|Statement by Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu at the Security Council Open Briefing on Myanmar|
First, China regrets that the Security Council heard the briefing by the Human Rights Council Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar. Such a practice undermines the unity of the Council and is not conducive to the cooperative efforts of Security Council members to resolve the issue of Rakhine State in Myanmar.
Recently, with the joint efforts by the countries concerned, the countries in the region and the UN agencies, good progress has been made in resolving the issue of Rakhine.
In mid-September, the first UNHCR-UNDP joint mission visited 23 villages in Rakhine. In mid-October, the second joint mission visited 26 villages in Rakhine. The Myanmar government has promised to give the joint missions full access to the entire territory of Rakhine and to actively implement the tripartite MOU. The recommendations contained in the report of the Rakhine State Advisory Board are being implemented.
Recently, the Independent Commission of Enquiry on Rakhine started its work and held meetings. In consultation with Bangladesh, it will go to Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh to conduct an investigation for fulfilling the commitment of seeking accountability for human rights violations in Rakhine after the attacks by the Rohingya Salvation Army in October 2016 and August 2017. In mid-October, Myanmar once again received the visit of Ms. Burgener, Secretary-General's Special Envoy on Myanmar. The Special Envoy held in-depth exchanges with Myanmar leaders and officials, and visited Maungdaw and Buthidaung to get first-hand information on the situation in Rakhine. The joint working group of Myanmar and Bangladesh will hold its third meeting by the end of this month. His Excellency Foreign Minister Ali of Bangladesh indicated recently that on the basis of the Bangladesh list of 8,000 people and the list provided by Myanmar, the first batch of people are expected to be repatriated soon. The international community must note and fully recognize the above progress.
The Bangladesh government and people have been providing significant humanitarian support for the displaced people in Bangladesh, working hard to improve their living conditions and actively making proper arrangements to help them respond to the challenges brought by hurricane and monsoon season. China highly appreciates the great efforts that Bangladesh has made.
Myanmar and Bangladesh are both friendly neighbors of China. Since the very beginning, China has been actively engaged in diplomatic activities to promote dialogue and consultations between the two countries to resolve the issue. China proposed the "three-phase" solution and pushed the parties to reach consensus on important issues. Following the first informal tripartite meeting between China, Myanmar and Bangladesh in late June, on September 27, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held another tripartite informal meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York with the Minister for the Office of the State Counsellor of Myanmar U Kyaw Tint Swe and Foreign Minister Ali of Bangladesh. UN Secretary-General Guterres and Special Envoy on Myanmar Burgener were present at the meeting. The meeting was held in a friendly, open and constructive atmosphere, resulting in an important three-point consensus. First, Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed to properly resolve the issue of Rakhine through friendly consultations. Second, Bangladesh indicated it was ready to repatriate the first group of displaced people who fled from Rakhine, and Myanmar made clear that it was well prepared to receive the first group of repatriation. Third, both countries agreed to convene a joint working group meeting as soon as possible to work out a repatriation road map and timetable, and to achieve the first repatriation as soon as possible. We are pleased to note that the above consensus is being actively implemented.
China is deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation of the displaced people, and has provided humanitarian assistance to the two countries. Recently, China pledged another 1,000 sets of prefabricated houses to Myanmar to improve the local conditions and resettle those repatriated. China also provided Bangladesh with 20 million yuan worth of food aid. China will continue to work for the issue's solution.
The Rakhine issue has a complex historical, ethnic and religious background. It is in essence an issue between Myanmar and Bangladesh, the solution of which requires long-term efforts. The international community should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries concerned, cherish the hard-won progress, fully understand the difficulties and challenges facing the countries concerned and make real efforts to resolve the issue.
The pressing task is to expeditiously start repatriating those who fled Myanmar into Bangladesh. The international community should encourage Myanmar and Bangladesh to step up dialogue and accomplish the first repatriation as soon as possible so as to bring those people back home. In the repatriation process, the issues of freedom of movement, citizenship and accountability, which are of concerns to many people, could be gradually and properly resolved. UNHCR and UNDP should enhance consultations with the Myanmar government and effectively implement the tripartite MOU. The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General should continue to be supported in helping the Myanmar government resolve the Rakhine issue through dialogue and consultation.
Development is the fundamental way to bring a solution to Rakhine issue. The international community should pay more attention and help the local governments and people eradicate poverty, achieve sustainable development, improve livelihood and social and economic conditions, and achieve social stability and harmonious coexistence of the population.
The international community is closely following the human rights situation and accountability in Rakhine. The Myanmar government is committed to bringing to justice perpetrators of human rights violations on the basis of solid evidence. It has established an Independent Commission of Enquiry on Rakhine State. The Commission has extensive international participation and will submit a report within one year. The international community should respect Myanmar's sovereignty and encourage the Commission of Enquiry to work independently, show the truth, and hold the perpetrators of human rights violations accountable. In the absence of access to Myanmar for field investigations, the report of HRC's Fact-finding Mission is based on lopsided and incomplete information. The conclusions reached are neither objective nor impartial, and not convincing at all, constituting interference into Myanmar's internal affairs and sovereignty. HRC's Fact-finding Mission is not a judge. Such a practice will in no way help resolve the Rakhine issue and will only jeopardize the internal reconciliation and democratic transition in Myanmar. It will only escalate tensions in Rakhine and undermine the authority and credibility of the United Nations.
Human rights represent a common cause of the international community and one of the three pillars of the United Nations. China has consistently advocated for dialogue on human rights issues on the basis of equality and mutual respect. This is the right way to promote human rights. China will continue to work with other parties to promote dialogue and consultations, uphold justice and impartiality, thus playing a constructive role in resolving the Rakhine issue.
Thank you, Mr. President.