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Archive for Myanmar

Newsline: Swiss ambassador to Germany appointed as Myanmar envoy

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appoint the Swiss ambassador to Germany, Christine Schraner Burgener, to be his new special envoy to Myanmar. The General Assembly in December asked Guterres to appoint a special envoy in a resolution that called on Myanmar to end its military campaign in Rakhine state. Schraner Burgener has also served as Swiss ambassador to Thailand.



Newsline: Veteran US diplomat quits Myanmar’s crisis panel

A senior US diplomat has rebuked Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi for lacking “moral leadership” and resigned from an international panel set up by Burma to advise on the Rohingya crisis, saying it was conducting a “whitewash”. Veteran US diplomat, Bill Richardson, also a former governor of New Mexico, quit the 10-member advisory board while it was making its first visit to western Rakhine State, from where close to 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled since August, amid accusations of ethnic cleansing. “The main reason I am resigning is that this advisory board is a whitewash,” he told Reuters in an interview. In a damning public statement on Wednesday, Mr Richardson reiterated that the panel was likely to become a “cheerleading squad” for government policy rather than bring about the changes desperately needed for peace in Rakhine. He also revealed he was “extremely upset” at Ms Suu Kyi’s “furious response” to his request that she address the recent controversial arrest of two Reuters journalists swiftly and fairly. Other foreign members of the board, including British doctor and politician Lord Darzi of Denham, and speaker of the Swedish parliament Urban Ahlin, have not commented.


Newsline: Canada’s Global Affairs won’t confirm if ambassador joined diplomat husband on Myanmar beach

After a Canadian diplomat deleted an “insensitive” tweet about a “perfect” beach in Myanmar, Global Affairs is refusing to confirm if his wife, Canada’s ambassador to Myanmar, had joined him on holiday in a country that is facing widespread international condemnation for a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign. “First day of 2018 unfolded on a Myanmar beach where the great surf is pleasingly turquoise coloured, warm, clean and clear — perfect for snorkelling to visit with nature and the fish,” Canada’s ambassador to Indonesia, Peter MacArthur, tweeted on the morning of Jan. 1 along with a trio of photos showing a deserted stretch of shoreline. CTV News London correspondent Daniele Hamamdjian captured a screengrab and retweeted those words and photos before MacArthur quickly deleted them at the urging of Global Affairs Canada. MacArthur had been on a private trip to the Southeast Asian country where his wife, Karen MacArthur, serves as Canada’s ambassador — a position that comes with additional hardship pay. Although Canadian officials have described the ongoing persecution of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority as “ethnic cleansing,” there are no rules that bar diplomats from vacationing in the troubled country, where many large hotels and resorts are financially linked to its military. Myanmar’s military has been accused of being complicit in the longstanding humanitarian crisis. “The government of Canada takes the situation in Myanmar very seriously and is deeply concerned by the ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity that are occurring there,” Global Affairs Canada spokesperson Brianne Maxwell said in an emailed statement to CTV News. “Ambassador MacArthur was advised to delete the Tweet in question.” Peter MacArthur has been working with the department since 1982 and has held positions in countries such as Russia, India and Japan. He has been Canada’s ambassador to Indonesia since 2016.


Newsline: Myanmar consul general killed in road accident in India

The consul general of Myanmar was killed and three others critically injured in a road accident in Giridih district of Jharkhand. Senior police officials said Pyi Soe, the Myanmar consulate general based in Kolkata, was returning from Gaya in Bihar with his wife and one official after a personal tour when their SUV was hit by a truck near Miniyaghat in Giridih around 11am. The mishap occurred at National Highway 2. Policemen in Ranchi and Giridih said Soe and others were travelling in a Toyota Innova. It was near Galijori More near Nimiyaghat in Dumri block when a motorcycle ahead of the car took an abrupt left turn. The car sharply turned left to avoid hitting the bike and skidded into the opposite lane of NH-2.


Newsline: Egypt’s militants claim attack targeting Myanmar embassy

Egyptian militant group Hasm claimed responsibility on Sunday for a small explosion at Myanmar’s embassy in Cairo, saying it was in retaliation for that country’s military crackdown on Rohingya Muslims. Egypt’s interior ministry has not commented on Saturday’s blast, which residents and media initially reported as probably the result of a faulty gas pipeline. Two security sources told Reuters that traces of explosives had been found at the scene. “This bombing serves as a warning to the embassy of murderers, killers of women and children in the Muslim Rakhine State, and in solidarity with the sons of this weakened Muslim population,” Hasm said in its statement. Myanmar’s government spokesman urged citizens abroad to be careful. “Pls take care Myanmar nationals around the world,” the spokesman, Zaw Htay, said on his Twitter feed. The latest wave of violence in western Myanmar’s Rakhine State began on Aug. 25, when Rohingya insurgents attacked police posts and an army camp, killing about 12 people. The Myanmar military response has sent more than 410,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh, escaping what they and rights monitors say is a campaign aimed at driving the Muslim population out of the majority-Buddhist country.


Newsline: Appalled ambassador stops Boris Johnson reciting colonial poem in Myanmar’s holiest site

This is the footage which shows the British ambassador to Burma cutting off Boris Johnson’s recitation of a colonial-era poem in the country’s holiest site, in what has been labelled a “stunning” gaffe. Visiting the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon earlier this year, the Foreign Secretary began quoting the opening lines of Rudyard Kipling’s Mandalay. The poem is written through the eyes of a retired British serviceman in Burma and also references kissing a local girl. During the visit, after describing a golden Buddhist statue as a “very big guinea pig”, Mr Johnson burst into prose. “The temple-bells they say … Come you back, you British soldier,” the Foreign Secretary said. Standing next to the ambassador, Andrew Patrick, Mr Johnson continued: “The wind is in the palm trees … the temple bells they say” – before Mr Patrick interjected. “You’re on mic,” Mr Patrick said, looking tense. “Probably not a good idea.” Mr Johnson replied: “What, The Road to Mandalay?” “No,” the ambassador said, “not appropriate.” The footage was shot by Channel 4 as part of a documentary on Mr Johnson’s fitness for Prime Ministerial office.


Newsline: US Embassy protesters jailed in Myanmar

Four accused people, including Win Ko Ko Latt, who led a protest in front of the US Embassy in Yangon over the United States’ use of the word “Rohingya,” were sentenced to seven months’ imprisonment on Thursday by Kamayut township court. “In making protests, because the protesters shouted that US government was a 420 government (which refers to section 420 of the penal code on cheating), it affected bilateral goodwill and peace and tranquillity. Moreover it frightened the public and they were convicted of committing a crime,” said Kamayut Judge Daw Soe Soe Moe. The four accused, including Win Ko Ko Latt, were convicted and sentenced by Judge Daw Soe Soe Moe to six months’ imprisonment under penal code 505(b) and one month imprisonment under section 19 of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law, with days in custody deducted.