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September 19, 2018

Be positive, committed to process of re-establishing trust to solve Rakhine issue

  • The Myanmar government is committed to the speedy implementation of the recent signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Myanmar and the UN agencies on the assistance for the repatriation process of displaced persons. Besides this, the Union Government has decided to form an independent commission of enquiry for Rakhine State.
    The commission was formed a few months after the advisory board made their recommendations.
    The Union Government is dealing with the Rakhine issue, which is complicated. What Myanmar is facing in Rakhine today is a long-standing issue that goes back a couple of centuries. People forget that it is not something that happened yesterday.
    We must work together to build trust to achieve lasting peace, stability and development in Rakhine.
    Trust is a two-way business. It is not just up to Myanmar to establish trust. The other side also has to take the necessary steps to establish trust.
    For example, we understand that the forms that are required to be filled in, in accordance with the MoU agreed between Myanmar and Bangladesh, have not been distributed widely among the refugees. Unless these forms are distributed and the refugees know there’s a legal and safe way for them to return to Rakhine, we will not be able to make speedy progress.
    The MoU is agreed to by two or more parties, and it is imperative for all parties involved to implement their responsibilities.
    The Myanmar government has carried out all its responsibilities, in line with the MoU. Everybody can see what the government has been doing if they study the MoU.
    But trust is not something that can be created by just signing a piece of paper, and it’s the people who have to take a risk and decide whether or not the situation is trustworthy. If you’re not prepared to try out a situation, you can never tell for sure whether it’s acceptable or not.
    Until the refugees have been given the forms, until they’ve been informed fully of all the steps they need to take to come back to Rakhine, we will not be able to carry forward the process very quickly.
    Some have come back but through the official channels.
    The ones who came back said they were not aware of the need to fill in the forms and to follow a certain procedure.
    Everybody concerned must be positive and committed to the process of re-establishing trust. We believe that the better choice before us is to recognize the reality of the situation on the ground and accommodate each other’s concerns.

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