Aung San Suu Kyi thanks people for their support, calls for refugee repatriation


Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has sent a report to the people. Photo: Myanmar State Counsellor Office

In a "Report to the People" issued on Thursday evening from the Myanmar State Counsellor Office, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi thanked the Myanmar people for their support and unity during the time of the Rakhine crisis and spoke of plans to repatriate the refugees who have fled to Bangladesh.

The following is the full text of her message to the people of Myanmar:

Report to the People

By State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

May all the people be in good health and well-being. May peace be in your hearts.

First of all, let me tell you how grateful I am, for standing together with our government, with full understanding and unity, at a time when we are facing extreme challenges. There is no power which can compare with the support of the people, trust of the people and the unity of the people. I believe that no matter whatever difficulties we face, we can overcome, with the unity of our people. 

As all of you know, the attention of the world on the Rakhine issue has been immense,beginning with the attacks on the police outposts in Rakhine State last October, the terrorist attacks which happened again in August of this year and the related problems that grew out of these attacks. There has been a lot of criticisms against our country. We need to understand international opinion. However, just as no one can fully understand the situation of our country the way we do, no one can desire peace and development for our country more than us. That is why we need to tackle these problems based on the strength of our unity.  
At this time, our country needs to continue doing the things that needs to be done.Furthermore, the things that need to be done, should be done correctly, bravely and effectively. We will implement the commitments we made till progress and success is achieved. Rather than rebutting criticisms and allegations with words, we will show the world by our actions and our deeds. In the Rakhine State, there are so many things to be done. If we are to take stock and prioritize,  there are three main tasks: 

(a) First, repatriation of those who have crossed over to Bangladesh and providing humanitarian assistance effectively;

(b) Secondly, resettlement and rehabilitation; and

(c) Third, bringing development to the region and establishing durable peace.

We will enhance our ability to provide humanitarian assistance effectively. We are negotiating with the Government of Bangladesh on the matter of accepting those who are now in Bangladesh. Since our independence, we have twice, successfully negotiated with Bangladesh on the issue.  Based on these successful traditions, we are now negotiating for the third time. 

As we work on the resettlement and rehabilitation efforts, we need to work not only for those who will be returning from Bangladesh but also for the very small national races such as Daing-net and Myo as well as Rakhine Nationals and Hindus. We will work to ensure that they will regain their normalcy. We will seek durable, sustainable programs to improve their lives.  We have to formulate long term programmes for the development of the regionand continue working for durable peace to relieve this region of conflicts in the years to come.

For each program there are many tasks. Our entrepreneurs, NGOs, CSOs and the people, have stated their wish to participate and help. The international community has also stated their wish to cooperate and assist. This is a matter of national importance.The Union Government and state/regional governments will take the leading role. We will give due regard and serious consideration to the sincere offers of cooperation made at home and from abroad.  

For the development of Rakhine State, to implement projects in all sectors, we need a mechanism which allows the Union Government, the people, the private sector, local NGOs and CSOs, friendly countries, UN agencies, INGOs to work together in cooperation.

We will call this mechanism the "Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine". This enterprise has been established with the aim of allowing the Union Government and all local and international organizations to work in all sectors and all strata of society.

In this "Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine", I will act as Chairperson, representing the Government in my capacity as State Counsellor.  Dr. Win Myat Aye, Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement will act as Vice Chairman. He is the Chairman of the Committee assigned to implement the recommendations of Dr. Kofi Annan’s Advisory Commission on Rakhine State. We will implement the short and long term tasks effectively. 

We will use this Programme to show practical and progressive results as we work towards the emergence of a peaceful and developed Rakhine State. I wish to earnestly invite and welcome, all the people of our country, NGOs, CSOs and Business Leaders to join hands and cooperate with us. We will begin theProgramme this coming week. As we implement this Programme, I believe that we will be able to utilise the strength of will, determination, and knowledge;bravely and energetically.We will use the power of truth and purity, so that this Enterprise will be worthy of being called a ‘milestone’ in our history. 

To develop the Rakhine state, we have invited those who wish to assist us; UN agencies, financial institutions like the World Bank and ADB, INGOs like the Nippon Foundation and friendly countries. 

We place great hope on our Union nationals living within the country and abroad. No matter where they may be in the world. I have no doubt that all of them would come forth to help us with Metta (loving kindness) and Thitsa (Truth). Although our Union may not be strong, I am confident that we will besuccessful by uniting our will. Our people are well known for their generosity and philanthropy and have even been ranked as number one in the world. We will put to good use this generous nature of our people, systematically.

The most powerful force for making our Union peaceful and developed is our people. No matter how much anger, hatred and bullying, we may have to face, we shall overcome all challenges and obstacles by holding fast to Metta, Karuna and Mudita (Loving kindness, Compassion and Sympathetic joy). Let us join hands and work together for the success of the "Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine" with the understanding that we are not working for one region only but for the entire Union. 

Beginning from Sunday, 15th October, we will announce through our website and State news media how you can help and how to communicate with us. We shall make arrangements, so that all the sons and daughters of our Union and our friends abroad who have goodwill in their hearts may get in touch with the nearest diplomatic missions and Consulates-General to help us in this endeavour.

May I once again pray for the good health of all our people, the true strength of our country, whom we trust and depend upon. May you all have peace and tranquillity in your hearts. May all your righteous good wishes be fulfilled.

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