Burma Times Desk Report: May 30, 2015
Accusations of finger pointing and rebukes were the order of the day as Burma refused to be blamed for the migrant crisis at the 17 nation meeting in Bangkok.
The stage for trouble was set as before the first break, the Deputy PM of Thailand, General Tansak said that the root cause of the influx must be addressed to find a solution.
He was followed by Volker Turk, the UN Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees who said there could be no solution if root causes were not addressed. He also said that Burma must take full responsibility for the current crisis.
“This will require full assumption of responsibility by Myanmar toward all its people. Granting citizenship is the ultimate goal,” he said. “In the interim … recognising that Myanmar is their own country is urgently required (as well as) access to identity documents and the removal of restrictions on basic freedoms.”
Burmese Foreign Ministry director general Htin Linn responded by saying Mr Turk should be better informed and expressed concerns that the spirit of co-operation was not in this room.
Earlier Htin Linn told Reuters that there was no plans to reach an agreement in Bangkok.
After the meeting, Thai officials told media that Burma has agreed to respect human rights in Arakan. They did not elaborate on how it would be done.
Analysts earlier said that there is little chance of a binding agreement in this meeting.
Countries attending are Burma, Bangladesh, Australia, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.
The USA, Japan and Switzerland has also send observers.
Officials from the UNHCR, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the International Organization for Migration are also present in the much anticipated meeting.
The meeting comes amidst UN observations that seven vessels carrying around 2500 refugees are still stuck at sea.