Myanmar confident of Mrauk-U’s bid for World Heritage Site

Source : Myanmar Times
View Count : 599
Feb 16, 2020

Myanmar has applied for UNESCO to recognise Mrauk-U in Rakhine State as a World Heritage Site despite continuing clashes between the Tatmadaw (military) and Arakan Army (AA).

Mrauk-U, which was the capital of the powerful Arakanese Kingdom from the 15th to 17th centuries, currently restricts visitors for security reasons.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture said it submitted its application for Mrauk-U to UNESCO in January.

U Thura Aung, secretary of Myanmar Archaeology Research, expressed hope that peace would soon return to the area.

Experts were a bit concerned about the damage caused by an artillery shell that hit a gate near the ancient Htukkan Thein temple and the west side of the ancient Mye Hte pagoda during fighting between the Tatmadaw and AA last year.

The Myanmar Archaeology Association urged the two sides to declare a truce in the area because it is being considered as a World Heritage Site

Archaeologists have called on the local government and people to mediate an end to the fighting.

They are confident that Mrauk-U’s 80,000 pagodas and forts qualify it to be named a World Heritage Site.

UNESCO is expected to decide on Mrauk-U’s application by April, and send experts to conduct a site inspection between September and January next year.

Nationalists march against amendment effort

Hundreds of nationalists marched through downtown Yangon on January 9 to oppose amendments to the 2008 Constitution, especially its ban on citizens who marry foreigners from becoming president or vice president.

The activists accused some groups of working with foreign powers to subvert the Buddhist religion and Myanmar’s sovereignty.

They marched for about three kilometres through downtown Yangon waving the Myanmar flag and shouting expletives against those who oppose nationalism or equate it with fascism. They denounced those who promote unbridled liberalisation, which they said would make the country’s economy subservient to foreign powers.

They accused State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Minister for Religious Affairs Thura U Aung Ko of failing to protect the country’s sovereignty.

They attacked the minister for telling a gathering of Muslims last month that he will re-open mosques and build more mosques.

A nationalist monk, U Nyan Naw Batha, took to the stage to tell the crowd that Christianity is a “pirate religion,” whose followers have stolen Buddhist tenets.

The protesters said they were not followers of any party or organisation, but praised former President U Thein Sein and the Tatmadaw (military) for protecting the country’s sovereignty.

Myanmar to get new coronavirus testing kits

Myanmar will soon have medical kits to test for new coronavirus, a disease that has killed at least 1357 people, mostly in China, the Ministry of Health said on Monday.

Health Minister U Myint Htwe told parliament on January 6 that Myanmar would be able to test and verify the virus in its own facilities by February 20 or 21.

The National Centre for Global Health would provide 100 testing kits, Thailand would provide another 100, and the US Centers for Disease Control would provide another 250, he added.

There is no known cure for the disease but medicine can be used to alleviate the symptoms.

No cases of coronavirus have been reported in the country so far, despite its proximity to China, where the disease originated.

The government has tightened screening and surveillance at all international ports of entry since January 5, a week after the virus was first detected in Wuhan city of Hubei province.

The ministry is working with other ministries to ensure a quick response to any suspected cases of the disease, he said.

TOP IMAGE: Myanmar has applied for UNESCO to recognise Mrauk-U in Rakhine State as a World Heritage Site. The Myanmar Times

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