Burmese President TheinSeinpardoned three local aid workers on Tuesdaywho had been sentenced to jail in a court in the Rakhine town of Maungdaw.
The presidential office released a statement saying the pardon was given with”the loving kindness and generosity of the state.”
The court had charged the aid workerson Friday with arson and promoting hatred between Buddhists and Muslims. Their sentences ranged from two to six years, according to the Myanmar weekly independent Eleven News Journal.
According to the UN News Centre, the threeaid workers include one employee from the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), one from the World Food Programme (WFP) and another working for a UNHCR partner organization.
UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky told the media at UN headquarters in New York that Myanmar authorities didn’t provide the UN officials with any details, according to the UN News Centre.
“The UN has consistently held that formal and precise charges would need to be provided to us before action is taken by the Myanmar authorities. We would like to indicate that the detained staff should be treated in accordance with all the applicable international conventions and immunities they may be entitled to,” Nesirky said.
The UN announced in July that at least ten United Nations employees and members of Doctors without Borders were arrested in Myanmar for questioning by the authorities regarding the clashes between Rohingya Muslims and Buddhists in Rakhine state in western Myanmar, CNN reported.
Five of the detained aid workers were released on 16 August according to Eleven Newspaper, but others are still in detention.
Earlier this month, Tomas Quintana, the U.N.’s Human Rights Rapporteur for Myanmar, visited the Rakhine state and called for the release of the six UN staff members who were detained by the authorities in connection with the events.
The Organisation of Islamic Co-operation is set to send a delegation to Myanmar next week led by the organisation’s General Secretary, EkmeleddinIhsanoglu. This comes after the organization’s extraordinary summit released a 14-point communiqué on 15 August criticising the situation in Myanmar and pressuring the government to stop the widespread discrimination against Rohingya Muslims, reported Gulf Today, an English language newspaper based in United Arab Emirates.
WakarUddin, Director General of the ArakanRohingya Union (ARU), a union for Myanmar Muslims, told Gulf Today that the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is planning to organise a convention in Washington DC from 31 August to 2 September with representatives from all over the world to raise the Rohingya issue on a wider scale.
Violent clashes broke out in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in June between the Buddhist majority and the Rohingya Muslim minority after a Buddhist woman was reportedly raped and killed by Muslims. Since then, the area has been going through a spiral of revenge that has led to at least 90 dead and thousands displaced.