Myanmar: Act now on Rakhine Commission report

Myanmar’s authorities must immediately act on the urgent calls made in an interim report by the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, Amnesty International said today.

“The authorities must immediately act on the Rakhine Commission’s recommendations to grant humanitarian access, end the media blackout in northern Rakhine State, and ensure the perpetrators of human rights violations are held accountable,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

On 16 March 2017, the Commission published its interim report, with recommendations to the Myanmar government on “improving the welfare of all people in Rakhine state”. The report’s authors said their recommendations must be met with “urgent action” by the Myanmar authorities.

“Unfortunately, the commission’s recommendations do not far enough to address the increasingly dire situation on the ground. There is much more the authorities can and should do, including lifting restrictions on freedom of movement for the Rohingya and other Muslims,” said Champa Patel.

The Commission’s recommendations fall short of ensuring full respect for the protection and rights of the Rohingya. Amnesty International is particularly concerned about the Commission’s failure to recommend necessary amendments to Myanmar’s highly discriminatory 1982 Citizenship Law, which effectively denies citizenship to the Rohingya – something it should address, along with other human rights violations, in its final report, due by August.

The Rakhine Commission does not have a mandate to investigate allegations of human rights violations by the security forces, which the UN and Amnesty International believe may constitute crimes against humanity. The government’s own investigations also lack the independence and impartiality necessary to deliver justice for victims.

“Given the Myanmar government’s repeated failure to carry out a credible and effective investigation, the UN should mandate a Commission of Inquiry, as recommended by the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar,” said Champa Patel.

Background

In December 2016, Amnesty International published a report, “We are at breaking point”: Rohingya Persecuted in Myanmar, Neglected in Bangladesh, which documented a wide range of human rights violations by Myanmar’s security forces in northern Rakhine State, including unlawful killings, torture and other ill-treatment, rape and other sexual violence, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrest and detentions, and the torching of hundreds of Rohingya homes and buildings.

In February 2017, the United National Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights published a “flash report” also documented these human rights violations.

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