HRC 38 – EU Intervention: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar

United Nations Human Rights Council Geneva, 18 June – 6 July 2018 EU Intervention: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of human rights in Myanmar

Mr. President

The European Union would like to thank Ms. Yanghee Lee, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar for her continued dedication to carry out her mandate. We regret that the government of Myanmar discontinued its cooperation. We are thankful to the growing number of States cosponsoring the resolution renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur [most recently resolution 37/32], and hope that this be seen as signal of encouragement to the Government to resume its cooperation and grant access to the Special Rapporteur, and most importantly to address the situation on the ground.

The UN Special Rapporteur, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Chair of the HRC’s International independent Fact-Finding Mission and others have repeatedly reported to the Human Rights Council about the pattern of gross human rights violations which suggest a widespread and systematic attack against the Rohingya community, possibly amounting to crimes against humanity.

Given the gravity of the alleged crimes against humanity the EU invites Myanmar/Burma to become a party to the Rome Statute or to accept the exercise of jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in accordance with Article 12 (3) of the Rome Statute[1].

The EU has also expressed serious concern about the situation in Kachin, northern Shan and in parts of Kayin States, putting emphasis on the need for all parties to the conflict to immediately cease hostilities in order to protect civilians and to allow unfettered humanitarian access.

The EU established in April 2018 a framework for targeted restrictive measures against Myanmar military officers or Border Guard policemen responsible for i) serious human rights violations; ii) obstructing investigations into alleged human rights violations or abuses iii) humanitarian aid to civilians in need. On this basis, the EU adopted on 25 June 2018 a decision with first designations, including of five high-ranking military officers, a commander of the Border Guard Police and an associated police officer reportedly responsible for serious human rights violations.

As stated in its conclusions of 26 February 2018, the Council calls upon the government of Myanmar/Burma and the security forces to ensure that security, the rule of law and accountability prevail in Myanmar/Burma, including in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States. The Council will monitor the situation in Myanmar/Burma closely and will keep its decision under constant review, including the possibility of further targeted restrictive measures.[2]

The Government of Myanmar has recently undertaken several steps following a visit by the UN Security Council, in particular:

1. The signing of a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding with UNHCR and UNDP to involve these organisations in the safe, dignified and voluntary return of refugees from Bangladesh to Rakhine State. The EU now expects the Government of Myanmar to provide the UN and other partners imminent unfettered access to Rakhine State and strongly encourages that the text of the agreement is made public. Transparency is needed to allow for informed decisions about voluntary return. Moreover, only the full implementation of recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State will help to avoid that the remaining Rohingyas see themselves forced to leave Rakhine State, and create conditions conducive to safe, voluntary and dignified return by addressing the root causes of the crisis.

2. We welcome Myanmar’s cooperation with the new UNSG Special Envoy Mrs. Schraner Burgener during her visit to the country on 12-22 June 2018. The government’s approval of opening an office for her team in Nay Pyi Taw is a positive step contributing to improving cooperation with the United Nations.

3. The EU looks forward to further details on the announced “Independent Commission of Inquiry”, its mandate and composition. Full, objective and transparent investigations are needed. This Commission, if truly independent, should also be allowed to cooperate with the HRC’s International independent Fact-Finding Mission, the UN Special Rapporteur and other special procedures.

Can you elaborate on mechanisms, existing or to be established, to best ensure accountability as well as victims’ access to remedy? How are activities coordinated within the UN to pursue this objective? Would you recommend that others adopt targeted restrictive measures similar to the EU’s as one of the steps to press a resolution of the crisis?

Thank you Mr. President

Read this original statement HERE.

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