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Consiglio di Sicurezza – Briefing sulla situazione in Myanmar

Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatore Sebastiano Cardi, Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, al Briefing in Consiglio di Sicurezza sulla situazione in Myanmar

Mr. President

I thank the Secretary General for his briefing and engagement to face the alarming situation in the Rakhine State. Figures of refugees fleeing from this region in the last month have increased, creating a dangerous humanitarian crisis and destabilizing the region. It is the responsibility of this Council to urgently address the situation and engage collectively in providing assistance. The Security Council must send a strong, unified and constructive message in line with the priorities identified by the Secretary.

Mr. President,

The crisis in Northern Rakhine is the result of a complex pattern of factors and requires a comprehensive response.

First, an end must be put to violence immediately. In line with European Union requests We call on Myanmar’s Authorities to suspend the security operations and ensure full protection of civilians. We condemn the coordinated attacks of 25 August by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army but stress the need for the security response to respect fully international humanitarian and human rights’ law. Acts of violence perpetrated against the Rohingya minority, including reports of serious abuses against women, children and the elderly, are a matter of great concern and cannot be tolerated. National Authorities are responsible for the safeguard of life and fundamental rights of all people without discrimination.

Safe and unhindered humanitarian access must be ensured. We join High Commissioner Filippo Grandi in his call, upon his return from Cox’s Bazar, to immediately re-establish access for UN Agencies to Rakhine. Humanitarian agencies and donors have mobilized rapidly: the Italian Government immediately allocated, through the High Commissioner for Refugees, one million euro to community projects for minorities, and contributed half a million euro to the World Food Program’s emergency packages. Still, needs on the ground exceed the available resources and access to those in need in the most dire conditions faces major restrictions. We appreciate Myanmar’s Authorities engagement in alleviating such sufferings but urge them to step up this effort, by ensuring full international access and cooperation with the United Nation especially with UNHCR. We look forward to the visit of a group of foreign diplomats and heads of UN Agencies to Rakhine that should take place on 2 October. We also acknowledge the steps taken by Myanmar to cooperatively face the refugee crisis with Bangladesh. We encourage both Countries to bolster this coordination and I’d like to commend Bangladesh for its decision to keep the border open, for its solidarity and efforts of hospitality.

Second: the root causes of the crisis must be addressed. In its report the Advisory Commission on the Rakhine State outlined a roadmap for socioeconomic development and lasting reconciliation. We praise Myanmar for mandating the Commission in the first place and for its commitment to follow-up on its recommendations with the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Commission in charge of their implementation. Translating them swiftly into concrete actions is not the priority because it will pave the way for disrupting the vicious cycle of discrimination, poverty and violence afflicting these communities. We acknowledge the scope of the challenge and stand ready to assist, hoping that the Annan Commission will continue to be involved. The United Nations’ system, by integrating humanitarian aid and development assistance, is in the best position to shore up the process: we encourage Myanmar to engage in a constructive dialogue with the Organization and welcome its decision to participate to today’s Briefing.

Third: voluntary, safe and sustainable return of refugees will be key to defuse tensions and stabilize the region. This entails ensuring registration in line with international standards and finding a durable solution to the problem of statelessness. Also in this field the United Nations can offer their expertise and assistance.

Finally, building trust among communities is paramount: we ask the Government to stifle inflammatory language and foster interethnic and interreligious dialogue. In this perspective those who are responsible of human rights’ violations must be held accountable. The fact finding mission established by the Human Rights Council and the cooperation with the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights’ situation in Myanmar could complement the Government’s effort in assessing exhaustively and impartially the situation and facilitate reconciliation.

Mr. President,

the United Nations, including the Security Council and the Secretary General, can play a constructive role in helping Myanmar to overcome the crisis and advance on its path towards an inclusive democracy. Respecting human rights is an essential prerequisite that cannot be ignored. Italy stands ready to take into consideration further constructive action by this Council and remains committed to Myanmar’s democratic transition and national reconciliation.

Thank you.