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HRC39: Oral Statement on the situation of Rohingya and the need for an accountability mechanism in Myanmar

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39th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Item 4: Interactive Dialogue with the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar

Oral Statement Delivered by Wai Wai Nu on behalf of

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

Tuesday, 18 September, 2018

Mr. President, I am a Rohingya human rights defender who has been advocating for justice and accountability for the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities in Myanmar. We have been suffering decades of systematic and institutionalised discrimination and persecution at the hands of the Myanmar military and today marks a turning point in history towards justice and accountability for our communities. We fully support the Fact-Finding Mission’s recommendations and calls for investigations and prosecutions for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. These calls are historic and courageous. Had the rest of the international community displayed similar courage and the UN acted to exercise their mandate and authority, these mass atrocities perpetrated against our communities could have been prevented; but it is not too late.

The situation of the Rohingya and other minority Muslims in Rakhine State continue to deteriorate as they live in fear without guarantees of security and basic needs, further deprived of their rights in spite of government’s claim that the majority of Kofi Annan Commission’s report recommendations have been implemented. In addition, peace process is stalled as the Myanmar military continues to breach the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, while conflict in Kachin and northern Shan States intensifies, resulting in further displacement of civilians as well as crimes against humanity and war crimes. Meanwhile, the ultranationalists have become emboldened to spread their racist rhetoric, hate-speech and violence and the government has been unwilling and unable to take action against this rising Bamar Buddhist nationalism.

It is imperative that this Council urgently sets up a mechanism to collect and preserve evidence and prepare case files for prosecution. It is critical for the UN Security Council to refer Myanmar to the International Criminal Court. Justice and accountability are essential to break Myanmar’s cycle of impunity and ensure that such crimes never happen again.

We end with three questions: What should be done urgently to recognise the identity and restore the full citizenship of the Rohingyas? How should the international community approach the failed Nationwide Cease Fire Agreement and violations from ongoing armed conflict in Kachin and Shan States? How can the UN be more accountable to human rights in its system-wide approach to Myanmar?

Thank You


For a PDF version of this statement, click here