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Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee Holds Media Briefing

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights situations in Myanmar Yanghee Lee held a media briefing on January 20 at Chatrium Hotel in Yangon at the end of her mission that lasted from 9 to 20 January. Later on that day, the UN released Professor Lee’s end of mission statement. “As I have repeatedly said in the past, I stand ready to assist in the journey towards a more free and democratic Myanmar”, the last sentence of the statement said. During her visit, the Special Rapporteur condemned the Oct. 9 attacks by Islamic militants on border guard posts in northern Rakhine State that claimed lives of nine police officers.

Chinese New Year Gala Dinner

The Chinese embassy in Yangon threw a grand reception on January 21 to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year which falls on January 28. Myanmar Minister for Religious Affairs and Culture Thura Aung Ko and Yangon Region Chief Minister Phyo Min Thein attended the event along with other senior officials. Union Minister for State Counsellor office Kyaw Tint Swe was also among the attendees. Chinese ambassador to Myanmar Hong Liang said that he believed the Year of the Rooster will bring good fortune for Sino-Myanmar relationship.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Delivers Humanitarian Aid in Rakhine State

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi visited Myanmar to deliver humanitarian aid from Indonesia to two conflicted communities in troubled Rakhine state in western Myanmar. The Indonesian minister arrived in Yangon on January 20 along with ten containers of food and clothing. Minister Marsudi held a series of meetings on Jan 20 with the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar, chief representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and members of the Advisory Committee on Rakhine State.

President Calls for the Best Use of Press Freedom

President Htin Kyaw called for the best use of press freedom for peace and development of the country at the opening of 2017 Nobel-Myanmar Literary Festival at the National Theatre in Yangon on January 22. The president called on the people of Myanmar to strive for progress and prosperity of the nation against the backdrop of Myanmar enjoying individual freedom, freedom of the citizens altogether as well as freedom of the press. It was the third year that the Nobel-Myanmar Literary Festival is held, with more than 140 book sellers participating in the event.

FDI in Tourism Reached $3 Billion in 2016

Myanmar attracted almost $3 billion in foreign direct investment to hotel and tourism projects in 2016, according to figures from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism. Singapore stood as the biggest investor with $1.6 billion, followed by Thailand ($445 million) and Vietnam ($440 million). As of November 2016, foreign direct investment in the tourism sector had generated 56 projects while a total of $2.6 billion foreign direct investment flowed into 48 projects in 2015. Union Minister for Hotels and Tourism Ohn Maung attended the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2017 held in Singapore and invited more international investments into the country.