As the security situation in Rakhine State has stabilised, the government is arranging for refugee camps to be closed down, according to state cabinet secretary U Tin Maung Swe on April 18.

“We are trying to shut down all IDP camps in Rakhine State but there remains some places where that won’t be convenient. We will not close them all. We will shut down only the camps where it is possible,” he told The Myanmar Times.

The camps had been set up as a temporary measure following conflict in the area.

At present, Bengalis, Kaman and Rakhine people from Kyaukphyu, Rambre and Pauktaw townships will be the first to be moved to their original homes, but this won’t be possible in some areas so a suitable and convenient site for both local and camp residents is being arranged, said U Tin Maung Swe.

Over 400 people from Kanyinchaung camp in Kyaukphyu township, 96 Kaman people in Rambre camp and 1119 people in Kyauktalone camp are going to be moved before the rainy season.

Officials need to negotiate with local residents before the relocation of Bengali refugee camps in Kyaukphyu, according to the state cabinet secretary.

Meanwhile, National Security Advisor U Thaung Tun met with local-based foreign diplomats and UN representatives in Yangon on April 11 and briefed them on peace and national reconciliation progress in Rakhine State.

In giving an account on the delicate and challenging nature of Rakhine issues, U Thaung Tun said that measures are being sought for building trust and to find a solution to poverty and underdevelopment in Rakhine State.

A United Nations Security Council’s resolution on Myanmar did not reflect real situations of the country, said U Thaung Tun, adding that Myanmar has made an objection statement to that resolution.

Suggestions made in the interim report by Rakhine State Advisory Commission led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan are being immediately implemented, he continued.

These include shutting down IDP camps, granting free travel to the media, allowing the visit of ICRC members to jails, promoting humanitarian aid and facilitating the national verification card process, he said.

Regarding allegations of human rights abuses, an investigation commission has visited and inspected the alleged locations in Rakhine State and Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh and if evidence is found, legal actions will be taken, said U Thaung Tun.

He also expressed hopes that the international community will understand the measures being taken for Rakhine State and continue to provide their constructive support and assistance to Myanmar.


– Translation by Zaw Nyunt

Courtesy of Myanmar Times