Myanmar Permanent Representative highlights Government’s efforts and progress achieved in the development of Rakhine State

(30-6-2020, Geneva)

The High Commissioner for Human Rights, in pursuant to the Human Rights Council’s resolution S-27/1, presented an oral update on the first day of the 44th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 30th June 2020.

During the session, Permanent Representative of Myanmar U Kyaw Moe Tun delivered a statement in response to the High Commissioner’s oral update on Myanmar, highlighting the following salient points, among others, in pursuit of bringing sustainable peace, stability, harmony, and development in Rakhine State:-

– Firstly, the Government of Myanmar puts special emphasis on the development in Rakhine State. Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP), developed in line with the SDGs, includes actions for the implementation of the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State. Special Economic Zones are being implemented in the state for socio-economic development. Rakhine State Investment Fair was held in 2019. Several vocational trainings have been organized to create employment opportunities.

– Secondly, we are making utmost efforts for social cohesion and harmony among different communities. The Government of Myanmar, in collaboration with local NGOs, has organized over 200 awareness raising and capacity building trainings throughout Rakhine State. Friendly bazaars are also opened in a number of townships in Rakhine with the aim to bring reconciliation. More than 35 youth camps have been organized to build understanding, respect and trust among young people of all communities living in Rakhine State.

– Thirdly, the Government is delivering humanitarian assistance to the people in need in Rakhine. The Government has scaled up its efforts to enhance the provision of humanitarian assistance in coordination with the United Nations and international organisations such as WFP and ICRC, aside from its own delivery of humanitarian assistance to the affected people.

– Fourth, we have been working in good faith for the early repatriation in line with the criteria mentioned in the bilateral agreements. There are many obstacles hindering the commencement of repatriation. But we continue to engage with Bangladesh to implement the agreements for repatriation. Between May 2018 and April 2020, a total of 352 displaced persons returned. In addition, we are working with UNDP, UNHCR and ASEAN Team.

– Fifth, Myanmar is willing and able to address the issue of accountability. The domestic justice system of a country must be respected. The Criminal Investigation and Prosecution Body was formed based on the report submitted by the Independent Commission of Inquiry (ICOE) in January 2020. Moreover, the Tatmataw is conducting its court of inquiry.

– Sixth, in November 2019, the Government adopted the “National Strategic Plan for Resettlement of IDPs and Closure of IDP Camps”. The strategy also includes the plan to close IDP camps in Rakhine State.

– Finally, the internet service in some townships in Rakhine State and Paletwa township of Chin State were suspended to prevent the exploitation of the services by the AA to incite hatred among different ethnic groups and to deter their terrorist acts such as the detonation of IEDs or remote landmines. But mobile phone and SMS services are still intact.

Speaking on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Permanent Representative stated that Myanmar’s challenges are further exacerbated by the unexpected Covid-19. He informed the Council that Myanmar has begun preventive measures in the early stages of the outbreak, since January 2020, based on the principle of leaving no one left behind which covers all vulnerable communities. He further apprised the Council that the Government is working with ICRC for prevention, control and treatment of COVID-19 in old and new IDP camps to effectively address potential COVID-19 outbreak at IDP camps in Rakhine State.

In Conclusion, he affirmed that Myanmar is resolute to overcome these long and complex challenges with the concerted and relentless efforts despite numerous challenges. He urged the international community, instead of imposing impediments, to extend helping hands in a constructive and sincere manner to Myanmar in our efforts for finding a sustainable solution towards a peaceful and prosperous country, stressing that “we are committed to working together with all those who share our desire to ensure full enjoyment of human rights by all people and reject all forms of politicization”.