Dialogue will make Myanmar stronger’ – Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Myanmar
‘Dialogue will make Myanmar stronger’ – Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Myanmar
by MIZZIMA january 31, 2019
Christine Schraner Burgener (C), United Nations (UN) Special Envoy for Myanmar, visits a Hindu temple of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Sittwe, Rakhine State, western Myanmar, 23 January 2019. Photo: Nyunt Win/EPA
NAY PYI TAW, Myanmar – The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Myanmar visited the country from 18 to 29 January. According an official statement, she oversaw the installation of her new office in Nay Pyi Taw, where she also met with Union-level ministers and with the Chairperson of the Independent Commission of Enquiry. She travelled to Sittwe, where she engaged with relevant government ministers at the state level, as well as with humanitarian agencies, political parties, civil society and displacement affected communities. The Special Envoy also met with the United Nations agencies, international non-governmental organisations and with the diplomatic community in Yangon.
Her visit to Sittwe focused on the obstacles and potential solutions for freedom of movement, which is restricted for many people in Rakhine state for different reasons. “Freedom of movement is key for all people and their access to livelihoods. Without freedom of movement, children cannot go to local schools, and people still cannot access hospitals,” she said. “It is important to rebuild trust.”
The Special Envoy welcomed efforts by the Union Government to draft a national strategy on “Closure of IDP Camps – Rebuilding Lives of IDPs in Safety and Dignity without Dependency” aimed at addressing and ending forced displacement that so many people all over Myanmar face. She encouraged the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement to implement the strategy through concrete action plans as soon as possible, while adhering to international principles and standards and offering her assistance.
The statement said, the Special Envoy understood that the current security situation in Northern Rakhine State made humanitarian access and the return of refugees to affected areas more difficult. She nevertheless underlined the importance of allowing humanitarian organisations, international and local, to assist the civilian population in that area, and encouraged all sides to cease hostilities as soon as possible.
While expressing her condolences for the loss of life and displacement caused by the Arakan Army (AA) recent attacks by AA and the response by the Tatmadaw, the Special Envoy welcomed efforts by the parties to engage and advocated for an inclusive negotiation process through dialogue. When meeting representatives of the Tatmadaw, she welcomed the unilateral ceasefire declaration announced by the Commander in Chief on 21 December 2018, and urged them to reach out to all the ethnic armed organisations to invite them to dialogue.
“Dialogue will make Myanmar stronger,” the Special Envoy told leaders of the Arakan National Party during her visit to Rakhine. The Special Envoy encouraged them and ministers to publicly stand against discrimination and hate speech, and to embrace Myanmar’s diversity as an asset rather than a weakness.
Contrary to certain media reports, the Special Envoy was not denied access to Northern Rakhine state by the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Her travel plans were established in December, and had not included Northern Rakhine state, as she had chosen to focus on restrictions on freedom of movement and spend substantive time with the people affected by this in and around Sittwe in a first instance, according to the statement.
From: MIZZIMA (myanmar) january 31, 2019