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HRC32 Oral Statement – High Commissioner’s oral update on Sri Lanka and report on Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar

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32nd Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Item 2: High Commissioner’s oral update on Sri Lanka and report on Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar – General Debate

Oral Statement Delivered by R. Iniyan Ilango

On behalf of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

Wednesday, 29 June 2016


Mr. President, we note the High Commissioner’s update on Sri Lanka and welcome his report on Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Burma/Myanmar.

On Sri Lanka we welcome cooperation with Special Procedures and the High Commissioner; and the ratification of the Conventions on Enforced Disappearances and Disabilities. We recognise the ease in threats to fundamental freedoms in the country, but remain concerned about continuing incidents, particularly in the North and East. We echo the High Commissioner’s call to swiftly address continuing allegations of violations including arbitrary arrest, torture and sexual violence, as well as more general military surveillance and harassment.  We condemn the continued use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and call on the government to repeal it immediately. We also share the High Commissioner’s concerns on the lack of progress in releasing civilian land and call for reversing disproportionate military deployment in the North and East.

We concur with the High Commissioner’s assessment on accountability mechanisms and call on the government to fully include international judges, lawyers and prosecutors in a judicial mechanism for accountability. We are alarmed at backtracking on this key commitment in resolution 30/1 by the President and the Prime Minister.  We call on the government to enact legislation for all transitional justice mechanisms it had committed to within 2016, after broad and inclusive consultations with all stakeholders.

On Burma/Myanmar we call on the government to utilise the historic opportunity provided by political change and take a fresh, human rights based approach to Rohingyas and other ethnic minorities. If not the credibility of the government’s commitment to human rights will be seriously undermined. We appreciate clear and concrete recommendations by the High Commissioner on policy and legislative change; and in establishing accountability. We call on the government to take immediate steps to implement these recommendations; ensure that any national reconciliation process is inclusive of all minorities; and announce a roadmap with human rights benchmarks to end deep rooted discrimination and intolerance towards Rohingyas and other minorities.

Thank you

Download the PDF version of the statement here