UN Envoy attacked by Mobs in Myanmar
Mobs in Myanmar attack UN envoy
Thu, 22 Aug 2013 06:18:35 GMT
The UN human rights envoy to Myanmar has come under the attack of a group of Buddhist mobs in the central part of the South Asian country.
UN special rapporteur on human rights Tomas Ojea Quintana said on Wednesday that 200 angry Buddhists mobbed his car after he landed this week in the central town of Meikhtila to investigate attacks on Rohingya Muslims in the region.
In March, a wave of anti-Muslim riots killed over 40 people, destroyed hundreds of homes and displaced thousands in Meikhtila.
“The fear that I felt during this incident, being left totally unprotected by the nearby police, gave me an insight into the fear residents would have felt when being chased down by violent mobs during the violence last March,” he told reporters at the end of his 10-day visit to Myanmar.
Myanmar’s presidential spokesman Ye Htut said in response to Quintana’s comments that the UN official was never in any danger.
Htut claimed that the mobs approached the envoy only to give him a letter and a T-shirt, “so what Quintana said is very different from the true situation.”
Over the past months, hundreds of Rohingyas are believed to have been killed and thousands displaced in attacks by extremists who call themselves Buddhists across the country.
The extremists frequently attack Rohingyas and have set fire to their homes in several villages in the western state of Rakhine. Myanmar army forces allegedly provided the fanatics containers of petrol for torching the houses of Muslim villagers, who were then forced to flee.
Myanmar’s government has been accused of failing to protect the Muslim minority. Rohingyas are said to be Muslim descendants of Persian, Turkish, Bengali, and Pathan origin, who migrated to Myanmar as early as the eighth century.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have issued separate statements, calling on Myanmar to take action to protect the Rohingya Muslim community against extremists.