News

  • United Nations Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener conducted her first official visit to Myanmar from 12 to 21 June. In Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon and Rakhine state, she met among others with State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Speaker of Pyithu Hluttaw U T Khun Myat, Speaker of Amyotha Hluttaw U Mahn Win Khine Than, Minister in the State Counsellor’s Office U Kyaw Tint Swe, Chair of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw's Legal Affairs and Special Cases Assessment Commission Thura Shwe Mann, Chairman of the Election Commission U Hla Thein, the Rakhine State Government including Chief Minister U Nyi Pu, conflict-affected communities and families in Rakhine state, the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), people currently displaced along the international border between Myanmar and Bangladesh, representatives of Myanmar’s civil society, members of women associations, as well as with the United Nations country team, the diplomatic community and international NGOs. In all meetings, she stressed the need for inclusive solutions that integrated the views and important voices of women. The Special Envoy expresses her sincere appreciation to the Government of Myanmar and other interlocutors for their warm welcome and excellent organization of her visit. She also thanks the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and the United Nations country team for their support.

  • What would you do if you were forced to leave your home? Today, more than 68 million people around the world are refugees or internally displaced as a result of conflict or persecution. That is equivalent to the population of the world’s 20th largest country. Last year, someone was displaced every two seconds. Mostly, in poorer countries. On World Refugee Day, we must all think about what more we can we do to help. The answer begins with unity and solidarity. I am deeply concerned to see more and more situations where refugees are not receiving the protection they need and to which they are entitled. We need to re-establish the integrity of the international refugee protection regime. In today’s world, no community or country providing safe refuge to people fleeing war or persecution should be alone and unsupported. We stand together, or we fail. This year, a Global Compact on Refugees will be presented to the UN General Assembly. It offers a way forward and recognizes the contributions that refugees make to the societies hosting them.

  • The International Day of Peace, observed every year on 21 September, embodies our shared aspiration to end conflict in all its forms and to safeguard the human rights of all people. It is a day on which the United Nations calls for a 24-hour global ceasefire, with the hope that one day in our lifetime we will witness an end to violence. Yet there is more to achieving peace than laying down weapons. True peace requires standing up for the human rights of all the world’s people. That is why this year’s theme for the International Day of Peace is: “The Right to Peace – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70”. As the observance approaches, let us re-double our efforts to address the root causes of conflict and advance our work for the Sustainable Development Goals, including by promoting inclusive societies, providing access to justice and building accountable institutions. Let us stand up for human rights for all in the name of peace for all.

  • The Secretary-General welcomes the Memorandum of Understanding reached by the Government of Myanmar, UNHCR, and UNDP on the UN system’s support to creating conditions conducive to voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable Rohingya refugee returns from Bangladesh, and their reintegration in Rakhine State. As these conditions are not yet in place, he welcomes the agreement by the Government of Myanmar to take this first step to address the root causes of the conflict in Rakhine. The Secretary-General encourages Myanmar to take decisive steps to implement the agreement. He also reiterates his call for an end to violence, accountability for perpetrators, redress for victims, humanitarian access to all areas in Rakhine State, and the implementation of the recommendations of the Rakhine Advisory Commission.

  • Today UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and UNDP, the UN Development Programme, signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in Nay Pyi Taw. This MoU is a first and necessary step to establish a framework for cooperation between the UN and the Government aimed at creating conducive conditions for the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable repatriation of refugees from Bangladesh and for helping to create improved and resilient livelihoods for all communities living in Rakhine State.

  • Interview with Sakhorn Boongullaya, head of WFP field office in Kachin What are you focused on now? First of all, we’re focused on our school meals programme. Every day we’re providing 40,000 girls and boys enrolled in primary schools in Kachin with nutritious midday snacks that help them learn more and better prepare for life. WFP supplies the biscuits to the Ministry of Education which distributes them to schools. Currently, we’re reaching 75 percent of all primary school students. The other focus of our operation is the provision of the basic food assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) who fled conflicts in 2011 and later. We’re currently assisting 46,000 people in 100 camps in government-controlled areas (the United Nations has not had access to non-government-controlled areas since mid-2016). In the beginning, we were providing in-kind food assistance to them, such as rice, beans, oil and salt. Since January 2016, we have shifted to cash transfers.

  • GENEVA/NEW YORK (31 May 2018) – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and UNDP, the UN Development Programme, agreed today in Nay Pyi Taw with the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar on the text for the tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). It is planned that the MoU will be signed in the course of the next week, the exact date of which is still to be confirmed. This tripartite Memorandum will establish a framework for cooperation aimed at creating the conditions conducive to the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable repatriation of Rohingya refugees to their places of origin or of their choosing. Since the conditions are not conducive for voluntary return yet, the MoU is the first and necessary step to support the Government’s efforts to change that situation and is also intended to support recovery and resilience-based development for the benefit of all communities living in Rakhine State.

