A Canadian ambassador has retracted a New Year's day tweet about the pristine beaches of Myanmar following an outcry from human rights activists.
Peter MacArthur, Canada's ambassador to Indonesia, was urged by his government to delete private holiday snaps he posted on Monday morning, praising Myanmar's serene coastline.
He was visiting his wife Karen MacArthur, who serves as the ambassador to Myanmar, also known as Burma.
"First day of 2018 unfolded on a Myanmar beach where the great surf is pleasingly turquoise coloured, warm, clear and clean – perfect for snorkelling to visit with nature and the fish," he wrote on the social media site, along with three photos of the scene.
The post contrasted starkly with recent devastating images of hundreds of thousands of fleeing Muslim Rohingya refugees, many of whom have been left starving on beaches or forced to cram into dangerous boats while trying to escape a bloody military crackdown into neighbouring Bangladesh.
The crass comparison was not lost on exasperated Twitter users, among them human rights lawyer Kate Cronin-Furman:
It also raised concerns in Ottawa, where the Canadian government has strongly condemned escalating violence in Myanmar and dispatched special envoy Bob Rae to document the challenges on the ground.
"The government of Canada takes the situation in Myanmar very seriously and is deeply concerned by the ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity that are occurring there," Brianne Maxwell, a spokesperson told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
"Ambassador MacArthur was advised to delete the tweet in question," she said.
Canada has been one of the most outspoken critics of the actions of Myanmar's government and military against the Rohingya ethnic minority.
In an interim report late last year, compiled after visiting refugee camps, Rae accused Myanmar troops of committing sexual violence against Rohingya women in a concerted effort to inflict trauma.
"Allegations of crimes against humanity need to be addressed directly by the international community, and there is a need for post-traumatic measures to help those who survived this ordeal," he wrote.