Press Release Regarding Myanmar Migrant Workers in Thailand (19-6-2014)

Press Release Regarding Myanmar Migrant Workers in Thailand (19-6-2014)


Pertaining to the recent reports of crackdown on legally registered Myanmar migrant workers by the Thai authorities, the Myanmar Ambassador to Thailand met with high ranking officials from the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) on 6 June and 14 June 2014. During the meetings, NCPO officials including the Head of Sub-committee dealing with illegal migrant workers from NCPO reiterated that those reports were unfounded, that Thailand has no policy to crackdown or arrest the legally registered foreign migrant workers in Thailand, and that the NCPO aims to promote proper employment so that Myanmar workers would receive the full benefits of health and welfare protection in accordance with the Thai laws.

The Ministry wishes to inform that the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok has already set up hotline numbers of the Embassy officials so that any arrest of documented Myanmar migrant workers could be notified to the Embassy on 24/7 basis.

Undocumented Myanmar workers in foreign countries are to seek employment through proper frameworks so as to ensure safe and secure working environment. In this regard, Myanmar Embassies abroad stand ready to render necessary assistance to them if they encounter any difficulty.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Dated: 19 June 2014.

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Agreements reached during political dialogue, an important aspect of peace process, will require amendments to the Constitution

Nay Pyi Taw, 31 May—The following is the full text of the speech delivered by  President U Thein Sein through radio programmes to the entire people on 31 May.

As I have done previously, I would like to give you the monthly update on the work of my government, and the developments that have taken place in our country.

As Chair of ASEAN, our country hosted the 24th ASEAN Summit on May 11th in Nay Pyi Taw. Regional issues including peace, stability, development, democracy, good governance, human rights, and basic freedoms were discussed. The out- come of the discussions was a 24-point agreement to strengthen cooperation, and to aim for the establishment of the ASEAN Community that is politically organized, economically integrated, and socially responsible.

I share the grief of the families whose loved ones died or were injured due to accidents on the Yangon – Mandalay Expressway. To find out first-hand, the reasons for these frequent accidents, I inspected sites along the highway with the highest occurrences of accidents, as well as areas most prone to accidents. I instructed responsible personnel to urgently carry out repairs to sections of the road, amounting to 6-percent of the total length, identified as a priority by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) measurements and analysis. I further directed the personnel to improve the road’s maintenance and usability, and to undertake road safety education to prevent accidents due to weather and negligent-driving.

I will now update you with developments on the ongoing nationwide peace process. This past April, the Union Peace Working Committee and the ethnic groups’ Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team agreed to a single-text draft of the nationwide ceasefire agreement, after six months of discussions. In the May discussions, both sides reached agreement on 70 percent of the text and produced a second draft. If we compare our efforts with those of other countries, agreements that would have taken years in other countries to negotiate, we have achieved in a short amount of time. All sides worked hard to reach these significant agreements involving numerous groups. Therefore, we must acknowledge everyone who is striving zealously to achieve internal peace. The peace process is the most important aspect of my government’s reforms. The absence of peace slows development, and hampers democracy. Therefore, the peace process is directly related to democracy. As democracy strengthens, the democratic system helps to build a just peace and supports a just resolution of issues. It can be said that we are now on the path to achieving genuine peace. At the same time, once peace is achieved, democracy will be strengthened. Therefore, democracy and peace building are all-inclusive processes, and I encourage all of you to get actively involved.

Due to the features of the political models adopted in the past, suspicion took root among us. We must be frank and say that our political culture is still one in which suspicion easily takes root—this is the result of our political history. In a society where suspicion has taken root for so long, we must accept that implementing all-sector reforms will encounter many problems. However, one cannot deny that we have maintained reform momentum and avoided backsliding on what has been gradually achieved so far. These gradual achievements are due not only to each of us individually, but to society as a whole acting magnanimously, patiently, forgivingly, and with determination. Most importantly, all are making their cases and arguing their stands in a peaceful way. When we look at transitions in so many other parts of the world, many of which have turned violent, we cannot discount the value of this. But the most important reason is the emergence of a new political culture that discards the custom of direct confrontation between groups with long-standing differences, but instead accepts differences, and resolves issues through dialogue and negotiation. We must all strive to keep this political culture alive.

