YANGON, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar President U Thein Sein has voiced commitment to ensure peace and stability in western Rakhine state and carry out successful national census.
U Thein Sein made the remarks in a telephone conversation with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Monday, Myanmar government's Information Team said in a press statement Wednesday.
U Thein Sein told Ban that Myanmar government has taken necessary measures to ensure the safety and protection of all members of UN agencies and humanitarian aid agencies following the outbreak of riot in Rakhine state capital of Sittway on March 26- 27.
The government has made arrangement for the staff and aid workers leaving Sittway while providing safety and protection to those who wish to retain in Sittway, he said.
He assured Ban that an investigation commission has been formed to probe into the riot and will take necessary action against the offenders under law.
He disclosed that 20 international observers are monitoring Myanmar's census throughout the country which is being carried out in line with international standard with the cooperation of UN Population Fund (UNFPA).
The president thanked Ban for the humanitarian assistance provided by U.N., expressing his desire to continue to cooperate with the U.N. and international organizations for effective delivery of humanitarian assistance.
Riot, which targeted offices and residences of international aid groups, broke out on March 26-27, in which a number of Sittway- based offices of international aid groups, including ICRC, UNHCR, WFP, were attacked by hundreds of unidentified local ethnic demonstrators.
The unrest was triggered by the taking down of a Buddhist flag by a female project coordinator of a humanitarian organization. The flag was hoisted near the office of the organization which was said to stand as a symbol of boycotting the government's nationwide census which started on March 30.
Following the incident, the Myanmar authorities claimed to have so far evacuated some 38 foreigners working for U.N. agencies and international non-governmental organizations (INGO) based in Sittway and the remaining 29 are being protected under Myanmar's security measure.
After the incident, Myanmar's Rakhine state government imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Sittway on March 27 night in a bid to prevent violence from spreading further.
The Myanmar government formed a five-member investigation commission, headed by Minister of Border Affairs Maj-Gen Maung Maung Ohn, to probe into the incident and the commission is tasked to report to the president on April 7.
Tension has prevailed in Rakhine state ahead of the nationwide census which is the first in three decades.
However, in the latest development, the Rakhine ethnic community has stopped boycotting census after the Rakhine state census-taking authorities formally announced rejection of the use of Rohingya as Myanmar's ethnic people.