Narinjara news


Swedish Ambassador calls at villages in western Burma

Maungdaw, 4 December:  Mr Jan Nordlander, Swedish Ambassador in Bangkok, called at some villages in the western part of Burma, northern part of Maungdaw Township in Arakan (Rakhine) State, according to our correspondent quoting a high-ranking official.

An entourage of nine dignitaries including Mr Rao, the Chief of UNHCR branch at Maungdaw, accompanied the Ambassador on his tour on 27 November.

The dignitaries accompanied the Ambassador to Kring-chaung High School, where he watched the UNHCR distributing rice to the disadvantaged students in the area.  From there he went to Aung-cheilk-prung (Aung-seik-pyin) Embroidery School where local jobless female students were attending training classes.

Later he headed towards another nearby village Uda-rwa where the villagers complained him about the difficulty in eking out a living and scarcity of rice there, concluded our correspondent. 

In the morning he called Lieutenant Colonel Aung Ngwe at the Nasaka Security headquarters at Kyigan Byin in the western Burmese town of
Maungdaw, close to Bangladesh.  He was accompanied by high officials from UNHCR, Rangoon, and others from Maungdaw. 

The Ambassador was there to have a look over the ongoing activities of the UNHCR including the repatriation process.  He also expressed his surprise at the difference of the developmental activities of the region as a whole compared to
Rangoon and he said he felt deeply for all the underdevelopment he saw in his short visit, the official said.

He then put some questions to the Nasaka officials.  He wanted to know whether there were restrictions on the movement of the local residents, how the junta officials took measures to provide the landless repatriated refugees in the area, the means the authority adopted to differentiate between distribution of land to the model villages and that of the repatriated refugees, and finally he enquired about the existence of any form of forced labour in the area.

When the questions about the repatriation of refugees and distribution of land to them and the existence of forced labour were raised, Lt Col Aung Ngwe replied that there were no discrepancies in this regard, and therefore there were no dissatisfaction among the returnees or the local population.

On November 28, the Ambassador and his entourage visited the repatriation camps in the area and left for Mrauk-u, the ancient city of
Rakhine State in western Burma.  #