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HRC41: Oral Statement on the situation of human rights of Rohingya and other minorities in Myanmar

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 41st Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Item 2: Interactive dialogue on the High Commissioner’s update on the situation of human rights of Rohingya and other minorities in Myanmar

Oral Statement Delivered by Rosanna Ocampo

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

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Mr. President,

It has been two years since the genocide of Rohingya began. Nearly a million Rohingya have been forced to flee. Myanmar has shown no progress on justice and accountability. Rohingya continue to languish in squalid, overcrowded refugee camps with no hope of return.

The Myanmar government’s own accountability mechanisms such as the Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE) and the military court set up by the Myanmar Army in March 2019 to investigate its own conduct in the 2017 attacks against Rohingya appear to be nothing more than duplicitous attempts to cover up atrocities and shield the military from accountability while violations continue. Given the credible evidence of grave international crimes including genocide and crimes against humanity found by the UN Fact-Finding Mission, it is incumbent upon the Council and the international community to urgently to hold Myanmar army accountable to its crimes, including by expediting the operationalisation of the independent mechanism, referring Myanmar to the ICC or establishing an international tribunal, and exercising universal jurisdiction.

The Myanmar government has failed to guarantee conditions for sustainable and dignified return of Rohingya. Instead it has continued practices to systematically disenfranchise and drive out the remaining Rohingya. The government must end these practices, in particular, issuing national verification cards to Rohingya, which has no legal basis and, consolidates their status as foreigners and denies citizenship. We call on the government to restore the citizenship of the Rohingya, guarantee their civil and political rights, repeal all discriminatory laws such as the “protection of race and religion laws” of 2015, and ensure their access to basic services as a first step to pave the way for the dignified and sustainable return of Rohingya to their places of origin.

The situation of Rohingya and other ethnic minorities in the region are worsened by the escalation of the armed conflict between the Myanmar Army and Arakan Army, with heightened risk of further displacement. Conflict affected communities remain completely cut off from the rest of world amid mounting human rights and humanitarian law violations. The Myanmar government must immediately restore internet in Rakhine and Chin States and allow media and humanitarian access to independently monitor the situation and deliver aid. Thank you.


For a PDF version of this statement, click here.