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  • The Acting Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Knut Ostby is deeply concerned about new reports of fighting between the Arakan Army and Myanmar security forces which continue to cause civilian casualties and displacement of communities in Rakhine State. Mr. Ostby urges all sides of the conflict to ensure the protection of civilians, resolve differences through peaceful means, uphold their responsibilities under International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law, including the preservation of sites of cultural heritage. Mr. Ostby calls for effective humanitarian access to populations in need of aid, particularly the children, women, elderly and other affected people. The United Nations is in contact with the Myanmar authorities and stands ready to continue with the humanitarian support to the affected civilian populations.

  • 19 March: the Acting Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator issued a statement expressing a concern about new reports of fighting between the Arakan Army and Myanmar security forces. “Mr. Ostby urges all sides of the conflict to ensure the protection of civilians, resolve differences through peaceful means, uphold their responsibilities under International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law, including the preservation of sites of cultural heritage.” 15 March: Secretary-General’s spokesperson commented on situation in Rakhine State: “the situation there is deeply concerning, with continued and spreading fighting between the Myanmar security forces and the Arakan Army. We condemn attacks against security personnel and express our sympathy for the victims and their families.” 11 March: Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee delivers a statement to the Human Rights Council: “the situation in Myanmar must be referred to the ICC by the Security Council.” 11 March: Secretary-General’s spokesperson commented on situation in Rakhine State: “Overall, 9,000 people have been displaced by fighting since late last year across Rakhine and Chin States. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says it is working closely with partners to advocate with the Government for increased access to those affected by the fighting.”

  • Investing in women is the most effective way to lift families, communities, businesses, and countries. Women’s participation makes peace agreements stronger, societies more resilient and economic growth more sustainable. Empowering women will benefit us all. As the women’s rights movement is making significant advances around the world, we in Myanmar also “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change,” as is suggested in the theme of the 2019 International Women’s Day. Today, we celebrate women in Myanmar as industry leaders, social entrepreneurs, activists, scientists, artists and innovators. We also acknowledge the remarkable strength of the women who have been displaced and the survivors of gender-based violence for their resilience as they continue to contribute to their family, community and the country. On this occasion, we are also looking at how we can support the Government of the Union of Myanmar in creating conditions for women to increase their impact on the ongoing transitions from conflict to peace, from military rule to democratic governance, and from a closed to a liberalized economy.

  • Your Excellencies, Representatives of the Union Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement and Union Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colleagues, Friends, It is an honor to participate in this signing and exchange of notes ceremony which builds on agreements signed a year ago, on 22 February 2018. Allow me to thank Government of the Union of Myanmar and specifically Union Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement His Excellency Dr. Win Myat Aye for leadership and partnership throughout this process. We look forward to continued strong leadership and partnership from the Government in the new phase of the programme. In 2018, we signed agreements totaling US$20 million that aimed to reach half a million people in Rakhine. This year, eight agencies – IOM, UN-Habitat, UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UN Women, and WFP will receive will receive funding from agreements totaling US$37 million for humanitarian operations in Kachin, Rakhine and Shan, and development initiatives in Rakhine State. I thank the people and the Government of Japan for their continued support to allow the UN to respond to meeting the needs of vulnerable communities in the three states.I would like to recognize the indispensable role of His Excellency Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, Special Envoy of the Government of Japan for National Reconciliation in Myanmar, who led the efforts to forge this partnership that merges the strengths of bilateral and multilateral cooperation. Thank you also to His Excellency Mr. Ichiro Maruyama, Ambassador of Japan to Myanmar, for his tireless support to make this partnership happen. The Ambassador has always emphasized that the objective of this partnership is to benefit all communities in need.

  • Nay Pyi Taw, 26 February 2019 - The Government of Japan and eight United Nations Agencies today signed a US$ 37 million value agreement to implement humanitarian and development projects in Shan, Kachin and Rakhine States. The funding will enable the delivery of life-saving assistance, protection, trust-building initiatives and early recovery support to women, men, girls and boys across the three states. This important partnership builds on a US$ 20 million agreement that was signed in 2018, that aimed to assist half a million people in Rakhine State. “I thank the Government and people of Japan for their continued support to respond to immediate humanitarian needs and address the long-term development prospects in Rakhine as well as Kachin and Shan States,” said UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim Knut Ostby. “The UN agencies signing today appreciate the continued confidence of our partners that enable us to add urgently needed support for humanitarian activities in Kachin and northern Shan States to the ongoing humanitarian and development initiatives in Rakhine State.” The agreements were signed by His Excellency Mr. Ichiro Maruyama, Ambassador of Japan to Myanmar and representatives of the participating UN Agencies. UN bodies that receive contribution under the agreements include the International Organization on Migration (IOM), UN-Habitat, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Women, and the World Food Programme (WFP).

