Statement


As the news coverage of the migrant crisis in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea drops away, the UN has made a renewed call to harness the energy to solve the regional problem with a 12 June updated appeal.
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In rare comments on Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya Muslims, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi urged caution on granting citizenship to minorities, saying the sensitive issue must be addressed “very, very carefully”.
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U Khin Aung Myint, Speaker of the upper house, yesterday told parliamentarians how he had rejected suggestions from an Australian politician that Myanmar should take in more than 20,000 boat migrants, saying the people of Myanmar would not accept them.
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“They deserve to be treated like we all deserve to be treated—with dignity and respect”

Activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai is standing with the Rohingya people of Burma and calling on world leaders to demand an end to their persecution.
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I have been a supporter of Burma’s democracy movement since 1993. For most of that time, the prospect of change seemed remote, and I felt increasingly discouraged.
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Appalled at the two-year prison sentence handed down to U Htin Lin Oo on charges of insulting religion, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today urged the Myanmar authorities to release the columnist and guarantee freedom of expression and opinion in the country.
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U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday called on Burma to end discrimination against the ethnic Rohingya. He told a gathering of Asian leaders at the White House in Washington, D.C., that there’s no question that the ethnic group is being treated unfairly, and that protecting their minorities will be an important measure of the success of their transition from a military dictatorship to democracy.
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The guilty verdict against an opposition activist in Myanmar today for “insulting religion” is a serious blow to both freedom of expression and religious tolerance in the country, Amnesty International said.
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President Barack Obama said on Monday that Myanmar needs to take seriously the issue of how it treats the Rohingya people if it wants to be successful in its transition to a democracy.
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The United States said on Friday that thousands of migrants adrift in Southeast Asian seas needed urgent rescue, as countries gathered in Bangkok to discuss the regional crisis.
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In a pre-recorded message, South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called for aid to be used to save the Rohingya according to a report in Norway’s The Local, on 26 May.
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Rohingya and other survivors of dangerous boat voyages from Burma and Bangladesh describe horrific treatment by unscrupulous smugglers and traffickers in Burma, and abuse and neglect aboard ships, Human Rights Watch said today. A regional meeting scheduled on May 29, 2015, in Bangkok must find solutions to the so-called boat people exodus.
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An alliance of ethnic political parties has called for the amendment of Burma’s 2008 Constitution to prevent the president from appointing administrative regional chief ministers.
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Burma’s military commander-in-chief said some “boat people” landing in Malaysia and Indonesia this month are likely pretending to be Rohingya Muslims to receive UN aid and that many had fled neighboring Bangladesh, state media reported on Friday. (more…)

Opposition party National League for Democracy (NLD) denied that their party didn’t ask the government to give citizenship rights to Bengalis refugees adrift on the sea as reported in UK-based The Independent, said NLD’s spokesperson Nyan Win to the Daily Eleven on May 21.
The Independent newspaper featured a story on May 19 titled “Burma’s opposition demands government gives citizenship to Rohingya refugees adrift on the Andaman Sea”.
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1.          Recently, there have been reports by the international media on migrants and boat people in the Andaman Sea and the Straits of Malacca. In this connection, Myanmar shares concerns expressed by the international community, and is closely following the news.
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The MOFA stated that Myanmar shares the concerns of the international community over the refugees drifting at sea and will keep a close watch over the issue as it develops.
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Muslim people fleeing dire conditions in Burma are entitled to “human rights”, a spokesman for Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition urged on Monday, in strikingly bold comments on the group who are deeply marginalised in the Buddhist-majority nation.
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Press Statement
Jeff Rathke
Director, Office of Press Relations
Washington, DC

The United States is deeply concerned about legislative passage of the Health Care for Population Control Bill in Burma, paving the way for it to be enacted into law. This bill and the three other draft bills to purportedly “protect race and religion,” which address religious conversion, interfaith marriage, and monogamy, contain provisions that could be enforced in a manner that would undermine respect for reproductive rights, women’s rights, and religious freedom.
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As every crisis unfolds, the true nature of its players is inevitably revealed in the choices made and the actions taken. A large number of people fleeing Burma and Bangladesh to Southeast Asia presents governments and people of the region with an intricately complex problem, but we must choose to take responsible actions that will shape the legacies of this generation of leaders.
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