Briefing on recent developments in Rakhine State, Myanmar

Some foreign media have issued press statements based on unjustified conclusion drawing from unverified information related with the incidents which took place on 13 January 2014 in Ducheertan (middle) village, Maungtaw Township in Rakhine State.

Such misinformation and unjustified conclusion amount to exaggeration and distorting the situation, and could eventually lead to misunderstanding between the two communities in Rakhine State.

In order to explain the true situation to the public, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Union Myanmar, therefore, issued a Press Release on 24 January 2014.

H.E. U Wunna Maung Lwin, Union Minister for Foreign Affairs, briefed the true situation to foreign diplomats and UN Agencies staffs on 28 January 2014 in Yangon.

The incident took place on the night of 13 January 2014. During the routine patrol duty in Ducheertan (Middle) village and in the vicinity, a five-member police patrol team was surrounded and threatened by over one hundred Bengali mob wielding sticks and knives. The leader of the police patrol team Police Sergeant Aung Kyaw Thein was captured by the mob.

The evidences which the authorities found indicate that Police Sergeant Aung Kyaw Thein was fatally injured and he was still missing along with his rifle.

However, some of the international media and groups had continued to produce unverified information and illogical opinions.

When International Organizations carry out their reporting, it is very important that the information they used in the report be authentic and from reliable and credible sources. 

It is important to highlight some of the points prescribed in the UNGA resolution A/RES/66/81 A-B (9-12-2011) which stresses that the public information given by UN Agencies needs to be accurate, objective and balanced in all four mass media. It also reiterates UNGA’s request to ensure that all news-breaking stories and news alerts are accurate, impartial and free of bias.

President U Thein Sein has instructed to form an independent investigation team to conduct an investigation on that incident.

Central Committee for Peace, Stability and Development of Rakhine State also send a separate team to the Maungtaw district to investigate.

To show transparency on the incidents happened in Rakhine State, Myanmar National Human Rights Commission has proposed to make a field trip to Maungtaw District.

Rakhine Conflict Investigation Commission also sends a separate investigation team to the affected area.

Since the international communities have shown their interest in the reform process taking place in Myanmar and expressing the recognition and support. Positive cooperation and assistance were

also rendered to Myanmar Government. At the same time, there are concerns over the recent incidents in Rakhine State.

It is found that these concerns have originated from the unfound news and unverified information.

The Rakhine State Government led by U Hla Maung Tin, the Chief Minister visited Maungtaw Township, joined by Representatives of Pyithu Hluttaw (Parliament) of Buthitaung and Maungtaw constituencies, Dr. Bawshi Ahmad and Mr. ZarhinGir, and Ms. Babra Brista (UNOCHA) and resident Coordinator of UNHCR Mr. Roka Kodo had visited the area and met with the villagers.

In addition, representatives of the Rakhine Conflict Investigation Commission had also made an investigation regarding the incident.

These groups have met with the villagers who had fled Ducheertan village. They also met those villagers who have already returned to the village and they listened to the first hand experience of the villagers.

After the meeting, they have concluded that the incident which took place on the night of 13 January 2014 was an isolated event and was not connected to any other incidents as alleged by some medias.

However in expressing concerns by some organizations and countries on the recent incident, they mentioned about death of people, injuries, damage to the village in the events which never took place.

The Government of Myanmar is giving priority to the peace and stability of Rakhine State. It is important that communal peace and harmony should prevail in Rakhine State. The Government is fully cooperating with the UN Agencies, with all the humanitarian organizations who are rendering assistance to both communities in Rakhine State.

It is advisable that these Agencies and INGOs should communicate to the Rakhine State Government as well as to the focal ministries if they require any assistance. The government is ready to give verification on any news that they want to verify.

Comments or opinions based on uncertain information or news can affect the cooperation and confidence that have been built between friends and partners.

Myanmar is also cooperating with countries which are providing humanitarian assistance to Rakhine State.

Diplomatic Corps led by European Union Ambassador Mr. Roland Kobia recently paid a visit to the Rakhine State on 31 st January. He visited relief camps and discussed with local authorities on the

plans to be implemented by laying down short- and long-term projects and assistance to be provided by EU.

Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar