General Statement on the Human Rights Situation in Burma
Counselor for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 18, 2020
Thank you, Chairperson.
As a decades-long partner of the people of Myanmar in their pursuit of democracy, peace, and prosperity, the United States is proud to co-sponsor this important resolution on the human rights situation in Myanmar.
The United States condemns continuing serious human rights violations and abuses across Myanmar, including in Rakhine, Chin, Kachin, and Shan States. Consistent with this resolution, the United States calls on Myanmar authorities to deepen democratic reforms; ensure full participation in elections and civic life without discrimination; take steps to establish civilian control of the military; ensure accountability for those responsible for human rights violations and abuses, including for the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims from northern Rakhine State; protect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedoms of expression on and off line, religion or belief, association, and peaceful assembly; allow unhindered access across Myanmar for UN, humanitarian, and human rights organizations, and media groups; implement the recommendations of the Annan Advisory Commission in Rakhine State, including those related to access to citizenship and freedom of movement; work to establish conditions that will allow all displaced persons to voluntarily return to their places of origin in safety and dignity; and address victims’ calls for justice.
The United States welcomes the work of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar and echoes the resolution’s call for all countries to grant the IIMM access and provide it with every assistance in the execution of its mandate. We also hope to see Myanmar authorities cooperate with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Mr. Tom Andrews.
The United States reaffirms the resolution’s urgent call to ensure the full protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons in Myanmar, including Rohingya and persons belonging to other minority groups, in an equal and non-discriminatory manner. This is vital to achieving the Myanmar people’s goal of a more peaceful, stable, and prosperous nation.
We strongly condemn the ongoing violence in Myanmar and urge all involved to demonstrate restraint and respect for the human rights of members of affected populations. While we do not take a position on whether ongoing violence there could be legally characterized as an armed conflict, we support all credible efforts to advance peace and national reconciliation.
In addition, we recognize that Myanmar’s parliamentary elections on November 8 mark an important step in the country’s democratic transition. While we are concerned by problems in the electoral process, such as disenfranchisement of members of ethnic minority groups, including through the cancellation of voting in several regions, we remain a dedicated partner of the people of Myanmar in their pursuit of democracy, peace, and national reconciliation.
The United States strongly supports the resolution’s urgent call for justice and accountability. We do not consider anything in this resolution to have bearing on matters of self-determination under international law. We also refer to our global general statement made on November 13, 2020.
In closing, we reiterate our longstanding support to the people of Myanmar and encourage all delegations to co-sponsor and vote in favor of this resolution.
Thank you, Chairperson.