A workshop on Myanmar’s strategy for closing IDP camps in Kachin, Shan, Rakhine, and Kayin states was organized at the Horizon Lake View Resort Hotel in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.
“Plans to close IDP camps require cooperation between government officials from the four States, local residents, UN agencies, civil society organizations, associate organizations, and residents of the IDP camps,” said Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief, and Resettlement, Dr. Win Myat Aye, at the opening ceremony of the workshop.
The union minister said there were roughly 160,000 people living in over 140 IDP camps across the country, but the numbers were prone to fluctuate.
The government held the first meeting on the nationwide closure of IDP camps in June this year and the workshop will discuss solutions to the hinderances and impediments faced in implementing decisions from the first meeting, he said.
The Union Minister said although the new administration has endeavored to bring about nationwide peace with earnest efforts through the Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong, and the reconciliation effort in Rakhine State, there were still a number of challenges standing in the way of success. He said these challenges could only be overcome through negotiations and cooperation.
The Union Minister said the political, social, and security aspects of the IDP camps in Kachin, Kayin and Shan states must be given consideration. He said security was an important issue in rehabilitating people and requested relevant departments to cooperate in landmine clearing operations in the regions. He said peaceful coexistence in Rakhine State must be prioritized and highlighted the importance of including rule of law and stability in designing relevant state projects.
The Union Minister said it was important for the rehabilitation process to be swift and well-organized. He said the prolonged existence of IDP camps poses a roadblock to the path of development and requested everyone in attendance at the workshop to put forward suggestions for the organized closure of IDP camps in all four states.
Afterwards, the UN Resident Coordinator to Myanmar, Mr. Knut Østby, delivered a speech. “Identifying and implementing sustainable solutions for the IDPs and closure of camps is a tremendous challenge. It requires a comprehensive national strategy and adequate implementation mechanisms. I commend the Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief, and Resettlement, Dr. Win Myat Aye, for preparing the draft national strategy and inviting us to discuss it. The UN remains committed to supporting the formulation and implementation of the national strategy on sustainable solutions for the IDPs and camp closures,” he said.
Deputy Ministers, representatives from UN agencies, directors-general, officials from concerned state and region departments, and invited guests attended the opening ceremony of the workshop. Later, group discussions on the current status of closure of IDP camps in the four states, plans for implementation and additions to the draft national strategy, and setting future processes were held at the workshop.
—MNA (Translated Zaw Htet Oo)