Myanmar frustrated by U.N. criticism of Rakhine violence

Jan. 24, 2014 at 5:13 PM
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NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Criticism of Myanmar from the top human rights official at the United Nations is totally unacceptable, a Myanmar government spokesman said Friday.

Spokesman Ye Htut told the Irrawaddy, a Thai news magazine, the government of President Thein Sein was frustrated with recent criticism from the United Nations.

"It was sad to see a statement issued by the U.N., not using information from their local office staff, but quoting unreliable information and issuing the statement," he said. "These accusations are unacceptable."

U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay called Thursday for an investigation into claims at least 40 Muslim civilians were killed in the restive northern Myanmar state of Rakhine.

The United Nations said it had credible evidence members of the Muslim community were killed by local police. The government spokesman said the United Nations based its reporting on "rumors."

Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos issued a separate statement calling on the government in Myanmar to ensure justice is served.

"I ask the government of Myanmar to take all necessary measures to ensure the full protection of all civilians and to enable safe and continued access by humanitarian staff to the affected areas in order to assess needs and provide emergency assistance to all those affected by the recent violence," she said Thursday.

In a statement Friday, The U.S. State Department agreed with the United Nations, calling for an investigation by the Myanmar government, adding it is willing to assist in the efforts.

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