UN chief urges Myanmar’s leaders to take ‘unified stance’ against hatred in the country

UN Photo/Mark Garten (file) Secretary-General António Guterres.

A United Nations spokesman said Monday that Secretary-General António Guterres is shocked at reports of remarks attributed to Myanmar Senior General U Min Aung Hlaing.

“He urges all leaders in Myanmar to take a unified stance against incitement to hatred and to promote communal harmony,” said Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq.

Media reports suggest that at a military gathering, Mr. Hlaing said Rohingyas had nothing in common with the country’s other ethnic groups.

According to Mr. Haq, the UN chief asserted that such leadership is critically needed to advance institutional measures to combat discrimination and implement the recommendations of the Rakhine Advisory Commission.

“The Secretary-General reiterates the importance of addressing the root causes of the violence and the responsibility of the Government of Myanmar to provide security and assistance to those in need,” the Deputy Spokesperson continued.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have been driven into neighbouring Bangladesh since last August in the wake of a military crackdown in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state.

“It is critical that conditions are put in place to ensure that the Rohingya are able to return home voluntarily, in safety and in dignity,” Mr. Haq said.