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  • Yangon, 4 September 2019 - I am gravely concerned by the recent sharp escalation of conflict in northern Shan State, where, since mid-August, a reported 17 civilians have been killed and 27 more injured, many of them women and children. Road travel in the area is now unsafe and infrastructure has been damaged, and many people remain trapped in their villages, afraid to leave as the conflict intensifies around them.

  • As you are reading this, my tenure in Myanmar has come to an end after nearly two years. I would like to thank you for your commitment to UN values and hard work. I have visited many projects across Myanmar, and I have always been impressed by your passion for UN’s mission and your professionalism. This was strongly reflected in the appreciation of your work by the people and communities we serve. I encourage you to continue to maintain the highest standards of service and focus on results for our beneficiaries. This is how we create value to Myanmar and the international community.

  • Today we mark World Humanitarian Day, an annual event that honours humanitarian workers, who often risk their own lives to help save and improve the lives of others caught up in crisis. This year we pay special tribute to the women who make up an estimated 40 per cent of the global humanitarian work force, providing food, water, healthcare and other essentials to those in greatest need, whether because of natural disasters or armed conflict. Myanmar is a country with endless potential, undergoing rapid change, which continues to grapple with complex humanitarian challenges. It is among the most disaster-prone countries in the world, with climate change expected to contribute to even more frequent cyclones and more destructive flooding, and with major cities along earthquake fault lines.

  • The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Myanmar travelled to the country from 9 to 18 July. In Yangon, she met with representatives of civil society, think-tanks, eminent personalities and INGOs, the UN country team and the diplomatic corps. She also met with religious leaders, members of the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance and Development (UEHRD) and members of the former Rakhine Advisory Commission. In Rakhine she travelled to Myebon and to Sittwe and visited IDP camps from both Rakhine and Muslim communities, as well as resettled Rakhine persons. She met with the representatives of civil society, political parties and members of parliament and the Rakhine State government. She also had discussions with the INGOs and with representatives of the resident UN agencies in Sittwe.

  • Good morning and Mingalabar! It is with great pleasure and honour that I join you today to commemorate the occasion of the World Population Day for 2019, under a very important theme: 25 Years of the ICPD: Accelerating the Promise. 25 years ago, in September of 1994, Myanmar joined a global revolution that started in Cairo, Egypt, when 179 world leaders convened at the International Conference on Population and Development, the ICPD, and recognised that individuals have a human right to make free and responsible reproductive choices. At that conference, the global leaders endorsed a global programme of action that linked women’s empowerment, rights and sexual and reproductive health to sustainable development.

  • The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the world’s blueprint for a better future for all on a healthy planet. On World Population Day, we recognize that this mission is closely interrelated with demographic trends including population growth, ageing, migration and urbanization. While the world’s population overall continues to increase, this growth is uneven. For many of the world’s least developed countries, the challenges to sustainable development are compounded by rapid population growth as well as vulnerability to climate change. Other countries are facing the challenge of ageing populations, including the need to promote healthy active ageing and to provide adequate social protection. As the world continues to urbanize, with 68% of the world population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, sustainable development and climate change will increasingly depend on the successful management of urban growth.

  • Dear colleagues, The UN has Zero Tolerance to sexual exploitation and abuse. Preventing and addressing sexual harassment and abuse of authority remains a priority for the whole UN system. Allow me please to share with you a video message on the topic from the Secretary-General, a Fact Sheet on UN’s initiatives and a global Quarterly Update on reported allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse. Zero Tolerance on Sexual Exploitation & Abuse - UN Secretary- General Video Message: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oO6sWiv9hws Fact sheet on the Secretary-General’s initiatives to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse: https://www.un.org/preventing-sexual-exploitation-and-abuse/sites/www.un.org.preventing-sexual-exploitation-and-abuse/files/fact_sheet_un_system-wide_sea_initiatives_september_2018.pdf Quarterly Update on reported allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse: https://www.un.org/preventing-sexual-exploitation-and-abuse/content/quarterly-updates I’m also forwarding you our message from 17 August 2018 with the contact details for reporting mechanisms in Myanmar. Thank you,

  • 4 July: As the keynote speaker at a conference on the Rohingya crisis at University College London, Christopher Sidoti, a member of the UN fact-finding mission accused Myanmar’s military of genocide, warned the crisis is far from over for the persecuted minority. He likened it to those endured by Jewish people under the Nazis. 3 July: In her Oral Update to 41st Session of the Human Rights Council by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee implored the international community to maintain pressure on Myanmar amid a deterioration of human rights in the country, citing concerns about possible war crimes in Rakhine State, the treatment of minorities, the environment and freedom of expression. 1 July: During the General Assembly Informal Meeting held in New York, UN Special Envoy of the Secretary General on Myanmar Christine Burgener said, “a key step to democratic consolidation” in the Southeast Asian nation “will be ending the vicious cycle of discrimination and violence, especially in Rakhine.”

  • The United Nations in Myanmar is proud to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia by flying the rainbow flag in support of diversity and inclusion for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons (LGBTI). This day marks the decision of the World Health Organization to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder on 17 May 1990. We have seen encouraging progress worldwide, but LGBTI people still experience discrimination and stigma in many countries, including in Myanmar.

  • The UN in Myanmar welcomes the release of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo from prison. The UN in Myanmar considers the release of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo a step toward improving the freedom of the press and a sign of Government’s commitment to Myanmar’s transition to democracy. The UN stands ready to continue to support Myanmar in its complex transition process. Yangon, 7 May 2019 Media contact: Stanislav Saling, Spokesperson, Office of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, stanislav.saling@one.un.org or +95-942 651 9871.

  • Acting UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar Knut Ostby is following with concern recent reports of escalation of violence and civilian casualties in Rakhine State. Mr. Ostby calls for calm and utmost restraint by all, protection of civilians in all circumstances, and respect for international humanitarian and human rights law. The UN stands ready to support authorities in strengthening their prevention and conflict resolution capacities, and to continue with provision of humanitarian aid.

  • Acting UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Knut Ostby welcomes the announcement by the Office of the Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Services of a ceasefire extension from 1 May to 30 June 2019. Mr. Ostby expresses hope that the ceasefire extension will further strengthen the prospects for Myanmar’s peace process. The UN in Myanmar is prepared to work with the relevant parties on providing urgent humanitarian assistance to all people in need in the affected areas. Mr. Ostby also calls on all parties to protect civilians and uphold their responsibilities under International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law. The UN reaffirms its deep commitment to continue supporting the Myanmar peace process and humanitarian operations. Yangon, 1 May 2019

  • Acting UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Knut Ostby is deeply saddened by the terrible loss of life at a mining site in Hpakant Township in Kachin State. Mr. Ostby extends his sincere condolences to the families of the victims and wishes the injured speedy recovery. Mr. Ostby calls for urgent action towards implementation of the new Occupational Safety and Health law, particularly in high risk sectors such as mining. The UN in Myanmar through the International Labour Organization is committed to continue to support the country in putting in place measures aiming to improve occupational safety and health for all.

  • Dear friends and colleagues, I’m writing to wish you Happy Thingyan and auspicious entrance to Myanmar Era 1381. We have had a challenging year, but we managed to keep the focus on our objectives: • Maintain the momentum for the country’s peace, economic and democratic transitions for the benefit of all people; • Save lives by gaining greater humanitarian access; • Support sustainable solutions for Kachin, Rakhine and Shan States; and, • Engage in human rights advocacy.

  • Your Excellency Union Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, Professor Walter Kälin, Distinguished Participants, Colleagues, Friends, Thank you for holding the important Third Workshop on durable solutions for IDPs and the National Strategy on Closure of IDP camps. Allow me please to open with commending you for the draft National Strategy which is taking a shape of a guiding document for actions that will help design and implement durable solutions for the IDPs in Myanmar. I would especially like to recognize the contribution of His Excellency Union Minister Win Myat Aye for his leadership in drafting the Strategy. We welcome the engagement of various stakeholders, including the United Nations, international NGOs, Embassies, as well as national civil society. Each of us can support the Government in developing and realizing durable solutions for the IDPs in our respective mandates and areas of expertise. Turning now to the draft National Strategy: We welcome the strategy’s objectives to restore normal lives for the IDPs, in safety, dignity, with rights and access to services, such as education, health, and livelihood.

  • Honorable Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Honorable Ambassador of the Norway, Ambassador New Zealand Representatives of Embassies and donors Representatives of UN agencies, NGOs and Civil Society Organizations Survivors of landmine and other explosive devices that are here today Representatives from the Media Ladies and Gentlemen Mingalar ba and Good morning! • I am honoured to address this distinguished audience on the occasion of International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, that was declared by the UN General Assembly on 4th April 2006. On this day every year, events are planned around the world to raise awareness about landmines and progress toward their eradication. • This day is an opportunity for all of us here to remind ourselves that landmines and Explosive Remnants of War continue to pose threats. Their eradication requires financial and political commitment. • Challenges of landmine and other explosive remnants of war remain in many countries, including in Myanmar. As recently as the 30th March, three people including two children lost their life and four others were seriously injured as a result of a mine explosion in Namtu, Northern Shan State.

  • Mingalar ba and good morning! • First let me say how delighted I am to be here today to see firsthand the release of 32 children and young people. • In June 2012, the Myanmar Armed Forces committed to end the recruitment and use of children in their ranks by signing a Joint Action Plan with the United Nations. Since then, the collaboration has been remarkable. • At least 924 children and young people have been released. Seven hundred and twenty-six (726) of them have been provided with reintegration support within the framework of the Joint Action Plan. • Today’s release is another encouraging step by the Government towards ending and preventing the recruitment and use of children within the Tatmadaw.

  • 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.

  • 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.