Annan Meets with Rohingya Communities in Myanmar IDP Camps
SITTWE, Myanmar – Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan visited on Wednesday local communities in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State as part of his six-day trip to investigate the human rights situation facing the Rohingya Muslim minority, an epa journalist reported.
After Tuesday flying into Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine, Annan went on Wednesday to the Min Gan and Thet Kel Pyin IDP (internally displaced person) camps, which are home to about 3,000 and 6,000 Rohingyas, respectively.
In both camps he briefly met with local leaders and refugee representatives, who told the former UN chief about their living situation and difficulties.
Hundreds of people in the camps came out to greet and see Annan and his entourage.
He also visited the Aung Mingalar Muslim quarter of Sittwe, where he met with local residents and community leaders.
The Ghanaian diplomat received a chilly welcome in Sittwe on Tuesday, when protesters came onto the streets denouncing his visit and held signs with such messages as “No outsiders’ intervention in our Arakanese internal state issue” and “No to foreigners biased (take) on our Rakhine State affairs.”
Annan, as chair of the advisory commission examining solutions to the ethnic and religious conflicts in Rakhine, is scheduled to meet with Myanmar President Htin Kyaw and military leader Min Aung Hlaing on Friday, and hold a press conference in Yangon before he leaves the country on Saturday, the Myanmar Times newspaper reported.
The Rohingya, a Muslim people from Rakhine State, have faced discrimination and violence for years and make up the majority of that state’s 120,000 IDPs, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).