- The issue of boat people in the Andaman Sea and the Straits of Malacca was escalated in Southeast Asia in mid May 2015, which affected Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand.
- At the time of the incidents, on 26 May 2015, the Oslo Conference to End Myanmar’s Persecution of Rohingyas” was held in Oslo, Norway. At the conference, Mr. George Soros, Mr. Mahathir Mohamad, Tan Sri Dato Seri Syed Hamid Albar and Desmond Tutu delivered their statements through pre-recorded video links and in person.
- In their statements, they criticized and turned a blind eye to Myanmar’s efforts on rebuilding trust among two communities in Rakhine State; granting citizenship through national verification process to the Bengalis those living in Myanmar for many years; arrangements made for the two communities to live side-by-side with concrete documentation. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs objects such counterproductive comments.
- Myanmar has been extending its full cooperation with countries in the region to solve the issue of boat people. On the other hand, Myanmar has been providing humanitarian assistance and search and rescue efforts in an individual capacity.
- In addition, Myanmar participated in a special meeting on Irregular Migration in Indian Ocean held in Bangkok, Thailand on 29 May 2015 and together with other regional countries, exchanged of views were made to effectively solve the issue on smuggling, human trafficking and transnational crimes in a cooperative manner. The delegation of Myanmar also pointed out that the focus should be made on more cooperation in providing humanitarian and development assistance to the affected countries rather than finger pointing a country.
- Against this backdrop, at the time when humanitarian needs are required for the boat people that become victims of smugglers and traffickers, placing an one- sided view on a country will not serve the purpose of the efforts being carried out in at-risk countries including Myanmar. And it would create misunderstanding from the international community. As such Myanmar categorically rejects the unbalanced and negative comments.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Nay Pyi Taw
May 30, 2015