News

  • A free press is essential for peace, justice and human rights for all. We are disappointed by today’s court decision. The United Nations has consistently called for the release of the Reuters journalists and urged the authorities to respect their right to pursue freedom of expression and information. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo should be allowed to return to their families and continue their work as journalists. END

  • YANGON, 31 August 2018 – Today, the Government of Myanmar released 75 children and young people who were recruited and used by the Armed Forces (also known as ‘Tatmadaw’). This is the first discharge to take place in 2018, and it underlines the importance of protecting children in the context of armed conflict and within the peace process. Since June 2012, when the Myanmar government signed a Joint Action Plan with the United Nations to prevent recruitment and use of children in the Tatmadaw, 924 children and young people have been released. The co-chairs of the UN Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) on Grave Violations against Children: Knut Ostby, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and June Kunugi, UNICEF Representative, welcome this latest discharge as ‘one more positive development in the Government’s effort to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children within the Tatmadaw’.

  • WFP- From January to June 2018, WFP reached approximately 190,000 beneficiaries in central Rakhine and 142,000 beneficiaries in northern Rakhine, through emergency relief, nutrition programmes, community asset creation and school feeding. UNICEF UNICEF supported the provision of improved access to learning for more than 32,000 children across Rakhine through the construction and rehabilitation of 44 schools over the last 12 months. Because education can’t wait, UNICEF supported 14,000 children in IDP camps and crisis-affected villages in Rakhine to have continued access to essential education services provided in temporary learning classrooms and non-formal education centers.

  • Dear Colleagues, Preventing and addressing sexual harassment and abuse of authority is a priority for the UN. All UN agencies have the duty to take all appropriate measures towards ensuring a harmonious work environment, and to protect their staff from exposure to any form of intimidation, pressure and prohibited conduct. Managers and supervisors have the obligation to ensure that complaints of prohibited conduct are promptly addressed in a fair and impartial manner. I encourage you to kindly ensure that the following actions are taken in order to strengthen an internal system enabling complaints to be raised and dealt with fairly and confidentially: • All UN staff to complete the mandatory online training programme on prevention of harassment, sexual harassment and abuse of authority in the workplace (as promulgated under ST/SGB/2005/20) in order to raise awareness of roles and responsibilities for creating and maintaining a workplace free of harassment, sexual harassment and abuse of authority.

  • Table of UN links for reporting sexual harassment and abuse of authority in the workplace UN 24/7 helpline for sexual harassment* +1 (917) 367-8910 or email speakup@un.org Office of the Internal Oversight Services (OIOS)* https://unvoiosctxwi.unvienna.org/OIOSIDWDR/?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1 FAO investigations-hotline@fao.org Email: Ethics-Office@fao.org Phone 1: +39 06 57054151 Phone 2: +39 06 57053956 ILO Email: ETHICS@ilo.org IOM https://www.iom.int/ethics-and-conduct-office Email: Ethics&ConductOffice@iom.int UNAIDS https://unvoiosctxwi.unvienna.org/OIOSIDWDR/?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1 UNDP, UNV http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/accountability/audit/office-of-audit-and-investigation.html#report UNESCO https://secure.unesco.org/survey/index.php?sid=48128&lang=en Email: ethics@unesco.org

  • Speech by Knut Ostby, UNRC/HC Monday 13 August 2018 Your excellency, Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, U Win Myat Aye, Dignitaries, Distinguished Participants, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen Thank you for joining us today at this important workshop on the implementation of the Rakhine Advisory Commission’s recommendations. Our dialogue and cooperation will be crucial for making further progress towards the vision of what the Rakhine Advisory Commission’s final report title terms as a “Peaceful, Fair and Prosperous Future for the People of Rakhine”. Let me begin by expressing my appreciation to the Government of the Union of Myanmar for leading the implementation of the Commission’s Recommendations. I know that this is also inspired by the Rakhine Socio-Economic Development Plan, which was also completed in draft form in 2017. The State Counsellor’s Office issued a statement on 24 August 2017, announcing that the Government “will give the report our full consideration with a view to carrying out the recommendations to the fullest extent, and within the shortest timeframe possible, in line with the situation on the ground.”

  • Two months since the signing of the tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between UNHCR, UNDP, and the Government of Myanmar, UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, and UNDP, the UN’s development agency, are both urging Myanmar authorities to make tangible progress to improve conditions in Rakhine State. The Myanmar government’s willingness to take the lead in the implementation of this agreement is critical to creating conditions conducive for the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees. The government has taken some encouraging steps since the MoU was signed on 6 June, including the formation of a tripartite Technical Working Group to support the implementation of the MoU; enabling an important visit by senior UNHCR and UNDP officials to the northern part of Rakhine State in early July; and facilitating an initial joint field visit to Rakhine State by the Technical Working Group mid-July. However, substantial progress is urgently needed in three key areas covered by the MoU: granting effective access in Rakhine State; ensuring freedom of movement for all communities; and addressing the root causes of the crisis.

  • The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar Knut Ostby is following with great concern the flooding and extensive devastation caused by heavy rains in Bago, Kayin, Mon, Rakhine, Sagaing and other States. His thoughts are with all those families whose lives have been impacted and is alarmed by the destruction of property, infrastructure and agricultural land.

  • 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.