Chinese president Xi Jinping embarks on a two-day visit to Myanmar starting on Friday, January 17. The visit marks the 70th anniversary of China-Myanmar relations. It will be the first visit for a Chinese head of state in almost 20 years.
Ahead of the visit, the Chinese government has expressed its desire to help resolve the Rohingya situation in Rakhine state but the director of Amnesty International has misgivings about the offered help saying that it failed to yield positive results.
Amnesty International’s Regional Director, Nicholas Bequelin said: “President Xi’s government has expressed its desire to help solve the situation in Rakhine State. While this is welcome in principle, the reality is that China’s engagement has failed to yield positive results for the people of Myanmar.”
“China must stop using its position in the UN Security Council to shield Myanmar’s senior generals from accountability. This has only emboldened the military’s relentless campaign of human rights violations and war crimes against ethnic minorities across the country,” Bequelin added.
Almost a million Rohingya are currently in refugee camps in Bangladesh while 600,000 still in Myanmar continue to live under appalling human rights condition.
President Xi is expected to meet with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader, as well as Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar military Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
President Xi is expected to sign several MoUs that China and Myanmar have been negotiating as a part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as well as other agreements on political and cultural partnerships.
“With major economic and infrastructure agreements expected to be signed during President Xi’s visit, the absolute lack of transparency over such agreements is deeply disturbing,” said Bequelin.
“Investment in infrastructure can help raise living standards and realize human rights through improved access to basic services and employment. But these benefits are not delivered if those who bear the heaviest cost – the women, men, and children whose homes, health, livelihoods might be affected – are not adequately consulted before construction starts and protected from potential harm. Human rights, transparency, and consultation with communities should be at the heart of these projects,” he concluded. (Source: Amnesty Intl.)