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Dear colleagues, We marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls and launched the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence on Sunday 25 November. In line with the theme of this year’s campaign “Orange the World: #HearMeToo” our first event saw Yangon City Hall lit up in orange in partnership with the Deputy Mayor of Yangon Region, Daw Hlaing Maw Oo, on 25 November. On Monday 26 November, we participated in a government-organised, high-level meeting marking the start of the 16 Days of Activism campaign in Nay Pyi Daw. Events aiming to honour the voices of survivors and grassroots activists are taking place all over the world as gender inequality and violence against women and girls are among the most pressing challenges of our time. Globally, one in three women will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime. We must end the culture of silencing and put survivors at the centre of our responses. The issues of gender inequality, discrimination and gender-based violence are significant in Myanmar. Only a half of working-age women are active in the country’s labour force and women are critically underrepresented in government. Further, women and girls from ethnic and religious minorities, those in areas affected by conflict, and those who are stateless remain especially vulnerable. These women and girls often suffer multiple forms of gender-based violence and the vast majority of cases go unreported and unacknowledged. Impunity for those responsible, be it in the home, workplace or in conflict situation, underpins the heightened challenge of addressing these issues in Myanmar.

  • Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement U Soe Aung, Deputy Attorney General U Win Myint, Major General Khun Than Zaw Htoo, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population U Myo Aung, Vice Adjutant General, Office of the Commander in Chief of Army Representatives of Government Departments and members of the Committee on the Prevention of Underage Recruitment Mr Alec Wargo, from the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflict, Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting colleagues, Workshop participants, Good morning and Mingalar ba. It gives me a great pleasure to express, on behalf of the Country Taskforce Co-Chairs, my most sincere thanks to the Government’s Committee on the Prevention of Underage Recruitment for hosting this important training. It demonstrates the commitment made at the Panglong conference in July to ensure protection of children’s rights and eliminate all the six grave violations, as well as the commitment to protect children in the Nation-wide Ceasefire Agreement.

  • Your Excellency U Hla Thein, Chairman of Union Election, Your Excellency U Soe Aung, Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, Your Excellency U Win Mra, Chairman of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, Chairpersons from Parliament Committees, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen, Mingalabar and a very good morning to you all, I am pleased to have the opportunity to address you on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls and the start of the 2018 Campaign for the 16 days of Activism. Gender inequality and violence against women and girls are among the most pressing challenges of our time. Globally, one in three women will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime. Gender inequality deprives a family, a community or a country of healthy and holistic development. It prevents women and girls from fulfilling their potential and enjoying their rights. Women and girls from ethnic and religious minorities, those in areas of conflict and or who are stateless, remain especially vulnerable. They often suffer multiple forms of gender-based violence. The vast majority of cases go unreported and unacknowledged.

  • UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator ai Knut Ostby is deeply concerned about the reports of shooting in Ah Nauk Ye camp in central Rakhine which holds IDPs who fled violence in 2012. He calls for calm, non-violence and restraint. Mr. Ostby appreciates the work of the organizations which provided first aid on site to the injured. The UN will continue to monitor the situation and is committed to supporting sustainable solutions to the situation in Rakhine State. Yangon, 18 November 2018

  • Dear colleagues, please see below a message from the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres encouraging everyone of us to participate at a survey on sexual harassment in the workplace: SafeSpaceSurvey2018.deloitte.com. Addressing sexual harassment in the workplace is one of my key management priorities. Harassment and bullying are just one aspect of the longstanding power imbalances that have deep roots and affect every area of our lives, including here at the United Nations. From the outset of my tenure, I have taken steps to boost support for victims, to enhance the protection of whistleblowers and to improve reporting and investigation of allegations of harassment and other abuses. Among other measures, we have supported the establishment of a specialized investigations team within the Office of Internal Oversight Services; fast-tracked and streamlined procedures for making complaints; launched a database to prevent rehiring those disciplined for sexual harassment; and created the Speak-Up Helpline, which provides 24/7 guidance: +1 917-367-8910 or speakup@un.org.

  • Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Colleagues, Member of the Media, Friends, It is great to see you here today. Thank you for joining us. We are all here because we want to help Myanmar end poverty in all its forms. We want to help build a prosperous, democratic and peaceful Myanmar. We have to be ambitious. We have to work together. The time is now. Myanmar is a young country. More than half of the population are under the age of 30. This is an opportunity. With 6.4 percent growth, Myanmar is still one of the fastest growing economies in the region. The young people entering the labor market will thrive with access to training, tools and role models. I therefore welcome the agreement that UNDP and Ooredoo are signing today. Under this two-year partnership, they will engage with the youth, and provide technology as a platform for social innovation and new business ideas.

  • Your Excellency State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Dignitaries, Distinguished Guests, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen, First allow me to express my appreciation to Her Excellency Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for her gracious remarks on the annual celebration of the UN Day. The United Nations and Myanmar have a shared past and a common future. Our partnership dates back 70 years as Myanmar joined the UN a few months after she gained her independence in 1948. Since then, Myanmar has played an active role in the work of the UN, and the UN also has remained actively engaged in supporting the development of Myanmar. Notably, Myanmar gave the UN its son, U Thant, to lead the organization as Secretary-General from 1961 to 1971. He helped to turn the UN into what it is today. For example, it was under U Thant’s leadership that UNDP, as it is today, was founded in the mid-1960s.