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Check against delivery Response by His Excellency U Kyaw Tin Permanent Represent ative o f the Republic o f the Union

o f Myanmar to the Uni ted Nations to the Oral Presentation on the Repo rt of Mr. Tomas Ojea Quintana, Special Rapporteur on t he Sit uation o f Human Rights in Myanmar (Agenda Item 69 (c): Human r ights situations and report s of special rapporteurs and representatives) at the Thi rd Committee of t he 68th Session of t he United Nations Gener al Assembly

New Yo rk 24 Octo be r 2013

Mr. Chai rman, Since this is the farewell session in this Committee for the Special Rapporteur Mr. Tomas Ojea Quintana, my delegation wishes to t hank him for his or al presentation as well as for all constructive suggestions he made during his six-year tenure wi th his genuine intention t o see a perfect human r ights si tuation in Myanmar . I am encouraged by his openness and candor in highlighting the conclusion in his repor t that dur ing his mandate for ne arly six years, he has witne ss ed the dr amatic change s that have occurre d following the 2010 G en er al Election and that the transition has alre ady br ought sub stantial human rights improvemen ts for the people of Myanmar and hold the poten tial to bring muc h more . In general , his report does re flect a numb er of posi tive developments in improvement o f human rights. We under stand that as a human rights expert, he has to pr esent in a fault finding approach wit h his ambitious int ention to impose high human rights standards. He has cited that the challenge for the Government is to transi tion from the military mind-set to a democrati c mind-set. In our view, the re cent dramati c democrati c changes in Myanmar were a clear demonstr ation of t he change of mind-set in the Gover nment. While wel coming any constructive recommendations, we find i t hard to concur wit h ever ything mentioned in his repor t, as ther e are many that are one sided or do not reflect the true situation. Even highly-commended posi tive developments in the country were dwarfed by heaps of negative remarks. There is a wise quot ation. The optimist sees the donut, the pessimist sees the hole. We r eg ret that the way he presented is like blaming a donut fo r i ts hole. Some re commendations are found intrusive and prescriptive. However , we will consider whi chever sui t our r ealities or do not infringe our sovereignty , national unity and disrupt the ongoing re form process. Mr. Chai rman, Although the Special Rapporteur did acknowledge some improvements, he did not provide enough space in his repor t for numerous measures taken by the Gover nment in addressing human rights. May I therefor e br iefly mention some o f them . We believe that promo tion and protection of human rights should be based on the principles o f cooper ation and genuine dialogue. Wi th the spiri t, we have all along cooperated wi th the United Nations. This was re flected by our feli citation o f eight missions for the Special Rapporteur. His last mission was the longest visit to Myanmar whi ch stretched across the nat ion. Apart fr om Rakhine, Shan and Kachin States, he was given the oppor tunity to visit a mountainous region o f Chin State for the fi rst time . He was also allowed to make prisons visit s to Insein, Sittwe, Buthidaung and Lashio to interview sever al inmates. However , his repo rt hardly re flects the views of gover nment offi cials.

May I ther efore share the progress made in a few selected areas. The release of prisoner s of conscience is a glaring progress in national re conciliation. President has granted a dozen o f amnesties since assuming o ffi ce in 2011, resulting in release o f over a thousand of pr isone rs o f conscience. Earlier this mont h, 56 mor e wer e released under a new amnesty . The prisone r review committee me t again on 12 October to deliver the commitment that no prisone rs of conscience shall remain in prisons b y the end of the year. He re, i t is impor tant to draw a clear line be tween politi cal prisone rs and criminals. The new arr ests mentioned by the Special Rapporteur were made due to thei r unlawful acts. Those wer e not cases of arb itrary detention as alleged. I wel come his ob servation about the improvement in conditions of detention in some prisons compared to his fi rst prison visit in 2008. I also thank him for his remarks that the practice of systemati c to rture and ill-treatment of detainees in Buthidaung Prison has now ceased. The new prisons law drafted wit h the cooperation of OHCHR and UNODC, once enacted, will contri bute to further improvements of t he conditions. We wel come Special Rapporteurs remark that opening of space for people to express thei r views remains one of the most posi tive developments in the re form process. Myanmar has made dramati c prog ress wi th regard to the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. A press council was also for med recently to ensure liberty and accountab ility. But he r aised concern ab out the arrests of some people exer cising thei r rights to peaceful assem bly. The tr uth is that those individuals wer e arrested not be cause of involvement in peaceful assemb ly, but because of inciting assault s and committing unlawful acts. The Special Rapporteur also raised concerns in the context of human rights, especially land utilization. To deal wi th issues of farmlands, a central committee for land utilization management headed by a Vi ce-President was estab lished last month. Investigation commission was also formed by the Parliament to look into the cases of land confiscation. We now have a National Human Rights Commission in place whi ch serves a mechanism to t ackle human r ights complaints. It will be streng thened by the approval of the National Human Rights Commission Law by the upper House. We are also engaging wi th US and EU through a human rights dialogue me chanism . Last year, the gover nment announced that i t would invi te OHCHR to begin nego tiations on estab lishing an offi ce in Myanmar . Accordingly, discussions are ongoing to reach a mutually acceptable agreement for possi ble opening of OHCHR offi ce in Myanmar, wi th an aim to re ceive technical assistance in promoting and pro tecting of human rights. Mr. Chai rman,

