Non-profits Urge Myanmar to Strengthen Human Rights Commission

Naypyidaw, Oct 9 A group of civil society organisations on Tuesday urged the Myanmar government, led by Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, to strengthen the country’s National Human Rights Commission to have a decisive impact on the country’s development.

The 12 non-profits also released “Return to Sender”, the Myanmar chapter of the 2018 report of the Asian NGO Network on National Human Rights Institutions (ANNI), Efe news reported.

“Myanmar is facing a critical time in its history, with various human rights crises around the country. Now more than ever we need a strong, capable, and principled human rights institution that is independent from the government and the military,” said Thwin Linn Aung, Director of non-profit Genuine People’s Servants, a signatory to the report.

“So far, the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission has failed to take decisive action in almost all critical human rights cases and situations,” he added.

The ANNI study explored the current human rights situation in Myanmar and concluded that the MNHRC was “yet to prove itself as an institution that is committed to defending human rights”.

“The Myanmar military commits some of the worst widespread and systematic human rights abuses against civilians in conflict-affected ethnic areas, such as in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States. Yet the MNHRC has not taken any decisive action against the perpetrators or the institution that is committing these crimes,” said Aung Khaing Min, Executive Director of non-profit Progressive Voice.

A UN fact-finding mission on human rights violations in Myanmar had released its most extensive report in September and said there was an evidence of an “intentional genocide” of the Rohingya minority by the country’s military in Rakhine province.

The UN report, rejected by the Myanmar government, also flagged war crimes and crimes against humanity in the states of Rakhine, Kachin and Shan.

At least 725,000 Rohingyas, a mostly Muslim minority community, fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since the beginning of a military offensive in Rakhine in August 2017, following a series of attacks on government posts by Rohingya rebels in the region.

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