UN chief hits out at Myanmar army leader over comments

By AFP

UNITED NATIONS — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday criticized Myanmar’s army chief after he declared that the Muslim Rohingya had nothing in common with the country’s other ethnic groups.

Guterres said he was “shocked” at reports of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing’s remarks at a military gathering and urged Myanmar’s leaders to “take a unified stance against incitement to hatred and to promote cultural harmony.”

At the gathering in northern Kachin state on Monday, Min Aung Hlaing referred to the Rohingya as “Bengalis,” a term meant to describe them as foreigners, and said they “do not have the characteristics or culture in common with the ethnicities of Myanmar.”

“The tensions were fuelled because the ‘Bengalis’ demanded citizenship,” said the general who was quoted in the Dhaka Tribune.

Support more independent journalism like this. Sign up to be a Frontier member.

Guterres said it was “critical that conditions are put in place to ensure that the Rohingya are able to return home voluntarily, in safety and in dignity.”

The UN Security Council is hoping to travel to Myanmar to get a first-hand look at the refugee crisis, but has not yet been given the green light for the trip by Myanmar authorities.

Guterres has for months been weighing the appointment of a special envoy for Myanmar that would keep the plight of the Rohingya in the international spotlight.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

More stories

Latest Issue

Stories in this issue
Myanmar enters 2021 with more friends than foes
The early delivery of vaccines is one of the many boons of the country’s geopolitics, but to really take advantage, Myanmar must bury the legacy of its isolationist past.
Will the Kayin BGF go quietly?
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.

Stay on top of Myanmar current affairs with our Daily Briefing and Media Monitor newsletters

Our fortnightly magazine is available in print, digital, or a combination beginning at $80 a year

Sign up for our Frontier Fridays newsletter. It’s a free weekly round-up featuring the most important events shaping Myanmar