We are also making legislative re form to r eview the existing laws to be in line with the Consti tutions and inter national instruments. The Parliament has passed a to tal of 58 laws during the fi rst hal f of i ts term. The draft Printing and Publishing Enterprise Law, cited by the Special Rapporteur, had been amended and already discussed at the Lowe r House and Upper House. Mr. Chai rman, Another progress is the successful str iking o f ceasefire agreements with all maj or ethni c armed gr oups ending six-decade long conflicts. Recently, agr eement was reached also wi th the remaining Kachin armed group, paving the way for nation-wide ceasefire agr eement and politi cal dialogue. It augurs well for a permanent peace. Our effo rts to address the issue of under age soldiers have also made signi fi cant progr ess through implementation of the Joint Plan of Action. There are no mor e cases of new under age re cruitments, thanks to i ts systemati c screenings. As part of t his prog ramme, 176 children had alr eady been discharged and reintegrated. The Gover nment has invi ted the Wor king Group on C hildren and Armed Conflict to visi t Myanmar next mont h, demonstrating i ts firm commitment to fully implement the Plan of Action. ILO has also li fted all remaining r estri ctions placed on Myanmar due to i ts satisfaction on the prog ress in elimination of forced labour and restoration of labour rights. Mr. Chai rman, At the crit i cal time of democrati c transi tion, no country is immune from challenges. Myanmar went through unfortunate communal violence in Rakhine State, sparked by a br utal crime. We regre t that i t had caused loss of lives and prope rties to bo th communi ties. Sector al or communal violence usually raises i ts ugly head, whenever a society opens up and fi rm gr ip unleashed. What matt er most is the serious action taken by the Gover nment. In this regard, I was dismayed at the unbalanced and one -sided assessment on this situation. The Special Rapporteur conveniently failed to mention the serious responses taken b y the Government to address the issue. The government was able to restor e stabili ty in Rakhine State and elsewhere immediately after the outbreak o f violence, despite its limited capacity of the local poli ce forces. The President had publi cly stated to take a zero tolerance approach against anyone fueling hatred and had taken actions against the perpetr ato rs wit hout discrimination of religion or race. Those arrested also include a large numbe r of Buddhists. Wrongful portrayal of the communal clashes as religious violence has caused the spread of violence to elsewhere. The Gover nment is taking measure to prevent such violence, through swift action whenever provocative crime br eaks out. Capacity of Poli ce for ces is also being strengthened wi th exte rnal assistance, including ICRC .

My delegation rejects the allegation relating to two child poli cy. It was publi cly stated by b ot h the Union Minister for Population and the C hief Minister of the Rakhine State that i t had neve r been thei r policy and ther e is no such offi cial or der o r instructions issued at both the Union and State level . The gover nment plans to conduct registration of all residents in Rakhine State and expedite the review and processing of citizenship appli cation in accor dance wit h existing Law. A procedure to process the appli cations of undocumented persons has also been insti tuted. Mr. Chai rman, Not wit hstanding what has re cently occurred, Myanmar is a mul ti religious country whi ch has a long history of peaceful communal existence. The State C onsti tution gives prote ction t o all majo r r eligions. The majo r causes of the communal violence in Rakhine State are deeply rooted in i ts long histor y. It was not delibe rate tar ge ting of a r eligion as perceived. Ever y incident was sparked b y a sensi tive crime whi ch was exploi ted by some miscreants, who in no way represent all Myanmar Buddhist communi ty. Mr. Chai rman, The Gover nment has been making serious effo rts to resolve the problem through shor t-term and long-te rm plans, by setting up a Centr al Commi ttee and seven working groups to implement the re commendations of the Independent Inqui ry Commission. It includes extensive effo rts, in cooperation wi th UN, NGO and dono rs to improve the living conditions and livelihoods of all effe cted peoples wi thout discrimination. The Gover nment is building schools and medical clini cs for the displaced persons. In parallel to these effor ts, the Gover nment is also encouraging inter -fai th dialogues across the country to promote under standing and trust among differ ent fai ths. Earlier this month, an Inter fai th Conference of the Leaders of Five Fai ths was held in Yangon wi th the parti cipation of various religious leaders. Fully under standing the r isk of the problem, the President is prepared to utilize all i ts power s to prevent recurrence of communal violence. Although humani tarian needs can be fulfilled in shor t ter m, i t will take some time to re concile mistrust and heal t ension among the two communi ties. We wel come any assistance from the inter national community whi ch could be provided wi thout discrimination. In this regar d, the Government has invi ted the OIC Secret ary Gene ral and Ministerial delegation to visit Myanmar . Mr. Chai rman,

As a country under going a nascent politi cal transi tion, Myanmar is facing many compli cated and deli cate challenges to secure peace and stability while striving fo r development to fulfill the aspi rations o f i ts people. We hope that the inter national community will under stand our challenges and lend i ts continued support to our e ffor ts to overcome them . Myanmar has changed and is changing in the right dire ction wi th unparallel progr ess in promo ting human rights and democratization. Major concerns on human rights have al ready been addressed. Politi cization of human rights should not be allowed to go on. This is not the time to expand moni toring on t he si tuation of t he countr y. On the contr ary , i t is now about time to say good bye to the special rappor teurs mandate on Myanmar , whi ch has stre tched al ready over 20 years. I thank you Mr. C hai rman.