UN’s Special Envoy Discusses Peace Process with Kachin Officials

By The Irrawaddy 18 October 2018

YANGON—The United Nations Secretary-General’s special envoy to Myanmar discussed the peace process with Kachin government cabinet members on Wednesday, during her first trip to Kachin State.

“We mainly discussed the peace process,” Kachin Minister of Social Welfare U Thin Lwin told reporters after the meeting in the Kachin State government office.

Government officials discussed their actions in the peace process at state level even though the Kachin [Independence Army] have not signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA). Both sides agreed that the peace process requires patience and takes time, he said.

During the visit, the UN special envoy Christine Schraner Burgener visited IDP (internally displaced persons) camps in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State, which is home to people who have been displaced from areas near Myitkyina due to ongoing fighting between the Myanmar military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) since 2011.

Christine Schraner Burgener held meetings with the Kachin State Chief Minister U Khet Aung, Kachin State Security and Border Affairs Minister Col. Thura Myo Tin, the social affairs minister and secretary of the Kachin State government and Kachin State advocates. She also met with the Commander of the Northern Command Maj-Gen Tay Zar Aung and senior military officers of the command.

In Naypyitaw on Friday, the UN special envoy held a meeting with State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, sharing views on the latest progress in the process of national reconciliation and peace; ongoing inter-communal dialogue; the opening of the Office of the Special Envoy in Naypyitaw; and the implementation of the repatriation of displaced persons under the bilateral agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh, according to the Ministry of Information.

During the discussion with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, both sides also addressed the challenges facing Myanmar, including the situation in Rakhine State and cooperation between Myanmar and the Office of the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General, according to the Ministry of Information.

On Monday, she visited northern Rakhine State—Sittwe, Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships—and met with local communities who suffered from communal violence during the Rohingya crisis in Rakhine State. She held a meeting with state government officials including Rakhine State Chief Minister U Nyi Pu and Commander of the Western Command Maj-Gen Soe Tint Naing. She also visited IDP camps in Sittwe and Kyauktaw townships.

Discussions with the state government officials focused on three main topics: building peace and harmony between the two communities; the resettling process; and the repatriation of displaced persons, vice-speaker of the Rakhine State parliament, U Mya Than told The Irrawaddy.

Rakhine-based media reported the speaker of the Rakhine State parliament U Kyaw Zan Hla revealed a positive view of Christine Schraner Burgener, saying she is more flexible when discussing the Rakhine issue than the UN human rights envoy to Myanmar, Yanghee Lee.

Christine Schraner Burgener made her first visit to Myanmar in July this year. She discussed the Rakhine humanitarian issue with State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the military’s Commander-in-Chief Sen-Gen Min Aung Hlaing during the trip and also met with Muslim and Hindu refugees in Maungdaw, Rakhine State.