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[HRC52 Oral Statement] Item 4: Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar

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52nd regular session of the UN Human Rights Council

Item 4: Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar

Oral statement delivered by Khin Ohmar

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

20 March 2023


Mr President,

We welcome the Special Rapporteur’s report and his recent conference room paper, which demonstrated beyond doubt that the junta has neither the legitimacy nor legal basis.

Just as the current session of the Council got underway, the illegal junta once again displayed the brutality of its terror campaign and scorched earth tactics to crush Myanmar’s broad-based and formidable democracy movement. On 1 March, the junta forces raided Tar Taing village, took 16 villagers and a resistance leader hostage as human shields as they rampaged through the village. The body of the resistance leader was dismembered and the bodies of the 16 villagers were found with gunshot wounds to their chest and head with signs of extreme torture. In the same week, the junta troops killed four civilians and torched more then 500 houses in Kone Village in Yinmarbin Township. Junta’s massacres, aerial attacks, burning down of entire villages, use of civilians as human shields, and forced labour have displaced over 1.7 million across the country.

We are deeply disturbed by reports of a so-called ‘pilot project’ to begin repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar and UN’s participation in this project, in complete absence of conditions in Myanmar for safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable return. Repatriation of Rohingya refugees while the same military that committed genocide against the Rohingya continues to commit mass atrocity crimes at a national scale, is not only dangerous and against the principle of ‘do no harm’, but will also lend legitimacy to the junta, which it neither has nor deserves as made clear by the Special Rapporteur in his recent conference room paper.

The UN and the international community must not allow the junta to instrumentalise the desperation of Rohingya refugees created by world’s failure to adequately respond to their humanitarian needs in Cox’s Bazaar and to hold the military accountable for genocide through ICC or other international mechanisms. It must address the root causes of their displacement including the military’s pervasive impunity that the international community so far failed to stop.

The UN must meaningfully follow up on the implementation of the recommendations of the Rosenthal Report into UN’s role in Myanmar and investigate the reported involvement of UNHCR and WFP in this project to prevent yet another repetition of its systemic failures that led to Rohingya genocide under its watch.

Thank you.