UN Secretary-general Antonio Guterres has expressed concern over the attacks on the Myanmar security forces by Rohingya militants in the northern Rakhine State and hoped that the perpetrators will be brought to justice.
Clashes erupted between Rohingya militants and Myanmar security forces in the Rakhine State after militants attacked border police. The fighting has killed 89 people and forced thousands of civilians - Rohingya and ethnic Rakhine - to flee their homes.
Expressing concern over the escalating tensions in the region, Guterres said that he hoped those responsible would be brought to justice. Guterres termed the attacks as "unacceptable" and reiterated the "importance of addressing the root causes of violence, in particular issues related to identity and citizenship, and reducing inter-communal tensions," his spokesperson said.
"He strongly urges all the communities in Rakhine State to choose the path of peace," spokesperson said in a statement.
It said the forces must protect civilians at all times, in line with international humanitarian and human rights law while taking the necessary measures to curb attacks by criminal elements in the region.
Resident Coordinator Renata Lok-Dessallien, the top UN humanitarian official in Myanmar, condemned in the strongest terms the series of coordinated attacks. The Resident Coordinator urged all parties to refrain from violence, protect civilians, restore law and order and resolve issues through dialogue and peaceful means, according to a spokesperson from the UN Office in Geneva.
"The grave events confirmed the significance of the government's commitment to implement the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine state for the betterment of all communities," spokesperson Alessandra Vellucci said.
Yesterday, the Advisory Commission, led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, released a report outlining recommendations for how to overcome political, socio-economic and humanitarian challenges.
Rohingyas are Muslim Indo-Aryan people from the Rakhine State in Myanmar. According to the Rohingyas and some scholars, they are indigenous to Rakhine State, while other historians claim that the group represents a mixture of precolonial and colonial immigrations.
The official stance of the Myanmar government, however, has been that the Rohingyas are mainly illegal immigrants who migrated into Arakan following Burmese independence in 1948 or after the Bangladesh liberation war in 1971.