UN en­voy meets of­fi­cials, CSOS in Kachin

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - News - OC­TO­BER 19, 2018 NYAN LYNN AUNG nyan­lin­aung@mm­times.com

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.

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