Buddhist monk Wirathu (C), leader of the 969 movement, greets other monks
Buddhist monk Wirathu (C), leader of the 969 movementReuters

Myanmar's ultra-nationalist Buddhist monk Wirathu has called the UN's special rapporteur for human rights in Burma a "whore" during a public address in Yangon.

The leader of the controversial 969 nationalist movement hit back at Yanghee Lee for an earlier comment in defence of the stateless Rohingya Muslims, who are persecuted in the country's western Rakhine state.

In a video made public and translated by the Democratic Voice of Burma, Wirathu calls Yanghee Lee a "bitch" for expressing human rights concerns over the Race Protection Laws.

The legislation, proposed by Buddhist nationalist groups, includes new regulations on religious conversion, interfaith marriage, population control and monogamy, with critics complaining that it will foster sectarianism and limit women's freedom in the divided country.

"We have already made public our Race Protection Law, but without even studying it, this bitch [kaungma in Burmese] keeps on complaining about how it is against human rights!" Wirathu shouted.

"Can this whore really be from a respectable family background?" he asked to the crowd, which promptly replied "No!"

"Don't assume you are a respectable person, just because you have a position in the UN," the monk continued. "In our country, you are just a whore.You may offer your arse to the kalars [derogatory term for Muslims] but you will never sell off our Rakhine state."

Violence against Myanmar's Muslims has intensified over the past two years, incited by extremist monks and the virulent anti-Muslim '969' campaign, which espouses hate and urges Buddhists to boycott Muslim businesses.

Much of the sectarian violence has taken place in the western Rakhine state, where clashes between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in 2012 left about 200 people dead and tens of thousands displaced.

In January 2014, Burmese police set fire to at least 70 Rohingya homes in the village of Du Char Yar Tan, where at least 48 Muslims were said to have been killed by a Buddhist mob.

Wirathu, fresh from serving a nine-year jail term for inciting anti-Muslim prejudice, got back into the spotlight by sending anti-Muslim sermons around the world through social media

Rohingya Muslims are stateless and live in segregated conditions in the western Rakhine state. They are considered as unwelcome migrants from Bangladesh in the last century by the Myanmar government and local Burmese.

The state-run press differentiates between "locals" (i.e. Arakan Buddhists) and "Bengalis" to indicate Rohingya, although they have been living in the Rakhine state for generations.