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    Myanmar progress ‘on track’: UN special adviser


    Myanmar’s progress towards democracy has been heralded
    around the world, but recent violence against ethnic minorities has caused the
    country’s human rights to be questioned. Despite this, the UN’s Special Adviser
    to the Secretary-General on Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, says the government is
    committed to reform and resolving the issue of Rohingya statelessness. (Credit:
    ABC)
     Radio
    Australia:
    April 12, 2013
    United Nations Special Adviser to the
    Secretary-General on Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, says the government is committed
    to reform and resolving the issue of Rohingya statelessness.
    Myanmar’s progress towards democracy has been heralded
    around the world, but recent violence against ethnic minorities has caused the
    country’s human rights to be questioned.
    Despite this, Mr Nambia has told Newsline the
    country’s reform agenda is “on track” and the government wants to
    address the issue of citizenship.
    “I would say that these latest developments have
    been a reminder of what still needs to be done, and the fragility of the
    process, but there is determination in the government to carry this process of
    reform forward,” Mr Nambiar said.
    “I don’t know whether we can say that the entire
    situation in the country has been deteriorating,” he said. “I think
    broadly the reform process is on track.”
    The Myanmar government has regarded Rohingya Muslims
    as illegal immigrants who emigrated from Bangladesh, despite living in Myanmar
    for generations.
    Recent sectarian violence between the country’s
    majority Buddhists and minority Muslims has exposed the distrust between the
    two communities, with dozens killed and thousands displaced.
    In March, Myanmar’s Presidential spokesman, U Ye Htut,
    dismissed calls that the government should grant citizenship to the thousands
    of Rohingya still regarded as illegal immigrants.
    But Mr Nambiar says positive steps are being made to
    resolve the dispute.
    “The government, particularly the minister for
    immigration, is keen on looking at the larger question of citizenship.”
    “I think they are conscious that they need to
    come out with both temporary and long term measures to address this
    question.”
    The Rohingya are widely regarded as one of the most
    persecuted ethnic groups in the world.
    Monsoon preparations
    Mr Nambiar is also confident the government has taken
    on board concerns that refugee camps housing Rohingya won’t survive the monsoon
    season.
    “The government seems to be keen on looking at
    the humanitarian aspect on the one hand, because the monsoons are going to come
    very soon and the shelters which have already been constructed need to be
    strengthened and made somewhat permanent,” he said.
    Myanmar’s Presidential spokesman, U Ye Htut,
    previously dismissed UN reports that the camps sheltering 120,000 people were
    inadequate.