Readout of the Ministerial-level Meeting of the Secretary-General’s Partnership Group on Myanmar
The Secretary-General convened today a meeting of his Partnership Group on Myanmar at the Ministerial level. At the meeting, he briefed members on his visit to Myanmar in late August and shared his observations on the major changes taking place in that country, reflecting the commitment of its new leadership to strengthening the rule of law as a vital part of the reform process and to promoting greater ethnic, political, religious and gender inclusiveness.
While recognizing the significant progress made by Myanmar in its reform efforts, the meeting also highlighted that the goal of nation-building was far from over. The Secretary-General stressed that the sustained engagement, as well as steady support and encouragement of the United Nations and other members of the international community, will remain crucial to Myanmar in meeting its challenges in the future.
The Group encouraged the continuing advances being made in the national reconciliation process. It referred in particular to the recently held 21st Century Panglong Conference in which the Secretary-General had urged all concerned stakeholders to proceed on a unified track of political dialogue and to address all issues equitably and fairly. Participants underlined that reaching a federal union based on democracy, equality, and power sharing, as well as ensuring prosperity for all, will require flexibility and mutual accommodation by all sides.
The Group also stressed the importance of addressing the complex challenges in Rakhine, one of Myanmar’s poorest regions. The need for urgent steps to end discrimination and improve the humanitarian situation, especially of those currently confined to the IDP camps was recognized by all. In the longer term, unless the core issue of citizenship and legal status for the Muslim communities, including of Rohingyas, was addressed, there was little likelihood of durable peace and harmony in the state. In this context, the Group welcomed the initiative taken by the Union Government for the establishment of an Advisory Commission on Rakhine chaired by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
The Partnership Group urged the Government to put in place broader measures to combat discrimination and promote a more tolerant and inclusive society. In this respect, the Secretary-General and others called for progress in the establishment of an in-country OHCHR office with a full mandate. This would provide valuable assistance to the Government in meeting its rights obligations.
The Secretary-General highlighted that this would be his last meeting of the Partnership Group. He hoped for steady and sustained progress in the normalization of Myanmar’s engagement with the international community in the months ahead, as the country proceeded on the path of democratization, national reconciliation, developmental growth and reform. He also expressed appreciation for the tireless efforts undertaken by his Special Adviser Vijay Nambiar.
New York, 23 September 2016