I have been observing the efforts at amending the constitution to bring it to compliance with democratic standards and norms. The Hluttaws formed the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw  Constitutional Amendment Implementing Committee, and the Committee is now discussing amendment proposals. We are also seeing political forces join together to collect petitions from the public. I would like to urge all the political forces to connect with each other and harmoniously cooperate in order to achieve a result that is practical and beneficial for the entire nation as well as for each individual citizen.

Regarding amending the constitution, I would like to give you my thoughts. We must all accept the basic rule that a living, breathing constitution is always evolving and changes must be made under the right conditions and at the appropriate time in harmony with society’s political, economic, and social needs. Agreements reached during political dialogue, an important aspect of the peace process, will require amendments to the Constitution. At the same time, to see the emergence of an open and free society that we desire, we must strive to amend the constitution to comply with democratic norms and values. Everyone involved in the constitution amendment process will need to be principled and benevolent.

Since democracy has been absent from our country for many years, we must cultivate democratic practices and attitudes. For democracy to survive, democratic attitudes must exist. Democratic attitude means acting in accordance with democratic values. Understanding rights and responsibilities and respecting rule of law are the most important democratic values. In particular, conflict must be resolved in line with democratic principles and dialogue. Dialogue means solving issues together, and jointly implementing the solution. Dialogue is crucial during this reform period.

I am always working for the advancement of political freedoms. I would like to urge all political leaders to carefully consider their actions in order to keep this political process alive.

In conclusion, I would like to inform you that I continue to strive for achieving internal peace, improving livelihoods, and ensuring a brighter future for our children.

I wish you all good health.

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Press release of Bangladesh Border Affairs

On 28 May 2014, around (MST) 09:00 hour, the Myanmar troops opened fire on two suspected armed Bengalis in yellow camouflage uniform who entered into the Myanmar territory within 80 feet from the Myanmar-Bangladesh border fence between Boundary Pillar 51 and 52 in the Maungdaw Township, Rakhine State and the exchange of fire between the two sides followed. One person was caught dead with one M-22 automatic rifle, four magazines and 98 rounds. The remaining person withdrew into the Bangladesh territory.

             With respect to this incident, the Bangladeshi side alleged that the Myanmar side started opening fire on a team of the Border Guard of Bangladesh (BGB) which was patrolling along the border, and captured corporal Md. Mizanur Rahman.

             In this regard, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Yangon sent a diplomatic note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar on 28 May 2014. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh also handed over a diplomatic note to U Myo Myint Than, Myanmar Ambassador to Bangladesh on the same day.

             Another exchange of fire between Myanmar and Bangladesh border forces near the Boundary Pillar No. 50 occurred on 30 May 2014 at (MST) 16:00 hour, and it lasted about 20 minutes.  Again, the Bangladeshi side alleged that the Myanmar troops started opening fire on a team of BGB which was waiting to retrieve the dead body captured by the Myanmar side on 28 May 2014.

             As for the incident of the exchange of fire on 28 May 2014, there was no BGB team patrolling along the border between Bounday Pillar 51 and 52 on that day, as claimed by the Bangladesh side. The Myanmar troops just opened fire on two suspected armed Bengalis for security reason who were intruding into the Myanmar territory about 80 feet from the border line. The Myanmar troops neither opened fire on any BGB members nor captured a BGB corporal. It was found out that the outfit worn by the person caught dead did not match the BGB uniform.

             Concerning the incident of the exchange of fire on 30 May 2014, the Myanmar side informed EGB to come and fetch the dead body at the Boundary Pillar 52 where the exchange of fire had occurred. The allegations by the Bangladesh side that a BGB team was waiting near the Boundary Pillar 50 to fetch the dead body was not relevant and that the Myanmar side started to fire was far from the reality.

             The facts stated in these two diplomatic notes from the Bangladesh side are totally far from the real situation on the ground.

