Myanmar Ambassador’s Message on the situation in Rakhine State
The Ambassador of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar would like to give the information on the violent incidents that happened in Rakhine State, situated in Western part of Myanmar.
The situation in Rakhhine State has in the past few months, been under intense media attention. It is widely misunderstood that the clashes occurred in Rakhine State are religious incidents because one side which participated in the clashes were Muslims and the other were Buddhists.
There are many misleading and exaggerated reports, some of them spreading fake photos by using old photos of incidents that happened in other countries and tagging false captions to convince the viewers that these things are happening in Myanmar. You can check on this link: http://farazahmed.com/muslims-killing-in-burma-and-our-social-media-islamic-parties-1010.aspx.
In those townships where violent clashes broke out, so called Rohingya Muslims are the majority with 94% of the population and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists are the minority with about 6% of the population there.
The unrest started with the raping and killing of a Rakhine girl by three youths and the subsequent revenge killing of 10 persons by furious Rakhine mob. Here, it is found that hatred and vengeance against one another ignited the clashes and lawlessness was spread due to mistrust and religious differences.
(87) People from both sides lost their lives and (190) people were injured. A total of (4822) houses, (17) mosques, (15) monasteries, (3) schools were burnt down by either side to each other out of anger. The arson attacks left 60,000 people homeless for whom 53 relief camps have been opened.
A 16-member Investigation Committee was formed and legal actions were taken against the perpetrators of the criminal acts. The Myanmar Government, hand in hand with UN agencies and NGOs worked in providing humanitarian assistance and taking rehabilitation measures for all the victims of both sides.
The Government is cooperating with religious and community leaders, political parties and social organizations to resolve the issue. The President personally had appealed to the people of Myanmar to cooperate and requested all to realize every aspect of the situation with magnanimity.
The diplomatic corps and representatives of the UN agencies, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General Mr. V.J. Nambiar and the Special Rapporteure on Human Rights Mr. T.O. Quintana have been invited to visit the affected areas to see for themselves the situation on ground.
Recently, on 10 August, Turkish delegation led by Turkish Foreign Minister and Secretary of the Organization of Islamic cooperation Mr. Ahmet Davutoglu and wife together with wife of Turkish Prime Minister visited the riot-hit Rakhine State and donated relief assistance to the victims. The Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has also been extended to visit Myanmar.
We would like to firmly state that those incidents happened in Rakhine State are neither because of religious oppression nor discrimination and there is no form of genocide happening. In the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Buddhists have been living together in peace and harmony for centuries.
We strongly reject the suggestions that there are genocides against Muslims or religious persecutions or oppressions as some quarters mentioned and believe that unbalanced and false reports will not help in building trust and reconciliation.
I am confident that people living in the Republic of South Africa will render the valuable support to Myanmar Government’s position and efforts in resolving this unfortunate happening so that the issue will not hamper the democratization and reform process that is gaining momentum.
I would like to extend my best wishes for peace and personal wellbeing to each and everyone living in the Republic of South Africa.
H.E. U Myint Naung
Ambassador of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar August 2012