By Arul Louis,
United Nations: India has asked UN members to drop the annual ritual of passing a resolution on Myanmar’s human rights situation saying that the gesture would encourage the reforms underway there.
Speaking Friday at a meeting of the Partnership Group for Peace, Development and Democracy in Myanmar, Permanent Representative Asoke Kumar Mukerji noted that in Rakhine State, the Myanmar government “has taken steps towards restoration of law and order and has expressed readiness to cooperate with UN and other humanitarian agencies regarding rehabilitation of those affected by violence.”
“We urged member states to agree to the discontinuation of annual resolutions on the human rights situation in Myanmar,” Mukerji said. “In our view, this would convey the world community’s strong support and encouragement for the reform measures that are already underway in Myanmar.”
The last resolution on human rights in Myanmar was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December. Noting the “scale of the reform effort undertaken” there, the resolution welcomed “the continued positive developments in Myanmar towards political and economic reform, democratization and national reconciliation and the promotion and protection of human rights.”
Rakhine State in western Myamar is recovering from the ethnic riots in 2012 between the Buddhist Rakhines and the Muslim Rohingyas.
Mukerji said India has provided aid to help Rakhine State recover from the riots. New Delhi gave $240,000 for the rehabilitation effort after the riots first broke out and $1 million for constructing 10 schools for both communities in the affected areas, he said.
Development aid to Rakhine State includes $300 million earmarked for the state from the total development assistance of $1.75 billion to Myanmar, and lines of credit totaling $85 million for electricity transmission and road construction in the state, he added.
The meeting was attended by a high level delegation from Government of Myanmar including Soe Thane, Minister in the Office of President, Immigration Minister Khin Yi, Attorney General Tun Shin, and Rakhine State Chief Minister Muang Muang Ohn.
Myanmar has emerged from nearly 40 years of military rule after the military council was dissolved in 2011 following the 2010 elections. With democratic reforms underway, general elections are scheduled for later this year.
Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who chaired the meeting, praised Myanmar’s “exemplary resolve in striving to achieve peace and stability in the country.”
“The reform process initiated by the Government of President U Thein Sein continues to progress steadily,” he said. “The country has taken visible strides in many areas of socioeconomic development, national reconciliation and democratization.”
Myamar has also made big strides in trying to end more than 60 years of ethnic insurgencies around the country. The the government’s Union Peace Making Work Committee (UPWC) and the ethnic armed groups Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) agreed on a ceasefire agreement on March 31. Mukerji said India welcomed the accord.
Ban thanked thanked his Special Adviser, Vijay Nambiar of India, for his role in the peace process. “The quiet support that he and his team provided helped build confidence in the process,” he said.
(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected])