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As Rohingyas Killed by Buddhist Mob, Ban's Picks, In Myanmar to Sri Lanka

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 9 -- After the UN's Ban Ki-moon and his (for now) envoy Vijay Nambiar lavished praise on Myanmar's government last month, Inner City Press on May 21 asked UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres about the plight of Muslim Rohingyas there.

   Guterres said that the government's treatment of the Karen minority was improving -- he did not mention the Kachin -- but he acknowledged the Rohingyas have trouble.

  He praised the government's move to allow Rohingyas to "travel between villages," and touted UNHCR's presence in Rakhine State. Video here, from Minute 16.

   Well, earlier this month 10 Rohingyas were beaten to death by a Buddhist mob in Rakhine State: "about 300 people belonging to the Buddhist majority stopped a bus carrying Muslims from a religious gathering, dragged 10 of them out and beat them to death before burning the vehicle in Taunggup, in the state of Rakhine, 300 kilometers north of Yangon, state television reported."

  What do UNHCR, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, have to say about this Buddhist mob attack?

  While Ban Ki-moon as he began as Secretary General dodged the question of his religion, he has been reported to be prepared to visit, support and promote a project about the Buddha's birthplace in Lumbini, Nepal (where violence also recently broke out.)

  Most notably to Inner City Press, Ban has remained close with the Buddhist majoritarian government in Sri Lanka, yelling at his own staff in front of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, burying his own Panel of Experts' report, even accepting a Buddhist alleged war criminal, Sri Lanka general Shavendra Silva, as a senior adviser on peacekeeping.

  The vast majority of Buddhists are not only peaceful, but more tranquil than the human average. But Buddhist majority Myanmar denies citizenship and allows violence against Muslim Rohingyas, and Ban and Nambiar (also "active" on Sri Lanka) say nothing.

   Buddhist majority Sri Lanka killed 40,000 Tamils in May 2009, and Ban accepts a general alleged responsible for at least 4,500 of the murders as his adviser on peacekeeping. Then there are attacks and targeting, and anonymous threatening phone calls from Buddhist extremists, to the Press for reporting on this. This is Ban's UN.

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Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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