Oral Statement for the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar
We remain deeply troubled by developments in Rakhine and Shan States, where the Tatmadaw continues to indiscriminately target civilians as part of its supposed counter-insurgency operations. We reiterate our call on the government to end the attacks against civilians and immediately lift the internet shutdown in the four remaining townships in Rakhine State where it’s still in force.
In August, the number of political prisoners rose to 229 – a 35% increase since your oral update in early July, and a new high recorded under the current government. The latest casualty is prominent woman human rights defender Ohn Hla, detained last week for participating in a commemoration ceremony for Karen Martyrs’ Day in August. It is outrageous that a Parliament in which dozens of former political prisoners sit, has failed to repeal repressive legal provisions that continue to be used to jail activists, human rights defenders, and members of ethnic minorities.
We deplore the Myanmar government’s ongoing failure to create the necessary conditions for the safe, voluntary, and dignified return of Rohingya refugees. The Myanmar government should stop using its deceitful National Verification Card process to seek to convince Rohingya to return to Rakhine State.
The Rohingya’s key demands are clear and reasonable. They include, among others, receiving justice for the crimes perpetrated by Myanmar security forces against members of their communities.
Regrettably, the Myanmar government continues to show that it is unwilling to deliver justice and accountability for the serious crimes committed against Rohingya. For example, the release of the findings by the Commission of Enquiry, appointed by the government in August 2018, has now been delayed until January 2020.
It’s time for the international community to stop waiting for a miracle in Naypyidaw and instead vigorously support the work of international accountability mechanisms.