News

  • Jan 11, 2019

    Opening Remarks by UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator ai Knut Ostby, 2018 Myanmar Opium Survey Launch

    Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to the launch of the 2018 Opium Survey and thank you to colleagues at UNODC for producing the important report. The challenge of drug abuse is among the most complex problems we face worldwide. Opium and heroin deteriorate health and well-being, destroy families and communities, and prevent sustainable development. They are interconnected with corruption, organized crime, violence, and illicit flows of money. Illicit drug trade is a critical, transnational problem that demands a national and global response. I commend the Government of Myanmar for taking effective actions. The 2018 Myanmar Opium Survey found that opium poppy cultivation area in Shan and Kachin – the main production centers – reduced by 12 percent from 2017. This trend needs to be recognized. At the same time, Myanmar remains the second largest opium producer in the world. The drug problem affects the prospect of Myanmar’s ambitious peace, political and economic transitions.

  • Jan 9, 2019

    Note to correspondents

    The Acting Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Myanmar, Knut Ostby, is deeply concerned about the situation in northern and central Rakhine State, where an estimated 4,500 people have been displaced so far due to fighting between the Arakan Army and Myanmar’s security forces. Mr. Ostby was shocked by the reports of attacks on 4 January, regrets the loss of life and offers his deepest sympathies to the families of the police officers who were killed. The Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator urges all sides to ensure the protection of all civilians and uphold their responsibilities under International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law. Mr. Ostby further appeals to all sides to intensify efforts to find a peaceful solution to the situation and to ensure humanitarian access to all people affected by the violence. The United Nations has been in close contact with the Myanmar authorities in recent weeks and has offered to support ongoing efforts to respond to the humanitarian needs of those affected by the violence.

  • Jan 1, 2019

    UN Secretary-General’s 2019 New Year’s Message

    Dear fellow citizens of the world, I wish you a happy, peaceful and prosperous new year. Last New Year, I issued a red alert, and the dangers I mentioned still persist. These are anxious times for many, and our world is undergoing a stress test. Climate change is running faster than we are. Geo-political divisions are deepening, making conflicts more difficult to resolve. And record numbers of people are moving in search of safety and protection. Inequality is growing. And people are questioning a world in which a handful of people hold the same wealth as half of humanity. Intolerance is on the rise. Trust is on the decline. But there are also reasons for hope. The talks on Yemen have created a chance for peace. The agreement signed in Riyadh in September between Ethiopia and Eritrea has eased long-running tensions and brought improved prospects to an entire region. And the agreement between the parties to the conflict in South Sudan has revitalized chances for peace, bringing more progress in the past four months than in the previous four years.

  • Dec 21, 2018

    Note to Correspondents

    UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. Andrew Kirkwood welcomes the announcement by the Office of the Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Services of a ceasefire from 21 December 2018 to 30 April 2019 with the goal of enabling peace talks and national reconciliation with all Ethnic Armed Organizations, including non-signatories to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement. UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. expresses hope that this step will provide a new impetus to Myanmar’s peace process and effectively bring an end to fighting between the Tatmadaw and Ethnic Armed Organizations during this period and beyond. The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. encourages all actors to take advantage of this moment to cease hostilities and further efforts to find peace. The UN reaffirms its deep commitment to supporting the Myanmar peace process.

  • Dec 9, 2018

    Opening remarks by UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator ai Knut Ostby at Human Rights Day event organized by the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission

    Ministers, Chairperson of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, Representative of the Myanmar National Committee for Women’s affairs, Representative of the Myanmar Press Council (members of the diplomatic community), ladies and gentlemen. First of all, I want to thank the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, in particular Chairperson U Win Mra for inviting me to this important event. Before making some more personal remarks, I would like to take the opportunity to read the message from the UN Secretary-General for Human Rights Day: “For 70 years, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been a global beacon – shining a light for dignity, equality and well-being … and bringing hope to dark places. The rights proclaimed in the Declaration apply to everyone -- no matter our race, belief, location or other distinction of any kind.

  • Dec 9, 2018

    UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator remarks at UN Human Rights Day event in Yangon

    Excellencies, Chairperson of Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, U Win Mra, ladies and gentlemen, Thank you all for joining us today. Thank you to Goethe Institute and partners who have organized this event. The adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 70 years ago was a pivotal moment in modern history. The Declaration proclaimed, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It stated that human rights apply to everyone, everywhere. As the UN Secretary-General said, it brought hope to dark places. But, we can’t take human rights for granted. People are being denied rights in different parts of the world. We are therefore standing up today for human rights for everyone, everywhere, including in Myanmar.

  • Dec 4, 2018

    Opening remarks by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator ai Knut Ostby Government-organized workshop on national strategy for the closure of IDP camps

    Your excellency, Union Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, U Win Myat Aye, Dignitaries, Distinguished Participants, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen. I am pleased to be here today and deliver opening remarks at this inter-ministerial meeting organized by the Government of Myanmar and the Committee for the Implementation of the Recommendations on Rakhine State. I would like to recognize the Government and the Committee for its commitment to prioritize the recommendations and commend them for their leadership in their implementation. The world recognizes it is a tremendous task. Yesterday, the Myanmar Times reported that His Excellency Union Minister Win Myat Aye “urged the public’s help in implementing the recommendations.” Allow me to assure you that we stand ready to support you. When we last met on 13 August, I said in my opening remarks that “we are prepared to redouble our efforts” in supporting the government to implement the recommendations.

  • Dec 4, 2018

    Opening Remarks by UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator ai Knut Ostby at inter-ministerial meeting of the Government of Myanmar and the Committee for Implementation of Recommendations on Rakhine State

    Your excellency, Union Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, U Win Myat Aye, Dignitaries, Distinguished Participants, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen. I am pleased to be here today and deliver opening remarks at this inter-ministerial meeting organized by the Government of Myanmar and the Committee for the Implementation of the Recommendations on Rakhine State. I would like to recognize the Government and the Committee for its commitment to prioritize the recommendations and commend them for their leadership in their implementation. The world recognizes it is a tremendous task. Yesterday, the Myanmar Times reported that His Excellency Union Minister Win Myat Aye “urged the public’s help in implementing the recommendations.” Allow me to assure you that we stand ready to support you. When we last met on 13 August, I said in my opening remarks that “we are prepared to redouble our efforts” in supporting the government to implement the recommendations. Our commitment to work with you is as strong as ever. This is documented by the numerous statements for their implementation, including by the UN Secretary-General.