Empowering women’s role to promote social cohesion in Rakhine State discussed
THE opening ceremony of the Workshop on Enhancing Women’s Social Cohesion Roles in Rakhine State was held this morning at 9:30 am at the Yangon office of the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre (NRPC). The workshop was co-organized by the Ministry of the Office of the State Counsellor, the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre and the Center for Diversity and National Harmony (CDNH).
Deputy Minister U Min Lwin of the Ministry of the Office of the State Counsellor gave the opening remarks. In his remarks, U Min Lwin stressed the government’s efforts in achieving its goals of promoting rule of law and socio-economic development; national reconciliation and peace; and constitutional reforms that will form the bedrock in building a Democratic Federal Union. He further noted that the Rakhine State affairs are being given priority when carrying out these aims and that the Central Committee for Implementation of Peace, Stability and Development in Rakhine State led by the State Counsellor with its four Working Committees have been formed to implement the short and long term plans relating to Rakhine State.
Furthermore, the Deputy Minister stressed that an Advisory Commission on Rakhine State led by the former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan was established to propose concrete measures for improving the welfare of all peoples in Rakhine State and that the government was currently implementing the Commission’s recommendations. The Deputy Minister also remarked that the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development (UEHRD) have been established and was currently undertaking measures to improve Rakhine State development. The Deputy Minister also noted that in addition to implementing all-round development programs within Rakhine State, a Rakhine State Investment Forum was held to improve investment opportunities and to link Rakhine businesses with foreign and domestic investors. The Deputy Minister added that the government was doing all it can to improve various sectors within Rakhine State, including education and healthcare.
He further stressed the need and urgency of peace and reconciliation efforts in Rakh ine State and that women play an important and critical role in building trust and bringing about social harmony among all communities living in Rakhine State. He also highlighted the following actions taken by the Myanmar government: the ratification and implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); cooperation with regional women’s organizations including ones within the ASEAN; the Joint Communiqué signed between the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict and the Government of Myanmar to prevent and respond to conflict-related sexual violence in Myanmar; and the ongoing debates at the Hluttaw on the draft law to prevent sexual violence against women.
The Deputy Minister concluded his remarks by stating that it was his belief that holding such workshops would help build mutual respect and understanding between different communities living in Rakhine State, which in turn will only enhance peace and development in Rakhine State. Moreover, the he recognized the constructive support and urged continued assistance from the international community, UN agencies and development partners in promoting peace and development of Rakhine State.
Afterwards, Dr. Kyaw Yin Hlaing, the Director of CDNH, discussed the ongoing programs carried out by CDNH to promote social harmony. Lastly, Dr. Aung Thurein, the Director from the Ministry of the Office of the State Counsellor, explained to the audience the reasons for holding the workshop.
140 women representatives from the 17 townships within the Rakhine State attended the opening ceremony. The opening ceremony was also attended by permanent secretaries and directors general from various ministries, officials from NRPC, ambassadors and diplomats from various embassies, officials from various UN agencies and ICRC, and other stakeholders from development partners.
The first day of the workshop continued with responsible officials from the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, the Ministry of Health and Sports, and the Ministry of Education explaining their projects in Rakhine State, and workshop participants joining in the discussions. The five-day workshop will continue with discussions on promoting empowerment of women to reinforce social cohesion.