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UN Resolution lacks commitments to address protracted displacement, fails to reflect the gravity of the current crisis in Myanmar

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[26 November 2021] The resolution recently passed by the UN General Assembly lacks commitments and practical and concrete action to address the protracted displacement of Rohingya and other ethnic minorities said representatives from Myanmar civil society organizations in response to the adoption of the resolution titled “The situation of human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar”. The resolution also does not adequately reflect the deepening political, human rights and humanitarian crisis in Myanmar, the representatives. The draft resolution was jointly tabled by the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the European Union (EU) and was approved by consensus.

Since the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly adopted the draft resolution on 17 November that largely focused on Rohingya and other ethnic minorities, Human Rights Watch have warned of an imminent forcible relocation of Rohingya to Bashan Char, where abuses by security forces, restriction on freedom of movement on and off the flood prone island and lack of access to health and education and livelihood await the Rohingya.

While the text of the draft resolution calls on the Myanmar military junta to end the state of emergency, release those who have been arbitrarily detained, and to heed the UN Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire, it fails to address the most recent systematic attacks against the people of Myanmar by the military following its brutal coup attempt. The text also lacks comprehensive language on holding the Myanmar military accountable for their grave crimes, including the genocide against the Rohingya, and bringing justice to the people of Myanmar.

Daw Khin Ohmar of Progressive Voice said: “The UN’s continuing lack of commitment and repeated failure to act in response to the Myanmar military’s brutal terrorist acts is a gift to the military junta. In putting forward a resolution that does not adequately reflect the gravity of the situation on the ground since the attempted coup that deeply affects the Rohingya and their safe and voluntary return, the resolution fails to give a full picture of those who have suffered genocide. The UN is giving a free pass to the Myanmar military who have committed genocide and continues to commit crimes against humanity and war crimes across Myanmar, setting out a dangerous precedent to address accountability as well as peace and security throughout the world. As action at the UN remains stymied by China and Russia and the drive for consensus over concrete action, Member States who are like-minded and have the political will to address Myanmar crisis effectively must immediately step up and impose further targeted economic sanctions as well as arms embargo.”

Ma Wai Wai Nu of Women Peace Network said: “While we appreciate OIC’s continued support for Rohingya, it is disappointing that the UN General Assembly resolution does not reflect the realities on the ground in Myanmar with serious international crimes that are being committed by the Myanmar military with total impunity since the attempted coup. The voluntary and dignified return of Rohingya will not be possible without addressing current human rights and humanitarian crisis stemming from the attempted coup by the Myanmar military. At the root of these crises is the military who continues to be able to enjoy blanket impunity. Therefore, the UNGA must be unambiguous in their calls for holding the Myanmar military junta to account for the grave crimes.”

Ma Thinzar Shunlei Yi of Action Committee for Democracy Development said: “By not taking strong actions to hold the Myanmar military to account for its violence, the UN is allowing rapists who rape pregnant women and children with impunity to get away with and continue such violent crimes. The systematic attacks, torture in detention, rape, mass killings and all other atrocity crimes committed against the people of Myanmar today are all too familiar to the Rohingya who have had to endure similar crimes. The military has long used rape as a weapon of war in violation of UN Security Council resolution 1325. They must be stopped and held accountable for these heinous crimes against the people of Myanmar, particularly ethnic women and girls.”

Nai Aue Mon of Human Rights Foundation of Monland said: “The military that committed the grave crimes against Rohingya also committed similar crimes against ethnic communities for decades. It is the same military that continues to brutally murder children by using heavy artillery and aerial attacks across Myanmar, while the people of Myanmar remain defiant in their resolve to end the military’s terror once and for all. The Rohingya crisis and the current crisis in Myanmar have the same origin story. While we stand in solidarity with the Rohingya, we need the UN to address the situation in Myanmar holistically.”

On 25 October, 427 civil society organizations had issued an open letter to Members States urging the UNGA to show “decisive leadership” and present a resolution that would “pave the way for concrete actions” to address the urgent and deteriorating human rights and humanitarian catastrophe in Myanmar. The civil society organizations called for the inclusion of language on a comprehensive arms embargo which was not included in the text, despite it being referenced in the June 75th session of the UNGA resolution on Myanmar.

The civil society statement calling on UN’s decisive leadership can be viewed here:

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