Press Release

Myanmar’s Stand on Boat People

–     Recently, there have been reports by international media on irregular migrants and boat people in the Andaman Sea and the Straits of Malacca. Myanmar also shares concerns expressed by the international community, and is closely following the news.

–     Myanmar is deeply concerned with the sufferings and life-threatening fate of victims as the consequences of human smuggling and illegal migration in the region.

–     Myanmar firmly believes that the issue of boat people is the problem of people smuggling and human trafficking. It is evident that most of the boat people are victims of people smuggling and human trafficking, in some cases, in a violent manner.

–     Meanwhile, unverified reports and information have created misperception on the issue by pointing out to the unfortunate incidents occurred in Whine State 3 years ago.

–     Myanmar has sought clarifications from some United Nations Agencies and NGOs in connection with their various reports and notions contained therein as it is not clear as to how the numbers and figures were collected. Some reports stated, “Irregular maritime movements are by their clandestine nature, making the data on such movements difficult to independently verify.”

–     Smugglers and traffickers are covering up their illegal activities with different approaches and by portraying trafficked victims as the people who need international protection.

–     In the region, there are poor people who seek better livelihoods and economic opportunities, and on the other hand, there are industries hunting for cheap and unregulated labourers. In the absence of inclusive and effective bilateral or regional mechanisms to address the issue, this vacuum is being exploited by smugglers and traffickers.

–     Myanmar has been consistently highlighting the main problem of people smuggling and human trafficking in the region. Current incidents of finding mass graves, traffickers’ secret camps and their heinous crimes call for stronger law enforcement measures in respective countries. There is also need to make frequent exchange of information to crackdown on the traffickers. Furthermore, media campaign is needed to educate people especially from rural areas.

–     Against this backdrop, Myanmar is making serious efforts on the prevention of smuggling and illegal migration. One such activity is the regular patrolling in the Myanmar territorial water by the Myanmar Navy and Air Force to deter any illegal trespassing in the territory and to provide safety for the trespassers, if any, found on the sea. Myanmar stands ready to provide humanitarian assistance to any victim suffering in its territorial waters.

–     Preventive measures on human smuggling and illegal migration are being implemented throughout the nation. Likewise, the Rakhine State Government and concerned departments are doing their utmost to prevent illegal migration by sea.

–     Myanmar has been extending its cooperation to countries in the region through existing bilateral and regional mechanisms which address people smuggling, human trafficking and related transnational crimes.

Position on the people rescued by Myanmar Navy

–     The issue at hand is considered from the humanitarian ground and against this backdrop, Myanmar Navy and Air Force are patrolling Myanmar territorial water to provide humanitarian assistance to victim who are suffering in territorial waters.

–     Along this line, Myanmar Navy rescued two fishing trawlers off the western coast of Maung Taw Township, Rakhine State on 21 May 2015; one of the trawlers has (208) people onboard and the other one has no passenger. Out of 208 boat people, 200 are found to be Bangladeshis from Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong, and northern Dhaka. They left their country in search of better employment opportunities in Thailand and Malaysia.

–     On 29 May 2015, Myanmar Navy rescued another boat carrying over 700 persons near Pya Pon Township.

–     The rescued boat people have been provided with temporary shelter, food, health care service and other humanitarian assistance in cooperation with United Nations agencies, other international organizations and INGOs.

–     While rendering necessary assistance to the remaining boat people, it will be difficult for a developing country like Myanmar to continue receiving and temporarily sheltering more boat people. Rescue efforts, providing temporary shelter and humanitarian assistance to the boat people are done solely on the humanitarian ground. Myanmar is not in position to shelter the rescued persons for a longer term.

–     On 8 June 2015, Myanmar officially handed over 150 persons who are verified as Bangladeshi nationals among the 208 boat people rescued by the Myanmar Navy on 21 May 2015. Myanmar and Bangladesh authorities are continued cooperating in the verification process of the remaining boat people from the 208 rescued and the additional 700 plus boat people who were rescued on 29 May 2015. The remaining boat people will be handed over to the country of origin, upon completion of the verification process.

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Press Release

Myanmar handed over verified Bangladeshi nationals among those rescued

by Myanmar Navy

 

  1. On 8 June 2015, Myanmar officially handed over 150 persons who are verified as Bangladeshi nationals among the 208 boat people rescued by the Myanmar Navy on 21 May 2015. A seven-member Bangladeshi delegation led by Commanding Officer of No. P 7 Border Guard Battalion of Cox’s Bazar Lt-Col Khandaker Saiful Alam arrived at Taung Pyo (Let We), where the handing over ceremony took place at 11 am today. The handing over of the 150 Bangladeshi nationals were completed at 13:30 hrs after the inspection process and signing of official document. Lt-Col Khandaker Saiful Alam received 150 Bangladeshi nationals who were handed over by Police Colonel Myo Swe, Deputy Regional Commander of Police Border Guard of Myanmar. The Bangladesh delegation accepted the 150 boat people and left for Bangladesh at 15:10 hrs. Colonel Mohammad Khalequzzaman, Sector Commander, Border Guard of Bangladesh and Mr. Md. Mahbubur Rahman, Consul, Consulate of Bangladesh in Sittwe were also presence as observers.

 

  1. Myanmar and Bangladesh authorities have continued verifying the rest of the 208 boat people and over 700 boat people who were rescued on 21 and 29 May 2015 respectively. The remaining boat people will be handed over to the country of origin after completion of the verification process.

