July 07, 2017

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UNHCR chief renews call for solutions in Kachin, Rakhine states

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi talks to reporters at the U Thant House in Yangon. Photo: MNA

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has concluded his first visit to Myanmar by appealing for inclusive and sustainable solutions to protracted displacement and statelessness.
“I was very happy to hear the State Counsellor (Daw Aung San Suu Kyi) saying that refugees are welcome back from Thailand,” said the High Commissioner. “We agreed that returns must be voluntary and sustainable. Refugees should not come back to a situation of dependency but of self-reliance.”
They also discussed humanitarian access in Kachin and Rakhine states, where some 100,000 and 120,000 people, respectively, have been living for more than five years in camps for internally displaced people.
While in Rakhine State, the High Commissioner met with displaced Muslims in Sittway’s Dar Paing camp, who expressed their strong desire to return home. He also reached out to Rakhine and Muslim communities north of Maungtaw and listened to their safety and livelihood concerns.
“These are complex issues but they are not intractable,” said Grandi. “A crucial first step is to pursue freedom of movement and access to services and livelihoods for all. Accelerated pathways to citizenship are also part of the solution, as are efforts to tackle exclusion and poverty.”
He highlighted that the recommendations of the Advisory Commission of Rakhine State provide an important roadmap for the way forward.
Mr. Filippo Grandi met with various ambassadors to Myanmar and officials from UN Humanitarian agencies and other international non-governmental organisations at the Novotel Hotel in Yangon yesterday.
The High Commissioner later visited the house of the late third Secretary-General of the UN, U Thant, on Panwar Street in Yangon and discussed global refugee issues with Dr. Thant Myint Oo, civil society leaders, literary experts and scholars in attendance.
The High Commissioner and his entourage then left Yangon via the Yangon International Airport in the evening.—Myanmar News Agency

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