Nay Pyi Taw, 30 Sept—The following is the excerpt from the speech delivered by Union Minister for Foreign Affairs U Wunna Maung Lwin in the General Debate at the 69th United Nations General Assembly in New York on 29 September 2014.—Ed
We are gathered here at a time when the world is facing pressing global challenges and security threats that must be addressed collectively with urgency. The number and scale of regional or local conflicts is growing in some parts of the world. A billion people are still trapped in poverty. The world we want its still a far-away dream.
Climate Change is no longer an issue for scientific argument. Myanmar will continue to work together with the international community for a meaningful, implementable and universal climate agreement in Paris in 2015.
Ebola outbreak in West Africa, with its unprecedented nature and scope, is alarming. All available resources and expertise should be mobilized and deployed before it becomes an economic, social, humanitarian, political and security nightmare. Myanmar welcomes the swift and timely response by the UN Secretary-General in proactively establishing the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response-UNMEER.
Terrorism cannot be condoned for any reason or under any circumstances. Ruthless killings and atrocities in the name of religion must not be tolerated. Myanmar always opposes terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
Thanks to the positive challenges in Myanmar, the cooperation between Myanmar and the United Nations is now better than ever. The United Nations and its agencies are showing greater interest in Myanmar. The Government, on its part, is facilitating them for the effective implementation of their missions.
I would like to appraise this Assembly that Myanmar is making domestic preparations with a view to ratifying major international disarmament instruments. I am pleased to announce that the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Union Parliament) has just approved the Myanmar’s accession to the Biological Weapons Convention (1972) today.
Winds of change have spread across Myanmar since the past three years. The scope and pace of positive changes in Myanmar have earned a remarkable recognition and encouragement by the international community.
Myanmar is advancing well on the path of peaceful democratic transition that began over 3 years ago by setting in motion the waves of political and economic reforms.
The First Wave was the peaceful transformation from the military government to a multi-party democratic system where all political forces are working together to overcome differences through dialogue at the Hluttaws (Parliaments). An all-inclusive political system has been established, bringing in all stakeholders in the process through national reconciliation. The First Wave of reform has brought about the national reconciliation, granting of a series of amnesties, creation of greater political space, freedom of media, and freedom of expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly.
It was followed by the Second Wave of reform, unleashing an array of political, economic, administrative and private sector development reforms.
Now, the Third Wave of reform has been launched, aimed at laying down a firm foundation for a new democratic state, and delivering benefit to the people by fulfilling their socio-economic needs.
We are determined to keep the reforms on track through ensuring peace, stability and national reconciliation. Since our democracy is still in its infancy, we are facing a multitude of daunting challenges like other countries in transition. The government has a long do-do list with limited capacity. We are determined to overcome these challenges. We need understanding and continued support of the International community in our efforts for economic development and capacity building to lay a solid foundation for a democratic society.
One of the issue that attract domestic and international attention if the process of amending the present Constitution of Myanmar. In this connection, the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Union Parliamnet) set up the Constitutional Amendment Review Joint Committee in July last year. After soliciting suggestions and recommendations from the general public and from political parties, the Constitutional Amendment Implementation Committee has been formed to address the issue of Constitution amendment based on the suggestions received.
Putting democratic values into practice, we are laying foundations to successfully conduct an independent, free and fair election within a legal framework without compromising national sovereignty. In this context, Myanmar has recently received the visit of Need Assessment Mission from the Electoral Assistance Division of the Department of Political Affairs of the United Nations.
All existing political parties are expected to take part in the elections. The final decision will be made by the people on the Election Day.
To reach a nationwide ceasefire agreement. So far we have already reached such on agreement with 14 out of 16 groups. We are now working on a draft framework for political dialogue which will pave the way for bring an end to the six-decade long conflict. The government is serious in its commitment for the success of the peace process. It is open-minded to discus all issues except those that could undermine the unity and sovereignty of the State. We are confident that we are now getting closer to achieving a comprehensive and lasting peace.
There has been steady progress in the promotion and protection of human rights in my country. The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC), which was first established in 2011, has been reconstituted very recently with a view to functioning as an independent entity.
In this new era, press and media freedom is one of the most visible outcomes of the reforms, in contribution to the all-inclusive reform process, the media is getting more space now. The abolishment of the decades-old press censorship, the publishing of a multitude of private newspapers and journals and the enactment of the new Media Law are among the significant achievements in our media landspace.
We have now reached the middle tier of the human rights ladder. This progress in contributing to the better enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the people of Myanmar. Therefore, we are now fully convinced that Myanmar should no longer remain on the agendas of the Human Rights Council and the Third Committee of UN General Assembly.
The Armed Forces of Myanmar is making important progress in its implementation of the Action Plan for the prevention of recruitment of underage children, there is now new underage recruitment unwittingly or otherwise.
All major concerns related to human rights have been addressed to a larger extent in the new Myanmar.
We are also paying great attention and making efforts to address the issue of the communal violence that had occurred between the two communities in Rakhine State. The history, the diversity and the complexity of the issue must be fully understood before jumping to conclusion.
I would like to thank all international partners in contributing to our efforts in addressing the current needs of the affected people.
Myanmar has made tremendous progress over the past three and a half years since it has begun wider-ranging reforms in transition to democracy. Myanmar’s success in peaceful transformation was even lauded as a model in the world today. Despite all these achievements, there remain many challenges and hurdles our path to democracy and development. We are resolute and determined to continue our relentless efforts for reforms and for building a democratic state.
The continued support and understanding of the international community would contribute positively to Myanmar’s reform process.