42nd 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 Wai Wai Nu On behalf of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
Monday, 16 September 2019
Mr. President, We welcome the update by the Special Rapporteur and her persistent efforts to bring international attention to the human rights situation in Myanmar.
Contrary to Myanmar government’s repeated denials in this Council, the human rights situation in the country continues to decline. Emboldened by impunity for genocide against the Rohingya, the Myanmar military continues to use the same heinous tactics against ethnic minorities. It has stepped up its military offensives in Rakhine and Shan States. Conflict in has displaced over 60,000 people in Rakhine State and over 3,600 people in Chin State. Renewed fighting in Shan State has displaced over 7,500 people in August alone.
Restriction on freedom of expression, and criminalisation of criticism of the military and the government have continued to escalate. This year alone, over 250 people have faced more than 70 charges for exercising freedom of expression under various oppressive legislations and regulations, including the Telecommunications Law, Peaceful Assembly Law, Penal Code and The Law Protecting the Privacy and Security of Citizen. These include the one-year imprisonment of film maker, Min Htin Koko Gyi, for criticising the military; and criminal charges against ethnic human rights defenders such as Naw Ohn Hla, and a number of Karenni and Kachin youth for promoting and protecting the rights of ethnic minorities. We call on the Myanmar government to repeal or review all legislation, regulations and policies that allow such restrictions on fundamental freedoms.
At the root of the grave crimes against the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities is the prioritization of the Bamar-Buddhist identity and the systematic and institutionalized preservation of its status quo that has emboldened the military to continue to act with total impunity.
We call on the Council to broaden the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and the OHCHR to ensure regular monitoring and more frequent reporting of human rights violations and abuses to prevent further deterioration. Victims of the most serious international crimes must not be forced to wait any longer in purgatory of international inaction. All consorted international efforts must be aimed towards holding perpetrators to account.