Military Urges Caution Cooperating With International Agencies

By Htet Naing Zaw 21 May 2018

NAYPYITAW — Military representatives to Parliament have urged their civilian counterparts to approach cooperating with international agencies from a national security perspective.

They called for caution in cooperating with international agencies during a parliamentary debate of a presidential proposal to ratify International Labor Organization (ILO) Recommendation No. 205 concerning employment and decent work for peace and resilience on Friday.

Lieutenant-Colonel Hla Naing pointed out that the recommendation called for the provision of rehabilitation, social integration and training programs for those formerly associated with armed forces and groups.

These things should be considered only after the country achieves peace and the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process is complete, he said.

“While our country is building lasting peace, we need to be especially careful with any matter that could negatively affect the peace process and handle it with serious consideration,” he said.

Recommendation No. 205 is too broad as it includes rights, equality, non-discrimination, social protection, migrants affected by crisis situations, repatriation and reintegration of refugees and returnees, and international cooperation, he said, urging Parliament not to adopt the recommendation.

“It is especially important not to have national defense and security, as well as the ongoing internal peace process, affected under the wording of social justice,” said Lt-Col Myint Han.

The multi-ethnic Tatmadaw or Myanmar Army is responsible for the protection of the state’s territory, and is assisting in the democratization process in line with the 2008 Constitution, he said.

Lt-Col Myint Han said: “We have seen international media reports about powerful countries doing arrogantly as they wish recently. We have to stick to our national norms amid international norms,” not clarifying which specific examples he was referring to.

Col Khin Maung Tun also called for extra caution with Section 7 (h) regarding the need to pay special attention to groups and individuals who have been made particularly vulnerable by the crisis including but not limited to children, people belonging to minority groups, indigenous and tribal persons, people with disabilities, internally displaced persons, migrants, refugees and other persons forcibly displaced across borders.

“If we do not restrict the entry of persons forcibly displaced across borders, it will harm state security and social security of the people, as proven by international examples,” he said.

The recommendations are optional rather than compulsory, said Daw Pyone Cathy Naing, a member of the Lower House International Relations Committee.

“If we want to get out from under international pressures, we have to take very strategic action to be able to stand tall on the international diplomatic stage. I don’t think Recommendation 205 is a trap or serious concern for security,” she said.

“The scope of the ILO recommendation is too broad. And we must approach it from a national security perspective. That’s what we have discussed,” Col Myint Han told reporters after the parliamentary session.

Union Minister for Labor, Immigration and Population U Thein Swe also remarked during the parliamentary session that recommendations are not compulsory.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.