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Nay Pyi Taw

8th June 2015

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Press Release for illegal migration to Myanmar

Press Release

 

  1. Myanmar is making serious efforts to prevent human smuggling and illegal migration while Myanmar Navy and Air Force are regularly patrolling its territorial water. On 21 May 2015, during patrolling, Myanmar Navy found a boat with 208 people and rescued them on humanitarian ground. They are given temporally shelters at Taung Pya (Let Wai), Rakhine State.

 

  1. In order to send them back to their place of origin expeditiously, the findings from the verification process were sent to the Bangladeshi side through diplomatic channel. According to the procedures, consular access was permitted to the Bangladeshi side to make necessary verification based on the verification results of the Myanmar side.

 

  1. Also on 29 May 2015, while Myanmar Navy was on duty patrolling for the safety of territorial water, they spotted a suspicious fishing vessel located at southeast of Pyapon Township of Ayeyarwaddy Region. On the boat, 734 men, women and children were found. In order for them to return back to their original place, women and children are kept at temporary places near Taung Pyo (Let Wai) and the remaining people are kept at temporary shelters near Boundary Pillar No, 37 from Bangladesh border, north of Taung Pyo (Let Wai) on humanitarian grounds.

 

  1. Myanmar is deploying all diplomatic means with the country concerned through diplomatic charnel to send the boat people back to their place of origin.

 

  1. On 3 June 2015, Union Minister for Foreign Affairs U Wunna Maung Lwin received the Bangladeshi Ambassador to Myanmar, at Nay Pyi Taw. During the discussion, the Union Minister said that Myanmar is providing temporary shelters to the beat people on humanitarian grounds and urged the Bangladeshi side to expeditiously receive back the people who are given temporary shelters after completing the verification process. The Bangladeshi Ambassador said his government has given priority on the matter and as bilateral relations between the two countries are flourishing, necessary preparations are being carried out expeditiously. He also replied that the repatriation process will begin on 7 June 2015.

 

  1. Officials from the Embassy of People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Yangon and Bangladesh Consulate in Sittwe will begin consular access on 4 June 2015 to the abovementioned rescued people who are given temporary shelters.
  2. While the Government of Myanmar is protecting the interests of its people as well as the interests of the country in the international community, arrangements are being made to send the rescued boat people back to their place of origin by taking serious consideration on the matter on humanitarian grounds.

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Nay Pyi Taw

June 3, 2015

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Press Release

Press Release

 

  1. The issue of boat people in the Andaman Sea and the Straits of Malacca was escalated in Southeast Asia in mid May 2015, which affected Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand.

 

  1. At the time of the incidents, on 26 May 2015, the Oslo Conference to End Myanmar’s Persecution of Rohingyas” was held in Oslo, Norway. At the conference, Mr. George Soros, Mr. Mahathir Mohamad, Tan Sri Dato Seri Syed Hamid Albar and Desmond Tutu delivered their statements through pre-recorded video links and in person.

 

  1. In their statements, they criticized and turned a blind eye to Myanmar’s efforts on rebuilding trust among two communities in Rakhine State; granting citizenship through national verification process to the Bengalis those living in Myanmar for many years; arrangements made for the two communities to live side-by-side with concrete documentation. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs objects such counterproductive comments.

 

  1. Myanmar has been extending its full cooperation with countries in the region to solve the issue of boat people. On the other hand, Myanmar has been providing humanitarian assistance and search and rescue efforts in an individual capacity.

 

  1. In addition, Myanmar participated in a special meeting on Irregular Migration in Indian Ocean held in Bangkok, Thailand on 29 May 2015 and together with other regional countries, exchanged of views were made to effectively solve the issue on smuggling, human trafficking and transnational crimes in a cooperative manner. The delegation of Myanmar also pointed out that the focus should be made on more cooperation in providing humanitarian and development assistance to the affected countries rather than finger pointing a country.

 

  1. Against this backdrop, at the time when humanitarian needs are required for the boat people that become victims of smugglers and traffickers, placing an one- sided view on a country will not serve the purpose of the efforts being carried out in at-risk countries including Myanmar. And it would create misunderstanding from the international community. As such Myanmar categorically rejects the unbalanced and negative comments.

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Nay Pyi Taw

May 30, 2015

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Press Release

  1. A resolution on the situation of human rights in Myanmar tabled by European Union was adopted today at the 28th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

  1. The resolution does not adequately and objectively reflect and apprise of the efforts and achievements in promoting and protecting of human rights of the people of Myanmar. In addition to this drawback, some facts amount to infringing on the sovereignty and interfering in the internal affairs of Myanmar. It includes criticizing and prejudging the holding and the outcome of upcoming general elections, turning a blind eye on the efforts being made for a free, fair and transparent election. It also contains a terminology which is not accepted by the nation and its entire people. It is also learnt that expressions on Myanmar’s cooperation with the United Nations agencies and the international humanitarian community are misleading.

 

  1. Against this backdrop, the Permanent Representative and Ambassador of Myanmar to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva made a statement before the adoption of the said resolution. The statement rejects, reserves and clarifies Myanmar’s position on the paragraphs in which the above-mentioned facts were included. In addition, the Ambassador stated clearly that Myanmar dissociates itself from the entire resolution.

 

  1. As Myanmar is in the fourth year of implementing political, socio-economic and administrative reforms, visible progresses have already been achieved. At the same time, Myanmar has been striving to overcome the challenges common to a young democracy. At this critical juncture, only constructive contributions and advices should be made for further progress towards reaching the goal of the whole process rather than focusing and criticizing on some incidents.

 

  1. Myanmar will maintain its efforts in promoting and protecting of human rights of its people. In so doing, cooperation with friendly nations and the international organizations which support Myanmar with constructive views will be continued.

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

Nay Pyi Taw

Dated: 27 March 2015

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