Myanmar jails three UN workers over communal unrest

Published: August 27, 2012
Two UN Refugee Agency workers sentenced to 2 and 3 years on charges including arson, inciting violence. PHOTO: FILE

Two UN Refugee Agency workers sentenced to 2 and 3 years on charges including arson, inciting violence. PHOTO: FILE

YANGON: A court in Myanmar has sentenced three local United Nations staff to prison for participating in recent sectarian unrest, a government official said on Monday.

Two UN Refugee Agency workers were sentenced to six years and three years each Friday by a court in western Rakhine state on charges including arson and inciting violence, while a World Food Programme employee received a two-year term.

“They could be released under a presidential pardon,” the official said, adding that one is Buddhist and two are Muslim.

Five other UN workers detained over their alleged roles in the violence were freed in mid-August without charge, following an appeal from the United Nations for their release.

Fighting between Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine state has left almost 90 people from both sides dead since June, according to an official estimate, although rights groups fear the real toll is much higher.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has accused Myanmar forces of opening fire on Rohingya Muslims during the violence, prompting concern across the Islamic world over the treatment of the stateless group.

Speaking a dialect similar to one in neighbouring Bangladesh, the Rohingya are seen by the Myanmar government and many Burmese as illegal immigrants.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Usman786
    Aug 27, 2012 - 11:22PM

    Strange that they are refugee despite living for more than 70 years. US should accept them for the sake of human rights. very sad that these UN workers are being punished for saving innocent lives. Lets cut off relations (oil import) from Burma. Surprisingly noble lady does not speak as there was no mention in her dad’s diary


  • sid
    Aug 28, 2012 - 12:49AM

    Why not OIC members taking them………US doesn,t import oil from mayanmar………Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Aug 28, 2012 - 10:31AM

    No. US should not take them. Nor should any European country. The way I see it is that in the past many muslim refugees who have been given asylum have brought with them problems. They take refuge in some country and immediately talk of Ummah. It is the same thing that is happening in India also that has accepted so many illegal immigrants who are not like legal immigrants who come on a visa. Many illegals have been good citizens. But some create sectarian problem and also bring bad name to all such other immigrants. I am totally against people belonging to any religion who consider religion first and Nationality last. These are simply traitors and no country can knowingly and willingly allow traitors. As there is no way to know in advance who will turn out to be who, it is better to be prudent. Yes, if they are educated and skilled they can be allowed as this section is generally not Ummah fanatics. India has many immigrants from Afghanistan also and these have not been a problem so far. They are mostly educated and skilled and in my opinion have made contributions to India. BTW, some Burmese muslims have already moved into India illegally during this current unrest and India has not deported them. Although the problem of Ummah is mostly associated with illegal immigrants, in the current situation one has to be careful even with legal immigrants. As I said earlier, it many not be a problem if the legal immigrants are educated and skilled and shall be able to take care of themselves and their families in a reasonable time. Here in USA we all work hard and pay the highest taxes in the world. So, we expect others to earn their living and contribute to the community, not just keep preaching religion of any kind.


  • Zaid Ali
    Aug 28, 2012 - 10:40AM

    same as Urdu speakers still treated as Mohajirs in Pakistan. The Beharis who came from Bangladesh in 1971 are still not owned.


  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Aug 28, 2012 - 8:13PM


    Strange that they are refugee despite
    living for more than 70 years.

    Hindus have been living in present day Pak since thousands of years.


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