Myanmar slams UN use of 'Rohingya'

Myanmar slams UN use of 'Rohingya'

Myanmar on Wednesday condemned a U.N. official for using the term Rohingya to describe a persecuted minority that the government refers to as Bengali, which implies they are illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.

Most of Myanmar's 1.1 million ethnic Rohingya Muslims are stateless and live in apartheid-like conditions in Rakhine state in the west of the predominantly Buddhist country.

The government is carrying out a controversial citizenship verification process, which requires Rohingya to list their identities as Bengali.

The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, said conditions were "abysmal" in camps where almost 140,000 Rohingya remain after being displaced in clashes with ethnic Rakhine Buddhists in 2012.

A "fixation" on the terms Rohingya and Bengali was counterproductive, Lee said in a Jan. 16 statement. She urged people to instead "focus on addressing the urgent humanitarian and human rights needs".

Myanmar's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday criticized her remarks in a press release published in the state-backed Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

"Use of such term by the United Nations would certainly draw strong resentment of the people of Myanmar making the government's efforts more difficult in addressing the issue," the ministry said.

Government officials were not available for comment.

Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (6)

Domestic flights up almost 100% at Chiang Mai airport

CHIANG MAI: The number of domestic flights at Chiang Mai airport has almost doubled since Covid-19 restrictions began to be eased, but international flights to this northern province have yet to resume.

16:43

Planks seized from temple, abbot disappears

KANCHANABURI: More than 500 illegally processed wood planks were seized from a temple in Sai Yok district while the abbot disappeared during a search on Thursday.

15:56

Hong Kong businesses back new security law despite fears

HONG KONG: China's new security law has sent fear coursing through many Hong Kong residents, but the city's commercial community has largely embraced it as a way to get back to doing business.

15:45