  • NEW YORK, 29 May 2018 The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Virginia Gamba, visited Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw from 27 to 29 May 2018. During her visit she met with State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi; the Deputy Commander in Chief of Defense Services Vice Senior General Soe Win; the Minister of Defense Lt. General Sein Win; the Minister of International Cooperation U Kyaw Tin; the Minister of Labor, Immigration and Population, H.E U Thein Swe; the Union Attorney-General U Tun Tun Oo; the Director General of Social Welfare, Dr. San San Aye, the Joint Monitoring Committee; and with representatives of the United Nations country team, the international community and civil society.

  • Eleven UN agencies and Embassies are flying the rainbow flag today in support of diversity and inclusion for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons (LGBTI) in Myanmar on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. This day marks the decision of the World Health Organization to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder on 17 May 1990. Since then, we have seen encouraging progress worldwide. Almost 40 countries now legally recognize same-sex couples. Some are looking at making it easier for transgender people to have their gender legally recognized. However, the progress is not even. Discrimination persists in many countries on grounds of sexual orientation and LGBTI people face stigma, violence and human rights abuse. Myanmar, like many countries in the region, has old colonial laws criminalizing same-sex relations. While these are rarely enforced, they nevertheless contribute to a hostile environment for LGBTI people.

  • I have been following with concern the reports of numerous civilian casualties resulting from recent clashes between the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Government security forces in Muse Township in Northern Shan State. I urge all relevant parties to exercise maximum restraint in protecting the civilian population from further casualties, and to allow the delivery of humanitarian assistance to affected communities. The armed conflict continues to extract a heavy toll upon Myanmar society, and I express my sincere condolences to all families that have lost loved ones in this incident. The UN encourages all parties to re-double their efforts to advance the Peace Process, and offers its full support to finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

  • (Yangon, 2 May 2018): “Ten years ago today, Myanmar was devastated by cyclone Nargis – by far the worst natural disaster in the country’s history. The cyclone made landfall near Hainggyikyun in Ayeyarwady Region on 2 May 2008, with wind speeds of up to 200 kilometres per hour, accompanied by heavy rain and storm surges of up to 12 metres in certain areas. The cyclone left approximately 140,000 people dead or unaccounted for, with close to 2.4 million people affected in 37 townships in Ayeyarwady and Yangon regions. On behalf of the United Nations, on this day that marks ten years since Cyclone Nargis, I would like to commemorate all those who died and who lost their loved ones in the tragic disaster. At the same time, I would like to take this opportunity to commend the strength and resilience of the people of Myanmar. Not only did they show courage in rebuilding their lives and their ruined communities in the immediate aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, but – drawing from the lessons of this disaster – they have contributed since then to Government-led efforts to reduce risks and to enhance disaster preparedness and response.

  • (Yangon, 20 April 2018): “I am deeply concerned about reports of an escalation in armed conflict in several areas of Kachin State since 7 April. I have been particularly alarmed of reports of civilian casualties and the plight of communities affected by the fighting in Tanai and Hpakant townships, while other areas have been gravely affected as well. This includes possibly up to 2,000 people who reportedly have been displaced from Awng Lawt, Sut Ring Yang and Sut Ra villages in Tanai Township. They are said to be sheltering in a remote forest area and unable to leave. These civilians include women, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women, children, elderly people, sick and injured people, who are in a dire situation and in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and protection. In Hpakant, civilians in Hlaing Naung Hku village are similarly reported to be unable to leave the area affected by fighting to safer locations.

  • The Secretary-General is shocked at reports today of remarks attributed to Myanmar Senior General U Min Aung Hlaing. He urges all leaders in Myanmar to take a unified stance against incitement to hatred and to promote communal harmony. Such leadership is critically needed to advance institutional measures to combat discrimination and implement the recommendations of the Rakhine Advisory Commission. The Secretary-General reiterates the importance of addressing the root causes of the violence and the responsibility of the Government of Myanmar to provide security and assistance to those in need. Meanwhile, it is critical that conditions are put in place to ensure that the Rohingya are able to return home voluntarily, in safety and in dignity. Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General New York, 26 March 2018

  • The United Nations in Myanmar wishes to clarify inaccurate references to international guidelines on urban and territorial planning for prospective returnees in an article published by 7 Days news on 13 March 2018 and an article published by RFA on 23 February 2018. The international guidelines on Housing and Property Restitution and Urban and Territorial Planning provide guidance for urban development in the context of resettlement. They apply to refugees and displaced persons who were arbitrarily or unlawfully deprived of their former homes, lands, properties or places of habitual residence, regardless of the circumstances by which displacement occurred. Human rights protection is at the core of the guidelines. The principles do not call for land clearance or leveling of villages, as is inaccurately suggested in the concerned articles. The principles promote inclusive planning process with the participation of returning communities.

