ANP lawmakers urge greater security for ‘ethnic people’ in Rakhine


NAY PYI TAW — The Pyithu Hluttaw has agreed to discuss a motion by Arakan National Party for increased security in Rakhine State, as delays in the return of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh continue.

The motion urges the government to lay down plans for “the perpetuation of sovereignty” in northern Rakhine State and the “everlasting security of local ethnic people”.

Submitted by U Aung Thaung Shwe (ANP, Buthidaung) on October 27, the month before Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to a bilateral deal for the repatriation of some 700,000 Rohingya refugees, the motion also calls on authorities to learn from “previous mistakes” of past governments.

“Because the local Rakhine ethnics’ mental and physical insecurities are at their highest, migration [from northern Rakhine State] has increased and migrants are worried about resettling at their original places,” Aung Thaung Shwe said on the Hluttaw floor Wednesday.

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Fellow ANP member Daw Khin Saw Wai (Rathedaung) spoke in support of the motion, saying that civil servants, security forces and “local ethnics” — a reference to the Rakhine and other ethnic groups formally recognised by the government — were “prey” to insurgents in northern Rakhine.

Khin Saw Wai added that Rakhine political parties and local ethnic leaders should be included in the plans formulated by the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine, a government body formed last year to lead the government’s response to the Rakhine crisis and chaired by State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Pyithu Hlutaw speaker U Win Myint agreed on Wednesday to put the motion for discussion at an unconfirmed future date.

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