UN envoy meets officials, CSOS in Kachin
UN Special Envoy to Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener met with Kachin State officials and representatives of local civil society organisations to get their feedback on the current situation in the state.
Thousands of refugees remain in temporary shelters in Kachin amid continuing clashes between government forces and the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA).
Burgener arrived on October 11 for her second visit to the country since she was appointed special envoy. She is to leave Myanmar on Saturday.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Schraner Burgener arrived in Sittwe on October 13, met with civil society organisations, and visited Nidin village in Kyauktaw township, Rakhine, where a camp for internally displaced people was closed in August.
“The UN envoy observed the improvement of housing conditions for displaced people from the camp,” a statement from the ministry said.
U Narsot, a resident of Nidin, said the UN envoy also visited Khaung Tote village and met people from both communities. He added that leaders of the villages discussed freedom of movement, education and health with the UN envoy.
“We Muslim people can’t move freely, so we asked the envoy to help us,” said U Narsot on Monday.
He said people have been living in the area for years, but their access to education, health and freedom of movement has worsened since 2012.
U Chit Myo Oo, an official of Maungdaw township, said Schraner Burgener also met refugees from Muslim and Hindu communities who fled to Bangladesh and returned on their own to Shwe Zar village during her visit to Maungdaw.
U Tun Aung Kyaw, secretary of the Arakan National Party in Sittwe, said the special envoy spoke with civil society organisations about how to live peacefully together.
He added she discussed refugee repatriation, including all parties in any resolution, implementation of government solutions, and the need to resolve the issues in the region.
The special envoy has also met during her visit with State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. They discussed the repatriation of displaced people under the agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh, and the progress of the Independent Commission of Enquiry in addressing the challenges in Myanmar, including Rakhine.
The UN envoy also met with Vice Senior General Soe Win, deputy commander-in-chief of Defence Services, to discuss Rakhine and the use of child soldiers by the military.
According to the office of the Commander-in-chief, the military wanted to tell the international community “the truth about Rakhine”.
Burgener’s visit came as nine of the 15 members of the UN Security Council – Britain, France, Ivory Coast, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Sweden, and the United States – asked for a meeting later this month with the head of the UN fact-finding mission on Rakhine that urged prosecution of senior Myanmar military officials for alleged human rights abuses in northern Rakhine.
Hau Do Suan, Myanmar’s UN ambassador, expressed opposition to the meeting in a letter on Tuesday, warning that it would be “a dangerous attempt that will end in utter failure”.
In an August report, the mission said the Myanmar military “acted with genocidal intent” against northern Rakhine Muslims in a brutal crackdown launched in response to deadly attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on government outposts on August 25 last year.
Over 700,000 northern Rakhine Muslims fled to neighbouring Bangladesh in the aftermath of the military campaign.
China and Russia, who are key supporters of Myanmar, will likely use their veto power to prevent the Security Council from imposing sanctions on Myanmar. But according to Security Council rules, it cannot prevent the meeting because the nine members who made the request met the required minimum to approve an agenda item.