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27th Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council – Oral Statement on the human rights situation in Burma/Myanmar

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27th Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council
on the human rights situation of the minority Rohingya Muslim population
and other minorities in the Rakhine State of Myanmar

Joint-Oral Statement Delivered by R. Iniyan Ilango on behalf of
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA),
Conectas Direitos Humanos
and International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism

Tuesday, 05 December 2017

Mr. President, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) makes this statement jointly with NGO partners: Conectas Direitos Humanos and the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR). We welcome this special session on Burma/Myanmar. We note that the latest escalation of the crisis in Burma/Myanmar unfolded just as the 36th session of this Council began. It is unfortunate that the Council failed to respond then in an adequate manner, making this special session necessary. We welcome the High Commissioner’s statement today including his recommendation for the UN General Assembly to establish a mechanism for criminal prosecutions.

The situation in Burma/Myanmar is one of the worst tragedies in recent times. One which the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Secretary General have described as ethnic cleansing. One where the High Commissioner today indicated that elements of genocide cannot be ruled out. The UN Special Advisor on Genocide and the UN Special Advisor on the Responsibility to Protect have jointly called on the government to stop and address atrocity crimes reportedly taking place. Despite condemnation at the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council the situation in Burma/Myanmar remains grave, particularly in Rakhine State as well as in other parts such as Kachin and Shan states.

The UN Human Rights Council should echo concerns expressed by UN experts today and call for an immediate end to gross violations including alleged atrocity crimes.

The Council should call on the UN Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar to provide its expertise to relevant UN bodies seized of the matter including the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council. The Council should also further call on the Fact Finding Mission to include specific recommendations on establishing accountability for alleged gross violations. The Council should also urge Burma/Myanmar to provide humanitarian aid, independent international observers and the Fact Finding Mission unhindered access to Rakhine State.

In the context of the recent repatriation agreement between Burma/Myanmar and Bangladesh the Council should call for the explicit recognition of non-refoulement. The Council should call on Burma/Myanmar to institute clear and explicit safeguards under UN supervision to allow refugees to return voluntarily, in safety and dignity. The Council should also call on Burma/Myanmar to take immediate steps to fully recognise the Rohingya identity and grant Rohingyas full citizenship and equal rights without any discrimination.

The Council must continue to closely scrutinise Burma/Myanmar and review the situation regularly with the participation of UN Experts.

Thank You


To download a PDF version of this statement, click here.