Press Release

PRESS RELEASE: UNFPA Statement on Myanmar Census and Violence in Rakhine State

28 March 2014

YANGON—UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is very concerned about the mob attacks on international NGO and UN offices in Sittwe yesterday, and supports the call by the UN Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator (a.i.) on the Government to ensure the protection of the humanitarian and development community in Rakhine State.

  • All UNFPA staff are accounted for and safe. UNFPA will retain essential staff, and will continue to assess the need for any further action as the situation develops.

  • UNFPA is concerned by reports linking the riots to mounting tensions in Rakhine State in relation to the Myanmar census, which is due to begin on March 30.

  • In accordance with international standards and human rights principles, and as part of its agreement with the UN and donors, the Government has made a commitment that everyone who is in the country will be counted in the census, and all respondents will have the option to self-identify their ethnicity. This commitment cannot be honoured selectively in the face of intimidation or threats of violence.

  • Reliable census data can only come from an enumeration in which the safety and security of enumerators and respondents is assured. Respondents must feel safe to answer all questions freely, and enumerators must be able to record the answers faithfully, without fear or intimidation.

  • Official actions to address security concerns during the census must not compromise the commitment to uphold international standards and human rights principles. Any measure adopted must guarantee the right of all people to participate in a census that is conducted in a fair, inclusive and uniform manner in every state and for every community.