000 displaced persons - mostly Muslims - are staying after their homes were attacked and dozens were killed in the central city of Meikhtila.  Nambiar said the attacks were carried out with near “brutal efficiency.”

“The people were traumatized - the people who were in the shelters," said Nambiar. "But one thing I noticed was, it had taken them so much by surprise, they had lived for generations together with their Buddhist neighbors and they found it very difficult to understand how this could have happened.”

He said most of the victims still want to return home.  He added that in meetings with government officials, they suggested they would try to provide some sort of compensation to the victims.

The violence began last week with an argument between a Muslim gold shop owner and a Buddhist customer in Meikhtila that escalated into street fighting and looting by angry Buddhist mobs.

Nambiar said it is important that the perpetrators are caught and punished.

“At present the authorities have said they have around 23 persons who were actually apprehended, who were actually caught, and they are in the process of making inquiries to find out who else has been involved," he said. "When I met with the president [Thein Sein] yesterday, he was very firm in saying that firm action will be taken against them and that firm action will also be taken to prevent the spread of such attacks elsewhere.”

But despite those promises, Nambiar said there are disturbing reports of sectarian attacks in other parts of the country.

The U.N. secretary-general’s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, has also expressed his concern about the communal violence.  In a statement Tuesday, he urged the government to promote reconciliation and tolerance and to take measures to prevent an escalation.

On Friday, President Thein Sein declared a state of emergency in Meiktila and nearby townships south of Mandalay, asking the army to help stop the violence.  

The anti-Muslim rioting follows communal violence last year in western Rakhine state.  Fighting between Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists left close to 200 people dead and 120,000 displaced, the vast majority of them stateless Rohingya Muslims.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ali baba from: new york
March 26, 2013 9:50 PM
from the best of my knowledge that Buddhist is very peaceful religion. from what I know about Islam. I believe Muslim are causing problem then cry as usual and blame buddhist

In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
March 27, 2013 2:33 PM
to response to fahim
Islam is a religion of peace. is that a joke. in fact people killed with name of Islam is more than people killed in WW! and WW2

In Response

by: Arakan from: Burma
March 27, 2013 3:13 AM
you have no idea of what's taking place there. The Rohingya Muslim people have been suffering a brutal oppressive genocide for decades. They've been living there for centuries. It's only since the rise of militant Buddhism that there's been a rise in tensions. The Burmese Buddhists see the Muslim Rohingya as a lower caste of human being due to their colour and racial / ethnic origin, They refer to them as kalaar and Indian. Irony is that Gautama Buddha was an Indian and Buddhist holy texts are written in Sanskrit.

In Response

by: Fahim from: india
March 27, 2013 3:02 AM
i don't know who you are. you mentioned your name like you are a muslim,whether u r a muslim or something else. i wanna let u know that islam is the only religion of peace.The name itself saying peace and don't blame anyone without having any knowledge.Ok first go there and find what's the truth...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid