Summary of Situation Update for December 2017

Rakhine

The department of Manpower said a group to scrutinize Rohingya refugees was formed with the representatives from three ministries. The Director General of Labor, Immigration and Manpower department U Myint Kyaing said the group includes officials from the Ministry of Foreign and Home Affairs as well as from the Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Manpower. The government said it will do securitization of returnees according to the Burma Citizenship Law of 1982 and those who do not meet criteria under the law would not be allow to come back.

Local residents of Maungtaw urged the government not allow Rohingya refugees to resettle near the villages of Rakhine people. The call was made in a public gathering of local people held on 7 December. The call was made as the government prepares to repatriate tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh in recent months. A nine-point statement was issued on 6 December after the meeting which include condemnation of the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC), which said, are supporting Rhingyas. The statement also condemns criticism by the international community on the government and the military for their handling of the crisis.

The Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement said on 7 December that Rohingya refugees who are to be repatriated from Bangladesh must take Nationality Verification Card (NVC). He said even though repatriation of refugees would be conducted according to the principles for repatriation agreed in 1993 and Burma Citizenship Law of 1982 but refugees will have to take NVC card under the section 5 sub section 2 c of Burma Registration Act of 1949.

The Director General of Labor, Immigration and Manpower department U Myint Kyaing said Myanmar government has sent forms to Bangladesh the forms that are required to fill up by the returnees to Bangladesh. However, so far no reply received from Bangladesh. A working group for repatriation was formed on 19 December and repatriation would begin on 23 January. The Permanent Secretary said repatriation would only begin only after receiving filled up from Bangladesh. Bangladesh government said on 29 December that it will send the list of 100 000 people to be repatriated.

The Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, U Soe Aung, said the International Non-governmental Organizations (INGOs) has no right to interfere in the process of repatriation and resettlement of Rohingya refugees. He made the comment in response to a statement issued on 9 December by 10 INGOs called for Rohingyas to be allow to resettle in their places of origin. The government has to administer. They have no right to interfere.

The Director General of the State Counsellor Office U Zaw Htay said a statistic issued by the Medicine San Frotntire on the number of deaths was based on unfounded facts. MSF said on 12 December that during one month period between 25 August to 24 September more than 9000 including 730 were killed during terrorist incidents. The Medical Director of MSF Sidney Wong admitted that the survey could not covered the all refugees as well as those left behind in Myanmar. So that is why the stastic was only estimate.

A member of the National Human Rights Commission U Yu Lwin Aung said Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh as they were facing food shortages. He made the comment on 12 December after talking to Rohingya who were planning to cross into Bangladesh during a trip of the Commission to Buthitaung and Maungtaw. He said due to curfew casual labourer and fishermen were unable to go out for work during morning and night time, that is why people were facing food shortages.

The Rakhine State Parliament has approved a motion calling for settlement of ethnic Rakhine people living in the state to Maungtaw region, as a part of effort not to lose the state’s territory. The motion was presented by U Kyaw Lwin , MP from Kyaukphyu Constituency 1 at the sixth regular meeting held on 24 November and it was approved on 29 November session of the legislature. The National Human Rights Comission said it would recommend establishment of more villages for ethnic people in Buthitaung and Mauntgtaw region.

The Commander-in-Chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, said on 1 December that the military would provide full protection to minority people in Maungtaw region from genocidal attack against them. He said the military and government have handle the Rakhine issues according to the law, however, due to incitement by some groups international community have not understood actual situation on the ground.

The Myanmar Ambassador to the United Nations, U Htin Linn, said a resolution by the UN Human Rights Commission hurts the country’s sovereign rights. He accused the council of adopting the resolution by using unverified statistics on the incident in Rakhine State. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has called for 27th special meeting of the council on 5 December to discuss on Rohingya issue. A resolution was adopted at the meeting, which said crime against humanity was committed against Rohingya people. He added that pre-determined politicization and partiality seems to be taking roots in the council’s work.

U Zaw Htay said on 20 December that the government will cooperate with the UN Special Rapporteur on situation of Human Rights, only if the current envoy Ms Yang Hee Lee is replaced. He accused Ms Lee of bias against the government. He made the comment after Myanmar government imposed visa ban on Ms Lee. She had to cancel her trip to Myanmar planned in January 2018.

Myanmar Permanent Representative to the United Nations, U Hau Do Suan, said the country has been repeatedly singled out based on the country’s human rights situation, which he said was unacceptable. A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the envoy made the comment at a Security Council meeting on Myanmar held in New York on 12 December. It said the Myanmar ambassador said putting political pressure and coercion on Myanmar by using human rights as an excuse would not yield any good result. U Hau Do Suan warned against making conclusions that Myanmar authorities have committed ethnic cleansing and crime against humanity against Rohingya people. He accused the council of making such conclusions without doing verification in accordance with the law.

The Director General of the Office of the State Counsellor U Zaw Htay said the government has made full arrangement for security of Rakhine State. The spokesperson said after the International Crisis Group (ICG) issued a report related to Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).The ICG report said ARSA terrorist group is recruiting fighters who are likely to be used in next round of attack.

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