The UN special envoy for Myanmar has voiced his “deep concern” over the spate of violent attacks on Oct 9 perpetrated by unidentified individuals and groups against border guards and security forces, and the resultant fighting that claimed the lives of security personnel and civilians in the three areas of Northern Rakhine affected by the incidents.
Vijay Nambiar, who is the special adviser to the United Nations (UN) secretary-general. said in a statement that 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.
He further observed that he had been informed by the concerned authorities in the capital, Naypyitaw, that firm instructions had been issued from the highest levels to take action strictly in accordance with the law to maintain peace and prevent any escalation.
Nambiar also urged the civilian population of the area to exercise maximum restraint and not allow themselves be provoked into any kind of response by targeting other communities or religious groups.
But he also commended the authorities who had during the last year shown good organisation and discipline in averting any major outbreak of violence between the communities in Rakhine.
While acknowledging that the security forces had responded with prompt action and sober response, Nambiar urged them to exercise caution in the future so as to avoid any injuries to or loss of innocent civilian lives, collateral damage to properties or cause any harassment or persecution of the local population.
In his assignment as the UN’s special envoy for Myanmar role, which he has held since 2010, the veteran diplomat is charged with the task of using the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s “good offices” towards helping the South-East Asian nation on its path of transition from a former military dictatorship towards peace, democratisation and development.
Besides resorting to other measures, the secretary-general also uses his “good offices” - diplomatic action taken publicly and in private, drawing upon his independence, impartiality and integrity - to prevent any international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading.
Myanmar is considered to be at a critical crossroad as it moves, albeit slowly, towards the goal of a democratic country, and also treads the path of national development after decades of sanctions imposed by the West and other nations.