New York

31 March 2014

Readout of the Secretary-General’s Telephone Conversation with President Thein Sein of Myanmar

On 30 March, the Secretary-General held a telephone conversation with President Thein Sein of Myanmar in the wake of recent developments in Sittwe, Rakhine State where staff and property of the United Nations and international non-governmental organizations came under attack.   He urged the Government to uphold its obligations toward the safety and security of all staff members and to ensure the protection of property in accordance with relevant agreements.  The Secretary-General stressed that impunity cannot be tolerated in the context of Myanmar’s reform process and called for the protection of all civilians and the full respect for the rule of law. He also welcomed the initial measures undertaken by the authorities so far.

In the light of the subsequent and ongoing humanitarian and human rights concerns in Rakhine State, the Secretary-General requested that the Government help establish a strong presence of United Nations and other international non-government organizations. 

Given the heightened tensions and anxieties among various communities in Rakhine with regard to the nation-wide census, the Secretary-General underlined the importance for this critical exercise to be undertaken in a peaceful and, above all, credible manner.  He hopes that the conduct of census in Rakhine and elsewhere in the country will meet established international technical and human rights standards.

In closing, the Secretary-General reiterated the commitment of the United Nations to provide continued support to the national reform efforts in a constructive manner.