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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.