             Therefore, Daw Maw Maw, DirectorGeneral of the Department of Training, Research and Foreign Languages, Ministry of  Foreign Affairs, handed over the Aide-Memoire to Maj. Gen. (Rd.) Anup Kumar Chakrna, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, at the Ministry of  Foreign Affairs on 31 May 2014 at 1030 hours, categorically rejecting the claims mentioned by the Bangladesh side. U Kyaw Zeya, Deputy Director-General of the Political Department, Ministy of Foreign Affairs, and the Deputy Chief of Mission from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh were also present on the occasion.

             Regarding the incidents on 28 May 2014 and 30 May 2014, Myanmar will not tolerate any violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity; still, the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar will resort to diplomatic means to solve problems peacefully in view of existing bilateral friendly relations and good neighbourliness.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs  

Nay Pyi Taw.

31 May 2014

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ASEAN leaders call for self-restraint in South China Sea, agree on working towards early conclusion of COC: Nay Pyi Taw Declaration

Nay Pyi Taw, 11 May—With the recent confrontations in the South China Sea  between ASEAN member Vietnam and China overshadowing much of the 24th ASEAN Summit in Nay Pyi Taw, the Nay Pyi Taw Declaration issued on Sunday stated that the bloc will “work towards an early conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea”, without mentioning the incidents.

According to the declaration, the ASEAN leaders agreed to “strengthen cooperation for the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Code of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC)…..calling on all parties to exercise self-restraint and non-use of force, as well as refrain from taking actions that would further escalate tension and to work towards an early conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC)” to promote peace, stability and development in the region. Two paragraphs down the declaration states that the leaders agreed to “strengthen ASEAN centrality in the evolving regional architecture through ASEAN-led processes such as ASEAN Plus One”.

On the ASEAN Community’s Post-2015 Vision, the leaders agreed to “ensure the timely formation in line with the Bandar Seri Begawan Declaration on ASEAN Community’s Post-2015 Vision”. Regarding the realization of the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015, leaders agreed to intensify their efforts and “implement the initiatives to achieve the ASEAN Single Market and Production Base, including the trade facilitative initiatives such as the ASEAN self-certification system and the ASEAN Single Window, the ASEAN Customs Transit System, as well as other measures for the free flow of goods, services, investment and skilled labour and freer flow of capital.

Equitable economic development will be further promoted by assisting ASEAN Member States in meeting the commitments for economic integration,  “operationalizing the ASEAN Framework on Equitable Economic Development and advancing the interests of SMEs and entrepreneurs in the region.”—NLM

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President gives press conference on upshots of ASEAN Summit

Nay Pyi Taw, 11 May—A press conference concerning the ongoing 24th ASEAN Summit and its related meetings took place at Thanda Hall of Myanmar International Convention Centre here this evening, with a briefing by President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar U Thein Sein, reports said.

The president highlighted efforts to establish ASEAN Community by 2015 in line with the theme ‘Moving forward in unity to a peaceful and prosperous community’, chosen by Myanmar since it started to take the chairmanship role of ASEAN.

Media reports quoted the president as saying the theme portrays future steps ASEAN will take as well as the country’s commitment to the current democratization process and its reconciliation process.

President U Thein Sein stressed the exchange of views on how to fortify ASEAN institutions and ASEAN Secretariat in an effective way in line with the principles embedded in the ASEAN Charter. As regards regional and international issues, the president said ASEAN leaders at the Retreat Session discussed issues pertaining to South China Sea, East Sea, Korean Peninsula, multilateral cooperation in search of the missing MH-370, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and Middle East. According to the president, the product of the summit is the adaptation of the ‘Nay Pyi Taw Declaration on Realization of the ASEAN Community in 2015’.

Speaking of Myanmar’s aspiration on ASEAN chairmanship, the president said ASEAN will be strengthened “as a people-centred organization in accordance with the people-centred development strategy”, adding that unity is important among the ASEAN countries to maintain credibility.

As the ASEAN chair, Myanmar, U Thein Sein said, has set goals for bringing about peace, stability and prosperity while sustaining security in the ASEAN region. He also pledged a balanced approach to the expansion of relations with ASEAN’s dialogue partners.

President U Thein Sein, on behalf of ASEAN, is scheduled to attend G-20 Summit to be held in Brisbane, Australia, from 15 to 16 November this year.—MNA

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