  • Excellencies, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen: I am pleased to be here today on the occasion of the International Women’s Day to deliver the message from the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The importance of the Secretary-General's statement lies in the fact that across the world terrible injustices continue to happen to women -- and much more needs to be done for women's equality and empowerment. Since ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 1997, nearly 21 years ago, Myanmar has made many efforts to fulfill its treaty obligations. For example, the National Strategic Plan for the Advancement of Women, for example, offers an integrated approach to improving the situation of women and girls in Myanmar, to realize women's rights. The work on the law on Prevention of Violence Against Women is also an important step forward, and we are happy to continue our support towards finalizing the law. A strengthened civil society and more enabling policy environment has paved the way for an increase in the participation of girls and women in education and in the economy. All these efforts are noteworthy. At the same time as true friends of Myanmar we cannot ignore the challenges that Myanmar faces.

  • UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is concerned about the safety of a group of vulnerable Rohingya women, men, and children from Myanmar, who have been living in a so-called “no man’s land” near the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh since the end of August 2017. UNHCR is closely following the developments after they were reportedly ordered to vacate the area by the Myanmar authorities. UNHCR underscores that everyone has the right to seek asylum, just as they also have the right to return home when they deem the time and circumstances right. People who have fled violence in their country must be granted safety and protection and any decision to return must be voluntary and based upon a free and informed choice.

  • Excellencies, As this is the first time I have the opportunity to address a UN body after the Security Council resolution of last Saturday on Syria, allow me please to say a few words in that regard. As you know I welcome the Security Council’s adoption of a resolution demanding a cessation of hostilities throughout Syria for at least 30 days. But Security Council resolutions are only meaningful if they are effectively implemented. And that is why I expect the resolution to be immediately implemented and sustained, particularly to ensure the immediate, safe, unimpeded and sustained delivery of humanitarian aid and services, the evacuation of the critically sick and the wounded and the alleviation of the suffering of the Syrian people. As you know, the United Nations is ready to do its part. As I had the opportunity to say in the Security Council itself a few days ago, in particular eastern Ghouta cannot wait. It is high time to stop this hell on earth.

  • Excellencies, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen Mingalabar Shin. Both, the Resident Coordinator and I are speaking on behalf of the Cooperation Partners Group or CPG, an inclusive and democratic group that enables bilateral donors, UN agencies, and international financial institutions which provide development assistance to speak with one voice. We very much welcome today’s event as an opportunity for dialogue with the Myanmar Government and hope we can make it as interactive as possible. We would like to congratulate Myanmar on the substantial achievements – the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan, the Development Assistance Policy, and the Sector Coordination Groups – and on having made these within the framework of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the SDGs. We are looking forward to working with the Myanmar Government when now moving from words to action.

  • Mingalabar. I’m speaking on behalf of the Cooperation Partners Group or CPG. We welcome today’s Roundtable as an opportunity for an interactive dialogue about sustainable development of Myanmar. Congratulations to the Government for convening this meeting and for the initiative on the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan and its alignment with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the SDGs. We look forward to supporting its implementation. We welcome this consultation process and, in particular, the presence of representatives from States and Regions which demonstrates a broad consultative process and support for the Plan and policies.

  • Nay Pyi Taw, 22 February 2018 Representatives of the Governments of Japan and Myanmar and seven United Nations agencies signed today agreements totaling US$ 20 million to implement a number of humanitarian and development projects benefitting people of all communities in Rakhine State. “This partnership demonstrates the commitment of the international community to help find and implement solutions to the situation in Rakhine State,” said Knut Ostby, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim in Myanmar. The seven agencies, IOM, UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UN Women and WFP will provide a range of food and development assistance throughout Rakhine State. The participating agencies will integrate their activities – in line with the humanitarian-development-peace nexus – to achieve better results. “Our immediate concern is provision of humanitarian aid to people in need – irrespective of their religion, ethnicity, gender or citizenship status,” added Knut Ostby. “At the same time, more than 40 percent of people in Rakhine live in poverty and we have to reach them with development assistance in order to set the State on the path to peace and inclusive growth.” The Myanmar’s Minister of Social Welfare, Rehabilitation and Resettlement H.E. Mr. Win Myat Aye, Ambassador of Japan H.E. Mr. Tateshi Higuchi and representatives of the United Nations participated in the signing ceremony in Nay Pyi Taw.