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Ministry of Foreign Affairs Responds to Mr. Tomas Ojea Quintana’s Statement

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Press Release

  • 1. Mr. Tomas Ojea Quintana, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the: situation of human rights in Myanmar visited Myanmar from 13th to 19th February: 2014. The Government of Myanmar has facilitated all places he would like to visit: including Yangon, Sittwe, Myitkyina, Sagaing and Nay Pyi Taw and meetings with: respective officials he asked for.:
  •  2. Before his departure from Myanmar, Mr. Quintana made a press statement: at Yangon International Airport on 19th February 2014 at 18:15 hrs. Some positive: points have been observed in his press statement. However, it still contains many: allegations. The Government of Myanmar categorically rejects these allegations.:
  • 3. The following are responses by the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to: his allegations:: 
  • (a) His allegation:: “If the recently established Investigation Commission formed by the: President regarding Ducheeratan incident fails to carry out an: investigation that meets international standards, he will urge the UN: Human Rights Council to establish a credible investigation to: uncover the truth of what happened there and to hold anyone: responsible for human rights violations to account”.: 

    Response:: It is a pessimistic prejudgment to ask the UN Human Rights Council: to get involved in the investigation if the recently-established: Investigation Commission formed by the President of the Republic of: the Union of Myanmar concerning Ducheeratan incident fails to: carry out an investigation that meets international standards even: before the Commission has reported its finding on the incident;: - It is not necessary to involve international organizations in the: investigation process since the investigation commission formed by: the President is independent, and it comprises of 10 members who: are from well-respected personnel in the community and religious: elders among others. The Commission will present its report directly: to the President on 28th February 2014.: - It is obvious that Mr. Quintana has blatantly interfered in the: internal affairs of a country by issuing a prejudiced statement,: amounting to meddling with the decision-making process of a: 2: Ministry of Foreign Affairs—Feb 2014: sovereign State with his call for the involvement of UN Human: Rights Council in the international affairs of the country.: - The Special Rapporteur should provide detailed facts to the: Government of Myanmar if he may have any. It is counterproductive: and may have negative impact on the harmony and: solidarity already achieved among the communities by his: pessimistic statement based on any unverified information.:
  •  (b) His allegation:: “Muslim communities remain segregated from Buddhist: communities and their freedom of movement restricted.”: 

    Response:: - It is known that sufficient amount of time is required to build trust: and confidence between the two communities and they should not be: compelled to live side-by-side immediately.: - The Government, together with religious and community leaders,: has encouraged and facilitated interfaith dialogues and community: dialogues in Rakhine State since June 2012.: - It is crucial for non-Rakhine community to accept the population: verification process—an initial step for resettlement and access to: livelihoods, freedom of movement and citizenship among others.: - It will help the international community to better understand the: situation there if the Special Rapporteur may wish to highlight these: underlying difficulties.: 
  • (c) His allegation:: “Humanitarian organizations providing life- saving assistance were: being increasingly threatened.”: 

    Response:: - The Government and local authorities in Rakhine State are trying: their utmost to facilitate the humanitarian agencies working there to: provide necessary assistance to the needed ones.: 3: Ministry of Foreign Affairs—Feb 2014: - On the other hand, it is imperative for the humanitarian agencies to: conduct their aid activities in a transparent and fair manner. In: recent months, several protests were staged against certain: humanitarian agencies in Sittway, Mrauk-U, Pauk Taw, Maung Taw: and Bu Thee Taung. The local populace who has staged protests: against humanitarian agencies are questioning their impartiality and: calling upon their activities to be transparent. It is perceived by the: local community that certain agencies working in Rakhine State have: been stirring up disruption of the stability there.: 
  • (d) Mr. Quintana demands for release of so-called prisoners of: conscience, Dr. Tun Aung, Kyaw Hla Aung and 3 INGO workers.: - It is, in fact, the three locally-recruited INGO workers, who are not: expatriate staff, were arrested and detained under Section 436 of the: Penal Code for their involvement in arson attacks on Bo Hmuu: Village and Waitharli Village in connection with the communal: violence that occurred in Rakhine State in June 2012. They had been: employed as driver, security staff and food distributor.: - Tun Aung was charged under Sections 153 (a)/505(c) of the Penal: Code and under several charges including Section 6 (1), the: falsification of national registration certificate and was sentenced: accordingly in 2012.: - Kyaw Hla Aung was charged under Section 148/333/150 of the Penal: Code for his involvement in inciting a violent attack on the civil: service personnel who were conducting the population verification: work in Thetkaipyin village in Sittway in April 2013.: 
  • (e) His allegation:: “The offence of the Tatmadaw and human rights violations in Kachin: State”: 
    Response:: - It is simply unfitting that the UN Special Rapporteur makes: allegations based on unverified information against the military: 4: Ministry of Foreign Affairs—Feb 2014: operation and human rights violations of the Tatmataw in Kachin: State.: - The Government has been exerting utmost efforts to promote the: situation of human rights all over Myanmar since its assumption of: the responsibility of the State. The Government is also working for: the signing of international treaties on human rights.:

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Nay Pyi Taw:
    Dated, 27th February 2014

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