UN envoy to Myanmar winds up first visit, a listening tour
UNITED NATIONS, June 21 (Xinhua) -- Christine Schraner Burgener, the special envoy of the UN secretary-general on Myanmar, completed her first visit to the country on Thursday, saying she focused on listening to "diverse perspectives" to build trust and confidence for establishing positive relations between the Rohingya ethnic minority group and the government.
Burgener met with Nobel laureate and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, the military's Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and other leaders in the capital of Nay Pyi Taw, the commercial capital Yangon and Rakhine state, the spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a note to correspondents.
"The special envoy focused on listening to all sides to better understand their diverse perspectives with a view to building trust and confidence among various stakeholders, and establishing positive relations while promoting the key principles of the United Nations," it said. "In all meetings, she stressed the need for inclusive solutions that integrated the views and important voices of women."
Since last August, more than 670,000 Rohingya, ethnic Muslims, fled deadly violence in northern Rakhine State of Myanmar, an overwhelmingly Buddhist country, to neighboring Bangladesh, a predominantly Muslim country.
"She stressed the importance of taking stock of the recent positive steps taken by the government of Myanmar and held constructive discussions with all interlocutors, focusing on the situation in Rakhine state, the need for credible fact-finding, democratization and elections, and the peace process, including the implementation of the Nationwide Ceasefire Accord," the note said.
Burgener recognized the situation's complexities and expressed the hope that current efforts aimed at addressing the root causes would soon lead to an environment that would be conducive to the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of the internally displaced persons and refugees to their place of origin or choice, said the note.
This has been a considerable problem given the fact that the Myanmar government does not recognize the Rohingya as its citizens even if the refugees volunteer to return.
In the biggest of the camps in Bangladesh, Kutupalong, the UN Refugee Agency has been working with other aid agencies and the government of Bangladesh to fend off flooding from monsoon rains, already lashing the region.
The envoy emphasized the importance of accountability in all her discussions with Myanmar officials, the note said, adding that it was essential for genuine reconciliation. While urging credible fact-finding measures, she pointed to the readiness of the United Nations and the international community to cooperate in such a project.
Burgener also expressed her concern about intensifying violence in northern Kachin and eastern Shan states in Myanmar and its impact on civilians, the note said. The envoy said she looks forward to visiting those areas on a next visit and "responded positively to the willingness of the government of Myanmar to include her in future peace talks."