Press Release & Statement

Nay Pyi Taw , November 26, 2016

Myanmar Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office and Other International Ogranizations in Geneva, U Htin Linn had called on Assistant High Commissioner of the UNHCR and lodged a protest against an UNHCR personnel John McKissick who is based at Cox Baazaar, Bangladesh in connection to allegations made against Myanmar Government in an interview by BBC which appeared in news on 24 November. The action not only breaches the code of conduct of UN personnel but also undermined the trust and confidence placed and the cooperation extended to the UNHCR by Myanmar.

 

Under the instruction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Myanmar Permanent Representative U Htin Linn had met with the Assistant High Commissioner for Protection of the UNHCR Mr. Volker Turk without delay on 25 November as the UNHCR High Commissioner and Deputy High Commissioner were not available.

 

At the meeting, Myanmar Permanent Representative requested an official confirmation from the UNHCR whether UNHCR had actually made the allegations against Myanmar Government. If such allegations were not made by the UNHCR, the Permanent Representative then, requested the UNHCR to issue a press statement explaining a true situation. If such allegations were indeed made by the UNHCR then, Myanmar lodges strong objection against UNHCR for unjust allegations made without substantiating evidences on Myanmar Government which also tantamount to breach of the code of conduct of the UN. The Permanent Representative also explained that the accusations not only had a damaging effect on Myanmar Government but also corroded the integrity of the UNHCR as a fair, non-politicized, neutral and impartial UN Agency helping refugees all over the world. If necessary, Myanmar would also be lodging an official objection by writing.

 

The Assistant High Commissioner for Protection of the UNHCR responded that they were also surprised by John McKissick’s statement. It was not UNHCR’s official position. It did not represent UNHCR and was made purely in John McKissick’s individual capacity. However, the UNHCR would look into the matter and would give appropriate response to the Myanmar Permanent Representative’s request. The UNHCR will continue to cooperate with Myanmar people and stand ready to render any necessary assistance.

 

Myanmar is of the view that being one of the UN agencies, the UNHCR’s personnel have duties to conduct themselves with highest standard of integrity and morality as well as with a code of conduct of the UN both in and out of the fields. Libels and making irresponsible statements and allegations under the pretext of the UN or to intentionally give misleading impression as official UN positions/statements to the news media is neither justifiable nor acceptable action from a UN personnel. The UNHCR has a responsibility to be accountable for Mr. John McKissick’s action that aims to deliberately misinform the public and smear the integrity of the Myanmar Government.

 

( The State Counsellor’s Office Information Committee)

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