Advisory Board to Committee for Implementation of Recommendations on Rakhine State holds press conference

The Advisory Board to the Committee for Implementation of the Recommendations on Rakhine State has submitted its final report to the State Counsellor, said Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai, Chairman of the Advisory Board, in a press conference at M-Gallery Hotel in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.

Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai said that the work for the report started in early September last year, making it a year since they began working on the Rakhine State issue.

He added this August will be one year after the submission of the advisory commission’s report, led by former secretary-general Kofi Annan.

Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai commended the chairman of the Implementation Committee, Dr. Win Myat Aye, for being able to implement more than half of Kofi Annan’s recommendations.

He also expressed his satisfaction to the implementation committee that has taken up the advice of the advisory board very seriously. There are some positive developments that have taken place since January. For example, there has been an increase of access of the media to Rakhine state, said Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai. There has also been a visit by Union Minister Dr. Win Myat Aye to Cox’s Bazar, who met the people there and explained about the preparations that have been made in Rakhine state.

More importantly, the relationship with the United nations has been improved, said Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai. He said there has been signing of MoUs between the Myanmar government and the United Nations, in particular, with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Myanmar has also accepted the special envoy of the Secretary General of the United Nations Ambassador Christine Burgener, who came to Myanmar and held discussions with senior personalities and also visited the Rakhine State. She will be coming back here again, said Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai.

And most importantly, he added, the advice of the advice report has been taken up to establish the Independent Commission of Enquiry. And lately the composition of the Commission of Enquiry has already been announced.

Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai said there have been many positive developments and all of the advice of the Advisory Board has been implemented since the establishment of the board in mid-December last year.

Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai said the final report included some of the recommendations, such as the pilot project of a model township, and perhaps the participation of ASEAN countries and of the international community in the pilot project, either mixed schooling, health services, mobile health clinic, so that they can be emphasized.

He added that the inter-communal dialogue is something that has to continue because it will be a long-lasting solution to the reconciliation in Rakhine State.

Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai said that some of the advisory board members would be willing to assist to work with the Myanmar government on individual basis. He said Lord Darzi is enthusiastic about the issue of the mobile clinic and improvement of the Sittway Hospital, while Mr. Roelof Petrus Meyer would continue to engage in bringing South African experience into the inter-communal dialogue.

He added that the advisory board would be willing to provide names of experts to be helpful to the works of the commission of enquiry, if requested.

Afterwards, a Q&A session was held where journalists ask about the meeting between the Advisory Board and the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services, the national verification process of returnees, the government’s responses to international pressure concerning Rakhine State, and the Advisory Board’s final report on Rakhine State to which the Advisory Board Chairman and members replied.

Present at the press conference were Chairman of the Advisory Board to the Committee for Implementation of the Recommendations on Rakhine State Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai, Advisory Board member Mr. Roelof Petrus Meyer, Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) Chairman U Win Mra, former UN Security Coordinator U Tun Myat, MNHRC member U Khin Maung Lay, Pyithu Hluttaw Health and Sport Development Committee member Dr. Khin Nyo, and foreign and domestic journalists.