Note to Correspondents: Statement on Rakhine by the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Myanmar

New York, 11 October 2016

The Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, expresses his deep concern at the violent attacks by unidentified individuals and groups against border guards and security forces on 9 October and the resultant fighting which has resulted in the deaths of security personnel as well as civilians in the three affected areas of Northern Rakhine. He has been informed by the concerned authorities in Naypyitaw that firm instructions have been issued from the highest levels to take action strictly in accordance with the law to maintain peace and avoid escalation.

The Special Adviser calls on the civilian population of the area to exercise maximum restraint and not be provoked into any kind of response by targeting other communities or religious groups. He recognizes the prompt action and sober response of the security forces but urges them to exercise caution in the future to avoid any injuries or loss of innocent civilian lives, collateral damage to properties or any perception of harassment of the local population.

Over the last year, the authorities have shown good organization and discipline in averting any major outbreak of violence between the communities in Rakhine. At this delicate juncture, the local communities at all levels must refuse to be provoked by these incidents and their leaders must work actively to prevent incitement of animosity or mutual hatred between Buddhist and Muslim communities.