06/07/2018, 16.23
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UN and Myanmar agree on refugee return to Rakhine

by Lawrence Jangma Gam

Myanmar is committed to a rapid implementation of the agreement and is taking the necessary steps to do so. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will support the government with comprehensive and lasting solutions. Card Bo gave Aung San Suu Kyi a donation of 300,000 euros from Pope Francis.

Yangon (AsiaNews) – The Government of Myanmar and two UN agencies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to assist the process of repatriation of refugees from Rakhine, including the Rohingya.

The agreement was reached yesterday at the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre in Naypyidaw in the presence of the UN delegation and the Myanmar Minister of Labour, Immigration and Population (MoLIP).

The deal is the result of a bilateral agreement struck by Myanmar and Bangladesh for the voluntary, safe and dignified return of refugees to Myanmar. Under its terms, Myanmar is committed to quick preparations and implementation.

The MoU also says that the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will support the Government of Myanmar with comprehensive and lasting solutions.

The role of the two agencies is defined by the agreement. They will assess and work on the recovery and resilience-based development in potential resettlement areas and will support access to livelihoods and promote social cohesion among Muslim and Buddhist communities.

The MoU signing ceremony (picture 1) ended the talks that began on 31 May (picture 2) and was welcomed by U Kyaw Tint Swe, Myanmar’s Minister for the Office of the Counsellor. It was witnessed by diplomats, ambassadors, senior UN officials, Myanmar ministers, government officials and distinguished guests.

Two days ago, Myanmar authorities appointed U Toe Oung as adviser to the president of the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine (UEHRD).

Following State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, the government committed itself last October to implement the directives of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State chaired by Kofi Annan.

Since the latter was set up, the Catholic Church in Myanmar has supported and promoted the UEHRD.

The other day, after his last visit to Rakhine, Card Charles Maung Bo, archbishop of Yangon, met with Aung San Suu Kyi and the Minister of Religious Affairs and Culture, Thura U Aung Ko. The cardinal handed them a donation from the Holy See (pictures 3 and 4).

During his historic apostolic visit to Myanmar (27-30 November 2017), Pope Francis gave the Archbishop of Yangon 300,000 euros as a contribution of the Church to the resolution of the crisis in the western state.

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