A press briefing was held yesterday by members of the Forum on Strategies for Peace, Harmony and Reconciliation to address the denial by the organizers of the Berlin Conference on Myanmar Genocide to attend their event. The press conference was held at the Myanmar Institute of Strategic and International Studies (MISIS) in Dagon Township, Yangon.
The eight-member group from Myanmar — who are part of the Forum on Strategies for Peace, Harmony and Development— comprised Dr. Aung Tun Thet, the chief coordinator of the government’s Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine and Daw Pyone Kaythi Niang, an NLD lawmaker and member of the International Relations Parliamentary Committee as well as others from the private and public sectors.
According to the press briefing, the group said that on 22 February, members of the Forum on Strategies for Peace, Harmony and Reconciliation registered via Eventbrite online registration platform and received confirmation emails that registration had been successful with tickets being issued. However, around midnight on 23 February, each team member received individual emails that registration for the Berlin conference has been cancelled “due to overbooking of the event”.
Dr. Aung Tun Thet told the press conference that the objective of joining the conference in Berlin was to listen and engage with the participants of the event who are all concerned on Myanmar’s situation. He said they were going as members of the private sector and not as representatives of the government.
The delegation members told the press briefing that they were disappointed to be denied the chance to participate in the conference as their attendance would have created a well-rounded audience that brought in independent voices. However, they now shared genuine concerns that the organizers of the Berlin conference had deliberately sought to exclude participants from Myanmar.
“This leads us to question the real intention behind this particular event as well as fuel our concerns that the conference will create more complexities, which in turn will be very counter-productive to finding a long-lasting solution for the people from all communities in Rakhine,” the members told the briefing.
In a private interview after the press conference, Dr. Aung Tun Thet told our journalists that the papers that will be read at the Berlin Conference are one-sided and posed a cynical view of Myanmar.
“International conferences need all-rounded discussions with different viewpoints. We thought that Myanmar’s perspectives should be heard at the conference so we registered for it but they denied us at the last moment,” said Dr. Aung Tun Thet.
“We are not condemning other people from talking about Myanmar’s situations. We just want our voice to be heard too.
We’re just concerned now that the results from the conference will be one-sided and so we want the world to know of their denial for us to attend the conference.”
Nandar Win, Zaw Gyi