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Highlight from the statement by the Minister for Immigration and Population on the occasion of the World Population day Commemorative Ceremony, July 11, 2008.

"In our country, each and every family has the right to decide their family size based on the choices of each individual and couple."

"Myanmar National Health Policy gives high priority on strategies that seek to encourage, strengthen and intensify actions for improving reproductive health."

"Myanmar has been commemorating World Population Day every year to underline our commitment  to the goals, objectives and activities of the United Nations."

The ceremony to mark the World Population Day 2008 took place at Nay Pyi Taw City Hall on 11 July, with an address by Major General Saw Lwin, the Minister for Immigration and Population. Present on the occasion were Ministers, the Chief Justice, the Attorney-General, Deputy Ministers, Foreign Ambassadors to Myanmar, charges d'affaires, Resident Representatives of UN agencies, responsible authority personnel, members of INGOs and NGOs and social organizations, the Director-General of the State Peace and Development Council Office, heads of departments, guests and national prize winners of photo, poster, essay and article contests.

General Saw Lwin, the Minister for Immigration and Population, in his speech, highlighted the significance of the theme of this year's World Population Day: "It's a right, let's make it real". The Minister touched briefly on some of the issues concerning reproductive health and family planning in Myanmar and outlined his mininstries activities. The Minister said women and children in Myanmar are culturally and legally accorded priority and have enjoyed their privileges and rights throughout history. The recently adopted State Constitution prescribed the rights of mothers, children and pregnant women and the right of every citizen to health care services in accordance with the National Health Policy.

The Minister also said that Myanmar was fully committed to the MDGs and was guided by the principles adopted by the ICPD. Myanmar was determined to continue to play an active role in reproductive health programmes including family planning while strengthening its collaboration and cooperation with all nations. The Minister concluded by expressing his sincere thanks and appreciation to the distinguished guests and to the organizers for making this commemoration of the World Population Day 2008 a success.

On behalf of Mr. Daniel B. Baker, Mr. Brian Williams, Country Director, UNAIDS read out a 2008 World Population Day message from Ms Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, UNFPA Executive Director. The awarding ceremony for national prize winners in essay, poster, photos, and articles contests took place at the commemorative ceremony.

General Saw Lwin, the Minister for Immigration and Population and Excellencies and distinguished guests viewed the documentary exhibit organized by the Ministry of Immigration and Population to mark the World Population Day 2008. Included in the display was the prize- winning posters, essays and color photos.